In just a few days U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro will step down from his position and head back to his home town of San Antonio, Texas.
Before he left, however, he voiced his fears about the next four years as former presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson prepares to become the nation’s next HUD secretary.
Castro said he spoke to Carson by phone last week, but said they didn’t go over anything specific, according to an article by Pam Fessler for NPR.
Despite his reservations, Castro says he things Carson will grow to appreciate HUD’s role in the community once he learns more about it, but voiced his concern over what the next four years could mean.
From the article:
“I’d be lying if I said that I’m not concerned about the possibility of going backward, over the next four years,” Castro says.
Carson has called the new rule excessive government regulation. He’s also complained that government aid can make some people too dependent. Congressional Republicans have proposed time limits and work requirements for those getting housing assistance, to make them more self sufficient. Castro thinks that’s the wrong approach.
Castro stated that most families receiving HUD assistance are elderly, disabled or already working.
“I believe that the folks who live in public housing are ambitious, that they have tremendous potential and that we should invest in them,” he said. “I don’t believe that we should go back to the mid-1990s and scapegoating them and talking about doing away with HUD and so forth.”
Of residents in public housing units, about 31% are seniors, over 62 years, according to the National Center for Health in Public Housing. About 30% of households in public housing include a family member under age 62 that is disabled, and about 30% of residents report that their primary source of income comes from salary and wages.
Little is known about Carson’s plans when he takes over as HUD secretary. Reactions from the industry vary wildly about his qualifications for the role.