tv HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson Addresses Housing Conference CSPAN April 7, 2017 8:01pm-8:42pm EDT
and you are bin ban development secretary ben carson. our interview with freshman congressman drew ferguson and a house financial services committee hearing on the consumer financial protection bureau. housing and urban development secretary ben carson talked about low income housing programs at a conference in washington, d.c. and the need to make hud programs more efficient. this is 40 minutes. okay. good afternoon. welcome back for our afternoon session. i see everybody's gotten their lunch and is settled in, so perfect. we appreciate you being here and we appreciate dr. ben carson being here. and it's my pleasure to have the opportunity to introduce him and to welcome him to our annual policy forum. i expect he needs to introduction, but i will give him a brief one.
dr. ben carson is the 17th secretary of the u.s. department of housing and urban development for nearly 30 years, secretary carson served as director of pediatric neurosurgery at the johns hopkins children's center and at 33 he was the youngest person to ever serve in that position. he's received dozens of honors and awards in recollection of his achievements, including the presidential metd medal of freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. and he has also a recipient of the spinning arm medal which is the highest honor bestowed by the national association for the advancement of colored people or naacp. he's a plo livic writer, he's written nine books and ha and his wife cofounlded the carsons scholar fund chn recognizes people of all backgrounds for their exceptional, academic
accomplishments. it is currently operating in 50 states and d.c. and it's recognized more than 7,3003 scholar it's installed for than 150,000 reading rooms around the country. we're pleased to have dr. carson here to talk with us a bit about his vision for affordable how's prog grams in this country. so please join me in welcoming dr. carson. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you very much. i'm absolutely delighted to be here with you and i want to thank die yan yentel who i've known about and think all of you who have been supportive. i know sometimes when you support a republican it could cost you, but the way i look at it, i got to be something but i
don't really worry too much about labels. because it's so important the mission that we have to deal with here. you know, as a physician, you know, i operated on 15,000 patients and when i was campaigning, one of the real joys was seeing so many of my patients every place i went. and it's really all about helping people. and when you can see the long-term effects like i was in kentucky and a family came up to me and there was a young man with them and they said, do you recognize this young man? and i said, he looks familiar. because i say that about everybody. and they said, you operated on him when he was 1-year-old. and you did a hemisphereequity toemy.
and he just finished college number one in his class. that was wonder full of u full. and, you know, i remember as a physician also there was so many patients who were homeless or who were living in their car or who lived in awful circumstances, didn't know where the next meal was coming from. and some of the kids i remember they didn't want to leave the hospital because it was a comfortable place and nice comfortable bed, they got three meals a day. and to think about going back was a trauma to them. so i frequently did things to extend their hospital stay, but, you know, the fact of the matter is, you know, it's more than a hospital stay. it's about a lifestyle. the ability to live and know that there is security there.
i remember when my parents got divorced and my mother only had a third-grade education and we didn't have a place to live and, you know, fortunately some of her relatives in boston took us in. 'it was a horrible place. >> i heard somebody say yea, boston you might know where stanwood street is. back in -- i don't know what looks like now, but pretty horrible then. and then we moved from there to glenway. kept moving around. and it was awful, but it was a roof over our head. and my aunt and my inc. will, even though we were very poor, they were loving people and, you know, they always made us feel welcome where we were. and my mother worked so hard, two and three jobs at a time. her goal was to get back to our house. it was just a 750 square foot gi home, but it was our 750 gi
home. so, to me, it was like paradise. and i remember six years after we left it finally being able to get back there was one of the happiest days of my life. but it helps me to understand the importance of just having a place where you feel secure. a place where you know that there are people who love you. an it's something that we really need to start thinking about more in our country. there are three to four times as many people in this country in need of low-income housing or affordable how'sing that we can provide. it's a matter of supply and demand. and the demand is much greater than the supply. so what's happening? the prices keep going up. and now there are millions of
people who pay 35, 40, even 50% or more of what they earn for housing. that's an untenable situation. and that's an area where i think government can be helpful, particularly in partnership with the private sector and the faith community. and i'll say a bit more about that in a moment, but i know a lot of people are very, very concerned about the new budget numbers that have been put out there. and i think that it's a crisis and it's the end of the world. but, it actually is not because the part that people are not hearing, even though i've said it several times, is that this administration considers housing a significant part of
