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HUD Secretary, Mission Arlington's Tillie Burgin exchange notes on helping community

Fort Worth Star-Telegram logoFort Worth Star-Telegram 10/23/2020 Kailey Broussard, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Staff and volunteers are used to guiding people around Mission Arlington, but they gave a special tour Friday afternoon to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.

Tillie Burgin, executive director, guided Carson through the faith-based service’s warehouses, medical clinics and Christmas store. Carson said the institution, which Burgin and her family founded in 1986, is a model for local partnerships with faith-based groups and nonprofits to help economically disadvantaged residents.

“This is one of the best things that’s going on, and it started with somebody’s big heart who wanted to do things for people in the community. It has just blossomed into this amazing facility,” Carson said.

Federal programs, he said, should support programs such as Mission Arlington rather than spearhead support programs because local programs benefit the community.

“Our mission at HUD and what we consider success is not how many people we get into government assistance programs, but how many people can get out of programs and become self-sufficient,” Carson said. “We believe that the best way to accomplish that is work with the private sector, work with the faith-based communities and nonprofits.”

Carson’s visit to Mission Arlington marks his latest stop in recognizing faith-based programs that have collaborated with the city in helping residents and families. He visited an organization in Riverside, Calif., in late September.

Burgin said she long followed Carson’s work and vision. Talking to him, she said, felt like visiting with a friend.

“From everything I’ve read about you, I think we’ve had the same god who’s communicated with us,” Burgin said.

Carson also met Mayor Jeff Williams, who said Mission Arlington has served as a stronghold for the city, both before and during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The depth and the fabric of our community is so much stronger because of the experience that each one of them is having here at Mission Arlington,” Williams said.

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