PHOTO: Secretary Ben Carson Visits Spokane EnVision Center

HUD Secretary Ben Carson visits the Spokane EnVision Center on August 13, 2019.

SPOKANE, Wash. - Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson was in Spokane Tuesday, touring the city's new EnVision Center.

Spokane is one of 18 American cities serving as a proving ground for a program championed by Secretary Carson.

The EnVision Center initiative was created to leverage public and private resources to help individuals and families to get on the road to a better future.

It was part of a directive from HUD, to help people become more self-sufficient, and one of the key issues they tackle is housing.

During his visit Tuesday, Secretary Carson said, "We believe in housing first, but we also believe in housing second and housing third. Housing first, you get them off the street. Costs a lot less money to get someone off the street than to leave them on the street. Housing second you figure out why they're on the street. And housing third, you fix it."

Affordable housing, and simply getting homeless people off the streets, has been a key issue in Spokane's mayoral race.

We reached out to both candidates for Spokane mayor, Ben Stuckart and Nadine Woodward to get their thoughts on Secretary Carson's visit and affordable housing in Spokane.

Ben Stuckart emailed KHQ the following statement:

"I have been advocating for housing first this entire campaign and agree with Secretary Carson. I agree with all the data that shows this is the best way to get people addiction services, mental health and into permanent housing. I advocate for 24/7 shelters with case management and more low income housing. My opponent said as recently as two weeks ago that providing shelter is enabling the homeless and we should not fund programs that enable the homeless.  If we do not have enough shelter beds we will have public camping because the 9th circuit has been clear that we cannot enforce our camping laws if beds are not available.  My opponent's policies would result in camping across Spokane."

At this time KHQ has not heard back from mayoral candidate Nadine Woodward, but as soon as KHQ does, this story will be updated.