HUD Secretary Ben Carson to visit Philadelphia Tuesday

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson at Vaux Big Picture High School in Philadelphia, PA on September 19, 2017.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson is scheduled to visit Philadelphia on Tuesday, his first such visit since the onetime presidential candidate joined President Trump’s cabinet.

Carson will be on hand Tuesday afternoon for the grand opening of the Vaux Big Picture High School, part of an ambitious $500 million redevelopment project in Sharswood, the North Philadelphia neighborhood. Shuttered four years ago, the school was renovated for $15 million by the Philadelphia Housing Authority, which is also providing $500-a-student subsidies.

Under a public housing and school partnership model that’s rare across the country, the Sharswood development plan aims to essentially remake the neighborhood with new affordable housing units and a revamped commercial corridor. Last March, the city imploded the Blumberg Housing Apartments, one of the city’s last high-rise housing projects. The housing authority opened the first 57 houses built under the redevelopment plan in November.

The housing authority receives 94 percent of its funding from HUD, and administrators have expressed concern about President Trump’s deep proposed cuts to the agency — a $6 billion reduction in funds — in next year’s budget, which has not yet been voted on.

Later in the day, Carson is scheduled to tour a veterans center on North Fourth Street, and take questions from reporters.

Carson is the latest of several Trump administration officials to visit the Philadelphia region in recent weeks. White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price were in Delaware County last week for a roundtable on the opioid crisis, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein spoke at the U.S. Constitution Center on Monday night.