Dr. Ben Carson
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Taino Towers EnVision Center Grand Opening and Ribbon-Cutting Remarks
January 15, 2020 New York, NY


As prepared for delivery. The speaker may add or subtract comments during his presentation.

Thank you, Lynn [Patton]. On behalf of HUD, it's a great honor to join the East Harlem community this morning to celebrate the Grand Opening of the Taino Towers EnVision Center.

Also, as a surgeon, I have a special skill for cutting things - so I'm especially happy to be here for a ribbon cutting.

While the work we do at HUD to provide public housing is absolutely critical, I have long said that my measure of success is not how many people we can bring into HUD assistance, but how many people we can lift up and beyond it - onto the path of self- self-sufficiency and upward mobility. As I've traveled the country and had the privilege to see this transformation in action, I've seen the great promise and tremendous potential unlocked through HUD's EnVision Center initiative.

EnVision Centers are a way to help connect local resources with the people who need them most. They empower people to reach their highest potentials and achieve their versions of the American Dream, by leveraging private funding to supply education, job training, financial literacy, and mentoring. That way, communities can cultivate the four pillars of self-sufficiency: character and leadership, educational advancement, economic empowerment, and health and wellness.

In the coming months and years, I know the staff and leadership of Taino Towers will do an extraordinary job of exemplifying these pillars for this community.

Book Rich Environments Donation

I'm also delighted to announce that HUD will be donating more than 600 books to the Taino Towers EnVision Center, courtesy of our Book Rich Environments initiative.

Book Rich Environments are a collaboration between nonprofit organizations, national government agencies, and corporate publishers that aims to infuse public housing communities across the country with a vibrant and accessible culture of books. Last summer, HUD gave away its one millionth book to families living in public housing.

When families have books in the home, or centers like Taino Towers have them freely available in abundance, children get interested. Books lead to literacy, and literacy to education. I became a doctor because of books. My brother Curtis became a rocket scientist because of books. And today I stand before you as HUD Secretary because, early on, books were passed on to me, just as HUD is passing them on to Taino Towers today.

Conclusion

It's been thrilling to watch these centers open nationwide. That's why I am so proud to recognize Taino Towers as HUD's 34th EnVision Center. Taino Towers will also be the first fully bilingual EnVision Center in the nation, which is a beautiful milestone in our shared mission to bring communities closer together.

To the team and leaders who worked so hard to make today happen, I salute your hard work to help the talented residents of East Harlem take greater control of their own destinies and financial futures.

You are the front lines of our country's fight to secure a brighter future. HUD could not serve the millions of American families who count on us without us counting on you to be there, on the ground, in the community, helping your fellow citizens first-hand.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. And on behalf of HUD: Congratulations!

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