HUD Secretary Ben Carson, the famous brain surgeon with no governmental experience prior to taking the job, is set to propose tripling – yes, tripling – the rent on low-income Americans, according to the Washington Post.
Currently, people generally pay 30 percent of their adjusted income toward rent or a public housing agency minimum rent — which is capped at $50 a month for the poorest families. The Trump administration’s proposal would bump the family monthly rent contribution at 35 percent of gross income or 35 percent of their earnings working 15 hours a week at the federal minimum wage.
It would raise the cap for the poorest families to approximately $150 a month, three times higher than the current minimum. The White House says that the raise in rent would “encourage work and self-sufficiency” across its rental assistance programs, which is a phrase that Carson has commonly used – going under the assumption that those on assistance are willfully not working.
The move would affect more than 4.5 million families relying on federal housing assistance and would require congressional approval.
The reforms would require adults who are able to work to “shoulder more of their housing costs and provide an incentive to increase their earnings,” budget documents said. The department is also seeking to change the deductions that determine rent, including eliminating deductions for medical and childcare costs.
Carson has a history of seemingly blaming the poor for their plight and previously wondered why things such as televisions and air conditioning were in public housing. This is ironic because Carson has claimed in numerous interviews that he grew up poor and living in government housing in Detroit.
The latter is not true as he and his mother lived in multiple two-family flats in the city’s Springwells and Delray neighborhoods after they returned from Boston.
Carson’s proposal has been met with anger from advocates for the poor.
“When we are in the middle of a housing crisis that’s having the most negative impact on the lowest income people,” Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said. “We shouldn’t even be considering proposals to increase their rent burdens.”
The proposal comes as the department is recovering from a scandal where Carson and his wife spent more than $30,000 on office furniture.