Dr. Ben Carson talks opportunity zones, rental housing standards in Little Rock visit

Dr. Ben Carson talks opportunity zones, rental housing standards in Little Rock visit
Dr. Ben Carson visited Little Rock on Friday. (Source: KARK)

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT/KARK) - The secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson, visited Little Rock Friday to learn more about what public-private partnerships can accomplish.

Little Rock television station KARK reports Secretary Carson toured a public housing complex in what is known as an opportunity zone.

He saw how his department’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program has transformed Cumberland Towers in downtown Little Rock.

KARK reports that he called the complex a “good model” of what the program’s public-private partnerships can do.

“This is the way you can leverage the federal dollars,” Dr. Carson said. “In most of these cases, it’s leveraged at a high level: eight to one, 10 to one, 12, 15 to one. Whereas, if you don’t have that initial seed, it never happens... I think it’s going to be possible to really get rid of pretty much all of the public housing units and create these kinds of situations for people.”

While Cumberland Towers welcomed Carson, protesters chanted in front of the Marriott Hotel and Statehouse Convention Center.

They wanted him to return to Washington to rethink proposed cuts to the 2020 HUD budget.

In his address, Carson explained to the crowd that HUD is addressing discrimination and cracking down on inspections.

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