With his new role as secretary of the department of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson is making it known that people who seek shelter from the government shouldn’t be too comfortable doing so.
According to the New York Times, Carson visited a homeless shelter this week in Ohio, and was “plainly happy” when he learned that the facility “purposefully did not provide televisions,” lest its residents start to feel too much at home.
Carson reportedly wasn’t too happy when a housing complex for veterans provided too many amenities, saying the placed lacked “only pool tables.”
From the Times:
Compassion, Mr. Carson explained in an interview, 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.’”
Carson is a longtime believer in the notion that too much government assistance will result in dependance.
“We have some people who are mentally ill. 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,” Carson said. “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.”
But according to the Times’ report, many residents were underwhelmed by Carson’s visit, some seeing it as nothing more than a meaningless photo op.
“If he got something to do with Trump, that means he’s not really for us,” 45-year-old Antione Williams said. “It’s not surprising. That’s what the rich do, they make it hard for the poor.”
Alzene Munnerlyn, 87, who uses a voucher to pay for part of her rent, said she felt “a little used” after Carson stopped by her apartment, took a photo with her, and then left after about 10 minutes.
“It was staged. It was so fast,” a disappointed Munnerlyn said. “There needs to be a forum where you can just sit and talk with him, and he could ask you how you feel and then you could express yourself.”
Even the clinical director of the central Ohio’s YMCA was critical of Carson’s visit.
“It’s so choreographed,”Bela Koe-Krompecher said after Mr. Carson left a supportive housing center for the homeless. “I was kind of told, ‘Be quiet, Bela.’ But I think people need to have that blunt conversation.”
You can read the New York Times full report here.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore