Jacksonville's Sulzbacher Village Designated 1st EnVision Center in Florida

[Residents Ms. Baker and Bessie Ballard shared their life-changing experience of new hope and opportunities after being able to have a place to call home and the services offered at Sulzbacher Village.]
Residents Ms. Baker and Bessie Ballard shared their life-changing experience of new hope and opportunities after being able to have a place to call home and the services offered at Sulzbacher Village.

[Inside Sulzbacher Village.]
Inside Sulzbacher Village.

[Inside the Federally Qualified Health Center.]
Inside the Federally Qualified Health Center.

Following a highly competitive selection process, on Monday, November 18th HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Denise Cleveland-Leggett designated Jacksonville's Sulzbacher Village for Women and Families, a provider of comprehensive services for the homeless, Florida's first EnVision Center.

"As we implement Secretary Carson's vision of hope and opportunity to help more families become self-sufficient, Sulzbacher Village is a good example of things done right," said Cleveland-Leggett. "The combination of effective leadership, public-private partnerships, supportive services and job training have been key to transforming good ideas into reality and positively changing the trajectory of many lives."

"Sulzbacher is a vital partner in our efforts to end homelessness in our community and I am incredibly proud of their designation as one of the few HUD EnVision Centers in the nation," said Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. "This designation recognizes Sulzbacher's focus on empowering Jacksonville families with financial empowerment education and programs that help them move up and out of poverty."

Sulzbacher Village for Women & Families has 70 rental apartments onsite: 56 are studio apartments for single women or women with one child; 14 two-bedroom apartments serve families with children. Sulzbacher Village also eliminates the need for 200 shelter beds in the Jacksonville community by providing 36 women and family short-term stay units; 10 respite units for women recently released from local hospitals who need follow-up care; and 8 units for homeless veteran women.

For the residents, Sulzbacher has been a game changer. "When I came to Sulzbacher, I was devastated. I never thought I'd do this. But when I got there and stayed there, it was like a dream come true to me," said resident Bessie Ballard. Another resident, Atrina Baker, added: "About a year ago I came here escaping gun violence, trying to get in a place of my own. I was going to stay in my car; I never knew I'd have childcare right next door."

The village also includes a 7,000-square-foot Federally Qualified Health Center that offers primary care, dental, vision, and behavioral services for women and children residing in the Village and surrounding community. The campus has an early learning center, a computer lab, a children's library, a playground, and a mobile food pantry. On-site education programs include job training classes, culinary classes, homework tutoring, mentorship initiatives, and female veteran programs for transitioning back into society.

"We are thrilled and honored to have been designated as a HUD EnVision Center", said Cindy Funkhouser, Sulzbacher President and CEO. "Our vision of Sulzbacher Village began as a place where women and families could live in a peaceful, respectful setting, and be wrapped in supportive services and opportunities for self-sufficiency. To make this happen, we engaged community partners across every sector, public, private and corporate. To see our dream become a reality has been so rewarding, and now to be recognized by HUD really affirms our efforts. With the EnVision Center designation, we can now say with confidence that Sulzbacher Village truly is a national model for how to address homelessness."

For more information on Sulzbacher Village designation visit: HUD.gov/Florida

For general information on Secretary Carson EnVision Centers Initiative visit: www.huduser.gov/portal/envisioncenters/home.html


Content Archived: January 7, 2021