Newwire : Report: Blacks comprise more than 40% of U. S. homeless population

By Frederick H. Lowe, NorthStar News
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 Homeless man sleeping on the streets

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Although Blacks comprise 12.5 percent of the nation’s population, they are overrepresented among the nation’s homeless as housing prices increase and because fewer units of affordable housing are being built. These two factors are compounded by existing housing discrimination and the black unemployment rate, which is always the nation’s highest.
This constellation of factors often results in Black people sleeping in the streets or in homeless shelters.
Last year, the United States’ homeless population was 553,742. Of this number, 224,937 were homeless Black men and Black women, accounting for 40.6 percent of the total homeless population, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The White homeless population was 260,797, accounting for 47.1 percent of the total homeless population.
The Hispanic homeless population was 119,419, accounting for 21.6 percent of the total homeless population.
HUD gathers its figures during a Point-in-Time estimate which is always taken during the last week of January. HUD’s report to Congress concerning homelessness was released in December 2017. Last year’s homeless count was a .7 percent increase over 2016 and a 13.1 percent decrease since 2010.
Among the homeless, men outnumber women. In 2017, 335,038, or 60.5 percent of the homeless population were men compared with 215, 709 or 39.0 percent women, according to HUD’s 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.
Individuals who are transgendered accounted for 2,092 or 0.4 percent of homeless people.
The count is made by tens of thousands of volunteers who visit 3,000 cities and counties where the homeless are known to be, including emergency shelters, transitional housing and unsheltered locations.
Transitional housing provides people a place to stay and some supportive services for up to 24 months. Unsheltered homeless includes people living on the streets, in cars or in parks.
HUD reported that homelessness in 30 states and the District of Columbia has declined, but in West Coast cities, including Los Angeles, there was nearly a 26 percent increase in overall homelessness since 2016, primarily among individuals living in unsheltered locations.
“In many high-cost areas of the country, especially along the West Coast, the severe shortage of affordable housing is manifesting itself on our streets,” said Ben Carson, Secretary of HUD. “With rents rising faster than incomes, we need to bring everybody to the table to produce more affordable housing and ease the pressure that is forcing too many of our neighbors into our shelters and onto our streets.”
While homelessness decreased, grew slightly among other racial and ethnic groups, homelessness among Blacks increased 6 percent or 7,299 people in 2017, compared with a 2 percent increase or 2,856 people among Whites.
A report titled “Study Investigates Connections Between Race, Homelessness” reports that race and discrimination are integral to addressing homelessness.
“The lack of affordable housing and lack of adequate housing across the country falls more heavily on communities of color, but especially on the African-American community,” wrote Eric Tars, a senior attorney for the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
Homeless people of color are especially vulnerable to the effects of biased policing because living in public spaces creates opportunities for police intervention, Tars said.
Dr. Moser Jones wants policymakers to study long-ignored connections between decades of structural racial discrimination against African Americans and other black persons.
Jones, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, wrote, “Black persons’ general elevated risk for becoming homeless as a result of long-standing discrimination and other factors have depleted black communities’ resources.”

Ben Carson sworn-in as Trump’s only Black cabinet pick

By Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Contributor
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Dr. Ben Carson (left) was sworn in as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday, March 2. Carson’s wife along with his 5-year-old granddaughter, Tesora held the Bible. (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)

The swearing-in of all the primary members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet is just about complete.

Most of Trump’s cabinet—from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross—are rich, White and male.

On Thursday, March 2, retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson broke the mold with his swearing-in as Housing and Urban Development secretary, officially becoming the only African-American in Trump’s cabinet.

The former GOP presidential candidate was confirmed by a 58-41 vote, leaving just four of Trump’s 22 cabinet-level nominees still unsworn.

“Right now, our country is the patient and it’s not a Democrat or a Republican patient..It’s an American patient,” Carson said at his swearing-in as his wife, Lacena and granddaughter Tesora held the Bible. “We have a duty to use the gifts that God has given all of us in order to heal that patient.”

Carson, 65, was born into an impoverished Detroit family, but ultimately became a popular neurosurgeon who ran for president last year winning the

In January, he vowed to begin his job at HUD by going on a listening tour before developing any long-term plans for the department, which has more than 8,000 employees and a $50 billion budget.

In February, during Black History Month, Carson joined Trump for a tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture where the president said Carson would work very closely with him.

