Included with a detailed account of the Emergency Relief Administration is a brief summary of the activities of the preceding program financed from Reconstruction Finance Corporation funds, administered by the Governor's Office of Relief, and of the Civil Works Administration. It is hoped that it may serve as a reference volume wherein may be found the inception and development of the Federal program of unemployment relief. The Congressional Acts authorizing each appropriation will be found in the appendix.
The second annual report of the Emergency Relief Administration was in the process of preparation in when it was announced that direct relief would be discontinued in the early fall, to be followed by the liquidation of the Emergency Relief Administration, and that its program would be absorbed by other agencies. It was then decided to include the annual report in a final report of the entire relief program.
A pictorial review of work projects and special programs has been combined in this one volume with the narrative and statistical accounts. The photographs were made by photographers on ERA work relief projects. It has been a privilege to have a part in the President's Recovery Program, and the courageous leadership of the Federal Administrator and his assistants has been a constant inspiration to all members of the relief organization. State officials and all the departments of the state government have contributed their full assistance in furnishing information, and in the supervision of work projects concerned with the functions of their respective departments.
The state educational institutions have rendered invaluable service in directing research, furnishing technical information and supervision in all phases of the relief program. A further contribution of the state has been the provision of rental and maintenance of offices for the state administration. Local government officials have contributed materials, supervision for work projects, and assistance in administrative matters. In the majority of counties and districts, office space and equipment were made available to the relief administration by the local governments.
Special mention should be made of the leaders of the Adult Education Movement in the state who have so generously assisted in the Emergency Relief Education Program. Religious, fraternal, civic, and private charitable organizations, and interested citizens have been generous in their services. Recognition should be given to those representatives of the press who have endeavored to interpret the policies and purposes of the relief program in their true light.
The administrative personnel of the state office, the local and district administrations, and others who have been a part of the organization, have served with a devotion to a cause, a loyalty and an enthusiasm rarely found. A unity of purpose and action and an "esprit" on the part of all who were responsible for the welfare of those for whom the Emergency Relief Administration was created to serve has been evident.
Whether the position was minor or executive, the work has been regarded as an opportunity rather than a job. No work has been too hard, no hours too long, for the staffs to respond to the constant demands made upon them. During my thirty months as administrator they have never failed to swing into action for reorganization or for a pressing request of any kind.
To them, my co-workers in the program, I pay tribute for their courage, their loyalty, and their determination to do the job to the best of their ability, regardless of the personal sacrifice involved. Their hearts were in the success of the program. Their consideration was for the people whom the Emergency Relief Administration served. No reference is made to names of those in the employ of the Emergency Relief Administration, but the names of the administrators of the reorganized districts and the full staffs for the peak month are given in the personnel directory.
The names of persons on administrative projects are not included in the personnel directory, but the Administration recognizes and appreciates their valuable service in directing special programs. The liquidation of the Emergency Relief Administration, begun immediately following the cessation of relief on December 5, , has progressed in an orderly fashion and as rapidly as possible.
Social work records were transferred to the State Public Welfare Department. Financial, statistical, and work project records were checked and filed for future reference. Materials and equipment have been made available to the Works Progress Administration, the Resettlement Administration, and other Federal and state government agencies. Other materials, tools, and equipment have been transferred to the Rural Rehabilitation Corporation for continued use in the state.
The final audit of all expenditures will be completed at the earliest possible date. This report has been compiled from the reports of heads of divisions of the Emergency Relief Administration, whose names are given in the directory of personnel, many of whom are now with other organizations.
The responsibility for compiling and editing this report has fallen on a few people, to whom acknowledgment is due. The Bookkeeping Division, under Mr. Rowe, and the Statistical Division, under Dr. Thomas Betts, and Mr. Kirk, have had a major part in preparing the work project and statistical analyses; the Works Division report was written and compiled by Mr.
Morse; reports on special programs have been compiled by Mr. Harris; the graphs and charts were made by Mr. Arthur Carraway, and Mr.
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Mary Dunaway Scheld, and Miss Georgia Biggs have typed the copy for the printer; and the entire volume was edited by Dr. With the enactment of the Statute of Henry XVIII in which enjoined local public officials and church wardens to search out and make provision for the poor, the foundation of both English and American poor law was laid. Although no public funds were set aside for the relief of such persons, this law marked a decisive step away from the repressive and penal measures which had been enforced in the period immediately preceding, when the swarms of masterless and landless men which were roving over England, due to the dissolving of the monasteries and the gradual breaking-up of the feudal system, seemed to call for summary action.
Publicly financed relief really began in , with the Second Statute of Elizabeth. Although there had been an injunction, accompanied by some compulsion, to contribute in the past, this law marked an advance by providing for the appointment of specific civil officers "collectors and overseers of the poor" to administer needed relief and to levy a tax on their fellow citizens for the purpose.
When the British Parliament, in and , codified English poor laws, certain major principles were enunciated: This Elizabethan Poor Law was the first great systematic relief measure in modern times. Until , it served as the legal and philosophic basis of English poor relief, and when the early colonists came to America, this philosophy of relief was brought along as were so many other British institutions.
