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Carson Makes Case for HUD Secretary, Sharing ‘Holistic’ Approach

Jan 15, 2017 by

A Senate Committee on Thursday evaluated Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary nominee Ben Carson in a hearing to confirm the position, extending a welcome to the retired neurosurgeon who, in his words, experienced “housing insecurity” firsthand.

“It’s difficult for a child to learn at school if he or she doesn’t have an adequate place to live,” he told the Committee. “I understand housing insecurity.”

Carson shared that he plans to take a “holistic” approach to housing, calling on cooperation from the private sector. He also reiterated that he does not intend for his plans for the agency to financially benefit President-Elect Donald Trump or his real estate assets.

“It will not be my intention to do anything to benefit any American particularly,” he said.

In addition, Carson addressed the recent reduction in Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-backed mortgage insurance premiums, telling the Committee he would “examine” the cut.

“Certainly, if confirmed, I am going to work with the FHA administrator and other financial experts to really examine that policy,” he said. The Trump Administration was unaware of the reduction until just prior the announcement.

Outgoing HUD Secretary Julián Castro expressed concerns about the fate of the agency in an interview with NPR last week, saying, “I’d be lying if I said I’m not concerned about the possibility of going backward over the next four years.” Castro in his exit memo “[urged] the next Administration to build upon what we have achieved and continue fulfilling the vision of making a decent, affordable home available to every citizen.”

Members of the housing industry overall are embracing the opportunity Carson and the incoming administration present.

“Dr. Carson has shown a commitment to ensuring all Americans have access to a safe and affordable place they can call home,” said National Association of REALTORS® President Bill Brown in a statement. “With that in mind, we’re urging members of the U.S. Senate to swiftly confirm him as Secretary of HUD.

“It’s no small task setting policies that support homeownership and real estate investment, and Dr. Carson is to be commended for taking on the challenge,” said Brown. “We look forward to working with Dr. Carson in his new capacity on behalf of that important mission.”

“The nomination of Dr. Ben Carson as the Secretary of Department of Housing and Urban Development provides the Committee the chance to discuss ways to rejuvenate urban cores and strengthen communities,” said Michelle Korsmo, CEO of the American Land Title Association (ALTA), in a statement. “ALTA and its members look forward to working with Dr. Carson to promote policies that will strengthen the nation’s housing and ensure all consumers looking to purchase a home have access to affordable credit.”

“Housing and education are the two places where kids live, so there’s the potential to have the experience from one really be a massive benefit to the other, because both are very important, foundational pieces,” says OwnAmerica CEO Greg Rand, citing Carson’s background in education. “[Carson’s] experience growing up is going to provide a baseline for his objective, which is to create a situation where living in public and subsidized and low-income housing is not a way of life—it won’t hold them back.”

President-Elect Trump nominated Carson for the role of HUD Secretary in November, pointing to Carson’s “brilliant mind” and passion for “strengthening communities and families within those communities.”

“I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need,” Carson said on accepting the nomination. “We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met.”

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Trump Pick Carson Accepts HUD Secretary Position

Dec 5, 2016 by

Former presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson accepted President-Elect Donald Trump’s nomination to Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary Monday—an appointment, which came despite Carson’s initial reservations, that marks the first African-American selected to serve in a senior role in the new administration.

“Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities,” Trump said in a statement. “We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up.”

“I am honored to accept the opportunity to serve our country in the Trump administration,” added Carson. “I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need. We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met.”

The appointment has been met with mixed reactions from those in housing, some of whom express optimism, while others point to Carson’s inexperience.

“Despite his apparent lack of affordable housing experience, with his communication skills, Dr. Carson has the ability to bring the message of poverty alleviation to people nationwide,” said Robert C. Moss, chairman of the Housing Advisory Group and national director of Governmental Affairs of CohnReznick’s affordable housing efforts. “I would hope he would quickly learn the importance of HUD and would try to make it better, stronger and more efficient.”

“I want to congratulate Dr. Ben Carson on being chosen to be nominated as the Secretary of HUD,” said David H. Stevens, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), in a statement on the nomination. “Housing is one of the largest contributors to the health and success of the overall economy, and, as such, we must continue to recognize its significance. MBA looks forward to working with Dr. Carson in helping to build out a well-rounded team of housing experts, with a deep technical understanding of the issues, at HUD, FHA and Ginnie Mae.”

“REALTORS® know that the incoming secretary of Housing and Urban Development has a big job ahead,” said National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) President William E. Brown in a statement on the nomination. “Potential homebuyers face a range of hurdles, from rising prices to mortgage credit that’s burdened by fees and extra costs. We congratulate Dr. Carson on accepting this important challenge and wish him the very best of luck in meeting the task ahead.”

“With so many qualified candidates to choose from with deep knowledge of, and commitment to, affordable housing solutions for the poorest families, and with the housing crisis reaching new heights across the country, Dr. Ben Carson’s nomination to serve as HUD secretary is surprising and concerning, given his lack of experience with or knowledge of the programs he would oversee,” Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), said in a statement on the nomination.

“The little that we do know about Dr. Carson’s position on affordable housing is a reason for concern,” continued Yentel, citing Carson’s Washington Times editorial, published last year, that referred to fair housing as an “experiment.”

“We urge President-Elect Trump, Dr. Carson and the entire incoming administration to commit to expanding proven solutions to end homelessness and housing poverty once and for all,” Yentel said.

“[The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)] congratulates Dr. Carson on his nomination as HUD secretary,” said Ed Brady, NAHB chairman, in a statement on the nomination. “He is a thoughtful leader who is sure to assemble a professional team of policy experts and be a great spokesperson for housing. Upon his confirmation to the Cabinet post, NAHB looks forward to working with Dr. Carson to promote pro-housing policies that support homeownership, provide rental housing opportunities for low- and middle-income households, and remove regulatory barriers that are needlessly raising housing costs for hard-working American families.”

Carson joins Shawn Krause, executive vice president of Government Advocacy for Quicken Loans, and Jimmy Kemp, both of whom were recently named to Trump’s HUD transition team.

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