infrastructure in our country. and as such, the infra struck stur bill that's being worked on as a significant inclusion of housing in it. there is no one, section 811, 202, nobody's going to be thrown out on the street. you know, that -- what would that accomplish? you know, that -- that doesn't make any sense. and certainly not going to happen while i'm around. but -- [ applause ] >> we do have a responsibility to each other, and we also have a responsibility to those who come after us, to our children, to our grandchildren, and right now we have a national debt of $20 trillion. now wuf heard that number and
you can say that number, but does anybody really comprehend what that means? that means $60,000 for every man, woman and chile. thousands of babies who are born a day each with a price tag of $60,000 in debt on their head. and some people say it's just a number, it doesn't mean anything. tell that to the people of 17th century spain or 18th century france or 19th century great britaintor ang chent ekwipt or ancient roam rome. they all did the same thing. fiscally irresponsible and went down the tubsz. so obviously what we're thinking about now is how do we spend efficiently and effectively. that's one of the reasons that i'm on this listening tour. i just got back on friday from texas, was in detroit before that, will be in multiple other
places looking at the things that actually work, that are effective in getting people out of poverty and setting them on the trajectory for success, the things that actually work for the elderly and for the disabled people in our country that encourage the public/private partnerships to occur. when we take the public sector, the private sector, and the faith-based community along with nonprofits, and we align them in terms of their goals, believe me, i've seen some magnificent things happen. 8 to 1 leveraging of federal dollars in many cases which then
makes it possible to rebuild or refurbish the housing. because, as i said before, it is a part of our infrastructure. there are a lot of our housing projects that can be fixed that can be renovated, that can be made into beautiful places. i've seen them on this tour. but it requires the right attitude and the right partnerships in order to get that done. now, you know, one of the things that has hampering innovation around this country are excessive regulations. you know, there is no mayor or governor or housing commissioner anywhere in the country in either party that i've talked to who hasn't said the same thing. they said, the amount of red tape and the hoops we have to jump through is so ridiculous it almost makes it not worth having a grant.
and that's defeating the purpose. that's what bureaucracy is. bureaucracy is when you care more about the rules than you care about the goals. and that is killing us as a nation. so we are working very hard to get the inappropriate things out of the way and the way i kind of look at it, if you have the right goals, and the right metrics for mesh puasuring the , you don't have to have 12 people looking over everybody's shoulder and telling them what to do. that's not who we are as a nation, and we didn't reach the pin knack will that way. . reached it because we had that entrepreneurial spirit and the innovative spirit and the the only way that that works is if there is a goal that we have
that we've established together and there are metrics that we establish together and we say go out and do it, just get it done. as long as you get it done, use the brain that god gave you and get it done and accomplish the goal of creating the housing and the environment that we need. and recognize that it's more about just putting a roof over people's heads, it's about developing the human capital. it's about developing our people. we only have 330 million people in this country. china ha has four times that many people. india has four times that many people. how are rer we going to compete with them in the future unless we begin to develop all of our people? we just can't continue to have a situation where 20% of people who enter high school don't finish. we can't have a situation where we have 5% of the world's population and 25% of the prison
inmates. that doesn't make any sense. and these are all people created by god with enormous potential who can be part of the engine rather than part of the load. so anything that we do, it needs to be focused on how do we develop the people? it's about more than rehabbing a housing complex. it's about creating a community, it's about working across silos so that we can educate people, so that we have appropriate healthcare for people. you know, one of the things that i've been noticing in successful communities that have been reinvigorated, is the emphasis on healthcare. it's a very, very important thing to think about. if you have a clinic in the neighborhood, then people tend to use that clinic rather than the emergency room for their
private care. -- their primary care. now, it costs five times as much to go to the emergency room as it does to go to the clinic. and also in the emergency room if you got a diabetic foot ulcer, you know, they patch you up and send you out. and the clinic, they patch you up and say now let's get your diabetes under control so you're not back here in three weeks with another major problem. when we start thinking that way, we begin to really see some savings and efficiency as well as much better healthcare. one of the clinics where i was on friday, i was talking to the healthcare providers there, you know, about the children who come in with asthma. it's a real big problem. a lot of it is induced by mold. and i -- so what they try do is
when they see that, they go out and inspect the home. and then there's a private foundation which helps with the mold remediation in that home. that is the way you do it. because the cost long term of chronic asthma runs in the -- in the tens of billions of dollars. and the same thing with ladead, lead remediation. we all know some of the problems caused by lead, but do we think of the long-term costs? you know, when a child is affected by lead early on, it doesn't go away. it's a permanent problem. it can affect their behavior. it can lead to a very difficult life for them.
