A Letter to Dr. Ben Carson from Jane Graf

Dear Dr. Carson,

I would like to congratulate you on your recent nomination for Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. As the CEO of Mercy Housing, an affordable housing nonprofit with a 35-year history of developing, owning, and managing affordable housing across the United States, I have high hopes and expectations for your leadership.

You come to HUD at a pivotal moment: as the economy slowly recovers from the recession, people living in this great country still struggle.

We all know the challenges: millions of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, just one unexpected expense away from homelessness. One in four renters spends half their paycheck on housing costs. Tens of thousands of veterans sleep on the street. Millions of children are homeless. And millions of seniors wonder if they’ll have a place to live in the coming years.

As Secretary of HUD, you will have many tools at your disposal. You will have the power of a government agency behind you that provides a safety net to the most vulnerable in our communities.  While your experience is not based in the world of housing and community development, I have hope.

I am hopeful that, as someone who has served disenfranchised communities, you understand that a stable home is a critical part of achieving one’s full potential.

I am hopeful that, as a retired physician, you know how intimately health and housing are connected, and how, without stable, quality housing, a person’s health will suffer.

I am hopeful that you will use your superior communication skills to bring attention to the affordable housing needs of our country and surround yourself with highly skilled professionals familiar with the complex issues at HUD to support and advise you.

And finally, I am hopeful that you will use the resources of organizations like Mercy Housing, who have partnered with HUD since its inception. We stand ready to collaborate with you in solving these complex community problems and meeting the challenges ahead.

As you familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of your new position, I invite you to take a tour of one of the 300 communities we own and manage, as well as the many affordable housing communities operated by our colleague organizations all over the country. You will meet some of the residents who inspire me every day. I am certain that their stories and life journeys will inspire you too.

Sincerely,

Jane Graf,

President and CEO of Mercy Housing

8 thoughts on “A Letter to Dr. Ben Carson from Jane Graf

  1. Well said Jane. Thank you for being such a great leader in our industry on behalf of those who deserve better!

  2. Thank you for writing and then sharing this articulate message to the nominee for leading HUD, Dr. Carson.

  3. Jane, great letter. I am hopeful that with good information from the front line by people who deal with the range of variables and challenges faced to provide affordable housing in some of the most high cost areas of the country like the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Hopefully bringing together government, finance, developers, community providers and local influences, we can take positive steps to address the challenge of delivering quality affordable housing.

  4. It is encouraging to know that Dr. Carson will have organizations like Mercy to call upon as a resource to address the affordable housing crisis that continues to challenge the working poor and other at-risk communities across our country.

  5. Thank you for advocating on behalf of those who are oftentimes overlooked, in their need for safe and supportive housing options. Working together is hope realized!

  6. Thanks for being so hopeful. Unfortunately, I think that Dr. Carson and many other political leaders believe that organizations such as Mercy Housing can do it all, that faith-based groups can replace the government’s efforts, raise all the money needed for this, and make it possible for HUD to focus on business interests (urban development/gentrification). – a Sister of Mercy, advocate.

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