Dr. Ben Carson Secretary of Housing & Urban Development talked to Guy Benson Of Fox News Radio on What The Department Of Housing & Urban Development Is Doing To Aid American's Affected By Coronavirus. Secretary Carson said,
"very early on we establish a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions so that people don't need to be worried about losing their home while they're worried about their own health and the well-being of their families very early on. We contacted all the CEOs, sees continuum of care organizations associated with homelessness problems and made sure that they knew what to do if, in fact, one of the people became infected. And we provided the mechanism and the resources to be able to isolate such people and to treat such people if that were to occur. That was done early and aggressively."
Listen To The Full Interview Below:
Guy Benson: It's our final hour of the Guy Benson Show, the happy hour. Glad to have you along. I'm Guy Benson broadcasting from my house wherever you happen to be. Thank you for being here. Guy Benson, show wsj.com for all the ways to listen live. Guy Benson Show.com also for the free podcast. Other options on that free podcast. I-Tunes Spotify subscription is free. If you want to subscribe to the guy Benson, show podcasts each and every day. Very pleased to welcome into the program Dr. Ben Carson. He is the secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the Trump administration. Dr. Carson, Mr. Secretary, great to have you here.
Secretary Carson [00:01:05] Thank you. Nice to be with you.
Guy Benson: I want to start with your medical background. You, of course, had a very successful career in medicine. And from that perspective, in your opinion, your medical opinion. Are we getting our arms around this disease in a way that is making you feel a little bit more comfortable and what are kind of the signposts of progress that you're keeping an eye on?
Secretary Carson: I do. I definitely think we've learned a lot about this disease. The good thing is that almost everybody now knows about the kind of personal hygiene that keeps us safe in terms of hand-washing, being careful about what you touch, in terms of social distancing, in terms of wearing mask in appropriate settings. So that is a sort of institutional memory now and it'll take a while for us to relinquish those things even after the virus has gone. But also, there's been tremendous amount of progress made in terms of research, both in terms of a vaccine and in terms of treatment. There are some incredibly exciting things going on. I think we'll be hearing about them very, very shortly. And you cope. Couple that with the fact that the American people are not people who like to just sit around and are quite happy to do nothing and to be paid for doing that. That's that's not who we are as a nation. And that's beginning to manifest itself in the streets of our cities, particularly when they're a little slower open. But I think if we use the knowledge that we have, we can absolutely open safely and it saves peoples lives and save the economy at the same time.
Guy Benson: You mentioned therapies and possible vaccines. It seems like we've gotten sort of tantalizing glimpses at hopeful signs on both of those fronts, but nothing quite deliverable yet. Are you surprised at the rapid pace at which the vaccine news has come? Because, I mean, we got human trials now, multiple different vaccine candidates in human trials with some promising results and then dozens in the field in terms of therapeutics. What's your sense of how we're doing in terms of making progress on both of those fronts? When do you think Americans might be able to circle on their calendar roughly to say, OK, help is on the way eventually, but when will the vaccine front? I mean, this is warp speed that the way that the barriers have been taken down, the way that the FDA has has worked to allow multiple tests to be going on simultaneously. And as far as the therapeutics is concerned. You know, I get tons of stuff every week from all over the place, people saying we have the answer. This is it. It's almost humorous, but some of them are actually very good. And those have been sent on for further analysis and some of them are moving along very nicely. So I really think if we do have a recurrence in the fall, as some people are predicting, I'm not sure whether that's actually going to happen, but let's say it does. I think we'll be well-prepared for it.
Guy Benson: We saw yesterday a cabinet meeting in the East ROOM of the White House where the president was presiding. And we heard from Vise, President Pence and cabinet secretaries going sort of around the room. If you were to give an update to my audience about what you've been doing at Housing and Urban Development in your fiefdom, your area of the federal government, vis-a-vis coronavirus. What are some of the big top line bullet point items that you think people need to know?
Secretary Carson: Well, obviously, very early on we establish a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions so that people don't need to be worried about losing their home while they're worried about their own health and the well-being of their families very early on. We contacted all the CEOs, sees continuum of care organizations associated with homelessness problems and made sure that they knew what to do if, in fact, one of the people became infected. And we provided the mechanism and the resources to be able to isolate such people and to treat such people if that were to occur. That was done early and aggressively. I believe that's the reason that we haven't seen the disaster that was predicted among the homeless population. But we continue to be very, very vigilant about that. And, of course, you know, we have been concerned about people who live in subsidized housing as well, particularly a lot of them who served on the front lines and have made resources available for them in terms of increased subsidies and. Other things we've taken particular attention to the elderly and to the disabled to make sure that they're not negatively impacted by this whole process.
Guy Benson: I want to ask you about the moratorium that you mentioned on foreclosures. That makes sense. Certainly in the short term, I think to give people some relief because there's enough stress and anxiety and problems going around as it is as we start to transition back to something even in the ballpark of normalcy. What's the plan to start to enforce? You know, rents or mortgage payments, again, in a way that makes sense for both parties?
