Ben Carson walks back plan to triple rent for poor
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson backed away on Friday from a plan to triple the minimum rent that the poorest Americans pay for federally subsidized housing.
Speaking at the Bipartisan Policy Center, Carson said additional funding from Congress eliminated the immediate need to raise rents.
“The reason we had to consider raising rents at all is because we were dealing with a $41 billion budget,” Carson said. “And in order to be able to keep from raising rents on the elderly and the disabled, and in order to not displace people who are already being taken care of, that was necessary.”
“Now that the budget has been changed, the necessity for doing that is not urgent,” he added.
HUD unveiled a plan in April that, among other things, would have increased the minimum rent for some of the country’s poorest households from $50 per month to $150.
At the time of the plan’s announcement, Carson argued that the current system creates “perverse incentives, including discouraging these families from earning more income and becoming self-sufficient.”
The plan drew intense scrutiny from affordable housing advocates, who argued that raising the minimum rent would only hurt the poorest Americans by requiring them to contribute more from already scant incomes.
Carson said Friday that the rent increases would have affected relatively few Americans.
The Trump administration has sought to slash HUD’s budget. But those requests have ultimately been rejected by Congress, which moved to increase the department’s funding by about 10 percent in the omnibus spending bill.
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