Veiller, Lawrence Turner

Veiller, Lawrence Turner

(1872–1959) social worker, housing expert; born in Elizabeth, N.J. Working as a volunteer for the University Settlement and Charity Organization Society (COS) of New York (1890s) and as a plan examiner in the city buildings department, he came to view housing as key to social improvement. He established and was executive officer of the Tenement House Committee (1898–1907) under the auspices of COS, rising to national prominence as secretary of the New York State Tenement House Commission (1900–01), and transforming the nation's housing reform movement through the use of propaganda and political strategy. These efforts led to the New York State Tenement House Law (1901), which banned the worst forms of multifamily housing. He was founder and director of the National Housing Association (1911–36), author of housing reform tracts that influenced local and state legislation through the 1920s, and a proponent of zoning, but lost his reputation as the nation's leading housing reformer when he opposed the government's public housing policies.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.