EnVision Center, hub for community and government resources opening for public housing residents in Roanoke

Center will help residents become self-sufficient

ROANOKE, Va. – The Department of Social Services, Job, and Health Services will soon all be under one roof.

The Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority is now the third locality in the commonwealth as an EnVision Center.

It’s a central hub of community and government resources set up as a one-stop-shop available to public housing residents.

“Instead of having to go refer someone for a certain service such as food stamps or whatever it may be, there’ll be in the same building. Our experience has been once you send somebody out and then you have them come back during that time frame, you might lose them for a couple of weeks. So it’s imperative that all the services are in one building” said David Bustamante, Executive Director of Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

Joe DeFelice with the Department of Housing and Urban Development said Roanoke is one of 18 communities around the country with this same initiative.

“EnVision Centers help us to reach out to national partners, foundations, regional foundations and local foundations. People that want to be of assistance, but they don’t know how to be involved,” said DeFelice.

Harli Watson, who lives in Roanoke, said resources and support from the housing authority have helped her reach the goal of becoming more self-sufficient.

“Just over the last few months, I’ve become a team lead at my job I’m working at currently. I finished my real estate exam and plan to move forward with that soon as well as so many different kinds of counseling,” said Watson.

The housing authority is currently in negotiations with the city to purchase the old Melrose Library for use as the EnVision Center. The network center at Villages at Lincoln will be the alternative site until that site is secured.

The plan is for the center to open in January.

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