Although poor laws and relief of poverty in the United States continued to rest upon the principle of the British law until the beginning of the present decade, there was in the American system one basic difference. Whereas in England, legislation and provision for the poor tended to be national in its character, in this country it was local.
While greater economic opportunity made poverty relatively rare, there were, as early as the 17th century, certain definite methods of dealing with poverty. The almshouse was the commonest form of relief, and even recently, it has been described as the fundamental institution of American poor relief.
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This institution, unfortunately, became the repository for all types of dependency and maladjustment, being used for aged persons, sick and insane persons, persons with contagious diseases, transients, or as popularly termed, tramps, crippled persons, and perhaps worst of all, children. Relief outside of the almshouse in general, took three forms: Public poor relief was provided only by local governments, with two types of poor law administration being developed, based on the township and the county.
Gradually these types were supplemented by the city plan of relief administration. When state governments entered relief activity, and this was comparatively recently, they restricted their participation almost exclusively to supervision. There has been a growing tendency towards the use of "outdoor relief," that is, direct relief outside of institutions, and toward the segregation of different types of dependents.
This tendency has served to a great extent to displace the almshouse as the fundamental institution of poor relief. The almshouse, which is now called by various names, the county home, the county infirmary, etc.
While there was no comprehensive plan for the adequate care of all types of needy persons, there were, nevertheless, appreciable advances. Other trends became increasingly important as time went on, although these were limited in their influence until the present emergency.
But even in the present century, the majority of people were reluctant to accept public aid, its acceptance being regarded as a humiliation and a disgrace, attaching an undesirable stigma to the recipient. This attitude has developed, doubtless, from a number of causes.
The repressive and penal character of early English "poor relief" legislation undoubtedly played a large part. Then the perfectly understandable human aversion to being considered a failure in the battle of life has entered in.
This consideration joins naturally with our American individualism.
There is always a public feeling that failure to achieve success usually measured in material gain is proof positive of a basic lack, and for this lack the unfortunate person should be penalized, and his care should be so arranged that it could be undertaken at the least possible expense. But it becomes increasingly apparent, that the State in its general program of protecting its citizens has as a fundamental responsibility the lending of assistance to those whose welfare and actual security is endangered.
Normally, when times are less disturbed, care for destitution is a comparatively minor governmental activity. In an emergency as widespread as that of the present, governmental participation in the problem of relieving relief is of an importance difficult to appraise. In the past five years of economic depression, vast numbers of workers, normally independent, have been compelled to accept private and public aid as a desirable alternative to starvation.
A peculiarity about this crisis lies in the large numbers and classes of persons involved who were fortunate Page 11 in escaping the consequences of previous periods of economic upheaval. This almost unbelievable increase in dependency has compelled the State and Federal Governments to assume a larger share of the responsibility for relief. With the development of new plans and new methods, the administration of relief has become a major function of government.
With this brief notice of the historical antecedents of our present day views of relief, it will be valuable to trace the developing recognition of the Federal Government's direct responsibility to supplement state funds in aiding impoverished citizens. That fundamental policy is not to be changed. But since the fear has arisen that existing relief measures and resources may prove inadequate in certain localities and to insure against any possible breakdown in those facilities it is proposed that authority be granted to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to assist such states as may need it by underwriting only state bonds or by loaning directly to such states as may not be in position temporarily to sell securities in the market.
Without entering the field of industrial or public expansion, there are a large number of economically sound and self-supporting projects of a constructive replacement character that would unquestionably be carried forward were it not for the present situation existing in the capital markets and the inadequate functioning of the credit machinery of the country. They exist both in the field of public bodies and of industry.
There is no dearth of capital, and on the other hand there is a real demand for capital for productive purposes that have been held in abeyance. The problem is to make the existing capital available and to stimulate its use in constructive capital activities. This involves under existing conditions resort to special machinery which is adapted to furnish the necessary element of confidence. It is not proposed to issue government bonds.
It is hoped that this further process of Page 12 speeding up the economic machine will not involve any such sum. But in view of the early adjournment of Congress it is desirable to provide an ample margin. This proposal represents a flow of funds into productive enterprises, which is not taking place today because of abnormal conditions. These being loans on security and being self-liquidating in character, do not constitute a change against the taxpayer or the public credit.
The issue of bonds for public works, non-productive of revenue, is a direct charge either upon the taxpayer or upon the public credit, the interest on which and the ultimate redemption of which must be met from taxation. The full text of this legislation will be found in the Appendix. This act provided for payments to the governors of the several states, after application had been made and approved, with the reservation that not more than 15 per cent of this sum could be made available to any one State or Territory.
Provision was made for systematic repayment to the Corporation by deductions from regular Federal grants made to the States for highway construction and rural post roads. Interest was to be at 3 per cent per annum. Provision was made also for successive applications, when necessary, by the state governors. The central social provision of this legislation is found in an excerpt from the statement of description, that the money should be used "in furnishing relief and work relief to needy and distressed people and relieving the hardship resulting from unemployment.
During the winter of and , millions of people, suddenly thrown out of employment through the rapid failure of banks, industrial and business plants, were facing starvation. Aid was extended in both direct and work relief. No uniform plan was developed until the Emergency Relief Act was passed in May,
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