Housing

Donald Trump's US housing secretary Ben Carson claims poverty is a 'mindset'

The recent President Trump appointee suggested poverty and homelessness in the US is passed on by parents

The Trump administration’s housing secretary Ben Carson has claimed that poverty is largely “a state of mind”.

Carson, the man responsible for tackling homelessness and providing low-cost housing as secretary of housing and urban development (HUD), said poverty stemmed from parents giving their kids “the wrong mindset”.

“A lot of it has to do with what we teach children,” said Carson, appointed by President Trump to the department earlier this year. “You have to instil into that child the mindset of a winner.”

Congresswoman Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat, tweeted her response to Carson’s comments: “States of mind: Happy. Sad. New York. Not a state of mind: Systemic poverty.”

No child should be without a home, let alone be forced to navigate red tape to prove that they are actually homeless

Housing charities in the US have been trying to get Carson’s department to change how they count the number of homeless people across the nation.

Back in March, Ohio congressman Steve Stivers, a Democrat, introduced a bill to expand HUD’s definition of homelessness. The effort is designed to get more families with children the help they need.

Donald Trump at Pennsylvania rally

“No child should ever be without a home, let alone be forced to navigate bureaucratic red tape just to prove that they are actually homeless,” said Stivers.

Diane Nilan, founder of the Hear Us Inc. non-profit working with homeless youth said counting people properly would be an important step.

“HUD has a definition of homelessness that excludes about 75 per cent or more of the homeless population as we see it in this country,” she told public radio earlier this month.

HUD figures show 206,286 people in families with children experienced homelessness in 2015. But the US Department of Education figures showed around 1.2 million homeless students across the country experienced homelessness during the 2014-2015 school year.

Photo: Gage Skidmore, licensed under CC

Watch the Pride special collection.

Our LGBTQ+ film playlist offers a new and interesting angle on LGBTQ+ love and struggle – giving an international overview by taking us inside some of the most and least sexually liberated countries in the world.  

Sign Up Now

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Dropping leasehold pledge could cost Labour millions of votes, campaigners warn: 'Expect consequences'
Cladding protest in Westminster
Housing

Dropping leasehold pledge could cost Labour millions of votes, campaigners warn: 'Expect consequences'

'It's unforgivable': Michael Gove served 'eviction notice' by protesters over rising homelessness
DLUHC protest by HASL gives Michael Gove eviction notice
Homelessness

'It's unforgivable': Michael Gove served 'eviction notice' by protesters over rising homelessness

Criminal Justice Bill: Plan to criminalise rough sleeping will 'punish people with nowhere to go'
Tents in Brighton for rough sleepers who face being criminalised under the Criminal Justice Bill
Rough sleeping

Criminal Justice Bill: Plan to criminalise rough sleeping will 'punish people with nowhere to go'

We'd need to build 36 Milton Keyneses to solve UK housing crisis. Are new towns really the answer?
Housing crisis

We'd need to build 36 Milton Keyneses to solve UK housing crisis. Are new towns really the answer?

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know