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HUD Secretary on Harvey, Vacancies, and Criticism

Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentUS Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson interviewed with Bret Baier of Fox News about his department’s work with FEMA in response to Hurricane Harvey. Carson outlined loans that have been put in place—such as Section 108 loan—that will help put some of the displaced population back in their homes.

Baier estimates that over 80 percent of the effected population is without flood insurance. Carson agrees that it will be “a mammoth issue and it’s going to be something we’re going to be involved in for many months, and maybe even a few years.” Carson assured Baier HUD would be there for the long haul.

Carson applauded local, state, and federal governments working together, calling the level of cooperation “unprecedented.” He went on talk about how HUD is trying to move away from its bureaucratic nature and reimagine the department through a reduction of regulatory burdens and a rethinking of the way communities interact.

Baier asked Secretary Carson what he thought of the President’s tweet in response to the still-vacant positions at HUD: “We are not looking to fill all of those positions. Don’t need many of them–reduce size of government.”

“I don’t have a Deputy Secretary,” Carson said, “Who is generally the person who runs the day-to-day operation while the Secretary is doing other things. I haven’t been able to travel as much because you’re involved in doing what everyone else is supposed to be doing. I don’t have a general counsel and a lot of top positions, and a lot of it is politically motivated.”

At the end of the interview, Baier asked about a New York magazine article by Alec MacGillis that is highly critical of HUD entitled, “Is Anybody Home at HUD?” Carson went on the defensive.

“You should ring the doorbell before you conclude that nobody’s home.”

About Author: Joey Pizzolato

Joey Pizzolato is the Online Editor of DS News and MReport. He is a graduate of Spalding University, where he holds a holds an MFA in Writing as well as DePaul University, where he received a B.A. in English. His fiction and nonfiction have been published in a variety of print and online journals and magazines. To contact Pizzolato, email joseph.pizzolato@thefivestar.com.

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