thumbnail of Unfinished business; No children allowed
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Our unfinished business was designed to acquaint you with unresolved social welfare problems from the Educational Television and Radio Center and cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Today's unfinished business. No children allowed. I'm wondering whether you would have been as surprised as I was the other day when I was told that one fifth of our families in the United States live in slums or blighted areas and in these areas the percentage of substandard and dilapidated Welling's runs as high as 96 percent. With overcrowding health and safety hazards lack of sanitation. But one out of five dwellings lacks a private toilet or bath. Many who live in such quarters are forced to do so because they have small children. I thought maybe you'd like to listen to some actual recordings we made about this problem of housing. Here's a young couple in a tenement.
How large a family do you have where they think of it all together. Man mine. Oh I see how you know how old are the children but three of them have from five to two years. This seems rather a small place for six people to live in. What do you call this year how much room is this supposed to be. They want to have one and a half of it ever half the room is and this is more than about 12 by 10. Doesn't look very big at all have a half room looks like a little cubby hole. It is why it is quite high. Yeah what about your betting How do you sleep so many people in this one room everybody has to sleep in this one room how do you manage that three oldest children sleep in a baby. And I have a small bed with little girls two years ago she sleep in it and then when then the lies and sleep and his being here is not nice like you see there's no room hard for her
because of the double bed you know in that double bed room and with these other those three children and one dad right close to her this is true. Yes you have a place to put your clothing here clothes press or you know we have thing that we got a very small carpet and we have some extra utility that we don't use and we put them in and we have to hang our clothing on the side of the wall on the back of the door. That's right. I was noticing the store there anything to keep the flames dangerous for the youngster. It is very dangerous you know because there's no whopper to protect them you know from anything in their little show. That's my scanner Yes it does. And that kitchen stove we have to be the wind a quack like it is we have to leave the window open even with the night and songs that you do. That's not right. With the high ceilings do you have much trouble in heating in stead of his has
three families go. You really think you did well just sealing the only ventilation you have is through this crack in the window there was when I was I was right. I say what does that affect you in any way. Not having fresh air in here enough fresh air does so many people in one room do you notice any difference right. Yet it is you can take from a headache and a lot of coal. The kids get out of the way if they do not keep one looks as though the stove there is right in front of the fire escape. They allowed to do that doesn't the fire department complain about the well there and then think about it and have a fiber guy the brick in there trying to get up then get out there and then they have to climb Oh that's right it's all pricing will be very hard to get out and we got that high you know it covered the wonder practically you know.
Will you have a fire escape there. Yes they do. It's not much good if you can't get it all right or what about the building as a whole it doesn't look like a very fireproof building is it. To start a fire to go up and find right away all you need can damage you or think the building we're having today we're talking about you know either make a mean mouth you know is that right. Well if they should condemn it what would you do would you be able to live in it after it's condemned in the room we with no place ago we did that the power up and well some people say that one of the reasons they leave these old buildings up is because if they tore them down people wouldn't have any place to go that gave out a whole lot about running water here. What do you do for running water you don't seem to have any in the room here I don't see any demand to go down into the hall in a bathroom and get drinking water. And if you want to take a time like that you can take now that there are now
places to go take a bath said take a bath. No need to tell them though if Gates gets worse than that one up in a bathroom is really awful. Yeah sounds awful so so no need of trying and even to defend it on that does not even let you could smell and dance around about how many people have to use a bathroom on this for a very common bathroom. What about the matter of these the other families in the building here are you the only ones of a crowd like this. You know the woman next to us yeah for sure. Like i have like she's expecting another. And her 3 only still asleep on the floor. That's right I have to sleep on love yeah that's right. That's the worst isn't it has it worse than we are. Most of the families have children. Is that the reason they are here because they have small children some have
told me that does make a difference that you can't get anything if you have small children as a truism that that's what I know about I don't want you to realize they were children their own selves. You say that you always destructive and I think like that. But I don't see worth all the market structure. Quite a few of them are but if you raise them right I know my not destructive cause I you know try to raise them. We're going to miss that interview. And he's and I saw him in the daytime and they seem to be quite well mannered. You don't seem to be destructive kids going around with an ax to break everything I want to sleep and wake up and make a noise and everything. How much rent do you have to play for a place like this anyway. Ford pointed out something that's quite a bit that's the third weeks in a month I mean about $60
