Who We Are
How We Are
Volunteers for Housing
Photos by Anne Muller
In August Noemi Perez and her family, evicted with over 300 others from The Virginian Apartments, was facing homelessness. When Wren Fialka appealed to the community in finding a home for the family, Jessica and Reed Chambers offered their unfinished basement. Further, over 27 volunteers gave their time and skills in finishing the basement so that this family would have shelter.
Over the years I have watched the complexion of our community change. My friends struggle as long as they can and then finally give up and leave. The talking has gone on for years and the problem gets worse. I am tired of talking about it so now I have an avenue to take action.
Jackson Hole has been my community and home base for 22 years. The nonprofit and projects I’ve created already work to serve homeless and displaced populations in at out of US by encouraging unity, awareness and compassion. It just made sense to step in and offer the help I am best at giving.
Everyone needs a hand in some way, shape or form at one time or another. I have found when you take care of the world. The world takes care of you. Simply, I would hope someone would do this for my family if we were in need. It’s what community is all about.
I am doing this because I can.
There are two reasons I am helping out. One is that I really do like helping people. It’s rewarding to me personally.
I think the other reason is that when I was young and getting started in the world, I had no money, no connections, and no support network. In my case this was a result of growing up the son of an immigrant who was in the military and moved every couple years. It wasn’t until I moved to Jackson that I found community, and understood how important that is to have. It was here that I found stability and support and encouragement and help when I needed it. I lost my job and house in 2009 and ended up living in a camper. I remember very clearly how many people helped me in so many little ways during that time. I remember how they helped me get back on my feet – without judgment or asking anything in return. Many of them probably don’t even realize what they did, but I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it.
I want to return that help however I can, whether it’s helping personally, or working on solutions to our housing and human services needs. It took a community to help me reach my potential, and there are so many more people who need that same kind of help. I know first-hand how important that is. Noemi has two great kids with so much potential. They’re going to be a huge asset to our community, but they need our help to get there, as do many others. I’m really glad to see so many people giving that help.
I help because I want to and because I love doing it. All we have in this world is each other and I know if this was my family I would appreciate the help of others. The least I can do is volunteer my time for this wonderful family.
I volunteer to help because I am tired of the talking.
I volunteered for this project because we have a housing emergency and families like Noemi’s are getting evicted. Most people feel like the situation is hopeless but Jess and Reed are doing something – so we have hope. I hope more families make space for our neighbors.
We are friends helping friends.
In addition to volunteered time and labor, materials, appliances, furniture, personal items and strategic counsel were given pro bono by local individuals and businesses.
For more information visit: www.theguesthousinginitiative.org