Following a highly competitive selection process, on Monday, November 18th HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Denise Cleveland-Leggett designated Jacksonvilleâ€™s Sulzbacher Village for Women and Families, a provider of comprehensive services for the homeless, Floridaâ€™s first EnVision Center.
"As we implement Secretary Carsonâ€™s vision of hope and opportunity to help more families become self-sufficient, Sulzbacher Village is a good example of things done right,â€ť said Cleveland-Leggett. â€śThe combination of effective leadership, public-private partnerships, supportive services and job training have been key to transforming good ideas into reality and positively changing the trajectory of many lives.â€ť
â€śSulzbacher is a vital partner in our efforts to end homelessness in our community and I am incredibly proud of their designation as one of the few HUD EnVision Centers in the nation,â€ť said Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. â€śThis designation recognizes Sulzbacherâ€™s focus on empowering Jacksonville families with financial empowerment education and programs that help them move up and out of poverty.â€ť
Sulzbacher Village for Women & Families has 70 rental apartments onsite: 56 are studio apartments for single women or women with one child; 14 two-bedroom apartments serve families with children. Sulzbacher Village also eliminates the need for 200 shelter beds in the Jacksonville community by providing 36 women and family short-term stay units; 10 respite units for women recently released from local hospitals who need follow-up care; and 8 units for homeless veteran women.
For the residents, Sulzbacher has been a game changer. â€śWhen I came to Sulzbacher, I was devastated. I never thought Iâ€™d do this. But when I got there and stayed there, it was like a dream come true to me,â€ť said resident Bessie Ballard. Another resident, Atrina Baker, added: "About a year ago I came here escaping gun violence, trying to get in a place of my own. I was going to stay in my car; I never knew Iâ€™d have childcare right next door."
The village also includes a 7,000-square-foot Federally Qualified Health Center that offers primary care, dental, vision, and behavioral services for women and children residing in the Village and surrounding community. The campus has an early learning center, a computer lab, a childrenâ€™s library, a playground, and a mobile food pantry. On-site education programs include job training classes, culinary classes, homework tutoring, mentorship initiatives, and female veteran programs for transitioning back into society.
â€śWe are thrilled and honored to have been designated as a HUD EnVision Centerâ€ť, said Cindy Funkhouser, Sulzbacher President and CEO. â€śOur vision of Sulzbacher Village began as a place where women and families could live in a peaceful, respectful setting, and be wrapped in supportive services and opportunities for self-sufficiency. To make this happen, we engaged community partners across every sector, public, private and corporate. To see our dream become a reality has been so rewarding, and now to be recognized by HUD really affirms our efforts. With the EnVision Center designation, we can now say with confidence that Sulzbacher Village truly is a national model for how to address homelessness.â€ť
For more information on Sulzbacher Village designation visit: HUD.gov/Florida
For general information on Secretary Carson EnVision Centers Initiative visit: https://www.huduser.gov/portal/envisioncenters/home.html