If you’ve noticed, more and more tiny homes are sprouting across neighborhoods everywhere – and for good reason.
Transitioning to a smaller home presents many opportunities including helping the planet with the use of sustainable materials, consuming less energy because of the significant change in size, and easier maintenance.
Of course, these are benefits that only those with financial resources can enjoy.
But the good thing is, these same resources can also be used for reaching out and lending a hand, just like Carmen Guidi, founder of Second Wind Village in Newfield.
Second Wind Village is a collection of tiny houses built on Guidi’s property, all for the homeless men of Ithaca.
The amazing idea came to him after a few good will trips to Honduras and Haiti.
Guidi describes himself as not being completely knowledgeable on all things tiny living but believes he would want to live that way himself.
“I knew nothing about a tiny home anything. Once we started putting together these ‘tiny houses,’ I know I would like to live that way if I was that, and that’s why these men do so well here.”
More than just giving the homeless a roof over their heads, Guidi believes another important need is met.
“They give the men a level of dignity that they can’t get anywhere else. Even though they don’t own the houses, they still take ownership, they take pride around the surroundings. Here’s the thing, they want to stay in a community, yet they want to have their own time, too, in their own space.”
Guidi also frequents a remote area called “The Jungle”, situated just behind some of Ithaca’s popular establishments, to connect with the homeless. In disbelief at the number of people who can’t afford to live like most people do, he offers them the food and supplies they need and eventually extends an invitation for them to move into one of the Second Wind cottages.
Gently helping the homeless restore their dignity through his housing initiative has inspired Guidi to keep going.
He hopes to build nine more, this time to house homeless women and children at a separate location.
Nels Bohn, the Director of Urban Renewal Agency of the City of Ithaca shares that Guidi has teamed up with several agencies to help make life better for the homeless.
Thankfully, all 40 emergency shelters of Ithaca have the necessary resources to take care of the homeless and help them get back up on their feet.
Bohn also emphasizes the need to help the homeless battle deeper issues.
“People come with a lot of issues that they have to work through. They worked their way down to homelessness, they need to work their way back out of homelessness.”
Fortunately, Ithaca’s state agencies are consistent in making sure there is enough funding to address problems such as addiction, mental health, and family crisis.
Guidi’s cottages have a waiting list of over 30 people, and he believes someday he can build more to help get people off the streets and into safer spaces where they can thrive and start over.
His selfless vision has truly changed lives and inspired many others to follow suit.
Learn more about the Second Wind cottages by watching the video below.
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