Open Letter To New HUD Secretary Ben Carson


Dear Mr. Carson,

Firstly, congratulations on your confirmation as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As a resident and community leader of public housing in New York City I write this plea asking that you visit the residents of New York City Housing Authority to hear our voices, which will express the horrendous treatment that we have received from all of the broken promises bestowed upon us. Instead of re-investing capital to preserve our homes, we are bombarded with land grab tactics, leasing out land as a guise to save our homes.

HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson

Many of our Democratic leaders profess this to be a progressive administration, but all I see is the same old status quo. We are sitting in limbo not knowing if our homes will be restored, and with a $17 billion need of repair in New York City alone looming over us it is frightening. We struggle annually pleading with all who are in charge, asking them to consider our plight. HUD injects billions of dollars into our cities and states, which makes the Housing Authority a significant economic engine providing jobs and contracts that stimulate our cities across the country. Unfortunately, these resources are not returning to its home base to renew and restore our communities.

It is imperative that we get access to the dollars that come from HUD. These funds are meant to enhance the lives of residents through capital improvements, training, jobs and subcontracting opportunities for the residents of public housing as well as the community at large.

I would also like to take this time to highlight another concern of the constituents of public housing. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the local union construction trades have signed on to a project labor agreement that violates HUD’s regulation 24 cfr 135 also known as Section 3. This project labor agreement has created another barrier that blocks residents from benefitting from the economic opportunities that is meant to enhance our lives. The previous HUD administration states its disdain for the agreements signed in New York City and Chicago on the bottom of page 8 in the Section 3 Proposed Rule, but nothing was done to enforce compliance.

I am pleased to hear that the new administration has committed to ensure that underserved communities around this great country will have access to opportunities that will surely have an impact on poverty. For decades, the Section 3 regulation has been available, however the housing authority, unions, and elected officials have refused to hear our cries on enforcement. They have allowed contractors to blatantly disregard and violate these laws with no consequences. Section 3 (24 CFR 135) clearly outlines sanctions that are to be applied for non-compliance.

Along with other residents and community leaders we look forward to meeting with you and the current federal administration to work together on a productive plan that is not invasive and is complementary to those that reside in public housing. Thank you in advance for your consideration of said matters.


Charlene Nimmons, Executive Director                                                                                                              

Public Housing Communities Inc.