The Federal Emergency Relief Administration was created on May 12, 1933, and became a part of the Federal Emergency Relief Act of 1933. President Roosevelt chose Harry Hopkins to be the administrator as he was experienced because he dealt with social work and welfare problems for more than twenty years. The Administration aimed at making people’s lives better, finding good jobs for the unemployed, caring about salaries.
Within the framework of the First Hundred Days of the New Deal legislation, the Federal Emergency Relief Act was aimed at dealing with the financial crisis of local and state authorities. This crisis was caused by the Great Depression and led both to the increasing costs of emergency assistance and the collapse of tax revenues. On the last front, the Federal Emergency Relief Act was the beginning of a partnership between the USA and the federal and local governments to solve the problem of helping the unemployed, a partnership that subsequently continued in slightly different forms through the Civil Works Administration and the Works Progress Administration.
Roosevelt understood that most of the federal government’s relief efforts were never successful because they often left stuck in political disputes. To solve and prevent these problems, Roosevelt told Hopkins to focus on action, not on the complexity of politics. The Federal Emergency Relief Act had three aims, and the first one was to be effective and useful. Roosevelt wanted this system not only exist but also to improve people’s lives, develop the country, build the reputation of the United States of America. The second reason was to provide jobs for those people who were able to work and be employed because many of them could not find anything due to the lack of employment. The third one was to have a variety of assistance programs that would help many people. The Federal Emergency Relief Act has provided grants from the federal government to state governments for various projects in areas such as agriculture, art, construction, and education. Many of the people who received assistance were highly skilled and experienced workers.
The government hoped that by providing many different types of jobs and payments that would be similar to the previous workers’ jobs, the whole country would benefit and prosper. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration was a state grant agency. The governors applied to the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, and after approval, a federal grant was given to the applicant state to pool with other state and local funds to help those in need. This assistance consisted of special working programs for transients, general employee relief programs, educational programs designed to hire unemployed teachers. Also, it included part-time programs for students; direct cash assistance for those who cannot work; and rural assistance programs. Through its funding needs, the Federal Emergency Relief Act has attempted to tailor aid efforts so that the specific needs of different groups are met.
The Federal Emergency Relief Administration was not really involved in the management and supervision of the work projects, although its funds were partially used by the states for improving the infrastructure. The Federal Emergency Relief Act’s funds helped to build more than five thousand public buildings, about forty thousand miles of new roads, and two hundred thousand miles of repaired trails. Terminating the Federal Emergency Relief Administration has been a really long process that started with the creation of the Works Progress Administration, the federal agency, in May 1935, but the Administration continued to operate until December of that year.