MIAMI – Miami Mayor Francis Suarez thanked Dr. Ben Carson on Friday morning by presenting him with a key to the city.
The city received $3.2 million from Carson’s agency, the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES).
That money was divided among three programs: One that gives grants to small businesses, one that gives loans to small businesses and one that pays low-income tenants.
The program for tenants gives a one-time payment of $1,500 dollars directly to landlords and utility companies on behalf of tenants who can’t afford to pay their bills because they lost their job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program has enough money to help 1,300 tenants, but there are so many others who applied.
“In the first hour that we opened the program, we already had more people that applied than we had the capacity to meet: tens of thousands of people for the rental assistance program, hundreds of people for the business program,” Suarez said. "It’s thanks to the commission that has taken money of our general fund, in difficult times when we’re running a deficit, to feed people and to make sure every single day they are in their districts.”
Carson said “that’s why we have these programs. We do everything that we possibly can.”
Carson was asked if he’d be willing to provide more funding to help those struggling. He didn’t say yes or no, but he said he’s instructed his office to utilize the money in such a way that it lasts beyond the pandemic.
A retired neurosurgeon, Carson has served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development since 2017.