Ben Carson to visit California next week to address homelessness
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is planning a trip to California next week as the Trump administration tries to come up with solutions to the state’s homelessness problem, a source with knowledge of the trip confirms to CNN.
Carson is expected to be in San Francisco on Tuesday. The Washington Post first reported Carson’s trip.
President Donald Trump next week is also scheduled to travel to California, partly for fundraisers. He is expected to discuss the issue of homelessness in the state and is anticipated to join Carson in San Francisco to show support for the idea of homeless opportunity zones, according to the source. The zone program gives tax incentives to people who invest in low income communities for the goal of rehabilitating those communities by creating job opportunities and economic growth.
Trump is also set to visit Los Angeles where he is also expected to meet with Carson who will be traveling separately from the President, the source told CNN.
When contacted, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the White House did not provide a comment regarding the trips.
The Trump administration has focused on the issue of California homelessness in recent months.
Elizabeth Benson Forer, CEO of the Venice Family Clinic, met Tuesday with a member of the Trump administration who was visiting the Los Angeles area on what the White House describes as a “fact-finding” mission on the homelessness crisis.
Forer and key staff and board leaders at the Venice Family Clinic met with Rear Admiral Susan Orsega, the Chief Nurse Officer of the US Public Health Service.
Forer said her team initially received contact from the administration on Friday. They expressed interest in learning about VFC’s healthcare program, which serves 27,000 low-income people — 4,500 of who are homeless.
Orsega toured the facility, and Forer said they had an “excellent discussion about homeless healthcare.”
“She asked for solutions from us about what we would do,” Forer said, noting that supporting housing is the group’s biggest solution to the current health crisis among the homeless, which stems from living unsheltered outdoors, exposure to regular violence and the stress related to not sleeping or eating well.
Orsega told the group that her team was also touring a rescue mission on the West Side of Los Angeles and a housing development, as well as Skid Row.
Trump seemed to reference the homelessness problem in California during a speech Thursday to the Republican House Conference retreat in Baltimore.
“And even the cities like Los Angeles — look at what’s happening. It’s like — look at what’s happening. San Francisco. Take a look at what’s going on,” he said. “And we’re going to have to step in and do something about it because we can’t allow that to happen to our great cities. Los Angeles is a great city. We can’t allow it to happen.”
Trump promised to act and address the conditions.
“And in the not-too-distant future, you’re going to see. We’re going to step in,” he added. “We’re not going to allow it to happen, where major, major companies are leaving their cities. They’re leaving our country when they see that.”
CNN’s Betsy Klein, Nikki Carvajal and Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.