Friday, March II, 1966 fffer BxgtmtMt U.S. HOUSING INVENTORY RAPIDLY DETERIORATING By JOHN U. IJVlNflSTON I'n'dldoiil, National Iloniu Improvement Council One o£ the nation's most valuable resources — it.s housing Inventory —Is deteriorating and at nn alarming rate. In the corning ycnr, thousands of homes will fait into disrepute or a state of decay. This, despite the fact that about ?1.2 billion Is spent annually by the nation's home owners far upkeep und Improvement of their homes. That $12 billion breaks down to on average of J2-10 a family, or about 1.5 per cent on the family's housing Investment — compared with the. nation's industry which annually sets aside 4.5 per cent of Investment In plant and equipment for its upkeep. The figures are even more appalling when these statistics are considered: although It is estimated that 3,500,000 home-owners are planning major Improvements for their homes during the next years, 13 per cent of the nation's homeowners spend 62 per cent of the dollars that go for Improvements; 43 per cent of the homeowners spend noth- i ng or less than J100 a year, A house, ivey covered cottage or spacious estate, represents the major Investment for millions of American families. But without periodic Injections of upkeep and Improvement spending, a house's complexion will change. It can easily become obsolete and rundown. When several such houses ore adjacent, they become the bad seeds that lead to neighborhood and community decay. When entire communities or areas do not maintain or Improve their homes, blight ap pears and slums eventually follow. It is obvious that the best way to solve the urban renewal problem IH to prevent Its occur- uncc In the first place. Although to un individual a house is first of all shelter, then security, a source for pride in ownership und a focal point for family life, to the nation as a whole, the aggregate of its houses equals its cities and KB communities. The aggregate of houses Is also, In economic terms, one of the nation's major assets. The 30,000,000 single family houses In the United States represent nn asset value of about $400 billion. It Is impossible for the country to write off these assets—or even a portion of them. We simply can not afford to, rich ns we are. A major urban problem today Is maintaining the viability of our cities and towns, which means maintaining hte houses within them, sometimes restoring and often razing and rebuilding. But razing and rebuilding cannot be the major crutch of the future. Because of the nation's expanding population, between 19G5 and Hie year 2,000 Jt will be necessary to build us many houses as we hove now to keep abreast. Many home owners do not Improve their houses out of inertia. Others from Jack of know-how. A major educational drive must be launched In their direction. Such a drive should aim at pro- GOOI) LANDSCAPING FOH MOHK KNJOYAHI.E OUTDOOK LIVING ljo«ln» with u pl.in — mid then call be uddcd to UK lime mid money pcrmil. TiiMcfu) urrimKemeiilK of luw-roM pliuils, combined with chili™ und Drill's offer outdoor plenxure for family und friend*. Ijindneiipinu mil on!}' increase* homo bcniily iirid comfort, hut also, ii often iiddn conxiderahly to home value, «ii)« the American Annoeinlioii of Nurneryme>i. vldlng the necessary knowledge and motivation .The motivation will begin when they have an understanding that it tg economically sound to spend money on home upkeep nnd improvement — that such spending means retaining a house's vuiuo, or even upgrading It. But there ore many homeowners who are motivated, who do have the know - how, but wlw crumble before the expense — the multitude of home Improve- ing financing plans available notwithstanding. What could be done for them? If II Is appropriate for the government to extend on Investment tax credit to U.S. industry to spur spending for modernization and new equipment, could It not be equally appropriate to cxtrad a similar type of credit to the homeowner for maintaining, ropnrlng nnd Improving his home? Such a stop could make financially feasible what Is now unfeasible for many homeowners. And It would have these two additional advantages: It wou)d bolster the economy by Increasing consumer spending —the argument behind the excise tax cut — and would be a step toward the Great Society by ma- terlally helping lo Improve and preserve the valuable housing Inventory we have today. look For Free Movie Tickets On Classified Fix-up your Driveway with a new '66 .-BIGGEST TRADE-IN ALLOWANCES EVER-YOUR OLD CAR MAKES DOWN PAYMENT. -IMMEDIATE FINANCING AT BANK RATES-EVERY DAY YOU WAIT--YOU LOSE MONEY! HAVE YOU HAD YOUR CAR UNDERCOATED? ASK UP ABOUT OUR UNDERCOATING SPECIAL SINCE 1934 622 W. TEXAS PHONE 582-8186 Now specially priced for Clean-Up PafciMlp Fix-Up Week!
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