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 self-sufficient.

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 Boys & Girls Club 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 the 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-year-old 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.



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