Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 137
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 137
 
is needed for going on with its work is in sight. Nor are the rich the only investors. Of the 400 stockholders 250 have small lots, ten shares and less each, a healthy sign that the company is holding the confidence of the community. It has fairly earned it. No one could have done a greater and better thing for the metropolis than to demonstrate that it is possible to build homes for the toilers as a business and net a business interest upon the investment.
  The statement is emphasized by the company’s experience with the suburban end of its work. It bought sites for two or three hundred little cottages out on Long Island, but within the greater city, and only half an hour by trolley or elevated from the City Hall. A hundred houses were built, neat and cosey homes of brick and timber, each in its own garden; and a plan was devised under which the purchaser had twenty years to pay for the property. A life insurance policy protected the seller and secured the house to the widow should the bread-winner die. The plan has worked well in Belgium under the eyes of the government, but it failed to attract buyers here. Of those whom it did attract at the outset, not a few have given up and gone away. When I went out to have a look at the place the year after Homewood had been settled, seventy-two houses had found owners

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