Housing innovation will require access to information and to funding. This group took matters into their own hands to create exposure to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development's plans.
With little fanfare, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson visited the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex last week, making it the second stop on his national “listening tour.” Carson made public appearances with both Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. He toured neighborhoods, housing complexes, parks, and facilities across the area. Presumably, he got in some listening.
Where this tour is taking him next—and what people are telling him on the ground, in unscripted conversations—is not public knowledge. (HUD has not responded to CityLab’s requests for an interview.) The announcement of Carson’s trip to Texas came just hours before his first public event there.
“You could be forgiven for not knowing [about his visit to Dallas–Fort Worth], since he and his staff have avoided widely advertising the trip,” writes Omar Narvaez, a trustee for Dallas County Schools and a candidate for the Dallas City Council. “This may have something to do with the fact that Secretary Carson would rather not have to answer to the public and defend the outrageous budget cuts he and Donald Trump are trying to ram through Congress.”
Narvaez’s writeup of Carson’s listening-tour stop was posted on CarsonWatch, a website tracking every step of the enigmatic neurosurgeon-turned-cabinet-secretary. CarsonWatch—it practically begs for an exclamation mark to balance the secretary’s famously sleepy style—aims to track how Carson’s public assurances and private appearances match up with the Trump administration’s promise to cut HUD’s budget by $6 billion. The effort is the brainchild of Public Advocates, a nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization, and it may represent an American first: a watchdog site devoted entirely to the doings of a single cabinet member.Read More