and the cost to society can be great. you know, we know there's at least 310,000 children affected by lead in our country right now. those are the ones that we know about. and there are others. these are enormous costs unless our policies recognize these things, then we will continue to be shoveling water out of the ocean with a teaspoon. it's not going to help us make us feel good we got a little bit of water. but we have to have policies that actually solve our problems. now, one of the things that has been extraordinarily effective is the low income-housing tax credits. because what those do -- [ applause ] >> what those do is they encourage the public/private partnerships. that's what works, because they
help to establish win/win situations. you know, we shouldn't be looking for handouts, but what we should be looking for are things where everybody involved in the situation benefits. and when we formulate those kinds of things in the right way, i think we're going to see a prolij u live for operation of those. we're already starting to see them in some of the cities. we're going to be working again on policies that help to elevate those kinds of partnerships. and also the partnerships with the faith community. you know, i have been incredibly impressed by how many people have good hearts in our country. i was at a hack wa facility, housing opportunities for people with aids and they were saying when we first came here nobody wanted us and they had signs and they were protesting.
we don't want these people in our neighborhood. and he says now every night people come and bring dinner, you know, for all the inhabitants. and bring -- they get furniture. i mean the place looks like a five-star hotel. it is really nice. but it's because people like you and me have reached out with compassion to their neighbors. isn't that who we are? think about it. in the early days of this nation when it was harvest time, if a farmer was out picking apples, had climbed the tree and fell out of the tree and broke his leg, what did everybody do? they picked his crops for him. they took care of his family. that's what we are as americans. when there's a disaster in the world, who's always first in line with money and aid?
we are. we are. because of the godly principles of loving your fellow man. and that's something that we need to cultivate. we need to stop listening to all the people who try to make us believe that we hate each other and that we're enemies. when we could expend that energy actually solving our problems. and i think that's where we need to go as a nation. and that's going to be up to we, the people. see, i've given up on they, the politicians. it's we, the people -- >> [ applause ] >> -- who have do it. and we have to use that intellect and we have to use our collective strength because when we don't have somebody, you know, irritating us, we can do pretty well. you know, it's sort of like remember when you were in the third grade and everybody would be out on the playground having
a good time? having just so much fun together and then comes the troublemaker. and he said, did you hear what he said about your mama, you know. and all of the sudden you got turmoil going. we don't need that, you know. we have so many important things that we have to get done now. and it involves working across the silos, creating real communities. one of the things that i've been working on is something called housing savings account. when the monthly allocation is made to supplement, a small portion of it goes into an account for each unit. and it is that money that is used to take care of that unit. if there are always holes poked in the screen and the screen'ses have to be replaced it's coming out of that housing savings account. if the door's always scratched up and has to be paint it's
coming out of that. guess what happens? people start taking care of their stuff. and if there's nothing to take care of, it just keep accumulating and if you leave in five ten years, you get the money. and it can be a very substantial amount of money for a down payment on your own house. see, we need to start thinking this way because we want to encourage people and we want to provide a ladder of opportunity for people to move upward and outward. for me, success at hud is not how many people we can have in public housing, it's how many people we can get out of it and how many people we can have become a strong and vibrant part of our society. we can do that. we have the ability do that. we have things like section 3 which has been around for a long time, but virtually no one pays attention to section three. which says, you know, you need
to employ the people, the low-income people in the projects. in the housing, in the infrastructure, in anything that's going on in that community. no one does it. and the reason they don't do it is because they say, well, you know, no one has the skills so we have to go to the outside to do that. and there is some validity in that argument, but i don't consider that reasonable. because we're smart. there's a roon we have these brains with these big frontal lobes that allow us to plan and strategize. any project that's being done has to have a planning stage. and there's a lot of groundwork that has to be done before you actually build something. so why wouldn't it be possible if you know that this is going to be done in this place to go in there a year ahead of time and start training the people
there to be able to do the project? [ applause ] >> and then had it comes up, they've got jobs and when they have jobs and skills, that skill doesn't go away when that project ends. they now have a lifetime skill when allows them to move on and do anything they want. isn't that what america is about? those dreams and those opportunities. and what we have to understand is that everybody is either going become part of the engine or part of the load. and we, as a nation, can go a lot further and a lot faster if a lot more people are part of the engine. so we need to be thinking about ways that we can do that. and if we just are willing to live by godly principles of loving your fellow man, caring about your neighbor, developing your god-given talents to the
utmost so that you become valuable to the people around you, having values and principles that govern our lives. not allowing ourselves to get in a tijer and fighting all the time. i want to leave with you this thought. the brookings institute did a study on poverty. big study. they concluded that there were three things that a person could do that would reduce the likelihood of them living in poverty to 2% or less. now that ought to perk all of our ears up, just three things. number one, finish high school. number two, get married. number three, wait until you're married to have children.
