U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson toured the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Fort Worth Tuesday morning, the site selected for a demonstration of the department’s EnVision program, one of 17 sites chosen nationally through a competitive application process.
Carson toured the King center with former Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne, now HUD Region VI administrator, held a brief news conference and then led a diverse roundtable of local officials that included residents of units operated by the Fort Worth Housing Authority.
“HUD is a partner in this,” Carson said at the news conference. “All of you are partners in this.”
He said that many people have grown up in a system that doesn’t emphasize what is available to them.
EnVision Centers will work with federal, state and local, private and faith-based programs to “give people the resources to become part of the American Dream,” Carson said.
He called for a renewed unity among the American people to “break the cycles of dependency that have occurred.”
To end poverty, he said, it is necessary to concentrate on the actions that can give people hope.
HUD says EnVision Centers are based on the concept that financial support alone is insufficient to solve the problem of poverty but require instead a diverse set of organizations to implement a holistic approach to foster long-lasting self-sufficiency.
That is built around four pillars: Economic Empowerment; Educational Advancement; Health and Wellness; and Character and Leadership.
One of Secretary Ben Carson’s signature initiatives, EnVision Centers will offer HUD-assisted families access to support services that can help them achieve self-sufficiency.
“We’re honored and thrilled that we’ve been selected by HUD to serve as one of the nation’s new EnVision Centers,” Mary-Margaret Lemons, president of Fort Worth Housing Solutions, said when the city’s selection was announced. “We’ll now be working closely with the city and our many community partners to begin planning for a center that will successfully support the efforts of low-income families across the region to achieve their self-sufficiency goals.”
Guests at a roundtable with Carson included Councilwoman Gyna Bivens, Lemons; Fernando Costa, Fort Worth, assistant city manager; Eugene Giovannini, chancellor, Tarrant County Community College; Sherry Breed, Chief of Equity and Excellence Division, Fort Worth ISD; Robert Early, president and CEO of JPS Health Network; Lillie Biggins, former president of Texas Health Resources Fort Worth; Devoyd Jennings, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce; John Robinson, Executive Vice President for Grant Administration, Amon G. Carter Foundation; Leah King, Senior Vice President of United Way; Michael Morris, Director of Transportation, North Central Council of Governments; Shannon Wynne, Board member of the Bridge, President of 8.0 Management; Patrick Winfield II, campus pastor, the Potters House of Fort Worth; Franklin Moss Sr., Ebenezer Baptist Church; and Fort Worth Housing Solutions residents Tiffany Williams, Bridget Henri and Charvie Charles.