Hopewell, VA (WRIC) – A new effort in Hopewell to help low-income families get out of public housing and live independently kicked off Tuesday.
The U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has partnered with the city of Hopewell to announce a new designated HUD EnVision Center demonstration with the Hopewell Redevelopment and Housing Authority (HRHA). The effort is in unison with 60 communities across the country working to offer support services for the benefit of its residents.
It’s the first of its kind in Central Virginia. The idea is to empower youth and adults with the tools to transform their lives.
“Don’t be a statistic to your surroundings,” said Deralla Brown, a single mother of six who lives in Hopewell’s public housing community. She told 8News she is determined to one day, buy a home of her own.
“I want a yard,” she declared.
She’s well on her way. Brown says she now runs her own business, crediting her success to the local non-profit: STORY (Southside Transformation Opportunities for Residents and Youth). She said Story gave her the tool and support to work toward her dreams. The non-profit even helped her with a critical need like child care.
“They help to get my kids off the bus safely,” she said. “By the time I got to them at 6 o’clock, they already did their homework .”
Brown said she couldn’t be more excited to learn STORY is the main partner in Hopewell’s new HUD EnVision Center. Inside the Davisville Community Center, low-income residents will have access to economic, educational, health and leadership support, all under one roof.
“The EnVision center will help them,” Brown said. “It will help them to push you, you know, give them motivation.”
Joe DeFelice, Regional Administrator with HUD, says the move puts people on the road to self-sufficiency.
“What this is about today is breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty,” he said.
City leaders say about 40 to 45 percent of Hopewell’s population relies on some sort of community assistance. Hopewell Mayor Jasmine Gore sees the new center as an investment in human capital.
“It is about equity,” said Gore, who believes the concept could be a catalyst for other services and programs in the city. “It is about making sure everyone has their needs and you lift everyone up.”
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