those three things, do you those three things you have a 2% or less chance of living in poverty. you think it might be a smart thing if we start teaching that to our children ahead of time? and just let's talk about those -- those very values and principles that help to get us where we are. and stop being afraid of everything. everybody's so afraid to say anything because somebody might call them a name. let them call you names, i don't care. when i was a kid they used to say sticks and stones break my bones but names will never hurt me. we don't need to worry about names, we need to worry about compassion. we need to worry about values, we need to worry about godly principles that made us into a great nation. we need to worry about our fellow man who is standing right next to us and if we're willing to do those things, i guarantee
you we will have one nation under god, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. thank you so much. [ applause ] >> we'll now have an opportunity for some questions. >> thank you, dr. carson. so we have been collecting questions from everybody here participants. we have a stack of them that will i've gone through. if there's more we'll have some staff that will gather them up and bring them up. i see a couple over here. so -- and with these i'm going -- i've gone through the ones that i have already to come up with a few kind of representative questions that i think -- >> all right. >> well, one i'm not sure you can answer this one but there's a lot of interest in your senior team and when we'll be hearing more, so just as an fyi. people are curious about who else will be in the building making these decisions.
but there are a lot of people in the room who are -- thank you -- who are either receiving hud assistance in some way, they're living in public how's regular they have section 8 vouchers themselves and the budget cuts are, you know, very real and need to them. there's a concern about people actually losing their homes. you talked a little bit earlier about giving some assurances that nobody will lose their homes. i'm sure that was a comfort. i think people would like to hear a little bit more about that and how, you know, given the cuts that are proposed how you can assure that people will be able to continue receiving the assistance that they need to afford them. thank you. >> one of the things that i wlernd learned when i was growing up from my mother who only had a third-grade education is that there are efficient ways to utilize funds and there are
inefficient ways. everybody used to always wonder how is this woman with no education who works as a domestic able to afford a new car? they said, she must be selling her body or something. but i'll tell you what, she was the most thrifty person you can imagine. everything -- nothing was ever wasted. and what we're doing right now and part of the reason that i'm doing a listening tour and why i'm studying all the various things around this nation so vigorously is to figure out where do we get the bang for our buck. i have been assured by the president and everyone else that if we come up with the efficient way of managing things, there
will not be anybody who will lack. it's only the ineer efficient wasteful things. we are -- i am absolutely determined to make sure that we do this in an effective and efficient manner. secondly, and here, listen very carefully, as i'm traveling around, i am seeing some of the most beautiful places for low-income people that have been constructed and that are being maintained through public/private partnerships of the right type. that's the key. it has to be the right type with the right incentives. the amount of money that exists in this country is enormous, it's much more than the amount of money that the government
has. and by creating the right circumstances where we can pull that money in to take care of all of our citizens, i think we will be much, much better off than having a program where we are constantly asking a cash-strapped government to do everything. it's much better if we have a government that understands its role in helping to facilitate and create the circumstances that allow all of our people to flourish. >> thank you. another question. we've gotten a lot of questions around engaging with residents. and your willingness to engage the tenant organizations, the tenant organizers and residents who rely on these programs as you make your decisions about ways to improve programs. >> well, the reason that that's important is because
traditionally, you know, people in washington have sort of felt that they had all the answers. and that they would, you know, send the message from above. and the way our country was designed, it's supposed to be of, for, and by the people. we in washington work for the people, the people don't work for us. and somehow, somehow that's been forgotten. and that's the reason that i engage with the people. i want to hear from the people. and i'm hearing some excellent suggestions and seeing some terrific things. >> thank you. and i know just one last question comes from we have a number of young people that have -- are participating in this conference for the first time and getting involved in the issue for the first time [ applause ] >> and they're asking, you know, as a 17-year-old, as an
18-year-old how they can convince other youth to get involved and how can you be a part of that. >> well, you know, my whole medical career was surrounding young people and recognizing that in our country it is going to be the young people who are going to decide who we are and what we've become. it's one of the reasons that, you know, my wife and i put the reading rooms in all over the country. primarily in title i schools where kids come from homes with no books, they go to a school with no library or poorly funded library. they're not likely to become readers. statistics will show that 70% to 80% of high school drop outs are functi functionally ill lit rate. if you can fix that problem downstream you're not going to have that problem upstream.
