Ohio Relief Commission

From Ohio History Central

In 1932, the Ohio legislature created the State Relief Commission. This organization was also known as the Ohio Relief Commission. This offices purpose was to assist Ohioans in coping with the Great Depression. Herbert Hoover, President of the United States when this economic downturn occurred, took a laissez-faire stance, believing that the economy would right itself. Unfortunately for the United States, after three years, there was no sign of the Great Depression ending. In Ohio, by 1933, more than forty percent of factory workers and sixty-seven percent of construction workers were unemployed. Approximately fifty percent of industrial workers in Cleveland and eighty percent in Toledo were unemployed. In 1932, Ohio's unemployment rate for all residents reached 37.3 percent. Industrial workers who retained their jobs usually faced reduced hours and wages, making it difficult for these people to support their families.

The State Relief Commission was to coordinate state efforts to help Ohioans. Its principal role was to distribute funds to various relief efforts. Beginning in 1933, the commission directed the distribution of funds under the Federal Emergency Relief Act. It also determined projects to be completed by the federal Civil Works Administration. Unfortunately for the commission and Ohioans, tax dollars declined during the Great Depression, as Ohioans lost their jobs. Due to the declining amount of taxes, the State Relief Commission faced difficulty in assisting the general population. In 1934, the commission dispensed 100 million dollars to various relief programs. Despite this offices attempts, these funds fell well short of meeting the needs of Ohio's residents. The State Relief Commission remained in operation from March 29, 1931, until March 1, 1935, when the federal government, believing that Ohio Governor Martin L. Davey was hampering relief efforts to fulfill a campaign pledge to reduce taxes, assumed control of relief efforts in Ohio.

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