My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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Cleveland, Ohio Tuesday—We slipped quietly into Cleveland yesterday by making the mistake of getting off at the wrong station and disappointing our hosts who were waiting for us at another station! Except for the fact that we caused them anxiety, and spent an unnecessary length of time driving through the city streets, no real harm was done.

This morning I spent two hours and a half seeing some really thrilling things. Three PWA slum clearance projects which really have people living in the houses. We only drove past two of them but that was enough to get an idea of the architecture and planning and the general social life which will be possible. The buildings are usually two story small houses, or apartments running from three to five rooms. The rents vary from eighteen to thirty dollars per month and your income may be as high as fifteen hundred dollars a year in the more expensive group. We visited one young man living in one of these small houses whose income was fifteen hundred dollars a year, and who had three small children under two and a half years old. That is a courageous young couple, I think, don't you?

The buildings are simple, but black brick has been used to relieve the red and to give it a certain decorative appearance. Playgrounds are available for different ages, away from city streets and traffic. In two places they have a community house. In fact a good job is being done and it is far enough developed so you can see its possibilities.

The National Youth Administration too, is doing an exception vocational guidance project with some posters which ought to be in every office, for they offer so many suggestions of possible vocations. In addition, they are having their work projects evaluated and getting out the findings. This is going to be very useful to young and old alike. Already they have found that more important even than acquiring a skill, is the acquisition of work habits and character traits which give a prospective employer the hope that he will not be wasting his time in giving training himself in the particular skill needed in his industry.

Finally we visited a WPA domestic training center. They have set this project up with an advisory committee on household training. Mrs. William C. Mather who is the chairman of this committee is evidently deeply interested in the work, and has discovered some of the things which many of us have discovered, namely, that it is not enough to train a good employee, for you must also have a good employer. Unfortunately we have heard in many places in the country that women preferred to remain on relief rather than take household positions. Over that statement many women wax indignant! Mrs. Mather has found as many of us have found in other places, that a little further investigation sometimes brings out the fact that the positions offered to women on relief are not always desirable. Sometimes bed and board and no pay; sometimes the munificant sum of three dollars a week, out of which carfare and rent must be paid. Yes, it is not enough to train household employees, we must have women to employ them who have a sense of fair play.

TMsd 16 November 1937, AERP, FDRL