He had worked with (then Governor) Franklin Roosevelt in New York, and the two became good friends, with Hopkins serving as Roosevelt's chief advisor and confidant throughout his administration.
Hopkins sprang into action less than a week after Roosevelt's inauguration, approaching Roosevelt's secretary of labor, Frances Perkins, with a plan for a program of federal relief.
Either through inertia or a desire to institute projects of purely local interest and benefit, state involvement in work relief programs were slow to start in 1933.
Faced with continued high unemployment and concerns for public welfare during the coming winter of 1933-34, FERA institute the Civil Works Administration (CWA) as a short-term measure to get people to work.
The provisions of the Federal Emergency Relief Act of 1933 provided that authorization for FERA would expire in two years from the date of inception.
The most pressing problem for FERA at first was to build up adequate local relief organizations.Grant applications required that states were to provide information on the amounts necessary to meet relief needs in the state and the amounts available from public and private sources within the state to contribute toward those relief needs.States also were to provide information on provisions made to assure adequate administrative supervision of the funds, the methods by which adequate relief levels would be assured, and the purposes for which the funds would be used.Even more important, FERA established the doctrine that adequate public relief was a right that citizens in need could expect to received from their government." (J. 309) FERA had three primary objectives: 1) Adequacy of relief measures; 2) providing work for employable people on the relief rolls; and 3) diversification of relief programs.FERA accepted as elementary that all needy persons and their dependents should receive sufficient relief to prevent physical suffering and to maintain a minimum standard of living." (Williams p.Other projects in Washington were of an agricultural nature.Among these were a rural electric survey of the state, research on the development of new fruit by-products, research to determine the vitamin C content in Washington apples, a survey of part-time farming, and research on the use of by-products of the fishing industry as feed for the poultry industry.96) In a report to Congress in 1936, FERA indicated that while actual physical suffering was prevented, it was never fully possible to achieve living standards of minimum decency for the entire population in need of relief.It has been estimated that during this period of relief, roughly three-fourths of the heads of families on relief were employable.Many had lost not only their jobs, but their also their savings and homes and were dependent on relief money from the government to survive.Businesses and banks had closed, production and sales of goods and services had been severely reduced.