chapter  9
25 Pages

Public Works

The act of 1933, establishing the Federal Emergency Relief Administration in May, gave grants-in-aid to the states, and it was soon ruled that only public agencies might dispense relief funds. The main idea was that employment on public projects, as distinguished from acceptance of doles, would preserve the workers' precious self-respect, conserve skills, and utilize vast resources for the creation of wealth. Assignments to projects away from the centers included pest control, chiefly setting traps for rats on public premises. The efforts of the Housing Division of the Public Works Administration formed the curtain raiser to the superior and more widely accepted accomplishments of the United States Housing Authority. As little as possible was spent for materials and equipment, even a smaller proportion than that spent by the later Works Progress Administration. Rural relief families were dropped from the rolls, but for some months did not get help from the Resettlement Administration, to which they were referred.