HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson visits EnVision Center on Youngstown’s east side

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Youngstown was one of the first to have one of these centers, opening in June of 2018

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development spent some time in the Valley Thursday.

As Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson walked the halls of the Envision Center in the Rockford Village homes, directors explained some of the programs being offered such as child daycare.

“We’re here from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” Rev. Willie Peterson told Carson.

The Rockford Village facility is one of the first of HUD’s Envision Centers to open in the country. It started operations in 2018.

There are now 62 Envision Centers and beginning this week, workers in Youngstown will provide help to families with children forced to learn remotely.

“We coach them if they need help. Next week, we’re bringing in a teacher,” said Community Outreach Specialist Kathy Hammond.

Hammond said ten Youngstown City students come to the center instead of school.

“We have kids in there that come Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and they are in here with us a whole class day. That gives them that camaraderie with one another and learning together,” Hammond said.

Secretary Carson said the program is especially crucial in poor income communities where children don’t have the access to technology as those living in more affluent neighborhoods.

“If a child gets three months, six months, or even a year behind, it has a dramatic impact on the rest of their lives,” Carson said.

The program also has an impact on parents, Carson said, pointing out how working families can benefit.

“To allow that young woman to get what she needs to become independent and to begin to teach that to her children,” he said.

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