Possibilities abound for NWGHA residents and City of Rome
The realization of hope and possibilities became reality for Northwest Georgia Housing Authority residents as HUD Southeast Region Administrator Denise Cleveland-Leggett joined City of Rome Mayor Bill Collins, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton and Northwest Georgia Housing Authority Executive Director Sandra Hudson and local partners in officially designating on November 5, 2019 the authority's community center in Willingham Village housing community as a EnVision Center.
Cleveland-Leggett told local leaders that HUD EnVision Centers are a Secretarial Initiative and a priority of Secretary Carson.
"The reason we are here today is because of his vision of wanting to see people excel and grow," Cleveland-Leggett said.
The lion's share of the credit for making the EnVision Center a place of renewed hope and opportunity goes to the vision and leadership of Northwest Georgia Housing Authority Executive Director Sandra Hudson, Cleveland-Leggett related.
Cleveland-Leggett said the pillars upon which the EnVision Center program are based include economic empowerment, educational advancement, health and wellness along with character and leadership.
The center with technical assistance from HUD will look to take full advantage of assistance from federal and state governmental agencies, non-profits, major corporations and faith-based organizations helping individuals to reach their full potential.
"Starting Friday, we're going to be starting a budget and literacy class," EnVision Center Coordinator Sarah Bradfield said. "We've already offered a lot of these programs, but the great thing is, we're going to bring them under one roof and make it more convenient for residents to access them."
Two residents on the program related that they that are benefiting from NWGHA self-sufficiency programs.
Adrienne Gibson Christopher spoke about her participation in the Family Self-Sufficiency Program, how she faced numerous challenges but ultimately through her perseverance it eventually elevated her from public housing to a being homeowner.
Eighteen years ago, in 2001, she moved into Graham Homes with an infant son. After attending a homeownership educational workshop, she took advantage of every opportunity to get a job and save money until she had enough to make a down-payment on a home in 2007.
"Some may look down on people who live in public housing, but I made it work to my advantage," Christopher said. "And because of the assistance I received, I am a homeowner today."
Demarcus Alexander, a young man who took also full advantage of the housing authority's self-sufficiency programs through their adult education program related how his journey through the GED program helped him to where he is now enrolled at Shorter University.
"It's not easy and it's not over," Alexander said.
"I believe in new starts. I believe in new beginnings," said Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton. "It takes vision and this community, Rome, is blessed by a community of people who make impossibilities possible."
Quoting from poet Emily Dickinson, "I dwell in possibility" Cleveland-Leggett brought the concluding message that where hope exists there dwells possibilities and with EnVision Centers comes the hope of a brighter and better tomorrow for NWGHA residents.
EnVision Centers are premised on the notion that financial support alone is insufficient to solve the problem of poverty. Intentional and collective efforts across a diverse set of organizations are needed to implement a holistic approach to foster long-lasting self-sufficiency. EnVision Centers offer a more holistic housing approach by connecting HUD-assisted families with the tools they need to become self-sufficient and to flourish.