Carson: Compassion isn’t ‘a comfortable setting’ in public housing

Carson: Compassion isn’t ‘a comfortable setting’ in public housing
© Getty Images

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon Carson'Housing First' approach won't solve homelessness crisis Clarence Thomas blasts his Biden-led confirmation hearings: 'The idea was to get rid of me' Affordable housing crisis demands urgent, sustained action MORE says compassion in government-funded housing means not providing residents with too much of “a comfortable setting."

“[It’s not] a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: ‘I’ll just stay here. They will take care of me,’” he said in a New York Times interview published Wednesday.

Carson, a former neurosurgeon and 2016 presidential candidate, drew a distinction between those who are disabled and those who aren't. Disabled aid-seekers, he said, may require more comfortable settings.


“We have some people who are mentally ill,” he said. “We have some elderly and disabled people.”

“We can’t expect in many cases those people to do a great deal to take care of themselves,” he added.

But Carson worried that providing too much for other people would reduce their desire to leaving government-funded housing.

“There is another group of people who are able-bodied individuals, and I think we do those people a great disservice when we simply maintain them," Carson said.

The Times spokes with Carson as he toured facilities for the poor in Columbus, Ohio, last week.

Carson, who was confirmed to helm HUD in early March, is visiting public housing across the country.

The Times noted that he has also visited Detroit, Dallas and Miami.

Carson reportedly indicated during his Ohio stop that HUD would keep spending light as Trump proposes budget cuts for the agency.

“We are talking about incentivizing those who help themselves,” Carson said at a housing facility for drug users in Ohio.