Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson said Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic presented a unique opportunity to address homelessness — and one solution he thinks can help is building tent cities on public land outside.
Carson, speaking to Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM Patriot 125, reminded Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow that he had been warning about the effects of a possible pandemic on the homeless since last year.
(Breitbart News reported in September 2019: “Ben Carson Warns of Potential ‘Epidemic’ Among Homeless in California Cities.)
Carson noted that there had not, thus far, been many cases of coronavirus among the homeless, largely because the early cases involved people who had traveled to another country, as the illness spread from China.
Now, however, with “community spread” raging in the U.S. and around the world, there was a risk to the homeless.
Carson was optimistic, saying we should “use this as an impetus to get rid of homelessness in the country altogether.”
But unlike the indoor approach currently being used in Los Angeles — where Mayor Eric Garcetti is converting recreation centers in residential neighborhoods to emergency homeless shelters — Carson said the best solution was to build tent cities on public lands, where the spread of coronavirus would be less likely:
There are some federal lands, and some state lands, that can be contributed, and we can put up various types of structures that can be put up relatively inexpensively, which give people a clean bed, a safe environment, a place where their basic medical needs can be taken care of, where we can deal with the drug addition, where we can deal with the illness, and also “wraparound” services, because many of these people are very salvageable, and can be returned to a state of self-sufficiency. But if we don’t concentrate on doing that, what we will do is accumulate more and more and more dependent people, and pretty soon the total will be so great we will not be able to handle it.
Carson added that he hoped people would step forward to help the homeless in a time of need.
Before there was a HUD, before there was government welfare, it was people helping people. It was the faith-based community, it was people saying, ‘These are my neighbors’.
“We need to get back to that,” he said.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
This article has been updated.