Former neurosurgeon and current U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson recently voiced his concern about government housing being too comfortable for those who need government assistance.
Carson was followed by The New York Times during an urban housing visit in Ohio, where he was asked about his understanding of the word “compassion.” He explained that the word means not giving people “a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: ‘I’ll just stay here. They will take care of me.’”
According to the writer Yamiche Alcindor, Carson “nodded, plainly happy, as officials explained how they had stacked dozens of bunk beds inside a homeless shelter and purposefully did not provide televisions.” He also inquired about the possibility of bringing pets to live in the development, and made a joke about a “relatively-well appointed” veteran housing complex needing pool tables.
Alcindor notes that Mr. Carson believes that too much government assistance leads to too much dependence.
“We have some people [in government housing] who are mentally ill,” said Carson. “We have some elderly and disabled people. We can’t expect in many cases those people to do a great deal to take care of themselves. There is another group of people who are able-bodied individuals, and I think we do those people a great disservice when we simply maintain them.”