During a stop in Memphis, Tenn. earlier this month, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson sat down with a local woman who shared with him how she managed to work her way out of poverty and is now able to support her family.
Shakila Boyd described how she broke the cycle of poverty in her family through a local nonprofit that’s funded, in part, by HUD, local station FOX 13 reported. Boyd’s meeting with Carson came as he spent the morning discussing his department’s efforts in helping needy families rise above the poverty line.
“I’m going back to school now and everything,” Boyd said, wiping away tears as she held he young daughter. “And I have a house.”
Thanks to the help from the Salvation Army, Boyd said she was connected to the faith-based nonprofit Agape Memphis, who lent her a helping hand when she was homeless and looking to get back on her feet. She said she and her family are doing better since the organization helped her find a job.
According to Fox 13, Boyd and Carson were joined by representatives from Agape Memphis during their April 10 meeting at a local elementary school where 80 percent of students are considered low-income or economically disadvantaged. For HUD, Carson said the goal is to guide as many families out of poverty as possible.
“It’s not just, ‘How many people can we get in this program, [or] how many millions of dollars can we put into this,’ ” Carson told reporters after the meeting. “But how do we get people to positively exit dependency.”
To avoid slipping into poverty, the HUD secretary, who once suggested poverty was just a “state of mind” and faced backlash after purchasing a $31,000 office dining room set, offered the following tips.
“Number one: finish high school,” Carson said. “Number two: get married. Number three: wait until you get married to have children. Just those three things, and you’re two percent less likely to live in poverty.” Countless studies have proven his suggestions wrong, however, showing that marriage is no cure for financial hardship.
Carson noted that the HUD is also focused on keeping families together.
“The fabric of any society are the families,” he added.