Ben Carson hits back at ‘hysterical’ critics, says rent reform gives ‘poor people a way out of poverty’

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Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is firing back at critics who claim his proposal to reform federal government housing subsidies is an “example of the Trump administration’s war on poor people,” as one congressional Democrat put it.

“I would say it’s just the opposite,” Carson said in a phone interview this week with Fox News. “It is our attempt to give poor people a way out of poverty.”

Carson is proposing overhauling the HUD programs that help 4.7 million low-income, disabled and elderly people pay rent. He argues that the current system discourages work, discourages stable families, is overly complex and is financially unsustainable.

Among the proposals is simplifying the process by requiring residents to verify their income every three years, instead of every year. He also calls for increasing minimum monthly payments from $50 to $150 a month, and having households contribute 35 percent of their income toward rent instead of 30 percent (though this excludes the elderly and disabled).

Carson said he believes people on government assistance will welcome his plan if it’s not presented by “hysterical people who are saying, ‘These people hate you and they’re trying to balance the budget on your back and they don’t care.’”

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