Ben Carson takes a different approach to public housing

Ben Carson takes a different approach to public housing
August 03 14:17 2019 Print This Article

Dr. Ben Carson is taking a different approach to public housing than his predecessors at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He wants to use his department as a platform to lift millions of Americans out of poverty. He recently told Fox Business that he visited a public housing project in Baltimore and saw dozens of able-bodied men sitting on the porch in the middle of the day. He asked, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could train them to repair public housing units like the ones they live in?”

Carson told talk radio and Fox News host Laura Ingraham that a lot of the career bureaucrats at HUD are resisting his approach. He said, “They are looking at things the way they used to be. We are looking at things the way they need to be, and we are changing things.”

HUD is an active participant in the Opportunity Zones created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which gives investors tax breaks for building in high-poverty areas. The agency touts its Four Pillars of Opportunity – economic empowerment, educational advancement, health and wellness, and character and leadership development. HUD awarded $75 million in Family Self-sufficiency grants in 2018 for contractors which hire public housing residents.

It is not clear whether the Charleston Housing Authority, which provides subsidized housing to 4000 families, is participating in the new HUD initiatives. One of its housing units, Orleans Garden Apartments across from Citadel Mall, is getting refurbished through the Choice Neighborhoods grant program. The complex is partnering with non-profit Roses In Concrete South Carolina, which paid to convert a three-bedroom apartment into a computer lab and homework center. The non-profit provides volunteers that assist resident children four days a week.