Ben Carson, the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, slipped in and out of an East Baltimore public school today, holding a private meeting with a number of local officials while about 50 protesters waited patiently outside to express their concerns about the Trump administration’s housing policies.
“There was a big black SUV in the parking lot with a chauffeur in a black uniform, and there were people going into the school who said they were going to speak to the secretary. But we never got a chance to even see him,” said Jeff Singer, a homeless advocate who helped organize the protest.
Singer identified two of the participants as Greg Sileo, assistant Baltimore health commissioner, and Redonda Miller, president of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. “They told us they were there for a ‘listening session’ with Carson,” Singer said. Others included Mayor Catherine Pugh and Housing Commissioner Michael Braverman.
Last week HUD announced that Carson would come to Baltimore today as part of his “listening tour” and meet with local officials at the Henderson-Hopkins public school. The press office later refused to confirm the meeting after it became apparent that several housing groups planned to protest the visit of the retired Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon who was named the top U.S. housing administrator.
The HUD press office, however, stressed that Carson will appear tomorrow (Thursday) in Baltimore to visit two homes that benefited from HUD lead hazard control grants.
Between 9:30 and 9:37 a.m., according to the released schedule, he will be available for a “press gaggle” at 3104 Gwynns Falls Parkway. And between 12:45 and 1:20 p.m., Carson will return to the Henderson-Hopkins school to attend a National Healthy Homes Community Family Fair.