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Time Magazine Explores Carson’s Tenure as HUD Secretary

Time magazine took a look at Ben Carson’s philosophy as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, focusing primarily on low-income housing but also hinting at his overall vision for leadership.

“HUD spends 84% of its $47 billion budget simply helping low-income people pay rent,” Time reporter Tessa Berenson wrote. “But the real goal of the agency, Carson argues, has to be for people to no longer need its help at all.”

The magazine followed Carson on a trip to home in Baltimore where federal money helped residents remove lead paint, a key priority for the brain surgeon-turned-housing official. HUD spends about $100 million per year on lead abatement projects, Time pointed out, and Carson has long touted the importance of healthy properties for HUD tenants.

“I spent a lot of time working extremely hard [operating] on children from Baltimore,” Carson said during the event. “Then you get them well again and you send them into an environment that isn’t healthy. This is an opportunity to close the loop.”

The secretary also presented his idea of HUD as an agency that helps Americans live in their own homes without government assistance.

“For me, success is not how many people we get into public housing, but how many we get out,” Carson told Time. “How many people do we give the life skills that will allow them to be independent?”

Carson’s interview with Time didn’t touch on the reverse mortgage program, but the secretary has expressed support for the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage in similar terms since joining HUD. Back in July, Carson praised recent changes to the HECM in an address to LeadingAge Florida, and identified a desire to provide older Americans with a wide variety of options in retirement.

“This is a top priority for my department: To give seniors more opportunities, more alternatives, more choices, and, if desired, to help more people age in place,” the secretary said.

More recently, Carson said he’d be open to allowing co-op owners to access reverse mortgages, and indicated that he’d approve shifting the HECM out of the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund.

Read the full profile of Carson at Time.

Written by Alex Spanko