WASHINGTON – Public-private partnerships are not just benefiting the wealthy but helping low-income areas, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson told a crowded ballroom on Tuesday at the annual National League of Cities conference. “Some people have complained that, you know, it’s a mechanism for the rich to increase their wealth,” Carson said. He said HUD is “Providing full autonomy” to local jurisdictions and encouraging public-private partnerships like the public housing maintenance program, Rental Assistance Demonstration, and tax incentives. Rental Assistance Demonstration is an Obama-era program that allowed public housing authorities to turn their aging properties into Section 8 housing and update them by selling the building to private companies. “No one develops well without housing.” The HUD secretary’s comments echoed what other speakers had discussed in response to a growing push for problem-solving means to address housing affordability. The topic of partnerships was discussed Monday at a panel with a developer, an expert from an anti-homelessness initiative and a group pushing federal housing reforms.