(WJBK) - A new pilot program aimed at helping people living on government assistance kicks off Thursday in Michigan.
It's the brainchild of U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Detroit native Ben Carson, and they're called EnVision Centers.
The idea behind the center is that financial support alone cannot solve poverty, so the center will provide programming that supports character development and leadership, educational advancement, economic empowerment and health and wellness.
"There's a verse in the Bible that says, without a vision people perish. There have been a lot of people who have really lost a vision of the promise of America. So, what we're doing is bringing all the resources in juxtaposition with the need," The U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Detroit native Ben Carson explained. He joined us in studio to tell us more about the centers ahead of Thursday's ribbon cutting ceremony in Detroit.
Seventeen of these pilot EnVision Centers will be launching around the country, including the two in Michigan in Detroit and Inkster. They'll all be located on or near public housing developments.
The goal of these centers is to help these families on their way to self-sufficiency and eventually leave HUD-assisted housing, freeing up more funds to help other families in need.
You can hear more from Dr. Carson about the centers in the video player above.
He also recently rolled out a new rent proposal for low-income households. The Associated Press is reporting that an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found it would raise the rent by 21 percent for Detroiters, and roughly 4 million other low-income tenants.
Dr. Carson addressed concern in Detroit Thursday morning at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the EnVision Center.
"We will only raise rent if we have to raise rents. If we don't have to raise them, that's not part of the proposal," he said. "That has nothing to with self sufficiency, raising the rents. That has to do with practicality and making sure we that we didn't have to raise rents in the elderly, disabled or displaced people who are already in the program."
You can read more about the analysis on the rent raising proposal here.