In a few of the states there are state housing associations organized to promote housing improvement. The Pennsylvania Housing and Town Planning Association, a volunteer organization, has been formed for the purpose of sponsoring a better housing program in the state of Pennsylvania. The citizens in over thirty counties have enrolled as members. One of the outstanding accomplishments of the Association has been the drafting of a permissive model housing law which has been enacted by the state legislature. The headquarters of the movement are located at Philadelphia. Benjamin H. Ritter is executive secretary. Address: 1701 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.
Both Massachusetts and Michigan have state housing associations.
In addition to these state associations a few cities have local citizens' associations organized for the purpose of promoting better housing and living conditions and better enforcement of housing legislation. The Better Housing League of Cincinnati which is supported by private contributions is a noteworthy example of such an association. This League carries on its work through visiting housekeepers who give instructions among tenants in the congested areas of the city and note and report violations. In addition, the League assists with housing and city-planning problems and the enforcement of legislation. It has worked out a special plan for instruction in housing for children in public schools. Bleeker Marquette is executive secretary. Address: 312 West Ninth Street, Cincinnati.
The Philadelphia Housing Association is another such organization. This Association's program varies somewhat from that of Cincinnati. Its activities are divided among such fields as housing legislation and law enforcement, municipal engineering, and education. In the field of law enforcement, for instance, the organization acts as a clearing house for fifty or more health and welfare agencies. The Association also has made a number of outstanding studies of such housing problems as congestion, vacancies, rental changes, demolition of dwellings, and other problems, depending upon the immediate need in the community. Bernard J. Newman is managing director. Address: 311 South Juniper Street, Philadelphia.
The Pittsburgh Housing Association, another volunteer organization, places its emphasis on the dissemination of information on housing and the particular housing problems of Pittsburgh. It is in reality a social agency and cooperates with the various social agencies in the community. In summarizing briefly the activities of the Association, John Ihlder, its director, states:
Its function is to study, inform, stimulate, encourage. It has no power except that derived from knowledge and an informed public opinion. It cooperates with and supports those city departments whose function is to regulate the construction and use of residential property. It does not build or manage houses. But it holds conferences with and offers information and assistance to those who do. It hopes to prove itself an effective catalyst. Its method is that of steady, unremitting pressure, with the far future in view, as well as immediate improvement in living conditions both by official action and private enterprise.
The policy of the Association is based upon a belief that housing progress is a gradual process, not a sudden revolution; that emphasis on different phases of the work should vary with changing economic and social conditions; that housing betterment is a matter not only of the dwelling but also of the living standards and habits of the occupants of the dwelling.1
The Association is located at Pittsburgh. Mr. John Ihlder is executive director. Address: Granite Building, Pittsburgh.