Ben Carson officially holds the title of the 17th secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, immediately starting his reign at the helm of the housing agency.
His first day comes a little more than a month after President Donald Trump was sworn into office, and the industry is ready to make up for lost time.
Carson replaces former HUD secretary Julián Castro, who served under the Obama administration. After Castro left office and as Carson worked his way through the nomination process, Craig Clemmensen served as the acting secretary of HUD.
The urgency to fill the position is extra important given that HUD is quickly becoming a hot topic for discussion under the current administration, with one of Trump’s first orders of business falling under the housing department.
As the President and CEO of the largest trade association for the mortgage finance industry, the Mortgage Bankers Association, David Stevens welcomed the news saying, “MBA applauds the full Senate for confirming Dr. Carson as the next HUD Secretary. His commitment to bolster America’s real estate markets and assist communities nationwide will serve him well in his new role. MBA looks forward to working with the secretary and his team at HUD to ensure that families all across our country have access to safe, decent and affordable housing."
And on behalf of Realtors, National Association of Realtors President William Brown said Realtors will work closely with Secretary Carson to support homeownership and real estate investment.
“Dr. Carson should be proud of his achievement. The task at hand is a big one, and we applaud his commitment to the challenges that lie ahead,” said Brown. “We look forward to working with Secretary Carson to meet these challenges head on.”
The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association followed suite. “The NRMLA congratulates Dr. Ben Carson on his confirmation to serve as the 17th secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. His lifelong commitment to improving the well-being of children and families offers Secretary Carson a unique perspective on the housing programs he will oversee in his new position, including FHA’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program,” said NRMLA President and CEO Peter Bell. “We look forward to working with the secretary and his new leadership team in support of the program.”
Even beyond the trade associations, politicians on both sides of the aisle supported Carson. Despite a controversial start to his nomination, it turned out to be all bark and no bite as his hearing went fairly smooth.
Carson even won the approval of Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
But, as seen in the vote count, 58-41, there was still plenty of opposition to his nomination.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ranking member of the Committee on Financial Services, stood by her previous statements against Carson's nomination.
“Senate Republicans have consistently confirmed Trump’s questionable cabinet nominee’s and today is no different,” said Waters.
“The decision to put Dr. Carson in such a critical role in our federal government reveals that Trump and Republicans are not serious about addressing the housing challenges faced by hardworking American families,” she continued.
There is still support coming in from other politicians, albeit mostly Republicans, congratulating Carson.
Below are a couple congratulatory tweets:
Congrats to my friend BenCarson-new HUD Sec; Honorable man filled with compassion and authentic faith. Great choice by @realDonaldTrump— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) March 2, 2017
Meanwhile, housing coalitions and groups reminded Carson of the road ahead and are ready to get to work.
National Community Reinvestment Coalition President and CEO John Taylor first congratulated Carson saying “We look forward to working with him to address the many housing challenges facing communities across the country."
Looking forward, Taylor said, "There is much work to be done. It is critical that he build on the agency’s work to affirmatively further fair housing, prevent homelessness, increase homeownership opportunities through the Federal Housing Administration, ensure strong enforcement of the nation’s fair housing laws, and ensure that the nation’s housing programs are adequately funded so that all Americans have access to safe, affordable housing."
Lisa Rice, executive vice president of the National Fair Housing Alliance, similarly challenged Carson, stating, “The National Fair Housing Alliance strongly urges Dr. Ben Carson, in his new role as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to tackle immediately the many critical housing challenges that our country faces.”
“NFHA’s goal is to eliminate housing inequality and expand housing opportunities and we are ready to work immediately with the new administration on the following key priorities to expand housing choices,” said Rice.
This is only day one for Carson as he embarks on what is shaping up to be a pivotal four years for housing. It’s already questionable if Dodd-Frank or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be around much longer.
And whatever direction Carson does choose to take, HousingWire will be there to keep you in the loop.