Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 158
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 158
 
built his two “Mills Houses,” No. 1 in Bleecker Street for the West Side and No. 2 in Rivington Street for the homeless of the East Side. They did reach it, by a cut’cross lots as it were, by putting the whole thing on a neighborly basis. It had been just business before, and, like the keeping of slum tenements, a mighty well-paying one. The men who ran it might well have given more, but they didn’t. It was the same thing over again: let the lodgers shift as they could; their landlord lived in style on the avenue. What were they to him except the means of keeping it up?
 
 
Doorway of the Mills House, No. 1
 
  The Mills Houses do not neglect the business end. Indeed, they insist upon it. “No patron,” said Mr. Mills at the opening, “will receive more than he pays for, unless it be my hearty good-will and good wishes. It is true that I have devoted thought, labor, and capital to a very earnest effort to help him, but only by enabling him to help himself. In doing the work on so large a scale, and in securing the utmost economies in purchases and in administration, I hope to give him a larger equivalent for his money than has hitherto been possible. He can, without scruple, permit me to offer him this advantage; but he will think better of himself, and will be a more self-reliant, manly man and a better citizen, if he knows that he is honestly paying for that he gets.” That had the right ring to

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