Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

More Reports of Trouble at the Top of HUD

Another in a string of detailed exposés on the working conditions and policy agenda of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the leadership of Secretary Ben Carson.
March 6, 2018, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments
Mark Van Scyoc

Glenn Thrush paints a less-than-flattering portrait of the the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the leadership of Secretary Ben Carson.

Thrush lists a collection of pressure points that have rendered Secretary Carson largely ineffective and ineffectual. 

"Mr. Carson’s own lapses in judgment — combined with the questionable behavior of his family and his reluctance to aggressively engage Mr. Trump — have left him at the margins of the cabinet," writes Thrush. Also, Secretary Carson "has been whipsawed by a job he has found puzzling and frustrating — so much so that he considered quitting during recent wrangling over the department’s budget." Finally, Secretary Carson "has not yet been able to get serious buy-in from Mr. Trump or secure commitments from his staff on the programs he favors, especially his plan to create thousands of community centers geared toward fostering self-sufficiency."

Ethics issues, conflicts with other high-ranking Trump appointees, and an embarrassing episode involving a $31,000 dining room set are all presented as evidence for those storylines.

Meanwhile, Secretary Carson's grand vision for establishing HUD "as a ladder out of dependency for the working poor" is languishing. "Increasingly, he is staking that legacy on a single program, the so-called EnVision Centers project," according to Thrush, but Secretary Carson hasn't been able to attract more than $2 million in funding for the next year from his boss in the White House. According to Thrush's explanation of the program, Secretary Carson is pushing to create some 3,000 EnVision Centers over the next three to five years, "to provide low-income families, especially young people, with one-stop access to educational, job training, mentorship and health care services." 

Lots more anecdotes and insight, as well as sources for this insider information, are listed in the article. This isn't the first time Secretary Carson's tenure at HUD has been called into question. The Thrush article is the latest installment in what's becoming a genre of news coverage—reports of low morale and other negative press directed toward Cabinet members and other executive leadership in the Trump Administration.

Full Story:
Published on Monday, March 5, 2018 in The New York Times
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email