HUD designates Sandpoint Resource Center as ‘EnVision Center’

Feds move to enhance services available to vulnerable residents in Bonner, Boundary counties

By Reader Staff

On behalf of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Jeff McMorris announced that the newly-opened Sandpoint Community Resource Center has been designated as a HUD EnVision Center, serving residents of Bonner and Boundary counties in Idaho. 

Since Carson launched the EnVision Center initiative in 2018, HUD has designated about 90 EnVision Centers across the country, including the one operated by St. Vincent de Paul of North Idaho in Coeur d’Alene.  

Just as supermarkets offer “one-stop” shopping to consumers, HUD EnVision Centers serve as “one stop” service hubs for individuals and households who need a range of social, health, educational and other services that can help them become self-sufficient. With a demonstrated record of actively partnering with many providers in North Idaho, including Community Action Partners, Panhandle Health, The Salvation Army, Helping Hands and Helping Hearts, Idahope Families, Bonner County Housing Agency, NAMI Far North,  local food banks, local schools, and numerous county and state agencies, McMorris noted in the letter of designation, the Sandpoint Community Resource Center “aligns with the EnVision Center demonstration’s goal of empowering households towards self-sufficiency.”     

While no HUD funding is directly tied to designation as an EnVision Center, HUD’s role is to establish and enhance the links EnVision centers have with other federal and state agencies that can help centers better serve their communities. In its application to become an EnVision Center, the Sandpoint Community Resource Center identified four “gaps” it believes HUD’s assistance in expanding existing and establishing new partnerships could help the center address: transportation, permanent and transitional housing, emergency mental health and substance use disorder services and food instability.

“This is a great day for residents of Bonner and Boundary counties and a great day for HUD,” McMorris stated in a news release, “that we hope will open doors to new services and resources for the Sandpoint Community Resource Center to serve North Idaho’s most vulnerable citizens.

“When Secretary Carson first launched HUD’s EnVision Center initiative some two years ago,” McMorris added, “he saw them as offering a holistic approach to advancing the four pillars of self-sufficiency, economic empowerment, educational advancement, health and wellness, and character and leadership. In both its philosophy and its practices, the Sandpoint Community Resource Center fully embraces the same approach.” 

“We are honored that SCRC has received this designation,” said Linnis Jellinek, the center’s executive director. “Our community is enthusiastic about a ‘one-stop hub’ for resources and services. The EnVision Center will not only serve as a safety net for many, but it will be a place of hope as we empower households to achieve self-sufficiency. Economic empowerment is a pillar of the EnVision Center concept and we believe that sustainable self-sufficiency is the foundation for success.”

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