Did you know —
A couple of weeks ago, while touring an affordable housing complex in Columbus, Ohio on his Listening Tour, Secretary Ben Carson lamented the “luxuries” afforded to residents and noted that cramped, stacked cots in a homeless shelter were much more to his liking.
As he explained to the New York Times, to him, compassion is not giving an incredibly vulnerable population “a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: ‘I’ll just stay here. They will take care of me,’” adding “There is another group of people who are able-bodied individuals, and I think we do those people a great disservice when we simply maintain them.”
Ben Carson’s comments not only disregard the nearly 2.1 million seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income households that are served by Public Housing, they also allude to a deep misunderstanding of United States housing policy. From the early 1930s to the 1980s, the United States did build affordable housing units that according to some were designed to be uncomfortable in order to encourage people to move. What we got as a result were segregated complexes that concentrated extremely low-income families in specific neighborhoods, continuing the cycle of poverty.
Ben Carson’s “bootstraps” worldview has been proven ineffective time and time again. Making these affordable units comfortable and safe brings dignity to millions of Americans, and Secretary Carson’s ignorance is troubling. Seeking to make life that much harder and uncomfortable for those who benefit from HUD programs fits a troubling pattern within the Trump administration, one that seeks to tilt policies in favor of the wealthiest while seeking to cut resources for those who could most use the help.
To tell Secretary Carson that you believe that everyone deserves a decent, comfortable place to call home, share your own stories about affordable housing in your neighborhood and be sure to tag CarsonWatch.
We will share your stories at the end of this month!