a month we had a lot of these people in the other apartments how much there is a woman there's a woman with one room. That's right. Look I didn't want to have to pay for TV but how do you manage to pay that much rent. How would you and very big salary almost sounds very small only make about 40 some week you know 40 some other weekends out of that you have to think and then below them. Food I think I'm over the thousand dollars and it's been over a thousand and that's why I have 47 and then we can't pay our bills for paying the rent. You know Mike that's not something you got a big percentage of your income has That's what I read. Yes that's right. Well that really makes it tough. This couple was not blooding there are serious housing problem get them down but it doesn't always work out that way. Here's a woman who has become bitter. I will buy your children well they range from the ages you have how many I have or can you tell us a bit about your experiences as you've
looked around. Well since I have looked around for houses which are very very closely a part of the buildings and you walk into them and the only time you're ready to pull your hair out and you're in your kitchen. Then your third floor apartment there were second floor apartments are pretty well just as much. They'd rather have a monogram floor. What have you had to do them to almost take the first place that will take care of course that the thing that we more. Sure Belsen everything yeah. Same one bathroom for the family of three to four families to a bath. What about the youngsters as they get into the teens bringing their friends to
do something you know. Hard because sometimes your landlord what you have they don't want to have parties they don't want you to have this or the other thing you have the same people in California running. Very much so was that it was worse down there you know almost have to go out and buy your own place than have a roof over your head. You can only get into it but you try to go and get in there and they won't take you you know don't have a waiting list which is very bad. Yes public housing is one answer if taxpayers will support it. But do you think it's only those in the low income bracket who face this problem. I thought so too until I heard this woman whose husband is a graduate student at the University and she mentions the landlord's viewpoint. Most landlords seem to feel that they do not want children in their homes. However I feel that they won't very often take animals and where they would not take a child. And a lot of times they will tell you that the children are destructive
that you move into their homes and when you move out they have paint jobs to do they have minor repairs their furniture has been ruined. However I still fear what an animal can ruin furniture just as easily and a lot more often than the child does and I know that if a parent or a person can train an animal not to be destructive in a home they can also train a child not to be destructive. But there is also the problem of the companions your child has to associate with if you have to live in an undesirable area. You can't always pick and choose a child's friend because maybe the type of child that you would like your children to play with just not to be found in that territory that you're forced to live in. Here is L. Wallace Hofmann of the Domestic Relations Court in Toledo to comment about the effect of housing on you. There are some interesting things about housing is it applies to
children that have struck me over the past year. One thing I think we have to bear in mind that these young people are young the immature they don't have the ability to evaluate. They look for certain things they don't find them. They don't understand why they aren't there. And it tends to throw them into a tailspin. After all homie is is well that it represents everything in life to him it represents security it forever represents happiness. There represents that one thing in life that's solid and substantial. They have learned from their friends and associates that home is a place they should be able to go to be happy and content. And also a place where they might bring their friends to visit to show off their families and to meet other members of the family. Know when housing conditions are bad why do we find we
find that children become very much ashamed of their housing conditions. They've seen five other friends than associates have. They don't take their friends home to visit and be entertained as a result. They become somewhat defensive in their own reactions when they become defensive about home that defensive attitude shows up in the school on the playground and in many other aspects of the child's life. Very likely to become overly aggressive. There's sort of overcompensation for something that they want and don't care. It comes out in quarrelsome attitudes in school it comes out in failure to adjust at school comes out in failure to participate in many of the school activities just for fear that they may be called upon to carry their share
of the social life of the particular activity club or whatever it might be result of that becomes a loss of friends or loss of friends of the type that would be constructive and helpful to the child. Well we know enough about children to know that they're not going to do without friends. And anybody who. Says children a particular child does not have friends just doesn't know children because all children have friends of one kind or another. You know they have good friends who are very good friends or they have a missionary friend and I've seen many instances where our children didn't have. Good friends but couldn't bring themselves to find delinquent associates go to the extreme of just going off in a corner by themselves and dreaming up imaginary friends and actually carrying on conversations and having a missionary
