During his visit to Cleveland today, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson toured a temporary housing center on the east side.
He said his department prefers to back programs helping people support themselves. “That’s our major focus now at HUD, on the people themselves as opposed to the programs and the houses,” said Carson.
Carson walked around Family Promise of Greater Cleveland where kids played in a common room while parents in the next room used computers to search for jobs. The faith-based, private non-profit receives $107,000 a year in HUD funding.
According to HUD, the temporary housing program here served 212 homeless families in 2016 and 2017 and more than 90 percent left the shelter with permanent housing.
“If we can get people to be self-sufficient, we will have accomplished our goals,” said Carson.
Carson stressed the value of partnerships with organizations like Family Promise and other faith-based groups over traditional programs like rental subsidies known as Section 8.
“It doesn’t matter how many dollars you put there. You’re still going to have the problem,” said Carson. “So what we have to do is create the mechanism to get people out of the situation. That’s the only way we’re going to make real progress.”
In April, Carson said tenants who receive federal housing subsidies should pay a larger share of their rent each month, arguing it would encourage those in the program to earn more money.
Carson also participated in a private roundtable with religious and community leaders while in Cleveland.