Every time we mention Ben Carson, it includes a summary of his never-ending failures as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). A quick recap: He was accused of demoting an employee for not approving extravagant office renovations. There are accusations his family was too involved at HUD, emails proving he has lied and even reports of Carson using taxpayer money for private planes. This is just to name a few.
However, there was some good news at HUD, which had nothing to do with Carson. The New York Daily News reported last week, “For decades the city Housing Authority has experienced cuts in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). This year the Trump administration proposed more of the same, with [New York City Housing Authority] NYCHA bracing for a huge 66% cut to big-ticket capital projects and an 11% trim to day-to-day operations funds.” However, the newspaper reports, “Congress rejected that approach and appropriated millions more for housing programs nationwide. Trump complained but signed it March 23.”
The numbers still need to be approved, but preliminary reports expect, “NYCHA will get $160 million more for capital projects, a 46% spike to $506 million. It also adds $30 million more for operations for a total of $919 million, a modest 3% bump.”
The former doctor is upset with all of this funding going to help low-income people and he is now feuding with NYCHA. Carson wants to require approval for every expenditure. He told the Wall Street Journal, “We don’t want to do it that way, but they forced us into doing it that way until they become more responsible.” The irony of Carson telling anyone how to spend money when his team bought a $31,000 office dining room set that he claimed to know nothing about.
The NYCHA responded and spokeswoman Jasmine Blake wrote in an email to the Journal, “It is surprising… that the Secretary, who has not found an available hour to visit the largest public housing authority in his portfolio, is focused on steps that hinder not help. This is not a do-no-harm approach.” What exactly is Carson doing in his job to not visit NYCHA?
As NYCHA chair Shola Olatoya said back in December, “I find it almost unconscionable that we could be almost a year into this administration and not have a clear sense of how agencies such as NYCHA and the other 3,200 public housing agencies are meant to operate given the significant capital need that we’re faced with.”
Let’s hope Ben’s incompetence doesn’t ruin what could possibly be a positive for NYCHA.