experiences with these friends. That's the sort of thing that we find sometimes coming out of home situations I think children are ashamed of and don't want to share with their friends and associates. I wonder whether your train of thought is running on the same track that mine did at this point. Well after all there will always be substandard housing. There always be those who want to live in it. All countries have the same situation. Professor Doris Grover wall recently made a trip to Europe. Listen. I suppose these observations are those of most summer tourists. We are impressed with certainly the lack of slums in Scandinavia. I was particularly struck with the fact that in Stockholm for instance in the very old section of the city. Where the buildings were date long before Columbus came to America the buildings are
still being lived in. They are maintained the streets are attractive and in all it gives the impression of a city that is cared for and the people in that city are cared for. I think that seem to be true of most of Scandinavia. The houses are well maintained they are attractive and seemingly designed to give the residents a great deal of light and air. We notice the number of balconies and flower boxes in all the apartment houses in Scandinavia for instance. In all it was a very pleasurable experience to see what countries concerned with the welfare of people can do to improve the housing of those citizens. If Sweden can do it why can't we. Well how can we meet this problem. We mentioned public housing a few moments ago. I don't say how large cities can get along without this type of housing for low income families do you. It means so much to so many. Let's go to this home in such a project.
I was wondering whether you really means very much to you and your family to be in the housing project here. Where you had before what was the situation before you came here. Well it was a rooming house and. Then I took that. And had to board my son and my daughter. When the little girl was old enough to go to school. We needed a place to live. So. We. Applied for an apartment. We got the project into the project and it's it's very nice it means having the place for the children to be at home in a place to call our home. Where they can have their friends. It's just kind of nice and everything is comfortable. Oh I don't know it just means an awful lot. When you first came into the project what was the response of your children that they
seem to enjoy coming here. Been away from us so much of the time that the plays are just you. And your daughter was how and when you first came in it was like she was 16. How did she like it. Because she had been with you most welcome. Besides public housing we need urban redevelopment projects as well as rural redevelopment and the rehabilitation and conservation of existing housing for rental purposes. Sometimes a new avenue opens as it did for this family that used to live in the slums. Well we used to live down in the east and the Town section. Yes it was pretty crowded down there.
Many children. Well I had I had six. Six at that time. Did you find any difficulty in living in an area like what kind of housing could you get when you had small children like that. Well we just couldn't find anything at all no house you lived in down there what was it like. Well it wasn't much of a place we didn't even have water we had to carry water from the spring. We didn't have any running water and no water whatsoever. You know no plumbing of any type no plumbing outside right. So they just say it was right in about five blocks from the center of town. And what else what about the houses that you have enough bedroom space. I only had two bedrooms for the six I see.
And what about the building itself was a condition I was pretty down trying to fix it up as much as possible. What do you mean rundown in what way. What about the war. Pretty bad it was once a terribly bad because we worked on the place all the time we kept it you know repairs much as possible. What about the children. You could keep them in pretty good companionship for what was a story down not down in there you couldn't. Problem seemed like the boys the gangs down there those old time getting in trouble and you just run to one and the other as you have done with your own children down about half the time you feel the
neighborhood and the gang. Yes we've been out here there's nothing like how you say out here would you tell me something inside what happened and what happened to the house. How did you happen to move from there. Well we got a notice that there was going to tear the house down and we had. To get out and around all over the country trying to find a place to rant. Nobody would around us had children. So we finally had to buy a place out here of course we didn't have very much money to make a down payment large enough or made a downpayment. After that things went along just got keep getting better all the time. Would you tell me a little bit more about this place out here online. Yeah it was farmland we just sold out and lots of families bought a lot of tooling and they built their houses on board just from this was this had a little three room house on it and a garage and I took the garden made a
house had it on to it. And. Was sure got a nice house and I was just seven rooms and certainly you feel that now you have enough space to really live. Have you ever owned your house before and never probably never would have if you had to stay in the city. Doubt it. Makes a lot of difference for sure. Do you find it makes a difference for children feeling that this is their own place. I think it makes a lot of difference. They're more interested in why schools now seem to be more satisfied I don't want to get out around the streets like they do. You think the fresh air and the opportunity to play out of doors and help make a difference.
