Roanoke gets new resource to help families in need become self-sufficient

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ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR News) – The Roanoke Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD is getting a new resource.

The Star City is now the site of a new Envision Center Demonstration, which is a centralized hub for HUD-assisted families and others in need to get support services.

The center will connect members of low-income households with a variety of resources like job placement, job training, transportation services and other things to help them get back on their feet.

Resources that Harli Watson has used.

“No one wants to be homeless. No one anticipates that but it happens and you’ve got to have the energy and the know-how to get past that. And that’s what they do, they really help you, they help you move on and get going forward,” said Watson.

The idea is to put all of them under one roof to make them more accessible to those who need them.

“About a year and a half ago I was on and off homeless. I had my first daughter, a troubled relationship with her father and I was not sure where I was going,” said Harli Watson.

In that year and a half, Watson started the Villages at Lincoln Family Self-Sufficiency program from HUD.

Now, she just got a promotion at her job and is well on her way to a career in real estate all because of the program.

“The Villages at Lincoln have provided me with resources, empowerment, and just so much support to achieve my goals,” said Watson.

The resources offered will center around 4 pillars. Economic Empowerment, Educational Advancement, Health and Wellness, and Character and Leadership.

“Just know that we will not measure success by the number of people who enter the centers. Success will be measured by the number of individuals who achieve self-sufficiency, who no longer require assistance from our programs, who gain the financial independence to be able to rent or event to buy their own homes,” said HUD’s Region III Administrator Joe DeFelice.

The new center will aim to break generational poverty by giving people the tools they need to get off government assistance.

“Just know that we will not measure success by the number of people who enter the centers. Success will be measured by the number of individuals who achieve self-sufficiency, who no longer require assistance from our programs, who gain the financial independence to be able to rent or event to buy their own homes,” said DeFelice.

The government is looking to expand the services they already offer, but reaching out to other regional and local organizations who want to help, but just don’t know how to get involved.

“We’re working to be that mediator between those foundations and these local groups. Whether it’s housing counseling, other self-sufficiency programs, whether it’s computers or providing IPAD,” DeFelice said.

The City of Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority wants to put the new center at the old Melrose Branch Library across the street from their location.

They hope to have the center up and running by the beginning of January.

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