Will Ben Carson Raise Rent on the Poorest US Households?

After announcing that the Department of Housing and Urban Development would nearly triple rent for low-income Americans, Ben Carson seemed to shift his position.

At a speaking event in Detroit, Michigan, on June 7, Carson indicated that rent for federal housing residents might not be raised after all, since other sources of funding had been identified.

However, Brenda Lawrence, the U.S. Representative for Detroit, hadn’t heard of any confirmed changes to Carson’s proposal. “There seems to be no official withdrawal or changes to HUD’s original legislative proposal released on April 25, 2018,” Lawrence’s office said in an email.

Could Carson be following Trump’s lead and telling a flat-out lie?

Previously, Carson claimed that his department’s latest proposal to raise rents in federal housing would benefit the country by pushing more people to find work.

But a new analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities suggests that most people receiving federal housing assistance would see their rents increase by a whopping 26 percent. 

As Care2’s Robin Marty reported here, it was at the end of April – right after purchasing his $30,000 dining table set – that Carson announced “Make Affordable Housing Work Act,” his plan to both raise rents for people relying on federal low-income housing programs and to attach work requirements to that assistance.

Now, thanks to this newly released analysis, we know what that policy would entail: 

  • People receiving federal housing assistance, who are currently required to pay 30 percent of their total income towards rent, would see an increase to 35 percent
  • The minimum monthly rent would go up from $50 to $150 for the 712,000 lowest income families
  • Deductions for child care and medical costs would be eliminated
  • Housing authorities would be able to impose greater work requirements.

The analysis also found that low-income tenants in the nation’s biggest metropolitan areas, many of whom are employed, would see their rents rise by 20 percent.

According to The Guardian

That rent increase is about six times greater than the growth in average hourly earnings, putting the poorest workers at an increased risk of homelessness because wages simply haven’t kept pace with housing expenses.

Around 8.3 million people would be affected by Carson’s plan, including more than 3 million children.

Furthermore, as Will Fischer, a senior policy analyst at the policy center, explains, “There’s no evidence that raising rents causes people to work more. For most of these rent increases, I don’t think there’s even a plausible theory for why they would encourage work.”

Carson had the gall to say that the proposal is the result of budget constraints. So the Trump administration happily gives huge tax breaks amounting to more than $5.5 billion to large companies and the super-wealthy, and then complains of budget constraints?

This is the latest attempt by Trump to restrict access to the social safety net and reduce even further the assistance available for those who qualify. 

Earlier this year, Trump signed an executive order focused on strengthening work requirements for people receiving public assistance and creating new requirements for benefits like food assistance, Medicaid and other support. However, it turns out that most people who use SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and are able to work, do so. But even so, they don’t earn enough money to survive without help. 

The behavior of the Trump administration is shameful and deliberately cruel, showing a complete disregard for anyone who is struggling with poverty.

It comes as no surprise, then, that a United Nations human rights investigator found that low-income people in the U.S. are becoming evermore destitute under the Trump administration.

Philip Alston, a UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty, recently called on the Trump administration to provide social protection rather than “punishing and imprisoning the poor.”

About 41 million people live in poverty in the U.S. — 18.5 million of those in extreme poverty, with young people accounting for one in three. Among industrialized countries, the U.S. has the highest rate of youth poverty.

We must keep fighting for justice and equality, and one way to do this is to demand the firing of Ben Carson, probably the least-qualified person ever to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Take Action!

If you agree, please sign this Care2 petition, demanding that the administration replace Carson with someone who actually understands communities in need and doesn’t just want to line his own pockets.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.


Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


Marie W
Marie Wabout a month ago

Thank you for sharing!

Dave fleming
Past Member 7 months ago


Karen H
Karen H7 months ago

Like Abba said: Must be funny
In the rich man's world
Money, money, money
Always sunny
In the rich man's world

Janis K
Janis K7 months ago


Cindy S
Cindy Smith7 months ago


Dave fleming
Past Member 7 months ago


Belinda Lang
Belinda Lang7 months ago

Carson is just another one of Trump's unqualified deplorables in positions in which they don't act in the best interests of the people they are supposed to help.

Ruth S
Ruth S7 months ago


Loredana V
Loredana V7 months ago

Disturbing :(
Petition signed, thank you!

Winn A
Winn A7 months ago