“HUD has a meaning far beyond housing,” Trump said. “If properly done, it’s a meaning that’s as big as anything there is.”

Carson, whose mother at times received food stamps to provide for her family, grew up surrounded by some of the housing assistance programs he will now oversee.

“The New York Times” reported that, rather than embrace the programs that once sustained his family and the families around him, Carson adopted standard Republican beliefs that too much government help—both in desegregating neighborhoods and in lifting people from poverty—can discourage people from working hard.

Carson recently had to correct statements which he made that suggested Black people who were brought involuntarily to be enslaved were equated with other immigrants seeking opportunity.

Carson was awarded a scholarship to Yale University, and at 33, he was named director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. He later became an author and a philanthropist supporting scholarships for young, often impoverished students.

“Housing discrimination continues to be a significant problem in this country, unfairly limiting people’s choices about where to live,” Lisa Rice, executive vice president of the National Fair Housing Alliance, said in a statement. “We look to Secretary Carson to marshal the resources of the department he leads to combat this problem, and to fight all forms of housing discrimination.”

Trump fills Cabinet quota with Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

 

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  •  Dr. Ben Carson
    In 1984, at age 33, Ben Carson became the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery at John Hopkins Hospital. He pioneered a number of neurosurgical procedures and was even awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008.
    Carson is a skilled neurosurgeon and has earned a number of accolades during his storied career in medicine, but none of those accomplishments speak to the skills needed to craft policy for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the federal agency that President-elect Donald Trump has asked him to lead.
    Carson’s ability to run a federal bureaucracy with a $27 billion budget such as HUD is unknown. But Donald Trump has been consistent in selected unqualified millionaires and billionaires with no specific policy expertise to run the federal government. With that, Trump has selected Ben Carson to run HUD.
    HUD has traditionally been the cabinet department that Republican presidents have chosen African American nominees. It has been the predictable quota position for GOP presidents and Trump is carrying on that tradition. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan selected Sam Pierce as his HUD Secretary and, in 2004, President George W. Bush chose Alfonso Jackson. But whether they were picked in part, because of skin color or not, both Jackson and Pierce still had at least some experience in a government position before becoming Secretary of HUD. Jackson was the former executive director of the St. Louis Housing Authority and later ran the Dallas Housing Authority. “Silent Sam” Pierce had at least served in the Department of Treasury before being selected as Reagan’s only Black cabinet member.
    During Pierce’s tenure, a Congressional investigation revealed that, “Pierce’s aides, who said they had been acting on his orders, distributed millions of dollars in housing subsidies to prominent Republican consultants at a time when the Reagan administration was sharply reducing the agency’s budget,” according to “The New York Times.”
    The New York Times article continued: “Under President Ronald Reagan, annual spending on subsidized housing programs dropped to $8 billion from $26 billion, cuts that Mr. Pierce defended.
    Carson’s housing strategy is likely to be a mix of novice policy making and unproven theory. That’s how policy novices who think they know everything on subjects they have no expertise typically approach government. Given that, Congress is likely to be the entity truly in charge of the policy as Carson fumbles around with the details.
    Ben Carson has already shown a rugged disregard for plain fact since the time he retired from Johns Hopkins in 2013. That trait hasn’t gone unnoticed. On the day Carson was nominated, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) blasted Trump’s decision. “Dr. Carson’s nomination to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is frightening. He may be a brain surgeon but he is not qualified to run HUD. Donald Trump knows this,” Waters asserted in the statement. “During the Republican primary, [Trump] called him a liar, pathological and even violent. Dr. Carson himself has said he is not qualified to lead a federal agency. Now, we are expected to forget these disqualifying statements by both of them and entrust Dr. Carson with overseeing HUD, which has a budget of $47 billion.”
    The statement continued: “Millions of Americans rely on HUD assistance to help them access safe, decent, and affordable housing. And they are not all in the inner cities; they are in rural and suburban areas as well. HUD provides critical investments in these areas to spur economic development and house the most vulnerable. This is no easy task. The rural and urban Americans who benefit from HUD programs deserve a strong, qualified leader at the helm of this important agency. Dr. Carson is not this person. We know it, Donald Trump knows it, and yes, even Dr. Carson knows it.”
    The confirmation hearing for Carson should be quite long and entertaining. Just like Trump’s choice of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, the choice of Carson by Trump would indicate that the department is of little to no importance to the incoming President, but that there may be major change in federal housing policy on the horizon.