Ben Carson: Homeless shelters shouldn’t be ‘comfortable’ or people will ‘want to stay’

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson thinks homeless shelters and government housing are too luxurious.

During a recent visit to Ohio, Carson toured properties that are funded in part by grants from HUD. Local officials eagerly walked Carson through each housing facility to help justify their budgets. However, as the New York Times reported, Secretary Carson was singularly focused on making sure the units weren’t too comfortable. Carson told the Times that he wanted to make sure that HUD housing wouldn’t have too many creature comforts, adding, “a comfortable setting… would make somebody want to say: ‘I’ll just stay here. They will take care of me,’” he said.

Carson disapprovingly remarked that one apartment building for veterans was so accommodating that it lacked “only pool tables.” The Times also noted that Carson also seemed particularly happy in one federally funded housing complex after one official in charge told him that they stacked multiple bunk beds on top of one another and didn’t have any televisions inside the building.

This punish-the-poor attitude continued with Carson’s visit to a halfway house close to Columbus:

At a supportive housing center for drug addicts in Lancaster, Ohio, Trisha Farmer, the chief executive of the Recovery Center, pleaded for more federal help to house recovering addicts.

Mr. Carson interjected. “We are talking about incentivizing those who help themselves,” he said, before again asking minutes later about how comfortable the facility was letting people get.

Prior to being appointed Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Carson had no political experience, let alone any experience managing a large bureaucracy.


Jamie Green is a contributor to the Resistance Report covering the Trump administration, and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.