the reason i became a pediatric neurosurgeon is because you can spend ten, 12 were 15, 18 hours brighting on a kid and if you're successful, the return may be 50, 60, 78, 80 years of life whereas with an old geeser you spend all that time operating and they die in five years of something else. so i like to get a big return on my investment. we get a big return -- i'm just kidding a like old people. but you see the point. there is so much potential in our young people and we have to focus on what is going to work for them. we've had -- we've had our time or we're having our time and it is always been a part of america for us to think about the welfare of those who are coming
behind us and to act in a way that is responsible in order to improve their quality of life. but housing, and i could talk for a long time about this, is such an integral part of the well-being mentally and physically of young people. i was talking to one of our scholars and she was talking about how hard she studies and works and she would always come home and sit down in the living room in order to complete her homework until a bullet came through the window. so now she studies in the back of the house. but can you imagine how disruptive, how anxiety-producing it is to a young person walking home from school, trying to study in their living room and having things like that going on? and that's why when i talk about
developing communities, i'm not just talking about putting a roof over people's heads, i'm talking about having clinics, i'm talking about having vision centers, places where kids can learn about different careers. because they don't even know anything about the multitude of possibilities that exist for them out there. i'm talking about place where's people can get some vocational training and learn how do things. when i was in high school, i learned how to make electric motors, i could use the lathe, i could use all of the equipment. they don't teach that stuff at high school anymore. kids don't know that stuff anymore. we need centers so they can learn that, they can learn what the various jobs are, they can learn what the responsibilities are, they can get training for doing that. we need transportation so that people can get to different places.
we need to bring in affordable food markets. we need to work with the policing community because we need to also be thinking about those individuals who are incarcerated. and why are they incarcerated? here's what i want you to think about. when a baby is born, aren't they cute? i mean, look at how cute, they're so nice. goo goo, gaga, and then 20 years later you ask yourself, what happened to that cute baby? well, see, it is our responsibility to make sure that the right things happen to that cute baby so that they go along the right pathway. but many of them who do go on to prison they go in with little education and little skills. they come out with little education and little skills so what are they going to do? go back to doing whatever they were doing before. that's why we have these high
recidivism rates. so we need to ask ourselves, are they part of the human capital also? the answer is yes. should we be trying to develop them also? and providing an opportunity to change the trajectory of their lives so they can become part of the engine and the not load? of course we should. and when we start thinking about that in all the different ways and stop allowing ourselves to be manipulate and divided, divide and conquer, forget about it. it was jesus who said a house divided against itself cannot stand. let's think about how we can work together to get this done. thank you so much. >> thank you, dr. carson. [ applause ] >> just one last thing before you go, not a question, but we are pleased that you are doing the listening tour that you are and engalking so many people throughout the country and we wanted to offer you a list of
suggested stops from our state part nerds, from the resident organizations that are here in this room that would welcome a chance to welcome to you their punts. >> that's a lot of places. this will keep me busy so i won't be able to get in trouble. thank you. >> that's right. thank you, dr. carson. [ applause ] >> c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up saturday morning, we start with with associated press reporter christopher rescue gabor on the march jobs report. april is autism awareness month and to talk about it is jewel are, and allison rat toe from the center from autism spectrum disorders. and spotlight on magazine segment will feature blooem bloomberg business week. we'll discuss new technology in football to protect against player concussion.
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