April 25, 2018

Liz Ryan Murray, CarsonWatch:

Kathy Mulady, People’s Action:

Kevin Borden, MHAction:

On Same Day Ben Carson Proposes Steep Rent Hikes, Tenants and Homeowners Interrupt his Corporate Speech, asking “Where Will We Live?”

Video from the event can be found here

Photos from the event are available here

LAS VEGAS – Today, 75 low and moderate income tenants and manufactured homeowners asked Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Conference in Las Vegas, “where will we go”. Carson insulted tenants and manufactured homeowners by responding “this is what happens when the swamp gets ahold of people.” Instead of offering real solutions that would solve our nation’s housing crisis, Secretary Carson announced a proposed rent increases for the lowest income people.

Members of the group directly confronted Secretary Carson inside the MHI Conference and held a press conference and rally outside the Paris Hotel. Inside the room, low-income senior Jeliner Jordan asked Carson, “If you increase rents and cut the HUD budget, where will I live?” He responded by saying  “this is a perfect example of what happens when the swamp gets ahold of people.”

“Trump’s lackey Ben Carson clearly demonstrated that he doesn’t care about people  like me that he is sworn to serve,” said Jordan, a senior housing resident in Chicago and a grassroots leader with Jane Addams Senior Caucus and People’s Action. “His words insulted me personally, and patronized all of us who struggle to pay our rent. His villainous policy proposal today just affirms what we already knew: Carson will continue putting people out of our homes and deepening the housing crisis that is devastating our communities.”

“Ben Carson insulted and dismissed us while telling the corporate investors in attendance that they should keep profiting off the housing crisis. Ben Carson’s job is to help solve the housing crisis for people, not profiteers. We came to Las Vegas today to remind Secretary Carson to do his job,” said Patricia Norberg, a manufactured homeowner from Delaware and a grassroots leader with MHAction. “Corporate and private equity investors associated with MHI say ‘jump’ and Carson says ‘how high?’ We’ve had enough.”

“The nation’s housing crisis has reached emergency levels. A person working a full time minimum wage job, can’t afford a two-bedroom apartment in any county in the U.S. More than half of all Americans spend over 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities, and I’m one of them,” said Kendra Moore, a Section 8 tenant in Los Angeles and a grassroots leader with POWER and People’s Action. “How dare the Trump Administration’s response to that crisis be to make things worse. We demand a HUD that’s fully funded to meet 100 percent of the real needs of American people.”

“Carson is out of touch and patronizing. He thinks poverty is a state of mind. He needs to do his job and push for a massive reinvestment in community-owned and public housing.  We need him to make a true commitment to alleviating the conditions of poverty and the dismantling of the racist structures embedded in our housing system,” said Trenise Bryant from the Miami Workers Center and Homes for All. “And we, those who are directly impacted by the crisis and live with it every day, need to be at the center of the conversation and decisions made to solve it.”

The group, representing a multiracial, multigenerational collection of housing justice organizations from across the country, demanded that Ben Carson turn his attention to the raging housing crisis that threatens them, their families, and millions of people in America every day.  The group told Carson to do his job to faithfully execute the mission of his department, and to advocate for a radical rethinking of the HUD budget to meet one hundred percent of our community’s housing needs.

Groups participating in the event included: MHAction, People’s Action, CarsonWatch, Center for Popular Democracy, Right to the City/Homes for All, POWER, LA Community Action Network, Long Beach Residents Empowered (LiBRE), Miami Workers Center, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Make the Road Nevada, Make it Work Nevada, SEIU Nevada, NextGen America, For Nevada’s Future,Make the Road Nevada, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, and New York Communities for Change.