Housing Secretary Dr. Ben Carson tells ‘America’s Newsroom’s’ Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith that the homelessness problem can only be fixed if everyone works together on evidence-based policy.
As Austin tries to grapple with how to deal with the city’s homelessness crisis, city employees began cleaning up a growing number of camps amid health and safety concerns.
In July, the city council passed an ordinance allowing homeless people to camp on public streets as long as they do not pose a threat to themselves and others. The action sparked an immediate backlash.
For months, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sparred with city leadership over the move. Citing concerns of violence, used needles and feces littering the streets, he penned a letter to Mayor Steve Adler last month, demanding action by November or the state would step in.
Meanwhile, Adler has fought back against those reports, saying the city is not seeing an increase in syringes or feces. The mayor’s office added the city does routine cleanings and welcomes outside efforts.
Appearing on “America’s Newsroom” with hosts Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith, Carson said that the policies put in place in Austin today make it easier for people to live on the streets.
“There’s no question that people are coming there because of a lot of the policies that makes it easier for them to exist there. In particular, if they’re able to camp out in public places,” he said.
How does he think the problem can be fixed?
“The real solution is going to be for the federal, the state, and the local government to work along with the nonprofits, the for-profits, the faith-based organizations together. It’s a solvable problem, but it will never be solved if people just sit there and point fingers at each other,” he told the “Newsroom” hosts.
Carson added that he believes the only way to help those without homes was to figure out why “are they in that shape in the first place and what can you do to correct it.”
“Some people think that being compassionate means allowing these people to just be wherever they want to be. That’s not real compassion. Compassion is figuring out why they’re in that situation and correcting the situation,” he stated.
“Let’s just agree that this is a problem and let’s look at things that work. If we based policy on evidence and not on ideology, we’d get a lot farther,” he concluded.
Fox News’ Madeleine Rivera contributed to this report.