HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, Others Unhurt After Being Trapped Inside Overtown Housing Complex Elevator

Carson and several others were stranded for about 15 minutes before firefighters freed them

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and his wife were trapped in an elevator during a visit to a Miami affordable housing complex Wednesday.

The incident occurred while Carson was touring the Courtside Apartments, an affordable housing complex in the city's Overtown neighborhood.

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The couple and several others were on their way to meet residents when their elevator became stuck, grounding the group for about 15 minutes before firefighters freed them just before 9 a.m.

"Well, we got all of our questions answered," Carson joked as he stepped out of the elevator.   

He later talked about the elevator incident with SiriusXM host David Webb. "Well, you know, everything has its ups and downs," Carson kidded. "But no, it was no big deal. It was a wonderful opportunity for us all to get to know each other a little better."

Waiting in the lobby was former NBA star Alonzo Mourning. Mourning, whose nonprofit AM Affordable Housing helped develop the complex.

Residents said they were glad to see Carson and hope the secretary will defend against the Trump administration's proposed budget cuts to low income housing programs.

The famed surgeon and former GOP presidential candidate is in town for two days of meetings with both political officials, including Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, as well as community leaders such as developer Jorge Perez and former Heat star Mourning.

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After the elevator incident, Carson visited the Liberty Square community, Miami-Dade's oldest public housing community that's set for a major redevelopment project.

Carson delivered the paperwork to start the demolition of the housing to make way for the new Liberty Square Rising project, which is expected to take more than four years to complete.

"It is about developing our people, it is not just about putting a roof over their head but it is about creating a nurturing community," Carson said.

A small group of demonstrators gathered outside the Liberty Square community center to protest cuts to HUD and voice their concerns over losing their homes with the new development.

"We are not against the revitalization of Liberty Square, what we are against is what is going to happen after," former resident Trenise Bryant said.

There are 630 families living in Liberty Square now, but the new development will offer 640 new public housing units, plus 815 non-public housing units and homes. County officials said no one will lose their homes and everyone will be accommodated.

"At some point there are going to be honest people working, and I believe that point is here, at least from the HUD point of view," Carson said.

Carson was expected to visit Florida Memorial University later Wednesday. He will also deliver the keynote address at the NAACP Fair Housing Month Conference at Miami Dade College’s North Campus.

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