Ben Carson is pictured.
Joshua Roberts/Reuters

A morning roundup of the day’s news.

HUD pilot: Housing Secretary Ben Carson has picked his hometown Detroit as a guinea pig for a new federal program aiming to boost the self-sufficiency of those receiving housing assistance. The plan calls for 10 community hubs, called “EnVision Centers,” located on or near public housing projects, to focus on education, leadership, health, and economic empowerment. Housing Wire reports:

The centers will form partnerships with federal agencies, state and local governments, non-profits, faith-based organizations, corporations, public housing authorities and housing finance agencies. EnVision Centers will utilize public-private resources to impact the community.

… “EnVision Centers are designed to help people take the first few steps towards self-sufficiency,” Carson said. “Every household we are able to help graduate from HUD-assistance allows HUD to help one more family in need.”

  • See also: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler launched a Twitter attack on Carson yesterday—suggesting he “step aside and allow someone up to the task to lead—after the secretary’s comment that government funding wasn’t the only solution for the West Coast’s housing and homelessness crises. (Oregon Live)

Fires still raging: Northern San Diego lost 4,100 acres and 20 buildings yesterday in the wildfires that continue to ravage Southern California, prompting evacuations of more than 100,000 people. In the midst of it, the Los Angeles Fire Department is testing a new technology: a drone using thermal imaging to seek out hot spots and property damage. (Los Angeles Times)

All aboard Florida: The first private high-speed rail service in the U.S. is debuting this month along Florida’s densest corridor, projected to take as many as 3 million cars off the road. The $3 billion Brightline express starts with service from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale, with plans to expand to Miami and Orlando. (NPR)

No home for the holidays: In London, four out of five families displaced by the Grenfell Tower fire last June are still seeking housing, and almost half will spend Christmas in hotel rooms, according to the support group for the disaster victims. (Guardian)

Bourbon tourism: Looking to ramp up its tourism game, Lexington, Kentucky, is exploring the idea of a signature festival—and it may make most sense to capitalize on the city’s location along the “Bourbon Trail.” (Herald-Leader)

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