Although many in the housing rights field were initially dismayed at the prospect of neurosurgeon Ben Carson becoming Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the leaders of some advocacy groups now hope he can make a positive difference—if he applies his medical background to attack some of the dangers that have long lurked in low-income housing.
President-elect Donald Trump last week announced he would nominate Carson to lead HUD. The nominee grew up in subsidized housing but lacks any government experience—a fact that has drawn scathing criticism from Democrats—and a spokesman for the onetime GOP presidential candidate indicated before his nomination was announced that Carson believed he would be better placed to serve as a Trump adviser.
Carson has not publicly discussed what his plans would be if the Senate confirms his appointment. But his nomination comes as groups that deal with HUD say it must do more to address the health of those living in federally subsidized apartments and other types of homes. Studies have shown that housing—or the lack of it—has significant effects on both mental and physical health. A report this month saying Americans’ life expectancy has dropped for the first time since 1993 is fueling advocates’ concerns. “Poverty and unstable or unhealthy housing is the most under-recognized public health crisis of the 21st century,” says Emily Benfer, a law professor and director of the Health Justice Project at Loyola University Chicago. “As secretary of HUD, Dr. Carson has an unparalleled opportunity to make a profound impact on and create positive health outcomes for millions upon millions of individuals. That’s more patients than any one physician could ever treat.”
Read the full article at Scientific American