URBAN AGENDA: Putting a Black face on the gutting of HUD

David R. Jones, Esq. | 6/28/2018, midnight
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson appears poised to visit the New York City Public Housing Authority (NYCHA), ...
David R. Jones Contributed

After a stop in Dallas, Carson announced a change in HUD’s mission statement, removing promises of inclusive and discrimination-free communities. Coincidently, Dallas was the focus of the landmark 2015 Supreme Court ruling that housing policies which segregate minorities in poor neighborhoods, even if they do so unintentionally, violate the 1968 Fair Housing Act. Carson decried the Fair Housing laws and regulations as "government-engineered attempts to legislate racial equality.”

More recently, Carson was the driving force behind a callous Trump proposal to raise rents on residents of subsidized housing by as much as 44 percent. Even a Republican-controlled Congress has repudiated the Trump proposal. It’s doubtful, but we hope Carson has a change of heart.

The truth is Dr. Carson is the President’s stalking horse. He’s at HUD for one reason: to put a black face on the Trump Administration’s devious and shameless gutting of the federal agency and plans to privatize public housing for his developer friends.

I hope I am proven wrong about this. And I hope Dr. Carson will actually listen to the concerns of tenants when he visits NYCHA and make time to speak with local housing experts. Maybe he will be disabused of some of the strange, groundless notions he has about undermining HUD as the means to fix public housing.

David R. Jones, Esq., is President and CEO of the Community Service Society of New York (CSS), the leading voice on behalf of low-income New Yorkers for more than 170 years. The views expressed in this column are solely those of the writer. The Urban Agenda is available on CSS’s website: www.cssny.org.