Earlier this month, Ben Carson compared his work as the unqualified secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In a hypocritical piece for USA Today, Carson wrote, “Fifty years ago, Americans witnessed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the passage of the landmark Fair Housing Act. Each event is inexorably linked with the other… As a child growing up in Detroit during the struggle for civil rights, I saw the impact of discrimination firsthand and witnessed the impact these closed doors had for my family and our neighbors. I experienced it again after my parents separated and we were forced to live in a small apartment in Boston with my aunt.”
He continued, “I lead a department that keeps this promise alive by enforcing the Fair Housing Act and making certain the aspirations of law are made manifest. As our nation recalls these tragic and triumphant events, we also need to rededicate ourselves to battle injustice in our housing markets. We honor these two moments in our nation’s history by continuing to confront overt and even subtle discrimination that persists half a century later. And we resolve to take King’s dream into the next 50 years.”
Carson is actively trying to dismantle the work of MLK with his ongoing war against poor people, and his latest stunt is absolutely horrific. He now wants to raise the rent on low-income households.
According to the New York Daily News, “Carson is set to propose rent increases on Wednesday for low-income households and require those receiving federal housing subsidies to work. … Tenants currently pay 30% of their adjusted income toward rent, but Carson’s proposal will raise it to 35%. The move needs congressional approval. The rent overhaul could affect 4.5 million families who rely on federal housing assistance.” This is disgusting, coupled with Trump signing an executive order for work requirements for people on welfare.
Everyone wants to work. No one relishes being poor or on welfare (and using the tiny percentage of people who take advantage of this system is not logical). As Diane Yentel, the president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said, “Work requirements don’t lead to stable employment or a path out of poverty. Cutting housing benefits won’t create the jobs and opportunities needed to lift families out of poverty.” If there are little-to-no jobs in your area that aren’t paying a starvation wage, how are you supposed to survive? What if someone can’t find a 32-hour a week job, only a 20-hour a week job? This is not what Dr. King would support.
In addition, a move that would have helped low-income families was blocked by Carson. In August, the former doctor said he was delaying an Obama-era rule that allowed low-income people to afford housing in areas with better schools and access to jobs. This was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2018, but, according to ThinkProgress, Carson wanted two years “to further evaluate it.” A federal judge shut Carson down and the Obama-era rule was supposed to start January 1st. See the NAACP tweet below back in December:
ThinkProgress explained, “The Small Area Fair Market Rent rule would tweak the formula for public housing subsidies. More than five million people use ‘Section 8’ public housing vouchers to afford rent on the private market; ‘Section 8’ refers to the statute that created the subsidies. On average, voucher holders direct 30 percent of their incomes to rent, and the federal government pays the rest. The subsidy is currently based on metropolitan-wide rent; as of January 1st, the formula will change to a ZIP-code based approach.” The site adds, “The new formula empowers voucher holders — who are disproportionately African-American — to afford housing in more affluent areas, which see more job opportunities, lower crime rates, and better schools. The rule goes into effect in 23 metropolitan areas and should not cost the administration any more money.”
With Trump’s power, Carson has continued to delay Small Area Fair Market Rent rule and we are now in April. This would have done more to help low-income communities than raising rents and creating insane, often unachievable work requirements.
Rent increases without jobs that are above a starvation wage will decimate the poor. For someone who always rambles about his religion, he is far from Christ-like.
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