In April, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson proposed a plan which, according to him, would help put people, who rely on federal assistance to pay their rents, on a path of “self-sufficiency.”
However, it was later discovered by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis the proposed plan, The “Make Affordable Housing Work Act,” would triple the rent of low-income households and is expected to impact around 8.3 million Americans who are on governmental assistance.
After the analysis was published, Carson told reporters that the Trump administration might not push the plan forward.
“The original rent increases were to make sure we didn't have to raise rents on elderly and disabled people and now we have some increased funding and we're not going to have to do that,” he said during a news conference in Detroit.
Fast forward now, turns out the HUD secretary actually lied when he made that statement.
On June 27 during a House Financial Services Oversight Committee hearing, Carson flat out said the Housing and Urban Development backs the plan.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) questioned Carson on the status of the proposal and urged him to tell if he was still backing The “Make Affordable Housing Work Act.
“This proposal is a starting point in the conversation as you know, Congress will make the decision. Of course we continue to back our proposals,” replied Carson.
According to experts, the secretary’s recent comments and constant changes of his stance on the plan paint a picture of the HUD’s blurred role in actually doing something for the betterment of the people it serves and address the country’s affordable housing problem.
The proposal now needs a congressional approval.
The changes planned by Carson to federal housing subsidies will have huge impact on the poorest households and will make it easier for the government to impose stricter work requirements.
Carson’s proposal would raise the rent of subsidized housing tenants to 35 percent of gross income from the currently imposed 30 percent of adjusted income. According to the HUD officials, more than 4.7 million people will be affected by this change. It will also increase the rent of the poorest families from $50 to $150 a month.
Housing advocates bashed Carson’s proposed changes as “cruel hypocrisy” after wealthy Americans and organizations recently received tax breaks.
“When we are in the middle of a housing crisis that’s having the most negative impact on the lowest-income people, we shouldn’t even be considering proposals to increase their rent burdens,” said Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Spotlight, Banner: Getty Images, Aaron P. Bernstein / Stringer