LOS ANGELES - Surging homelessness. Lack of affordable housing. California is in the midst of crisis.
However, when pressed Thursday, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson wouldn’t commit to providing the state with additional housing vouchers to alleviate both problems.
This, after CA Governor Gavin Newsom wrote to the Trump Administration last year, requesting 50,000 extra HUD grants to provide subsidies to eligible low-income homeowners.
“Shelter solves sleep,” Newsom wrote. “But only housing solves homelessness.”
For Carson though, solving homelessness should still be efficient and budget-conscious.
“Let’s use the [vouchers] we have and let’s use them efficiently,” he said. “But let’s bring the prices into alignment with common sense so that we can make those vouchers actually valuable again.”
The HUD Secretary spoke exclusively with “The Issue Is,” California’s only statewide political show, after delivering a keynote address at a homelessness symposium hosted by USC’s Schwarzenegger Institute.
“There are two approaches,” Carson told Elex Michaelson about the thought-process behind vouchers. “One approach is you can keep chasing the escalating prices with more and more money – you’ll never get there.”
“The other is to look at the cost for the escalating prices and to deal with that. We want to look at the cost and deal with that, and then, if after we do that you need more money, then absolutely, but to do it the other way around is never going to lead you to the right place.”
Looking to bring those costs down, Carson is currently on the West Coast-leg of his “Driving Affordable Housing Across America” bus tour, meeting with lawmakers, builders and community leaders in an effort to increase housing while eliminating burdensome regulations and barriers that make affordability difficult.
According to HUD data, in 2019, the national homeless population surged to 567,715 people, much of that increase coming from California, where 151,278 individuals are unhoused.
For air-times and more information on “The Issue Is,” go to TheIssueIsShow.com.