HUD Designates the Western Piedmont Council of Governments, Regional Housing Authority as an EnVision Center
[Left to right- Anthony Starr Executive Director, WPCOG, Kim Duncan WPCOG RHA FSS Coordinator, two local Family Self-Sufficiency beneficiaries and residents, Stephanie Hanvey, Director RHA, Denise Cleveland-Leggett, HUD SE Region Adminstrator, WPCOG Board Chair and Town of Gamewell Council Member Barbara Pennell and Mayor of Hickory, NC  Hank Guess.]
Left to right- Anthony Starr Executive Director, WPCOG, Kim Duncan WPCOG RHA FSS Coordinator, two local Family Self-Sufficiency beneficiaries and residents, Stephanie Hanvey, Director RHA, Denise Cleveland-Leggett, HUD SE Region Adminstrator, WPCOG Board Chair and Town of Gamewell Council Member Barbara Pennell and Mayor of Hickory, NC Hank Guess.
[Denise Cleveland-Leggett, HUD SE Region Adminstrator congratulates Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) Regional Housing Authority (RHA) for being the first EnVision Center in NC and as one of 17 selectees nationwide designated as an EnVision Center and acknowledge the leadership of Anthony Starr, (WPCOG) Executive Director and the community leaders of Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties and the 24 municipalities.]
Denise Cleveland-Leggett, HUD SE Region Adminstrator congratulates Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) Regional Housing Authority (RHA) for being the first EnVision Center in NC and as one of 17 selectees nationwide designated as an EnVision Center and acknowledge the leadership of Anthony Starr, (WPCOG) Executive Director and the community leaders of Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties and the 24 municipalities.

HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Denise Cleveland-Leggett on June 8, 2018 joined over 70 community leaders in announcing the selection and launch in the City of Hickory, North Carolina, the first EnVision Center Demonstration in North Carolina and one of 17 communities nationwide to connect low-income households with a variety of resources and tools that offer pathways to economic opportunity and self-sufficiency. The Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) Regional Housing Authority (RHA) was designated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to fulfill this critical and essential mission as part of Secretary Ben Carson's visionary effort and initiative to help those we serve achieve their version of the American dream.

"The Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) Regional Housing Authority (RHA) is one of 17 selectees nationwide designated as an EnVision Center," said Denise Cleveland-Leggett. "This achievement was made possible by the leadership of Anthony Starr, (WPCOG) Executive Director and the community leaders of Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties and the 24 municipalities in the region coming together to provide hope and opportunity for a better life for those we serve."

"In our region (Alexander, Burke, Caldwell & Catawba counties), many unassisted households are waiting to get access to some form of housing assistance, some for many years. If we succeed in helping families become self-sufficient, more families will be able to access the housing assistance they so desperately need," said WPCOG Board Chair and Town of Gamewell Council Member Barbara Pennell.

EnVision Centers will offer HUD-assisted families access to centralized support services that can help them achieve self-sufficiency, thereby making scarce federal resources more readily available to a greater number of households currently waiting to receive HUD assistance. Located near public housing clients, EnVision Centers will be centralized hubs that offer services in four areas:

Economic Empowerment; including employer linkages, job placement and counseling Educational Advancement; including GED training courses, technology skills, financial literacy Health and Wellness; including healthcare and clinical services Character and Leadership Development; including volunteer and mentorship opportunities

The EnVision Center Demonstration will drive collaboration across federal agencies, state and local governments, non-profits, faith-based organizations, and the private sector to offer services that respond to the unique needs of each community. No two Centers will be alike since different communities have different needs. The RHA plans to assess the region, collaborate with resident councils, housing authorities and community leaders to select the services to offer to our communities.

HUD will develop tools to track and measure resident outcomes of EnVision Center participants and services – the goal of which is to ensure the EnVision Centers are able to achieve and monitor progress against the goals of the program.

The RHA hopes to succeed in helping families envision a new path forward—one that focuses on the whole family and not just the roof over their heads.

The Western Piedmont Council of Governments is a regional planning, economic development, housing, and service agency owned by the 28 local governments in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba counties. The WPCOG provides a range of local government and public services also including community and economic development, community planning, transportation planning, workforce development, Data Center services, Area Agency on Aging services for senior adults, and GIS/Mapping.