Ben Carson is flip-flopping on his diabolical plans to destroy low-income communities in his role as secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Originally, he submitted a proposal to triple the rents for people in subsidized housing, but on June 11, Carson said raising rents was no longer necessary because “the budget has been changed, the necessity for doing that is not urgent.” As we reported last week, he says he will raise the rents again — and this time the increase is even higher.
Back in April, the heartless plan would have raised the minimum rent for some of the country’s poorest from $50 per month to $150. In Carson’s wacky mind, this would “inspire” people to get off public assistance. Many activists were outraged by the proposal, including Diane Yentel, the president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, who told The Washington Post in April that the potential rent increase was “cruel hypocrisy” and “[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.”
Fast forward to today, Congress will still consider the rent increase and an additional increase. ThinkProgress reports, “Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) has also introduced a bill that would let state and local housing authorities raise the minimum monthly rent on the poorest Americans — families with an annual adjusted income of $2,000 or less — by more than $500 a month on average, far exceeding the Carson proposal.” Increasing the rent on people making $2,000 or less is year is simply vicious and this proposal is obviously a direct result of Carson’s original proposal. Will Fischer, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told ThinkProgress this proposal would potentially leave millions of people homeless, saying, “The proposal itself would raise rents sharply on low-income people and have a lot of harmful effects on them. Even if they raised it by a fraction of an amount, it would be difficult for people with low incomes to pay.”
Both of these plans need to go through Congress. So let’s hope — which seems like a long-shot — Congress will have more heart than Carson or anyone who wants to increase rent on America’s most vulnerable.