Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was personally involved in removing language from the HUD mission statement that promises all Americans "inclusive communities" that are "free from discrimination," HuffPost reports.
Under former President Barack Obama, the mission statement read:
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities, and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business.
The new mission statement reads:
HUD's mission is to ensure Americans have access to fair, affordable housing, and opportunities to achieve self-sufficiency, thereby strengthening our communities and nation.
HUD's assistant secretary for public affairs, Amy Thompson, told HuffPost that the changes were made "in an effort to align HUD's mission with the secretary's priorities and that of the administration" and that the department is accepting feedback from staff. It is fairly common for mission statements to be changed, especially under new administrations, but Carson's modifications will no doubt worry some because of actions HUD has already taken, including removing training materials that help ensure transgender people receive equal access to homeless shelters.
Carson has previously criticized Obama's fair housing laws. "These attempts to legislate racial equality create consequences that often make matters worse," he argued in 2015. "There are reasonable ways to use housing policy to enhance the opportunities available to lower-income citizens, but based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous."