Ben Carson Wants to Make Sure Poor People Aren’t Too Comfortable

Ben Carson

By Sam Levine,

Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is concerned that those who rely on the government for help with their housing aren’t too comfortable.

The New York Times followed Carson as he toured housing facilities in Ohio, where he seemed very interested in the amenities residents received. During one stop, Carson noted that an apartment complex for veterans was just missing pool tables. He also simply nodded along when he learned that employees stacked bunk beds at one homeless shelter where they deliberately deny residents television.

Carson told the Times that his understanding of compassion meant not giving those who need help “a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: ‘I’ll just stay here. They will take care of me.’”

Carson appeared more interested in talking about the comfort level of residents than federal funding during his tour, according to the Times.

When Trisha Farmer, the CEO of a housing facility that provides support for recovering drug addicts asked Carson for federal support, he replied he wanted to incentivize “those who help themselves.” He then repeatedly asked how comfortable her facilities were letting people get, according to the Times.

About 2.2 million families depend on housing assistance from HUD through the agency’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher system. The average household income for families getting HUD assistance was $13,726, according to the 2010 census data.

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