The Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 was introduced in the House of Representatives on June 13, 1974 by Representative Wright Patman (D-TX). H.R. 15361 was referred to the (then) House Committee on Banking and Currency and approved by the Committee on June 17, 1974. Ultimately, the House approved an amended Senate version of the measure, S. 3066, on June 20, 1974, by a vote of 351-25. The Senate version, sponsored by Senator John Sparkman (D-AL) passed the Senate on March 11, 1974 by a vote of 76-11. The two versions of the bill went to a House and Senate conference committee and the conference report was passed by the House and Senate during August 1974.
The timing of the enactment of the law was unusual because Congress generally is in recess in August. However, the measure advanced because the possible impeachment of President Richard Nixon was reaching a boiling point, resulting in rare August legislative activity. Passage of comprehensive housing legislation was a priority for Congress. President Nixon, who had previously stymied such bills, ultimately supported the bill in order to garner goodwill during impeachment proceedings. The differences between the House and Senate bills were reconciled shortly before President Nixon resigned his office. The measure was signed into law by President Gerald Ford on August 22.
The Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 helped shape federal housing programs as we know them today. Specifically, the Act consolidated a number of community development categorical programs into the current Community Development Block Grant program. The measure also established the Section 8 tenant and project based programs.
NLIHC is recognizing its 40th anniversary throughout 2014, culminating in a commemorative event on Monday, November 17 in Washington, DC. Please save the date.