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How Elites Scam Americans Out of Housing

The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Ben “I’ve Never Had to Worry about Affording Housing” Carson, wants to triple the rent that low-income American families pay for federally subsidized housing.

Yep, this is the same guy who spent $31,000 of taxpayer money on a table and chairs. He’s trying to make it harder for low-income families who shop at Bob’s Discount Furniture to afford a stable housing situation.

For many families, that rent increase could mean the difference between squeaking by and being out on the street. That’s not an exaggeration — just ask anyone who’s been on the cusp of homelessness.

That’s why federally subsidized housing exists to begin with. Housing insecurity is a huge issue in our country. HUD exists to ensure that more American families can access safe, affordable housing, to decrease homelessness, and to prevent housing discrimination.

Carson hasn’t spent a day of his life living in federally subsidized housing. If he’d come to HUD with that sort of experience, he’d know: Jacking up the rent on families already struggling to get by won’t fulfill some cock-eyed goal to make people less reliant on public assistance. It will just make things worse.

It will increase the rate of people who are homeless or housing insecure — that is, those who may not technically identify as homeless, but who have to rely on the kindness of strangers, friends, family, or a temporary residency program to have a roof over their heads.

Imagine you’re holding down a job — or two or three — and you’re just barely able to pay bills and feed your family. You’re already counting pennies to make sure you’re keeping on top of it all.

Even eating McDonalds and ketchup sandwiches and buying stuff at Goodwill can’t save you from an unexpected increase in rent.

A recent exposé on eviction rates exposed some inconvenient truths about the reality of housing access in this country. Evictions are soaring. Add to that the millions of people screwed over by the 2008 housing crisis or by disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, and tornadoes.

It’s not just adults who are at high risk — the average age of a homeless person in the United States is 9. Carson’s misguided attempt to force more Americans off public assistance will force millions of kids right onto the street.

The problem isn’t just that ordinary folks suffer — it’s that greedy companies and individuals swoop in to take advantage of the situation, particularly in the case of foreclosed homes. You can buy up foreclosed properties for small change and turn someone’s misery into a substantial profit.

Just ask one of the lieutenants in the war on poor people, Sean Hannity. Hannity got some great deals on foreclosed homes thanks to Michael Cohen, his own attorney and President Donald Trump’s “fixer.” Hannity actually used a shell company to purchase properties through a dealer who pleaded guilty to criminal charges in a scheme to fraudulently purchase foreclosed homes.

Rich people like Sean Hannity can easily get even richer off foreclosed homes, leaving families out in the cold — while attacking poor people on air for not “pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.”

Carson and Hannity are wealthy, elite Americans who’ve never had to face homelessness or losing their homes due to foreclosure. Meanwhile, their actions are putting the basic right to safe, secure housing out of reach for ordinary low-income families.

More articles by:

Olivia Alperstein is the Deputy Director of Communications and Policy at Progressive Congress.

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