The Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Benjamin Carson toured the District of Columbia Housing Authority’s new Customer Solutions Center and recorded a video of himself reading “The Cat in the Hat” today for a social media campaign, “Reading with Secretary Carson.”
Throughout the summer, Secretary Carson is publishing weekly story time videos for children and parents to view on his Instagram channel. In addition to reading, the series will also highlight several of HUD’s initiatives that focus on educational advancement, such as the EnVision Centers Initiative and Book Rich Environments.
“Reading is a fundamental part of learning; it certainly had an important impact on my life,” said Secretary Ben Carson in a statement. “Through this summer reading series, we’re helping kids to cultivate a love for reading, which is a skill that will serve them greatly for the rest of their lives.”
“We are pleased to welcome the secretary to our new CSC for this important initiative,” said DCHA Executive Director Tyrone Garrett. “As we continue our efforts to return to an in-office operating status that can serve residents, we are pleased to share this progress with HUD and look forward to opening up the CSC to our residents soon.”
One of four local public housing authorities hosting these events, DCHA staff was on hand to show the secretary its new Customer Solutions Center (CSC). The center will allow DCHA customers to meet with DCHA staff, submit rent payments and recertification forms, participate in fair hearings, connect with housing specialists, and much more.
Customers will schedule an appointment in advance and will be able to conduct a safe, socially distanced visit for their DCHA business needs at one of the center’s cubicles. Spaces will be cleaned and sanitized between each transaction.
Launched in 2017, HUD’s Book Rich Environments (BRE) Initiative is a collaboration aimed to transform public housing authorities (PHAs) into book rich environments by providing diverse, high quality books and other literacy tools to children and families living in HUD-assisted housing to improve literacy outcomes and ensure all young people, regardless of background, have the tools they need to reach their full potential. The effort is made possible by a partnership among the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Education (DoE), PHAs, public libraries, and other local and national education partners. Last year, HUD celebrated the distribution of 1,000,000 books to children living in HUD-assisted households or participating in HUD programs. DCHA is one of 39 PHAs in 22 states across the country supporting the BRE initiative as a local partner.
Secretary Carson launched the EnVision Centers Initiative to form centralized resource hubs in communities across the country that provide people with the educational tools and support needed to excel. The Centers focus on four pillars of growth and success: economic empowerment, educational advancement, health and wellness, as well as character and leadership. DCHA’s Southwest Family Enhancement and Career Center is an EnVision Center.