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s a physician, Dr. Ben Carson knew the right prescriptions to give to his neurosurgery patients. But as the newly confirmed secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will he be able to provide the right prescription for HUD?

The wrong one is cutting HUD’s budget by a staggering $6 billion (down 13.2 percent from last year), as proposed by the new budget from the Trump administration.

As a physician, I know that stable, affordable homes are as necessary as medicines, a good diet, and exercise to help people achieve good health. HUD, as the primary federal agency charged with alleviating poverty and ensuring that America’s families, seniors, veterans, and people with special needs have access to healthy homes they can afford, needs an injection of resources, not a withdrawal of them.

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No amount of medicine will make asthmatic children breathe easier if they are living in homes filled with mold. Families who are choosing between rent and food almost always choose rent. As Matt Desmond, author of the book “Evicted,” writes, “the rent eats first.” Homeless patients don’t heal well after surgery if they are sleeping in shelters or on the street.

Think of a stable home as a vaccine, something that can keep people healthy now and in the future.

Having worked with HUD for over 15 years, I have seen that it can be incredibly effective at helping millions of Americans achieve better health. Its partnership with Veterans Affairs is helping end veteran homelessness and its partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services has created “housing first” models that have decreased excessive use of health care services and saved money. HUD has led public health efforts in smoke-free housing, reducing thousands of asthma attacks.

And recent studies have shown that stable public housing increased the lifetime earnings of children in those families, offering a step up out of poverty and toward better health.

We don’t need an eviscerated HUD. What we need is a more invigorated one to address the current housing crisis. More than 2 million children are homeless each year; 6 million families live in substandard housing; and more than 11 million households, roughly 1 in 4, are spending more than 50 percent of their incomes on rent. For these families, not having a stable home undermines vital connections to education, jobs, and health.

The good news is that there are many proven ways to address this crisis.

We can renew public housing through HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration, which has a long list of developers ready to partner with public housing authorities to bring construction jobs back to inner cities.

HUD can help improve the supply of affordable homes in partnership with the Treasury Department through America’s main tool for creating and preserving affordable home, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. This proven strategy is severely underused.

We can also strengthen the National Housing Trust Fund, which creates homes for those most in need through reforms of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac federal lending programs.

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There are also exciting new ideas like a federal Renters’ Tax Credit to help working families make ends meet to pay for rent and a universal housing voucher, which the Bipartisan Policy Center endorsed to help millions of struggling hardworking families. With only 1 in 4 families with the “home vaccine” they need, these tax credits and vouchers would provide a huge booster to help these families be healthier today as we build more homes for tomorrow.

As any doctor will tell you, dose matters when using most medicines. We saw that we can end veteran homelessness when we apply the right dose of the treatment and target it to those in need. Dr. Carson understands the deep connection between health and home. He now has an opportunity to write the right prescription for HUD that will boost the dose of stable and affordable homes for all families in America. By doing that, he would make a powerful impact as the head of HUD that truly reflects his origin as a healer.

Megan Sandel, MD, is an associate professor of pediatrics and public health at Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health; associate director of Boston Medical Center’s Grow Clinic; principal investigator of Children’s HealthWatch; and a trustee at Enterprise Community Partners, a national affordable housing and community development nonprofit.

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  • Mr. Ben Carson – Secretary Page # 1
    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 04/19/2017

    Writing a Suggesting Letter of Ideas to Redesign Every H.U.D Housing Authority Projects for A Better Future and The Removal of Any Poison Epidemic infectious Disease Generations of Drugs and Illegal Drugs Abuse and Crime. Our Future Children Depends On Us. Who (m) Will They Trust and Believe.

    “THINK ANEW AND ACT ANEW”- A Quote By President Lincoln

    These widespread occurrences’ of an infectious Disease of Drugs Abuse and Illegal Crime as these individuals are selling Prescription Drugs in My H.U.D Housing Authority Community must stop quickly. This infectious Disease has spread at abnormal rate of speed and our children are being destroyed, even our Older Residents. The actions of these individuals that are coming into our community of peace are disrupted by violence and Drugs Deal sells are really from individuals who live within our community, as they are taking their dealings outside the community and causing more unwanted visitors to come inside our community. This Drugs Epidemic is causing death and despair among our family and friends, even our children of all ages are really the ones that are suffering the repercussion from the actions of those that are doing these illegal actions in front of them. We the people of the United States of America should form better and stronger allegiances against these Unwanted H.U.D Housing Authority House Visitors Guests.

    Suggest Idea #1.

    There need to be a (BIG) major change to (ALL) H.U.D. Housing Authority Projects rules, regulations and procedures. It has been performing poorly over the many years of my 71/2 years of resident dwelling living. Their duties of spending the H.U.D $$$ on what really need to be done is not done. I have not seemed any permanent solution evidences of any (BIG) major change improvements in my community. Housing Authority will either do a little bit of changing, BUT NEVER a permanent change.

    Suggest Idea # 2.

    Make (ALL) H.U.D Housing Authority Employees perform by the book ( ALL) procedures concerning all actions of those living in the Housing Projects, especially when certain tenants refuse to obey the rules of H.U.D of their NO SMOKING RULES, and this include the selling and buying drugs on H.U.D property . (ALL TESTS OF ANY KIND SHOULD BE A TOP GOAL TO EVERY RULE BREAKERS).

    Suggest Idea #3.

    I wish the City of Alton Street Department and H.U.D. of Housing Authority should join together on daily bases of how the parking of abandon cars, expires tags plates on vehicles that has been left unattended or when driven without the proper vehicle insurance on H.U.D Housing Authority property and this should be dealt with. There should be a limit of (2) two cars per dwelling unit. Some tenants are getting away with having 3 to 5 cars per dwelling unit, which has become a disrupted situation when there are only very limited spaces available.

