U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Friday met with Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-University City, and other state and city leaders in St. Louis to tour new real estate developments in low-income communities.
Carson came to St. Louis to highlight Opportunity Zones, a federal program that encourages investment in neglected communities by offering incentives to developers, including tax breaks. “The Opportunity Zones present an incredible opportunity for people to take unrealized capital gains that would normally be invested into more traditional vehicles and focus them on areas that are traditionally neglected,” Carson said.
HUD officials estimate there are about 380,000 public-housing units within Opportunity Zones across the country. “We’re not going to be able to compete in a world where China and India have four times more people than we do unless we really get serious about developing our people,” Carson said. Carson said the alleged discrimination is a consequence of new technologies. “We have to grow with the technological times,” Carson said.