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Ben Carson breaks ground at HUD’s first EnVision Center

Also announces the first round of EnVision Center designations

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson traveled to his hometown of Detroit for the groundbreaking of the nation’s first EnVision Center.

Last year, Carson announced HUD would be launching EnVision Centers that would be located on or near public housing developments and would act as hub centers for what it calls the four key pillars of self-sufficiency: character and leadership, educational advancement, economic empowerment and health and wellness.

Today, Carson announced the first round of "EnVision Center" designations in 17 communities around the nation. He then took to Twitter to “celebrate the growth that’s going to happen here.” 

“The EnVision Center demonstration will drive collaboration across federal agencies, state & local governments, non-profits, faith-based organizations and the private sector to offer services that respond to the unique needs of each community,” Carson said.

While in Detroit, Secretary Carson and Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan met with public housing residents, community leaders and other stakeholders at Life Remodeled, among the first group of demonstration communities named today, according to HUD.

“Housing assistance should be more than just putting a roof over someone’s head,” said Carson. “These EnVision Centers offer a more holistic housing approach by connecting HUD-assisted families with the tools they need to become self-sufficient and to flourish.”

Duggan praised the initiative, saying “EnVision Centers are about bringing services to people in neighborhoods.” He also said he was thankful that HUD selected Detroit as the first open location in the country and that residents would appreciate the services provided.

HUD explained that after today’s groundbreaking, each demonstration community receiving the EnVision Center designation will gather local stakeholders and resident councils to select which services are going to be offered at the centers.

The EnVision Center demonstration communities announced include:

  • San Diego
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Chicago
  • Kansas City, Kansas
  • Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Detroit
  • Inkster, Michigan
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Phillipsburg, New Jersey
  • Hickory North, Carolina
  • Grand Forks, North Dakota
  • Youngstown, Ohio
  • Choctaw Nation, Oklahoma
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Fort Worth, Texas
  • Spokane, Washington

Carson previously explained his vision for the centers to HousingWire in an exclusive interview with Editor-In-Chief Jacob Gaffney, who wrote:

One of Carson’s main initiatives is establishing “envision centers” of learning, especially for teenage mothers who, more often than not, end their educational trajectory once they give birth. New York City is seen as a potential spot for one of the first such centers where young, low-income parents can access day care while learning to code and “balance a checkbook or unclog a toilet,” the secretary told me. The project remains far from being piloted, especially considering recent cuts to HUD’s budget. 

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