On Listening Tour, HUD Secretary Ben Carson Visits Public Housing In Fort Worth | KERA News

On Listening Tour, HUD Secretary Ben Carson Visits Public Housing In Fort Worth

Mar 30, 2017

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary is spending some time in North Texas. Ben Carson is on a multi-city listening tour to hear from people who rely on public housing.

On Wednesday, he visited a Fort Worth apartment complex owned by the city’s housing authority. The visit comes as his department has been targeted for massive cuts by President Trump.

The Trump Administration’s proposal would reduce funding for Housing and Urban Development by 13 percent or about $6 billion. In the cross hairs are programs that help fund affordable housing and community development.

At the Hunter Plaza Apartments in Fort Worth, after touring the facility with Fort Worth Housing Solutions chief Naomi Byrne, Carson said he liked what was happening at the Hunter Plaza Apartments. It combines public housing and regularly-priced units, and it was refurbished after a bedbug infestation caused it to be evacuated with a combination of public and private funds.

Speaking with reporters, Carson downplayed the proposed budget cuts, and especially their effect on housing.

“First of all, we don’t know what final numbers would actually be. And No. 2, housing is part of the infrastructure of this country, and it will be treated as such. There will be other sources of funding for housing and housing reconstruction,” he said.

Carson didn’t elaborate further.

In Tarrant County, Housing and Urban Development helps fund more than 11,000 housing vouchers for low-income, elderly and disabled people. The organizations that oversee those vouchers have waiting lists with more than 33,000 applicants.

Laree Edwards lives in Hunter Plaza with her 1-year-old son, Krown, and she’s wary of the proposed HUD budget cuts.

“I don’t believe there should be any cuts, because there’s kids. If you’re the president and you love the kids, why are you making cuts to the whole program?” she said.

Edwards also says that the process for getting into public housing should be less convoluted, and that some rules preventing people with criminal records from getting housing assistance should be re-evaluated because they sometimes leave children in precarious housing.

Carson continued his listening tour Thursday in Fort Worth and will later head to Dallas.