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President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Ben Carson as the next secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and, former disgraced HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson supports and vouches for Ben Carson to take his old job, according to the Dallas Morning News. Having Jackson endorse Carson is troubling. In May 2004, as secretary of HUD, Alphonso Jackson made headlines across the nation when he stated “being poor is a state of mind, not a condition.”
Poor, unhoused, barely housed, indigenous, Black, Brown and Red people don’t have presidents. We have prison wardens, police, sheriffs, anti-social workers, landlords, judges, bailiffs, poverty pimps, case manglers, ICE agents, CPS workers and debt collectors. Under Clinton, we lost welfare and the criminalization and incarceration of young people was institutionalized. Poor people don’t have presidents or governors or mayors. We have ourselves.
When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, the nation saw tens of thousands of people left behind in New Orleans. Ten years later, it looks like the same people in New Orleans have been left behind again. The population of New Orleans is noticeably smaller and noticeably whiter. While tens of billions poured into Louisiana, the impact on poor and working people in New Orleans has been minimal.
I listened as the supervisor at the Housing Authority of Monterey County rattled off a long list of reasons that they thought released their agency from any responsibility for the crisis of Bessie Taylor and her disabled son Devonte, who are now living houselessly in Salinas, California, because the Housing Authority took too long to move on the family’s reasonable accommodation claim, and they subsequently lost their home of 22 years.
The Mayor’s Office of Housing is acting at warp speed to push through a proposal to HUD called Rental Assistance Demon-stration (RAD), which will ultimately mean the privatization of all the last shreds of public housing in San Francisco. With the possibility of public housing becoming private, where does that leave the people who have been in this neighborhood for generations, such as my family and myself?
Crying “Have a Heart, Save Our Homes,” a large Bay Area coalition marched in a driving rain from City Hall to the San Francisco Federal Building – Causa Justa/Just Cause, San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE and many more.