21 May 2018 Black Leaders Meet With Ben Carson and Praise the Secretary for his Work Requirement Proposal for Subsidized Housing
HUD Welfare Reform Efforts “Compliant” With Project 21’s “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America”
Washington, DC. – During a meeting with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, representatives from the Project 21 black leadership network informed him that a welfare reform measure he had proposed is considered by Project 21 to be “Blueprint Compliant.” This means the proposal, allowing local housing authorities to institute work requirements for eligibility in subsidized housing, is considered consistent with a recommendation included in the organization’s “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America.”
“Secretary Carson is creating a path for a positive exit from welfare,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Council Nedd II, an Anglican archbishop who attended the meeting. “Government assistance is meant to be exactly that: assistance. The status quo lets too many people fall through the cracks and into a devastating cycle of dependence on handouts. HUD’s endorsement of work requirements for housing eligibility promotes getting people off welfare and successfully into the workforce. That’s why Project 21 considers it compliant with its ‘Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America.’”
In its Blueprint, Project 21 proposes a new work requirement for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, or “food stamps”) that is similar in nature to the HUD proposal. Project 21 included this provision to build upon what it considers to be the success of landmark 1996 welfare reforms which dramatically reduced welfare rolls and encouraged employment and training for millions of Americans.
Nedd and three other Project 21 representatives – Co-Chairman Horace Cooper and members Kevin Martin and Derrick Hollie – met with Secretary Carson and other HUD officials on May 17 at HUD headquarters. They discussed this welfare reform proposal as well as other means of minimizing the need and duration for those with unfortunate circumstances to have to rely on government assistance.
“Our meeting with Secretary Carson was very productive. As we informed him about our Blueprint policies to improve opportunity for black Americans, he highlighted HUD innovations such as EnVision Centers that are designed to empower individuals living in stressed communities,” said Project 21 member Derrick Hollie, who is also president of Reaching America. “HUD EnVision Centers are designed to improve economic sustainability above and beyond financial assistance. They focus on improving tenants’ economic empowerment, educational advancement, health and wellness as well as building character and leadership skills. Job training greatly improves the prospects for people in poverty, and has the potential to reverse the narrative of destructive, long-term welfare policy.”
“Secretary Carson is doing the hard work at HUD that should have been done decades ago,” added Nedd. “He has been soundly criticized, but the results are speaking for themselves. Positive changes are occurring at HUD because his vision, backed by President Trump, is to move HUD’s focus from buildings to people.”
Blueprint-Compliant actions by policymakers in Congress and the White House are being collected and will be posted on the Project 21 website. Additionally, Cooper defended HUD’s welfare reform proposal in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In addition to their meeting with Secretary Carson, Project 21 leaders have briefed key staff at the White House and on Capitol Hill about the 57 policy ideas – spread out over 10 subject areas and covering education, criminal justice, economics and more – available in the Project 21 Blueprint.
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