WASHINGTON – This week, at a full Committee hearing with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Benjamin Carson entitled, “Housing in America: Oversight of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,” Committee Democrats asked questions about many of the Secretary’s harmful actions at HUD that he repeatedly answered inaccurately.
Read below for a list of the top 5 inaccurate responses from Secretary Carson to Committee Democrats.
- Secretary Carson to Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee,on HUD’s plan to increase rent for HUD-assisted households: “The elderly and the disabled are completely protected in the plan that we have proposed.”
WRONG: Under the Secretary’s “Making Affordable Housing Work” proposal, seniors and people with disabilities who sign a lease after the proposal is implemented will immediately see increases in their rent. For seniors and people with disabilities already receiving public housing assistance when the proposal is implemented, their rent increase would be phased in over two income recertification periods.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, seniors would see an average increase of $83 per month and people with disabilities would see an average increase of $72 per month.
Under the proposal, hardship exemptions would be available, but households would have to proactively apply for such exemptions. Additionally, HUD’s own data shows that these exemptions have not been effective at providing relief.
- Secretary Carson to Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) on the number of individuals on waitlists for housing assistance programs: “There are hundreds of thousands.”
WRONG: There are currently millions of individuals waiting for public housing and Section 8 vouchers, specifically 4.4 million individuals across the country.
- Secretary Carson to Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) on his familiarity with real estate owned (REO) properties: “An Oreo?”
WRONG: An Oreo is a cookie. An REO property is one that is owned by a lender or other entity after an unsuccessful sale at a foreclosure auction.
- Secretary Carson to Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) on changes to the Equal Access Rule: “I’m not currently anticipating changing the rule.”
WRONG: On May 23, HUD released a notice of a proposed rulemaking that would make significant changes to the current Equal Access Rule. The current Equal Access Rule requires shelter providers to respect the stated gender identity of an individual seeking shelter. Secretary Carson’s proposed rule could allow shelter providers to force individuals to be housed with people of their opposite gender.
On May 23, Congresswoman Wexton introduced the Ensuring Equal Access to Shelter Act, to protect transgender individuals and block HUD’s proposal to make changes to the Equal Access Rule.
- Secretary Carson to Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) on his definition of rent proration: “giving aid and assistance to people who are here illegally.”
WRONG: HUD’s current rent proration policy ensures that any household members who do not have eligible immigration status do not receive rental subsidies while allowing household members who do have eligible immigration status to receive assistance. It is worth noting that rent is calculated by HUD based on incomes of all adult residents. However, the same rent is prorated to ensure those with ineligible immigration status are unable to receive assistance. Therefore, mixed-immigration status families pay a larger share of rent than families where every member is eligible for rental assistance.
On May 16, Congresswoman Garcia introduced H.R. 2763, legislation to block the HUD proposal that targets mixed-immigration status families.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters has emerged as one of the strongest legislators, community organizers, and champions for women, children, seniors, veterans, people of color, and the poor. She was elected in November 2018 to her fifteenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives where she proudly represents California’s diverse and dynamic 43rd Congressional District. With more than 20 years of experience and expertise on financial services issues, Congresswoman Waters recently made history as the first woman and first African American to hold the Chair’s gavel of the House Financial Services Committee, where she leads the Democratic Caucus in the effort to pass meaningful legislation to protect consumers and safeguard the economy.