by Lynda Carson
Ben Carson and Donald Trump meet at Trump Tower in August. Would Carson, a physician, a healer, condemn millions to homelessness by eliminating the only programs that keep them housed? – Photo: Carlo Allegri, Reuters
Oakland – President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Ben Carson as the next secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and, reportedly, former disgraced HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson supports and vouches for Ben Carson to take his old job, according to the Dallas Morning News.
President-elect Donald J. Trump, who recently agreed to pay $25 million to 7,000 former students of Trump University who claimed they were ripped off, who allegedly is a sexual predator, who was sued for discriminating against African-Americans at his apartment buildings, and was raised by his father, who was allegedly arrested at a Ku Klux Klan brawl with the cops, has picked alleged bigot Stephen Bannon as his “chief strategist and senior counselor” to help bring into reality the plans for his first 100 days in the White House.
President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Ben Carson as the next secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Having Jackson endorse Carson is troubling. In May 2004, as secretary of HUD under former President George W. Bush, it was Alphonso Jackson who made headlines across the nation when he stated that “being poor is a state of mind, not a condition.”
** FILE ** Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson is interviewed by The Associated Press in Washington in this Sept. 29, 2004 file photo. Jackson is resigning Monday, March 31, 2008, according to a government official.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
The previous month, April 2004, Jackson was involved in changing the Section 8 program (Housing Choice Voucher Program) from a voucher based program to a budget based program, which resulted in massive budget shortfalls to the Section 8 voucher program and a loss of over 250,000 housing vouchers that were in use all over the country at the time. Secretary Jackson’s actions created much homelessness across the nation, including the Bay Area.
When massive budget cuts in the Section 8 voucher program hit the City of Alameda in 2004, threatening 1,659 Section 8 voucher families, housing activists urged the tenants to remain in their homes and continue paying the landlord what their normal portion of rent was before the budget cuts took effect.
Those who were smart enough to fight back were allowed to remain in their homes and continue use of their Section 8 vouchers when Congresswoman Barbara Lee managed to come through with enough federal funding. As for the Section 8 tenants who were afraid to fight and moved because of the budget cuts, the Alameda Housing Authority claimed they moved voluntarily and barred them from returning.
Additionally, housing activists in the Bay Area united against Secretary Jackson’s budget cuts to the Section 8 voucher program, and the housing activists taught Section 8 tenants how to lobby their representatives to fight back against the cuts.
Before he resigned from HUD, Secretary Jackson even pushed for more funding cuts to the Section 8 program that would have resulted in the loss of 600,000 housing vouchers by 2009.
Using the gesture of a white supremacist, then President George W. Bush greets HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson.
This attack on the nation’s housing assistance programs was brutal, on-going and hurt millions of poor people while Jackson was the secretary of HUD under Bush. It was Jackson who personally spearheaded efforts to demolish public housing in major cities including Chicago, New Orleans, Atlanta and Charlotte in the name of creating mixed income housing developments that continue to displace tens of thousands of the poor, elderly and disabled from their homes and communities.
Ben Carson claims that he is not qualified to run HUD. Rep. Ted Lieu, a Los Angeles Democrat, agrees. Lieu says Carson has repeatedly spoken out against HUD’s housing assistance programs for the poor and is totally unqualified for the HUD cabinet position.
In a statement, Diane Yentil of the National Low-income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) said, “With so many qualified candidates to choose from with deep knowledge of and commitment to affordable housing solutions for the poorest families, and with the housing crisis reaching new heights across the country, Dr. Ben Carson’s nomination to serve as HUD secretary is surprising and concerning, given his lack of experience with or knowledge of the programs he would oversee.”
At the height of the housing wars in New Orleans after Katrina, on June 6, 2007, HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson visited the city and held a news conference in one of the public housing developments tenants were fighting to preserve. Tenants wanting to appeal to him were fenced out. Just before Christmas, on Dec. 20, 2007, the New Orleans City Council sided with HUD and approved demolition. Nearly all the city’s 4,500 perfectly livable public housing apartments, in handsome, sturdy brick buildings were demolished, leaving New Orleans with an agonizing homelessness problem for lack of affordable housing. – Photo: Victoria Welle
House minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said that Ben Carson is a “disconcerting” and “disturbingly unqualified choice to lead a department as complex and consequential as Housing and Urban Development.”
Ben Carson does not have any experience with housing issues, has never worked for a housing authority or housing agency, and has repeatedly spoken out against housing and poverty programs in the past. He has claimed that the housing assistance programs do not help the poor, and he has spoken out against anti-segregation policies of the Fair Housing Act being promoted by the Obama administration.
Presently the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) is asking representatives in Congress to ask Ben Carson 10 questions, in addition to fighting back against more budget cuts to HUD-subsidized housing programs.
In the Bay Area, according to HUD, the Oakland Housing Authority has 13,422 federally subsidized housing units in its Section 8 inventory and 2,122 units in its low rent inventory, formerly known as public housing units.
San Francisco has 9,711 Section 8 units and 3,756 low rent units. San Francisco is in the process of privatizing more than 4,584 public housing units under the RAD program. South San Francisco has 80 units in its low rent inventory.
The Richmond Housing Authority has 1,851 Section 8 units and 559 low rent units. Berkeley Housing Authority has 1,935 Section 8 units and has sold its 75 public housing town homes to some out of state billionaires.
Ben Carson does not have any experience with housing issues, has never worked for a housing authority or housing agency, and has repeatedly spoken out against housing and poverty programs in the past.
Alameda Housing Authority has 1,845 units in its Section 8 subsidized housing inventory. The Alameda County Housing Authority has 6,341 Section 8 units and one low rent housing development managed by the agency.
In Contra Costa County, there are 6,921 Section 8 units and 1,177 low rent units. In Marin County, there are 2,162 Section 8 units and 496 low rent units.
Tens of thousands of low-income households in the Bay Area, including veterans and the chronically ill, elderly and disabled, are being placed at risk of homelessness if the Republicans have it their way, now that they are gaining full control of the House and Senate as well as the White House. In recent years, it has become apparent that the Republicans want to dismantle HUD and all of its subsidized housing programs.
Making matters worse, now that President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Ben Carson for HUD secretary, millions of veterans, poor, elderly, disabled and the chronically ill are at risk of losing their housing as a direct result of Ben Carson’s bias against the poor, in addition to his lack of experience in running a federal agency.
Millions of veterans, poor, elderly, disabled and the chronically ill are at risk of losing their housing as a direct result of Ben Carson’s bias against the poor, in addition to his lack of experience in running a federal agency.
There are over 5 million households across the nation receiving assistance from HUD’s subsidized housing programs. The harm they will suffer if President Trump cuts those programs in incalculable.
Lynda Carson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.