Secretary Carson: Well, keep in mind, with FHA, we have a variety of different types of forbearance depending on the situation. Most common would probably be the partial claim in which you can take the payments that you missed. And they're amalgamated into a sub mortgage which is tacked onto the end of your forward mortgage. So you don't have to pay it until you've finished paying the mortgage on your house or until you sell like on the out years. Yeah. And and and that's done interest free. So it really should not have a a large impact. And those are the kinds of things that we've been looking at. And also we're concerned about, you know, the servicers and the landlords and all of those people. We've made provisions for all of them because of a domino effect. You can't just have one section and think the rest of the system is going to work. And the thing that we realize the most is that this came on the back of a very strong economy, unlike in 2008 when you had the housing crisis on the back of an incredibly weak economy. And it took for ever, you know, to to reestablish economic e-vite viability. That's not going to happen this time. That economic infrastructure is still in place. All we have to do is really bridge the gap so that we can continue on that on that real upward road. We recognize that some businesses will not survive. It's sort of like a forest fire burns off the underbrush. But what happens after that? You get a lot of new growth, and that's exactly what we're going to see.
Guy Benson: Our guest is Dr. Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Trump administration. You and your. Department have received billions of dollars through the Carers Act, which is something that passed on a massive bipartisan basis. A lot of Americans were glad to see Congress act. I was, of course, urging them to do so. There were some delays along the way. But Americans also want to know, OK, where is all of that money going? We're talking about unbelievable sums. And you've got, you know, billions of dollars now flowing into into HUD. Where's that money going?
Secretary Carson: Well, about five billion of it goes to the CBG. That's community block grant programs which already exist, which made it possible for us very quickly to be able to allocate funding through the grant programs that were already in existence. We also made it possible for people who had CBG money already to repurpose that money to focus on the cobh at 19 response. And then there was four billion dollars that went to the ESG program Emergency Solutions Grants, and this specifically aimed at homeless people supporting the ones that are there, creating new shelters, providing vouchers, hotel rooms, etc. so that we could get people away from each other so that they could socially distance. One point to five billion of it went to the tenant base rental assistance billion to project based rental assistance, section 8, 64 million for housing for people with aids, 50 million for elderly, 15000000 for disabled. So as you mentioned, a lot of money.
Guy Benson: I want to ask one more series of questions or at least one more topic. And you mentioned elderly people for a lot of Americans who are in the most vulnerable demographics. Their housing, their home is a nursing home. And this has been just an absolute disaster in nursing homes, especially in certain states where you're seeing pluralities, even majorities. In some cases, supermajorities of deaths in a given state are occurring inside nursing homes. And we're seeing different states respond differently. We talked earlier in the show about Florida, how they were able to adapt pretty early and make some good decisions. And other states have struggled and are sort of trying to reverse some of their errors. Are you involved at all in trying to identify best practices and make sure that the states that are getting it right are helping the states maybe that are struggling to to turn the corner?
Secretary Carson: Well, we know we don't have a direct role in the management of nursing homes, although we do provide the insurance for a lot of their mortgages. So that's that's the primary impact. But I've been very concerned about that. Have been vocal about that. You know, I'm on the Corona virus task force. And I think, you know, some people have a rather nihilistic attitude toward elderly people in nursing homes. They say, well, they're going to die anyway. I think that is completely the wrong attitude to take. And the ones who are doing it right are recognizing very quickly that there are a lot of practices that were going on there that would not guard against the transmission of the disease. And they're taking the steps necessary. So I think in the long run, all of the nursing home variables are changing. You know, cims is making regulatory changes in the nursing homes. And I think it will have a profoundly beneficial effect for us going forward.
Guy Benson: Finally, Dr. Carson, since you invoked the White House task force on which you serve on coronavirus, are you satisfied that the plan that was rolled out by the administration on reopening and the phased, you know, Phase 1, 2 and 3, the phased approach with different gating criteria and thresholds in that sort of thing? Are you satisfied that leaders in states are following the spirit, if not the letter of that guidance? Or are you concerned in some of these states.
Secretary Carson: Some of the states are posing a little bit of concern because some of the leaders don't seem to fully understand the implications of the guidelines that were given. But most of them seem to be coming around now. All 50 states are reopening at this point. And what will really cause the correct speed? In terms of opening, are the people, the people themselves, the people will see that. Yes, there are big spikes and yes, we better pull back or no, there are no big spikes and things are going along great. And let's move on. Let's move ahead. That's exactly what we're seeing.
Guy Benson: That's why good reliable data is also really important in all of this, not just for leaders, but for the American people, as you point out. Dr. Ben Carson, who had a long and distinguished career in medicine, who is currently the U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development, my guest here on the Guy Benson Show. Dr. Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for your time today.
Secretary Carson: A pleasure. Thank you.
Guy Benson: We will step aside as the final hour chugs ahead after this break. Guy Bensen show more next.