Beginning of Unemployment Relief Programs


The government underthe new Roosevelt administration has just approved a new Relief Program.

The relief rations are based on needs and will be administered by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), a 1933 New Deal Roosevelt program.

The relief money is not intended to cover rent, lights, electricity, utilities, doctor or hospital bills.

A family receiving it will get four separate vouchers - groceries, meat, milk, and fuel.



They will present these vouchers to their grocer and the voucher amount will be fixed differently for different families.  The RFC will have an approved list of products allowed, and the store cannot charge more than 10% over the wholesale price on the RFC list .    Vouchers will be given for two weeks of groceries.  Grocers will be able to collect from the government 15 days after they turn the vouchers in.

The money allowance is offered on a sliding scale.  If a man has a job one day a week - which is obviously not enough to support a family - he will get a credit matching the same amount of what he is making.

The List

The list of approved products includes about 38 items - all staples.

It includes

milk, eggs, butter, meat, lard, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, onions, spinach, tomatoes, prunes, raisins, apples, beans, rice, flour, macaroni, oatmeal, corn meal, sugar, soap, coffee, tea, cocoa, baking powder, soda, yeast, salt, pepper, matches, peanut butter, and kerosene.

The program will be overseen by home visits by relief wokers.  On the first day of the program 1,000 families were visited by these relief workers.

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

Tied to the work relief program will be a new government employment plan. 

On Tuesday March 21st 1933, Congress passed a bill to take the idle men in the city off the streets.  The plan was to open 1,000 CCC work camps employing 250,000 men.  The camps would be spread around the national forests. 

The agency administering the program will be known as the Civilian Conservation Corps.  Men will be selected from the city unemployment bureaus and paid $30 a month ($1 a day) to join the program, plus food, transportation, and housing.

The program will cost the government $250,000 a year.  The CCC will be administered by the Forest Service who will set up the camps in national forests.  The CCC intends to use the relocated city unemployed men to work at reforesting and planting trees in the national woods. 

There will be other work projects including removing brush and diseased trees, and building roads and rock walls.  The program will expire in two years.

Rural communities in nearby areas are excited to be able to sell food provisions to the new CCC camps.

City Projects

The city council wants to support some work programs.  It has voted to complete four projects:

A city sewer disposal plant - cost is 90% labor - skilled and unskilled.

An Oak-Ash Bridge - cost $579,000

A Hillyard sewer system - it will use 50,000 man days, cost $85,000

A Union Park (east end) storm drainage system - 66,000 man days costing $160,000

Other projects they are looking at are:

a new hanger at Felts Field

a new bridge at Boone Avenue

improvements at the fairgrounds

construction of a new courthouse

Most of these projects never happened.  It was mostly a "wish list".  

Funds were always in short supply and most of these projects never got built. 

But there were so many other things happening that the above list was just one important program among many.

Welfare from the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has made a huge difference.  For the past 11 months it has helped 9,840 families in Spokane County with free flour.   The flour is intended to allow housewifes to bake bread.  That amount of flour that has already been distributed to each family amounts to a barrel of flour (196 pounds) per house.  Supplies are now dwindling….

The Red Cross is also runing low on the distribution of underwear and free flannel. So they have just suspended this program.  They also have stopped gifting sweaters, overalls, and socks to families.  In the past, cotton to sew clothing has gone to 4,631 families.  Participating in sewing activities are 243 churches, lodges, and schools who have engaged 4,000 women and girls to sew.  They have made 10,732 garments.  Most of that is now ending.

Job Creation

On March 24th 1933 Spokane County declared that anyone getting relief had to work.  To make this happen, the Spokane County Welfare Board intended to create jobs.  It worked this way....

The work supervisor will issue a slip allowing a man to apply for relief.  Before that man can apply for relief a second time - the foreman on one of the county work projects has to stamp the same slip saying that the man has performed the required work.

A man with a bigger family will get more work to feed his family. 

All sorts of relief, employment and welfare programs have been active since 1931.

The Roosevelt New Deal in early 1933 started many new expanded programs.  They were intended to aid the 25% unemployed men nationally and assist the needy throughout the country.

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