ABRAMS, CHARLES (1901–1970), U.S. housing and urban planning expert, lawyer, and author. Abrams, who was born in Vilna, was taken to the U.S. in 1904. Admitted to the New York bar in 1923, Abrams became involved in housing and urban development both as a property owner and lawyer during the 1920s and 1930s when he campaigned for the preservation of Greenwich Village's historic streets and buildings. He laid the groundwork for U.S. public housing laws and, in the course of his career, held housing posts on the city, state, national, and international levels. These included counsel to the New York City Housing Authority (1934–37), and leader of, and adviser to, several un housing missions, mostly to underdeveloped countries. Abrams was a state vice chairman of the New York State Liberal Party in the 1940s. From 1955 to 1959 Abrams was chairman of the New York State Commission Against Discrimination and a member of Governor Harriman's cabinet. In 1965 he chaired the committee whose recommendations led to the creation of the New York City Housing and Development Administration. Abrams lectured in housing and economics at the New School for Social Research (1936–60), and chaired both Columbia University's city planning department (1965) and its division of urban planning (1965–68). As housing columnist for the New York Post (1947–49), Abrams vigorously exposed real estate abuses and inadequacies in city, state, and federal housing policies. His books include: Revolution in Land (1937); Future of Housing (1946); Forbidden Neighbors (1955); and Man's Struggle for Shelter (1964).

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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