Federal Emergency Relief Administration
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Brecksville Reservation Photograph
On May 12, 1933, the United States Congress created the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA). This organization's purpose was initially to distribute 500 million dollars in federal funds to state agencies. These funds were grants and not loans. Thus, the state governments did not have to repay these funds. FERA eventually distributed billions of dollars to the states. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration was part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. Roosevelt hoped that his New Deal would allow Americans to cope with the Great Depression, would help end the current economic downturn, and would help prevent another depression from occurring in the future.
FERA permitted states, including Ohio, to fund relief programs for their citizens. In 1934 alone, Ohio spent more than eighty-two million dollars on relief programs. Much of this money—approximately seventy million dollars—came from FERA. During FERA's three years of existence (1933-1935), Ohio received over 171 million dollars from the government. In Ohio, the State Relief Commission was responsible for distributing the federal government monies. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration greatly assisted Ohioans and other Americans in coping with the Great Depression. Unfortunately, FERA and other government programs fell short of ending the Great Depression. World War II and the millions of jobs that resulted from it finally ended the Great Depression during the early 1940s.