Ben Carson, Is Anybody Home at HUD?

Is HUD Secretary Ben Carson Fulfilling Dream of Dismantling the Administrative State

An August 22, 2017 ProPublica article “Is Anybody Home at HUD?” reports that “A long-harbored conservative dream – the “dismantling of the administrative state” is taking place under Secretary Ben Carson.”

ProPublica’s Alec MacGillis wrote that, “In mid-May, Steve Preston, who served as the secretary of housing and urban development in the final two years of the George W. Bush administration, organized a dinner at the Metropolitan Club in Washington, D.C., for the new chief of that department, Ben Carson, and five other former secretaries whose joint tenure stretched all the way back to Gerald Ford. It was an event with no recent precedent within the department, and it had the distinct feel of an intervention.”

The need for this intervention is of concern given that although the U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development (HUD) is shrinking, it “Still serves a function that millions of low-income Americans depend on — it funds 3,300 public-housing authorities with 1.2 million units and also the Section 8 rental-voucher program, which serves more than 2 million families; it has subsidized tens of millions of mortgages via the Federal Housing Administration; and, through various block grants, it funds an array of community uplift initiatives.”

“The administration’s preliminary budget outline had already signaled deep cuts for HUD. And Donald Trump had chosen to lead the department someone with zero experience in government or social policy — the nominee whose unsuitability most mirrored Trump’s lack of preparation to run the country.”

Affordable housing advocates were concerned that President Trump appointed to lead HUD someone who “Had some qualms about running HUD.”

“His close friend Armstrong Williams, a conservative commentator who was exposed for receiving payments from George W. Bush’s administration to tout Bush’s education policies on air, told The Hill in November that Carson had reservations about such a job. “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience; he’s never run a federal agency,” Williams said. “The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.”

The proposed White House Budget includes cutting as much as $7 billion – 15% of the current budget – from the HUD budget. This budget jeopardizes the lives of families currently renting affordable homes with the help of Housing Choice Vouchers. The budget eliminates the HOME program and cuts $3 billion from the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG.)

MacGillis spoke to Shaun Donovan who served as President Obama’s first HUD Secretary. “By the time I left, almost 90 percent of our budget was to help people stay in their homes,” Shaun Donovan told me. “So when you have a 15 percent cut to that budget, by definition you’re going to be throwing people out of their homes. You’re literally taking vouchers away from families, you’re literally shutting down public housing, because it can’t be maintained anymore.”

Is Anybody Home at HUD

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