    Mr. Ben Carson – Secretary Page # 2
    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 04/19/2017

    Suggest Idea #4.

    There should be NO so-called base operation of any candy store on (ALL) H.U.D. Housing Authority Properties. Once given permission by the Housing Authority to go forth to do such operation will lead to other illegal actions, and doing such business without a business Licenses is against the law. Sometime these so-called candy stores are not what they seen to be.

    Suggest Idea #5.

    Each tenant that had lived in their dwelling unit for over a year should do a 3 to 6 months testing of Drugs/Alcohol/Background Check procedures in order to stay in their Living dwelling unit. There should be a Second and Third party groups that need to get involved to help out with the H.U.D Housing Authority progress. This will catch any one trying to slip through the crack of getting into one of the dwelling unit of H.U.D Housing Authority.

    Suggest Idea #6.

    Upon applying for a new applications for a H.U.D Housing Authority Apartments and before being accepted into an dwelling unit , there should be always a requirements from Housing Authority to take a Drugs/Background Check / Alcohol testing from each and every tenants when a brand new tenant apply and get accepted.

    Suggest Idea # 7.

    H.U.D need to a Police Sub-Station in every Housing Authority Projects. I believe this type of presence of any Police Officers will gain Honor and Respect from the residents of each Projects Communities. I also, believe that this will cut down on unwanted visitors and crime that has pledge our H.U.D Housing Authority communities. And since H.U.D. Housing Authorities across this Nation are giving these funding of Grants for the District Police Officers in each given municipal principals to provide peace and protections of H.U.D Housing Authority tenants’ well beings.

    Suggest Idea # 8.

    Living in Any H.U.D Housing Authority projects should be a privilege and honor to appreciate from every new or older tenant with a roof over their family heads should come with respect and not abusing their sleeping space dwelling to conjuring up any illegally drugs deals or distributions base drug buys from within or from any out siders.

    Suggest Idea # 9.

    THIS SUGGEST IDEAS HAS MORE AND MORE TO BE CONTINUING ON OF THIS VERY MUCH NEEDED FOR A BETTER FUTURE OF THOSE FAMILIES THAT WISH TO SEE CHANGES FOR THE BETTER WITH LESS TALK FROM H.U.D HOUSING AUTHORITY AND MORE ACTIONS OF THEIR SPOKEN WORDS OF PROMISES…!

    Thank You,
    Ms. Edna Curry- Johnson
    A Long Time Concern Resident of 71/2 Years Living In Alton Housing Authority Projects Of Alton Illinois of a 30+ years of a Alton, Illinois resident.

  • Dr. Carson, since you really do understand how stable affordable housing affects the health of ALL Americans. Pls write a prescription to change HUD new direction that does not provide a cure nor offers a solution to the LMI Comm instead it’s causing more health issues. As an outstanding renowned Very successful top neurosurgeon in this country, I’m pleading with you to help make America great AGAIN for those less fortunate than we are by making affordable stable housing attainable. Believe it or not. We really are our brothers and sisters keeper. We stand on the shoulders of brothers and sisters who came before us and open doors so that we can stand bold and unapologetically ensure safe, affordable, stable housing is available to all Americans who just happen to be in the low to moderate income categories and have been denied access to proper programs for safe housing. Write the prescription pls.

  • I have been receiving HUD for quite sometime since becoming disabled. And I do appreciate the help very much living as someone at poverty level; ($758)a month to live on, and yes, sometimes paying a bill or having to put things back on the shelf at checkout because you have to allow for medications or non-edible items. However, the problem I’m finding with HUD was not raising allowed monthly rents when the HUD approved community have raised the rents above what I can afford. I recently tried to move from my complex, because it didn’t meet my handicapped needs; (pool has only ladders, that I cannot use), laundry area was not equipped to handle my powerchair. When I asked that rails/steps be put into the pool prior to it opening, I was told by HUD that I would have to pay for them, because I was the one requesting it, although other elderly and handicapped residents would be using them. I couldn’t move in March because all the apts that I could live in were above the allowance given to me as a single person. Apt communities shouldn’t be allowed to “lockout” a potential renter by charging huge amounts for application fees, pet rental ($25 a month+ $200 deposit, they do not give back). This is $300 a year that landlords, that are not doing a very good job taking care of the outdated properties, are getting from tents for FREE. And are charging even more. I think there should be a cap or the tenant be allowed money back if no damages can be shown by pets. Because the deposit is what is difficult to come up with while trying to move if not giving the chance to get it back. Or have to owe to the family member that is helping with that. I was trying to move to another apt. and use the money I am paying in gas, to buy new glasses since 2008, after I had cataract surgery that did not go well. I’ve had to be placed on a 2-4 year waiting list for some apts. that if I’m locked in to one place, cannot move into the place I’ve been waiting for and so therefore would miss that option. Most of the HUD approved housing in my city is very bad, out dated, and was even told by HUD, you should just expect there to be mold in every place you’re gonna live in. Being someone with asthma and oxygen at night, that’s not something you want to hear. You can see the difference of rental property from the outside of what HUD approved people get, there is very little handicapped sidewalks, or steps only. Or steps to have to get into the apt, building. Or no way for a ramp to be used. The window blinds, are broken, gone or messed up. The area is less clean than other areas of the community and sometimes are segregated. I have a couple right now living across my hallway that loudly fight everyday, tried to get into my apt when clearly had been smoking and drunk, when telling the office, they did nothing. One elderly woman upstairs, keeps turning her stove on, letting the whole building fill up with gas that could’ve blown everyone up, especially with my oxygen tank in my closet. I have to keep getting water at the store or from family, because the water here is pale off yellow, and has a film (slime)and taste bad. I truly hope something can be done for all having issues in the HUD community.

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