Youngstown Awarded HUD EnVision Center

Youngstown Awarded One of HUD’s EnVision Centers

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Youngstown is one of 17 communities nationwide to be awarded an EnVision Center demonstration site,  described as the “signature initiative” of Ben Carson, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The designation will be officially announced Friday.

HUD’s regional administrator Joseph P. Galvan will join Mayor Jamael Tito Brown for a press event at Rockford Village, a public housing complex operated by the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority.  The CEO of YMHA, Jason T. Whitehead, will be on hand as will Dionne Dowdy, executive director of United Returning Citizens, which is partnering with HUD and YMHA to establish the EnVision Center.

Carson launched the first EnVision Center June 7 in Detroit. The program is funded by $2 million allocated in the fiscal 2019 federal budget.

“Housing assistance should be more than just putting a roof over someone’s head,” the HUD secretary said. “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.”

HUD Secretary Ben Carson announces EnVision Center launch in Detroit.

The 17 centers are being established on or near public housing developments and involve partnerships with federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, corporations and public housing authorities. Other cities selected include Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia and the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma.

YMHA and United Returning Citizens participated in “a highly competitive selection process,” according to HUD. The EnVision Center they will operate will be a centralized hub offering support in “four pillars: economic empowerment, educational advancement, health and wellness, and character and leadership,” the agency says.

United Returning Citizens is a nonprofit corporation based in the Oak Hill Collaborative. The group’s website says its mission is assisting  formerly incarcerated individuals and others affected by mass incarceration in “job search and training, life and financial literacy skills and transitional and stable housing.”

Each EnVision Center will convene local stakeholders and resident councils to help determine services to be offered, and tools will be developed to “track and measure resident outcomes of EnVision Center participants and services,” HUD says.


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