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Encumbered by red tape, labor, and material troubles, the University Housing Office in Straus Hall still manages to forge ahead in satisfying the dwelling needs of new and returning students, mainly veterans, and their families.
Pleas for housing facilities have been numerous and varied in method. Each of the Boston commercial radio stations have allotted to the cause on 15-minute broadcast monthly plus many spot announcements, and Boston's newspapers have carried the appeal. Letters have been sent to brokers, enlisting their aid; and President Conant's letter to alumni and friends of the College last January brought forth some apartments.
Some Citizens Discouraged
"In response to these entreaties, the people of Cambridge and surrounding communities have turned out in admirable numbers," Donald D. Hathaway, Housing Office head, said Wednesday. Last week an advertisement for conversions in one daily paper brought in 50 willing home-owners alone.
However, the great majority of these citizens proffer their support only to be discouraged and subsequently defeated in their purpose by laws of zoning and egression, labor difficulties, and shortage of materials. For example, an owner may wish to convert their attics or third stories into living accommodations. The owner soon discovers that, by law, he may place his own family or servants in these quarters; but, when renting them to others, he finds they must have two means of egression. Thus he must either deface his home with an exterior fire escape or else remodel his whole house to provide a back stairway.
400 Units At Devens
Despite these obstacles, the number of unsatisfied applicants slowly decreases. The back-log is 100 lower than at this time last month. Of the 2000 applications submitted thus far, 563 have been successfully terminated. Another 800 have been cancelled or not renewed; it is assumed by the Housing Office that most of these have found satisfactory homes through outside means.
A new housing area of 400 units in Fort Devens is expected to aid the project considerably. The increased cost of transportation and inconvenience of this locality will be balanced by low rentals and the proximity to shopping and recreational centers The transportation companies have been most cooperative, even to the extent of offering special cars and buses if they are needed.
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