The city of Roanoke has been chosen to participate in a new program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It aims to help people not only find a place to live, but also get out of poverty.
The city is now one of 25 localities across the country participating in HUD’s EnVision Centers program – which will be spearheaded locally by the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority.
Joe DeFelice is a Regional Administrator for HUD. He says Roanoke is already doing great work in addressing homelessness.
“It’s like taking the program here and kind of putting it on steroids, right? Because now you’re getting direct, technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development," he explains. "We’ll be in contact every one to two weeks with our local partners about what they can do better, because something that’s working in Roanoke, we may go to Philadelphia and say, ‘Hey they’re trying this in Roanoke; you should consider it there.’ And vice versa.”
The partnership does not come with any financial assistance, but David Bustamante – Executive Director of the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority – says the program will have significant impacts in the local community.
“The difference is that we are going to have all of these providers together in one location, so instead of having to refer someone to go for a certain service or look at their food stamps, or whatever it may be, they’ll be in the same building," explains Bustamante. "Our experience is been that once you send somebody out and then you have them come back, during that timeframe you might lose them for a couple of weeks.”
Officials are working with the city to establish the center in a local library, and hope to begin offering services in early January.