Trump’s HUD: People Share Stories of Escaping Poverty, Public Housing

San Francisco's homeless problem has been exacerbated by the tech boom that pushed housing prices sky high
Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Breitbart News recently sat down with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson in his Washington, DC, office to talk about accomplishments at the agency under President Donald Trump and over Carson’s tenure leading the agency for the past two years.

Carson is best known for his significant contributions to the medical field as one of the world’s top neurosurgeons, including as director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and as a presidential candidate vying against Trump in the 2016 race.

But as a boy raised in poverty and living in public housing with a single mother, his role as the leader of HUD is one that is well-suited for a man who have devoted his career to helping others and inspiring people to believe — as his mom taught him — that anything is possible if one is passionate about succeeding. 

One of the HUD projects Carson spoke about is in keeping with his philosophy that public housing is a stepping stone rather than a destination for people struggling economically or facing other challenges.

In October HUD launched “Humans of HUD, a photo blog featuring the “trials and triumphs of the people HUD serves,” including strategies for escaping public housing,  programs for military veterans, and help for those suffering from drug addiction, homelessness, and other issues.

The photoblog is “dedicated to documenting the journeys of people who are impacted by the Department’s programs and services,” the press release announcing the new photo blog said.

“Humans of HUD exhibits the best part of our agency – the people we serve through our programs, grants, and initiatives,” Carson said of the photoblog. “This is storytelling at its core. People have really opened up to us in a way that brings new meaning and purpose to our work at HUD.”

The series will be featured regularly on HUD’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages, and archived on HUD.gov/HumansofHUD, according to HUD.

Here are some samples of those stories:

Antonio, a military veteran, said he turned to drugs after serving his country in Iraq. Antonio, who lives in Georgia, benefited from HUD’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH), which he called a “game-changer.”

“Sure, I received housing assistance, but it was much more than that,” Antonio said. “I set goals for myself– to obtain my Ph.D. and become a homeowner in five years.”

“I’m grateful that I didn’t let one flat tire stop me,” Antonio said. “The battle isn’t over, but it gets easier when you have the right support, resources, and programs like this one.”

This year, HUD announced a 5.4 percent decline in Veteran homelessness in 2017.

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Rosanna remembers leaving an “unsafe” situation in California to move to Midwest City, Oklahoma with her children where she connected with Port City Acres.

“I had no high school diploma, no job, minimal skills and let’s not forget bad credit,” Rosanna said. “All the odds seemed stacked against me at the time.”

Through HUD’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program she was able to come up with a five-year plan, which included earning her high school diploma and finding a job.

She is now a homeowner, married, has four children and is enrolled in college courses.

“I hope to one day help others as Shirlene, the Muskogee Housing Authority, and the FSS program have helped me,” Rosanna said.

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Shernita said he didn’t know about any other way of life having been “born and raised” is public housing in Washington, DC.

But she got help from the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) and spoke in D.C. at the launch of HUD’S Envision Center, a program that helps people like her develop a vision of self-sufficiency and get the tools they need to reach their goals.

“During this time, I was in a dark place,” Shernita said. “And, didn’t know what I wanted to do, or where I wanted to be. I created this vision board so that I could identify my goals.”

“Before this program [EnVision Center], I didn’t even know what a vision was. I had to think beyond what I see – to create these things that I can accomplish.”

Shernita, who was a single parent, is now married and a homeowner.

“Today, Shernita works for the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) assisting other families who face similar adversities,” the HUD photo blog states. “In 2017, HUD awarded the D.C. Housing Authority $268 million to support housing assistance programs and other supportive services.”

According to its website, HUD is “the Federal agency responsible for national policy and programs that address America’s housing needs, improve and develop the Nation’s communities and enforce fair housing laws.”

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