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Housing, education and health care info is available at this new neighborhood center

HUD Regional Administrator talks about Fort Worth partnerships

Beth Van Duyne, HUD Regional Administrator, talks about why Fort Worth was chosen for a HUD EnVision Center. The one at MLK Community Center in Stop Six is one of 17 across the country and will connect people to resources.
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Beth Van Duyne, HUD Regional Administrator, talks about why Fort Worth was chosen for a HUD EnVision Center. The one at MLK Community Center in Stop Six is one of 17 across the country and will connect people to resources.

A “great need” exists in Stop Six, said longtime resident Sylvia Allen.

Some have moved on, others have lost hope, but there is a desire and a building momentum for change in the neighborhood in east Fort Worth, she said.

“We just need a little more,” she said.

That little more could be the EnVision Center, billed as a “one- stop shop” for low- to moderate-income residents to find resources. The center opened Monday at the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 5565 Truman Dr., and is the only one in Texas.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under Secretary Ben Carson has pitched the EnVision centers as a means to elevate people out of public housing and into sustainable jobs and housing. The Fort Worth location is part of a pilot program in 17 cities.

Residents, primarily those at the Cavile Place public housing complex, can access information about Fort Worth Housing Solutions and healthcare programs as well as education, job training and résumé help. Suzanne Richards, EnVision Center coordinator, described the center as a holistic approach to battle poverty by giving people the tools they need to improve their situation.

One of the center’s first programs this summer, Money Guide for Young Entrepreneurs, invites students to free summer classes from June 10 to Aug. 2. Students will pick a community issue and use science, technology, engineering, art and math skills to tackle the problem, Richards said.

Carson touted Fort Worth as model for other cities in March during a tour of the Presbyterian Night Shelter. He has visited the city several times, but during that stop he lauded the partnerships between the city, housing authority, county and various charities.

Fort Worth rose above other cities applying for the EnVision Center because of a strong focus on homeless care and job creation, said Beth Van Duyne, a HUD regional administrator.

“When we started looking at best practices across the country Fort Worth rose to the top of the list,” she said.

The EnVision Center comes at the same time Fort Worth has invested $2.56 million in neighborhood improvements. Those include new sidewalks, security cameras and tearing down dilapidated structures.

“We’re on the move in Fort Worth,” said Councilwoman Gyna Bivens, whose District 5 includes Stop Six.

“We’re going to make this a success.”

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Luke Ranker covers the intersection of people and government focused on Fort Worth and Tarrant County. He came to Texas from the plains of Kansas, where he wrote about a lot, including government, crime and courts in Topeka. He survived a single winter in Pennsylvania as a breaking news reporter. He can be reached at 817-390-7747 or lranker@star-telegram.com.

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