In response to Ben Carson’s photo op in Tampa and Orlando today, Florida Democratic Party Director of Rapid Response Frances Swanson released the following statement:
“Even before the pandemic, many Floridians were struggling to pay rent and make ends meet. In 2018, Donald Trump’s failed response to Hurricane Michael devastated the panhandle and left thousands homeless. Now, his chaotic pandemic response and cratering economy have made things even worse, especially in communities of color. Just this month, 30% of Americans missed their housing payments. Whatever Carson says today, he can’t spin Trump’s record of broken promises to Floridians. We don’t need another photo op — we need a president who can lead us out of this crisis, and this November we’re going to get one in Joe Biden.”
BACKGROUND ON TRUMP’S BROKEN PROMISES ON HOUSING TO FLORIDIANS
Promise: “The opportunity zones have been incredible, it’s been one of the really great things in terms of investment in areas and in terms of unemployment.” [June 17, 2020, Fox News]
Reality: A new study shows that opportunity zones like the one Carson is visiting today mainly help “large real estate projects while many low-income communities have yet to benefit.”
Promise: “We’re doing a lot of things and that includes additional Hurricane Michael relief funding immediately. The money is coming immediately. No games, no gimmicks, no delays, we’re just doing it, we’re just doing it. And by the way FEMA. My people at FEMA. FEMA did a tremendous job here and elsewhere, by the way.” [May 8, 2019, Panama City Beach, Florida]
Reality: The Trump administration failed to address disaster survivors’ most basic need: a safe, stable, affordable home. At the time of Trump’s visit to the panhandle in 2019, FEMA had not provided adequate rental assistance or alternative housing, such as trailers or mobile homes, to many people made homeless by the storm.
Reality: It is estimated that the storm forced 5,000 students into homelessness and one out of seven kids hadn’t returned to school as of May 2019. After the storm, families slept in tents while waiting for assistance.