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Carson proposes rent increases for Americans on housing assistance

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonHUD official quits amid Interior Department watchdog controversy Inspector general: Zinke used taxpayer-funded travel for his wife Overnight Energy: Inspector general finds Zinke used taxpayer-funded travel for family | Interior says Trump appointee won't be new watchdog | EPA chief says agency taking climate report 'very seriously' MORE on Wednesday unveiled a plan that would triple the rent for Americans on housing assistance, as well as impose work requirements for the program.

Carson's plan, proposed in the form of congressional legislation, would raise from 30 percent to 35 percent the amount of their income that Americans on housing assistance pay toward their housing. It would also require that the money be made by at least 15 hours of work at the federal minimum wage level.

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That plan would cause rent payments for low-income families to rise from about an amount not exceeding $50 per month to $150 per month, The Washington Post reported.

“The system we currently use to calculate a family’s rental assistance is broken and holds back the very people we’re supposed to be helping,” Carson said in a statement. “HUD-assisted households are now required to surrender a long list of personal information, and any new income they earn is ‘taxed’ every year in the form of a rent increase. Today, we begin a necessary conversation about how we can provide meaningful, dignified assistance to those we serve without hurting them at the same time.”

A release from HUD sought to emphasize that the increases will not apply to households “comprised of elderly persons or persons with disabilities.”

Carson's Making Affordable Housing Work Act comes after the White House's fiscal 2019 budget declared it would “encourage work and self-sufficiency” across housing assistance programs.

Carson is expected to further detail his plan on a press call later Wednesday ahead of a House Financial Services subcommittee hearing on rent reform.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in March that Carson was looking for more "responsible" spending options going forward as HUD secretary.

"The order you referenced was canceled; they are looking for another option that is much more responsible with taxpayer dollars," she said during her press briefing.

HUD has received heavy criticism under Carson's watch, including reports of heavy spending by Carson and his wife, Candy Carson, on office furniture and dining ware.