History of the Conference
In 1932, 14 million people were unemployed, lines stretched for blocks in front of soup kitchens, homeowners were unable to pay taxes, veterans were selling apples on street corners, and the nation’s cities were close to bankruptcy. Responding to the appeals of mayors, Congress created a $300 million federal assistance program for cities, marking the first time in the nation’s history that federal relief was provided directly to cities. In a dramatic White House meeting, a committee of three prominent mayors convinced President Herbert Hoover to sign this desperately needed municipal assistance bill.
A few months later, on the eve of the inauguration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in the Mayflower Hotel just a few blocks from the White House, the charter of the Conference of Mayors was written.