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Housing Secretary Carson Awards $1.8M For Public Housing Jobs Program

HUD Secretary Ben Carson presented a check for $1.8 million for job-training residents of L.A. public housing. Caroline Champlin/LAist
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U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson was in Long Beach today to award $1.8 million to connect public housing residents with jobs. He announced the grant during his bus tour, Driving Affordable Housing Across America.

The money will go to the L.A. County Development Authority to be used for job training to help residents — many of them single women — transition out of minimum wage jobs.

“One of the great things about the Jobs Plus program is that as people increase their income, we try to minimize the penalties,” Carson said, in reference to people losing their housing vouchers as their income rises. “As it exists now, you start climbing the ladder, the next thing you know they pull the ladder out from underneath you.”

Development agencies in eight other cities across the country also received grants as part of a $20 million investment announced this week under the Jobs Plus program. Los Angeles is the only city in California to receive part of the funding — and the only city to recieve less than $2 million. “There’s definitely a formula that goes into how that works,” HUD deputy assistant secretary Bradley Bishop told LAist.

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Carson’s bus tour is emphasizing a plan to eliminate what he called “silly regulations” that get in the way of creating affordable housing. “Zoning restrictions, height restrictions, density restrictions, wetlands, unnecessary environmental fee structures. It just goes on and on and on,” Carson said at a symposium on homelessness at USC this week.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who also spoke at that conference, has said repeatedly that increasing funding for housing vouchers is one of the biggest thing the feds could do to help alleviate L.A.'s homelessness crisis.


Garcetti is currently working with Carson to get help from the federal government, including land and funds for building shelters, plus medical services. The grant announced today isn’t related to Garcetti’s negotiations with Carson. The mayor said last week that after all the time he’s spent talking to Carson, he’s expecting to receive more than a couple million dollars.

At the event in Long Beach, Carson said money shouldn’t be considered the main solution to homelessness. He said Los Angeles should focus on making the housing market more affordable.

“After we fix that problem, if there’s still further need for federal dollars, to provide them. In the meantime, there’s a lot of state money that needs to be used,” he said.