HUD Secretary Carson defends Trump housing policy in Minneapolis

HUD Secretary Ben Carson visits the EcoVillage
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson visits the Hawthorne EcoVillage, low-income housing complex in Minneapolis, on Tuesday.
Martin Moylan | MPR News

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson Tuesday visited a low-income housing development in Minneapolis and defended the Trump administration's efforts to foster affordable housing.

Carson toured the 75-unit Hawthorne EcoVillage, which opened less than two years ago. The nonprofit Project for Pride in Living owns and operates the complex.

Carson said anyone would be glad to live there, given the quality of construction and amenities.

The Trump administration's efforts on housing have generated bipartisan disappointment and opposition. But Carson dismissed critics' complaints.

"The president is probably the most famous real estate developer in the world," he said. "So, he ought to be all over this. And I think he will be."

Chris Wilson and HUD secretary Ben Carson
Chris Wilson of Project for Pride in Living, left, with HUD Secretary Ben Carson, on the roof of the Hawthorne EcoVillage housing complex.
Martin Moylan | MPR News

Carson said the president will soon issue an important executive order on affordable housing.

The HUD secretary said he'd like to see more cities follow the lead of Minneapolis and eliminate single-family zoning, opening up every neighborhood to higher-density housing.

"Look at some of the places that have the biggest homelessness problems, like Los Angeles where 80 percent of the land is zoned for single-family housing, with a certain amount of property," he said. "The correlation seems very strong. The more zoning restrictions and regulations, the higher the prices and the more homeless people."

Carson also called for greater use of innovative building technology and a rollback of regulations that impede housing construction.