America’s public housing crisis may worsen with Trump budget

Source: Lawrence Vale, Associated Press, July 12, 2017
 
… As someone who has spent 25 years researching and writing about the travails of public housing in the U.S., I had this immediate thought: Could the same thing happen here?  Various commentators have pointed out that American regulations require sprinklers and do not permit the use of cladding materials with combustible plastic cores in high-rise structures.  Yet while the facades of American public housing may be less flammable, the system suffers from a toxic convergence of long-deferred maintenance, squeezed budgets and cost-cutting measures. Privatization policies, deeply rooted suspicions about the character of public housing residents and long-term inattention all threaten the capacity of stigmatized low-income families to remain in their homes. …

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Ben Carson reckons with proposed HUD budget cuts
Source: Jonathan Easley, The Hill, June 30, 2017

… Now, as HUD secretary, Carson controls the $46 billion government agency that oversees housing for the poor. President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget would cut HUD spending by $6 billion. “We will use whatever resources we have very efficiently,” Carson said. “The other thing to keep in mind is that the traditional view of HUD and government is we ride in on a white horse with a bucket of money … and go off to the next thing,” he continued. “That particular model has led us to the point where we have three to four times as many people in need of affordable housing and it’s getting worse.” Carson, who had no experience in government before becoming HUD secretary, is grappling with decisions about which programs to keep, which to shutter, and how to improve the ones that remain. …

Carson: HUD will focus on public, private sectors partnerships
Source: Mallory Shelbourne, The Hill, April 26, 2017

Ben Carson, President Trump’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), said in a new interview that his forthcoming agenda will promote partnerships between the public and private sectors.   “The biggest tools are the partnerships — public, private, nonprofit and faith community partnerships — which allow us to leverage those federal dollars …” Carson told The Associated Press in an interview published Wednesday. …  


Carson assures advocates that White House will include housing funding in infrastructure bill
Source: Jose A. DelReal, Washington Post, April 3, 2017
 
HUD Secretary Ben Carson said Monday that the Trump administration will seek to include housing funding in a yet-to-be unveiled infrastructure spending bill.  “The part that people are not hearing even though I’ve said it several times is that this administration considers housing a significant part of infrastructure in our country. And as such, the infrastructure bill that’s being worked on has a significant inclusion of housing in it,” Carson said at the National Low Income Housing Coalition conference in Washington.  Defending the White House’s proposed budget cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development — $6 billion would be cut, largely from operations and maintenance funds — Carson assured activists that “no one is going to be thrown out on the street.” … The Washington Post previously reported that HUD was seeking infrastructure and maintenance funds to offset dramatic cuts to the department’s budget; Carson’s remarks Monday represented his most direct assurances to date on those offsets. … Under that preliminary White House proposal — outlined in detailed budget documents obtained by The Post last month — $1.3 billion would be cut from HUD’s capital fund, which supports big-ticket repairs at public housing facilities, a 72 percent reduction. … Carson said the department and the government have to spend “effectively and efficiency.” He said advances in affordable housing could be achieved with less money, in part through public-private partnerships. He pointed specifically to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, prompting applause from those gathered at the conference. …

U.S. Senate Confirms Ben Carson as Housing and Urban Development Secretary
Source: Jeffrey Sparshott, Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2017
 
The Senate on Thursday confirmed Ben Carson as Housing and Urban Development secretary, placing the retired neurosurgeon in charge of a vast agency with critical roles combating poverty and financing home purchases.  Mr. Carson, President Donald Trump’s rival during the early stages of the Republican primaries, was confirmed by a 58-41 vote. He is expected to quickly be sworn in as secretary. …

Carson pushes increased private-sector role in HUD programs
Source: Jose A. DelReal and David Weigel, The Washington Post, January 12, 2017

Ben Carson on Thursday detailed his vision for the Department of Housing and Urban Development: one that integrates government assistance programs with “holistic” solutions and greater involvement of businesses and faith groups. Carson, speaking before a generally friendly Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, repeatedly suggested that the private sector should play a larger role in addressing poverty and systemic inequities, investing in “human capital” as a means of increasing quality of life and profits. … In another instance, Carson said he would like to work with faith and business groups to help people whose residences are worth less than their mortgages…. But there were tense moments between Carson and some of the committee’s Democrats. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who also grew up poor, asked Carson if he “truly” believed in HUD’s mission based on the rhetoric he had used as a presidential candidate. He also pressed Carson on whether he believes the government should continue to provide rental assistance. … Brown and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) pressed Carson on whether he would guarantee that neither Trump nor members of his family would personally profit from federal dollars through their various housing assets. “It would not be my intention to benefit any American. It’s for all Americans,” Carson responded. “I will manage things in a way that benefits the American people.” … Carson’s testimony marked his most extensive comments on housing and urban development. Urban policy experts were closely parsing Carson’s remarks and responses to lawmakers for clues about his vision on the government’s role in housing policy, which he rarely spoke about publicly before his nomination. Repeatedly, Carson and the committee’s Republicans suggested that faster economic growth could reduce the number of people who needed HUD’s programs. … Fair housing advocates on the left are also worried that Carson will bring to HUD an ideological disposition inherently antagonistic to the department’s goals. …