U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson was the keynote speaker at the Region 5 Fair Housing Law and Policy Conference Wednesday.
Carson focused on making changes at the local level. During an audience-submitted Q-and-A session, Carson said public-private initiatives at the local level are essential to improving public assistance.
“We’re doing at the local level rather than making it into a big federal program, that way, when this administration is no longer there, the next administration won’t come along and say, hey, they did that, so let’s get rid of it,” Carson says. “We need to be doing things that have nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans, but have to do with elevating our population.”
Carson also sought to clarify an issue that made headlines earlier this year.
HUD sent a proposal to Congress that would change how rent is calculated for adults who can work. In some cases, that would triple rent.
“We’re not talking about the elderly. We’re not talking about the disabled, we’re talking about the work-able individuals who are paying the minimum rent,” Carson says.
Carson defended that jump, saying today’s job climate means the department needs to encourage self-sufficiency for adults who can work.
Carson also highlighted his department’s work on his EnVision Centers program. That program gathers government, nonprofit and faith-based resources in one place within a community for people in public housing. Five of the 18 centers are in the Midwest, but none are located in Indiana.