How do you feel about that. Well I think it does but the main thing that I look at Leslie is I'm staying out of trouble. So much trouble. I'm going to get down there. The neighborhood makes a difference in either way. Yes I think it rather than the question of the fresh air and being out away from the city. I think it's more important to stay. There isn't any trouble for them to get into like it was you know gangs take care that they get in the way. We have some therapies in this field here with us. I'm going to ask them for their opinions. Mr. Henry Wormley is a real estate broker representing real estate interests is very much interested in housing. I'm going to ask Mr. Warren made to speak first the housing problem which exists in this country is one in which we people readily could solve if we put our minds our abilities and our money behind the problem in a democracy. Every American family
should have decent inhabitable housing. There's absolutely no sense in a democracy for people to live in slums. So absolutely no sense in my way of thinking for our older citizens to be without decent habitable housing. Consequently we in this country must look to our builders in our real estate brokers to do everything they can. I honestly believe that they are doing everything they can to provide decent habitable housing but prices have come so high the demand is so great that we aren't able through our own efforts of the private housing industry the builders in the real estate brokers to provide sufficient number of units for all of our families. Consequently I think too that we must embrace the fact that we shall have some subsidized housing and that brings us into the public housing program to bring it to focus I say then that our builders must build more and we must have more public
housing units. If all of our people are to live in decent habitable housing. We also have with us here is an authority Mr. Laurence Irvin director of our local urban redevelopment authority. Mr. Evans What is your viewpoint on this. Well I think one of the major plights of our cities is the usual ring of slums and blight that surround the downtown business district. It affects not only the people that live in that area such areas also affects downtown business downtown churches are exceptionally concerned about what are some of the answers. There's no doubt that one of the answers is public housing. There is also this consideration that we can't vet ourselves of slums or blight with one stroke of the pad by some legislation or whitewash or even a bulldozer. We have to have some sort of comprehensive program that will use all government action possible to a minimum mix steps but the maximum use
of private enterprise program which we are trying to administer has that approach to it. Urban redevelopment what Claire slams are blighted areas and relocate to families and to decent sanitary houses make the land available for reconstruction first opportunity would be given to the private developer private developer to read about the areas. And we also have Mrs. Mary Von Kirk representing the local metropolitan public housing authority. And this is Ben Kirk. What is the approach of public housing to this question. Public housing provides for the low income family but we also feel that we could provide the relocation facilities necessary for urban redevelopment. In other words we could build projects for these people to be moved into while the areas that were slums were being cleared out. We
also feel that we have given the country laboratory experience in what can be done for the Lindt low income family for a period of about 14 years that the private developers don't feel that they can enter the low income field that they could study our program to learn how it could be done. Have you ever thought of how you would feel if you were a small child and as you tag along with your mother in search of a place to live. You seem to see all the respectable vacant places the sign No children allowed women to do something to you. Deep down inside. The house doesn't. But it surely goes a long way toward it. You and I have a job to do. We have a job to do. Business.
But. Unfinished business was in cooperation with the school of social administration of Ohio State University. This program is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. Spencer speaking. This is the end of the work.
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
Unfinished business
No children allowed
Producing Organization
WOSU (Radio station : Columbus, Ohio)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-4x54jz5t).
Episode Description
This episode discusses the issue of families who live in substandard housing, along with corresponding health issues and the effects on children.
Series Description
A series of programs designed to acquaint listeners with unresolved social welfare problems.
Social Issues
Media type
Host: Spencer, Les
Producer: Himes, Fred
Producer: Ewing, William
Producing Organization: WOSU (Radio station : Columbus, Ohio)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 4947 (University of Maryland)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:24
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Unfinished business; No children allowed,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 3, 2024,
MLA: “Unfinished business; No children allowed.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 3, 2024. <>.
APA: Unfinished business; No children allowed. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from