Thursday, June 30, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 1996


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty-five years ago today, June 30, 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed into law, S. 1922 a.k.a. the Housing Act of 1961.

According to, the Senate bill had passed on June 12, 1961 by a vote of 64 to 25 with 52 Democrats and 12 Republicans voting YEA.  Tennessee's Democratic senators, Albert Gore, Sr. and Estes Kefauver voted for the bill.

The President called it "the most important and far-reaching Federal legislation in the field of housing since the...Housing Act of 1949" signed by President Harry S Truman.

The Housing Act of 1961 set aside just under five billion dollars for loans and grants to cities and rural areas for urban renewal, public housing, farm housing, community facilities, development of 'open spaces' in cities, mass transportation, and home improvement for moderate income families.  The legislation also provided for liberal FHA (Federal Housing Authority) home mortgage insurance.

President Kennedy went on to say...

"For the communities of the Nation, large and small, (the Housing Act of 1961) provides an opportunity for a giant step toward better cities and improved housing.  And I think the beneficial effects...will be felt by every American."

The President added that the bill gave authorization for the creation of new tools necessary to cope with blighted housing and neighborhoods.  The bill included programs for college housing as well.

Mr. Kennedy concluded by expressing thanks to the committees of the Congress that worked on the legislation...

"the Banking and Currency Committee, Congressman Spence, Chairman--the Banking and Currency Committee of the Senate--Senator Sparkman who shepherded this bill through the Senate, and to Congressman Rains who carried it on under Congressman Spence's leadership in the House."*

*Brent Spence, US Representative from Kentucky, John J. Sparkman, US Senator from Alabama, Albert Rains, US Representative from Alabama.


"Remarks Upon Signing the Housing Act, June 30, 1961," The American Presidency Project,

"S1922, Housing Act of 1961,"