Ben Carson does not want to make low-income housing too comfortable for everyone who qualifies, according to The New York Times.
Carson, secretary of Housing and Uban Development, said he believes too much government assistance has led to too much dependence, the newspaper reported.
His comments came while touring facilities for the poor in Ohio. The visit followed similar stops in Detroit, Dallas and Miami.
"We have some people who are mentally ill," said Carson, who had made a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. "We have some elderly and disabled people. We can't expect in many cases those people to do a great deal to take care of themselves.
"There is another group of people who are able-bodied individuals, and I think we do those people a great disservice when we simply maintain them."
And he insisted compassion does not mean giving people "a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: 'I'll just stay here. They will take care of me.'"
He called for a more coordinated effort to manage services to help the disadvantaged, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
And, he said, he wanted programs "that look at the whole person rather than just putting them in a house."
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