Carson tours site for HUD pro­gram launch in Detroit

Boys & Girls Club to house skills aid hub

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY NICQUEL TERRY The Detroit News nterry@de­troit­ 313-222-6793 @Nic­quelTerry

Detroit — Hous­ing Sec­re­tary Ben­son Carson on Thurs­day toured a Boys & Girls Club fa­cil­ity that will house his newly un­veiled pro­gram that looks to help fam­i­lies re­ceiv­ing fed­eral hous­ing as­sis­tance be­come more self­suf­fi­cient.

The hub will be the first of 10 En­Vi­sion Cen­ters planned across the coun­try and it will fo­cus on pro­vid­ing re­sources for lo­cal fam­i­lies such as ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties and ed­u­ca­tional needs.

“We want them to know when they’re feel­ing down and out — or even when they’re not feel­ing down and out — that there is place that they go to,” Carson said af­ter his tour of the NFL/YET Boys & Girls Club Dauch Cam­pus on Tire­man Street. “And if the spe­cific thing that they need is not there, there is at least an av­enue that will di­rect them to what they need.”

Carson, who grew up in Detroit, said he per­son­ally se­lected Detroit for an En­Vi­sion Cen­ter.

“When I think about the places that I want to see suc­ceed, Detroit is at the top of that list,” he said.

The En­Vi­sion Cen­ter will specif­i­cally tar­get Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment-as­sisted fam­i­lies in four key areas: char­ac­ter and lead­er­ship, health and well­ness, eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment, and ed­u­ca­tional ad­vance­ment.

The Dauch Cam­pus serves about 1,500 area chil­dren. Many of them come from fam­i­lies that face a plethora of so­cioe­co­nomic chal­lenges, ac­cord­ing to Len Krichko, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of South­east Michi­gan.

“We want to work with the en­tire fam­ily and build a safety net,” Krichko said.

Carson’s morn­ing tour also in­cluded the club’s arts and crafts room, game room and gym­na­sium. He stopped half­way through the tour to play a game of pool.

Carson was cu­ri­ous about how the Boys & Girls Club helps teen moms.

“Now what about the 16-yearold girl who dropped out be­cause she had a baby and she wants to get a GED, is there any help for her?” he asked dur­ing the tour.

Club di­rec­tors told Carson they are able to con­nect mem­bers with GED pro­grams.

Mayor Mike Dug­gan joined Carson on his tour Thurs­day.

“We are re­ally pleased that it’s go­ing to be pi­o­neered here,” Dug­gan said.

Krichko said he ex­pects Detroit’s En­Vi­sion Cen­ter to open in early 2018.

Carson be­came hous­ing sec­re­tary ear­lier this year in Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion af­ter chal­leng­ing Trump for the GOP pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion last year. He has vowed to fight home­less­ness and has drawn on his ex­pe­ri­ence as a doc­tor to sug­gest that gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance shouldn’t be­come a way of life.

Carson has been con­sid­ered a hero and mo­ti­va­tional speaker in African-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties for his ac­com­plish­ments in medicine, and be­came a prom­i­nent speaker in con­ser­va­tive cir­cles af­ter en­ter­ing pol­i­tics.

Clarence Tabb Jr. / The Detroit News

Len Krichko, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of South­east Michi­gan, tours the Dauch Cam­pus with Hous­ing Sec­re­tary Ben Carson, who said he per­son­ally se­lected Detroit for an En­Vi­sion Cen­ter.

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