The Great Depression began in 1929 and lasted until the start of World War II in 1941. The entire country was seized in a falling stock market that left millions homeless, hungry and without work. To solve these major problems, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Federal Emergency Relief Administration in 1933 as a part of the New Deal.

Alleviate Unemployment

The most pressing issue of the Great Depression was the high level of unemployment. Roosevelt instituted the Federal Emergency Relief Administration to put Americans back to work. These new jobs were mainly temporary projects consisting of improvement of roads and highways, building schools, houses and airports, and working to clean up national parks. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration would go on to employ roughly 20 million people until its end in 1935, when it was replaced by the Works Progress Administration.

Food and Shelter

The Federal Emergency Relief Administration was also created to develop a minimum standard of living for families across America. The federal government worked with state governments to provide grants and cash payments to families in need of housing and food. It also created homeless shelters and camps for the traveling homeless population.

Rural Rehabilitation

Rural rehabilitation was a vital part of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. Its focus was to redistribute surplus crops on farms to the general public at reasonable prices. This helped to alleviate the problem of food shortages and farm surpluses. Sometimes skilled farmers were relocated so they could grow the crops America needed on better soil.

Education

With millions of teachers out of work and students out of the classroom, the Federal Emergency Relief administration created a new framework for education. FERA employed more than 44,000 teachers and put nearly 2 million people back into the classroom. These classes included adult training workshops, literary classes and preschools for younger children.