Ben Carson Reassures Affordable Housing Advocates at NLIHC Policy Forum

HUD Secretary Ben Carson Says that Housing Funding will be Part of President Trump’s Infrastructure Bill

On Monday, April 3, 2017, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson addressed the hundreds gathered for the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC)’s annual Housing Policy Forum.

Monarch Housing staff attended the Forum and were in the audience for Carson’s remarks.

Ben Carson reassured housing advocates attending the forum that he would provide a “ladder of opportunity” for families living in poverty. He also spoke about the White House’s infrastructure bill including housing funding to balance the severe proposed $6 million in cuts to HUD that were in the President’s budget.

“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 assured the audience that there will be “no one is going to be thrown out on the street.” He said, “We do have a responsibility.” Advocates will need to work to ensure that no one is made homelessness if the devastating proposed budget cuts become reality.

C-Span reported that “Carson talked about the importance of low income housing programs. Secretary Carson also talked about the need to be more efficient with these programs and how affordable housing issues can be addressed with other programs and other means outside of HUD.”

“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. The White House has not detailed what will be included in a possible infrastructure package, though any such legislation would need to pass through a fiscally conservative Congress.”

It is important to keep in mind that if the Housing Choice Voucher program (Section 8) is flat funded then families who lose their vouchers will face homelessness. “Urban policy experts and fair-housing advocates have railed against the administration’s proposed cuts to HUD, calling them “devastating.” Though the Section 8 housing voucher program would not face significant cuts under the proposed budget, simply flat-funding housing voucher programs in 2018 could yield a loss of as many as 200,000 affordable housing units because of inflation and rising housing costs, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.”

The Housing Choice Voucher program is cost-effective and it allows individuals and families to stabilize their lives. “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.”

“We shouldn’t be looking for handouts, but we should be looking for things where everyone involved in the situation benefits,” Ben Carson said.

Affordable housing is something that benefits everyone – individuals, families, and landlords and it creates jobs.

Washington Post Coverage

CSPAN Video

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