ALTA Looks Forward to Working With HUD Nominee Carson

January 12, 2017

Ben Carson testified Thursday before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs during his confirmation hearing to serve as the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Prior to the hearing, ALTA issued a statement announcing that it is encouraged by the opportunities to work with Carson and explore new measures to promote homeownership.

“The nomination of Dr. Ben Carson as the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development provides the committee the chance to discuss ways to rejuvenate urban cores and strengthen communities,” said Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “ALTA and its members look forward to working with Dr. Carson to promote policies that will strengthen the nation's housing and ensure all consumers looking to purchase a home have access to affordable credit.”

During his testimony, Carson provided his vision for HUD and said burdensome housing regulations are increasing income inequality.

“When land use for local housing supply is less regulated, workers of all skill types will choose to move to the productive locations,” Carson said. “I want to help heal America’s divisiveness, and I think HUD is positioned to help in that healing.”

“One of our biggest threats right now is this political division, racial conflict, and class warfare. It is ripping this country apart—we need to tamp down this animosity. As Jesus said and later Lincoln built on, 'a house divided against itself cannot stand.'  I see HUD as part of the solution, helping ensure housing security and strong communities," he continued.

Carson raised concern that banks are reluctant to participate in low-down payment loan programs for fear of getting sued if borrowers default. When asked if the 30-year fixed mortgage should be preserved, Carson indicated he was supportive of the product and that it enabled millions of people to achieve the American dream. Carson also said he supported some type of governmental financial backstop, but that he also was in favor of introducing more private entities into the market.

Carson said he plans on bringing a fresh, holistic approach to housing. It’s a similar approach he’s used as a neurosurgeon and views government programs as a springboard to help people move forward.

“I concentrate on a holistic approach because when I look back historically on an agency such as HUD—and there have been a lot of good program targeted at specific problems—but the progress has not been as great as one would like to see. I discovered as a neurosurgeon you’re much more effective when you bring in a bigger picture view of things. You need to look at the whole person and how you can bring health to this individual and put them in an environment where they can thrive. We don’t want it to be a way of life, we want it to be a springboard to move forward.” 

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