HUD’s Ben Carson suggests eviction, foreclosure moratoriums should not be uniform across US

KYW Staff
May 13, 2020 - 5:44 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson is not in favor of a national freeze on tenant evictions and foreclosures, he said Wednesday in an interview on KYW Newsradio.

“I don’t know that I’d support anything that is uniform,” he said. “There are different situations that exist in a lot of different places — that’s why we have 50 states. We have 50 laboratories; we can see what works particularly well and then we can spread that around to other places. And things that don't work well, we can try to make sure we limit those things.”

About 15% of households that rent have been greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, either by job loss or reduced hours, the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania estimated.

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That equates to 43,000 households in Philadelphia alone, and Carson credited HUD with stepping in to help.

“We’ve started a moratorium on evictions because the last thing they need to worry about is whether they’re going to lose their home during this time,” said Carson. “Through a variety of programs that exist already, as well as the checks that are being mailed out to people, it is possible to sustain them.”

Carson, who was in North Philadelphia Wednesday visiting the Edison 64 veteran center as part of HUD’s Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, joined KYW Newsradio’s Reporters Roundup with Ian Bush. He said sustaining renters is not something that can go on “for years.”

“That’s why it’s so important for us to be thinking about, how do we make sure everybody understands what the safety measures are, what the recommendations are, how to utilize them?” he said.

Carson said HUD is trying to bridge the gap, because the underlying economy “is really quite strong.”

“If we can get through this virus thing, the underlying structure is still strong. But if we wait too long, the underlying infrastructure of the economy will begin to deteriorate, and then we’d have to start all over again and that would be a big disaster,” he added.

But if he has the opportunity, Carson plans to stay the course.

“I certainly plan to stay through the election period and into the next administration if (Trump is) re-elected,” he said.