Ithaca's Tent City "THE JUNGLE": Living Homeless Sucks!



This past January, I vlogged a tour of Ithaca’s infamous tent city called “The Jungle” [ It was freezing cold outside. So cold it’s hard to imagine homeless men and women living outside in a tent yet approximately 40 people call the woods around Ithaca, New York home.

For some reason, I imagined a tour of the same tent encampments this time of year a little easier. I imagined homelessness during the summer months somewhat easier as if there is anything about living homeless is easy.

The mosquitoes were relentless. You can see welts increase on my face while I vlog. When I got home, there were bites all over my body. The darn things even bit me through my shirt. I am still itching. I cannot imagine the challenge of having to go to the bathroom outside.

The vlog I posted before this featured residents of Koreatown stepping up to take tangible actions to help their homeless neighbors [ This video is similar in many ways in that it features ordinary citizens assisting homeless people in their own community. The big difference is that Koreatown is in Los Angeles and Ithaca is a rural community that faces the challenges of rural homelessness.

Carmen Guidi of Second Wind Cottages is a superhero. He may have the biggest heart of anyone I know. Carmen is also pretty much the only help homeless people living in the tent camps around Ithaca have. Government is not helping. The faith community is not helping. Truth is, there is little support for homeless people to get out of homelessness in Tompkins County, New York.

Carmen owns an auto body shop. He is not a social worker. Carmen has no background in professional homeless services. He is not wealthy. Carmen simply cares for people but not with just words, he takes actions to do whatever he can to help his homeless friends in the Jungle.

In this video, Carmen shares why he started Second Wind Cottages almost six years ago. He also shares his thought about NIMBY and bunch of other brilliant ideas I hope you’ll watch to the end to hear.

And yes I said BRILLIANT because to me Carmen is a genius! You’ll hear throughout this video Carmen talk about other people who have an academic background. It doesn’t take the smartest person to see that homeless people need housing, but only a person with extreme intelligence would actually do something about it. Carmen is the king of YIMBY because he built 15 (soon to be 18) cottages in his backyard. Carmen lives YES IN MY BACKYARD every single day!

It’s inspirational seeing more regular every day people taking real actions to help fight homelessness. We need everyone to help. EVERYONE! That includes YOU!

Please support Second Wind Cottages here

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About Invisible People:

Since its launch in November 2008, Invisible People has leveraged the power of video and the massive reach of social media to share the compelling, gritty, and unfiltered stories of homeless people from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The vlog (video blog) gets up close and personal with veterans, mothers, children, layoff victims and others who have been forced onto the streets by a variety of circumstances. Each week, they’re on InvisiblePeople.tv, and high traffic sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, proving to a global audience that while they may often be ignored, they are far from invisible.

Invisible People goes beyond the rhetoric, statistics, political debates, and limitations of social services to examine poverty in America via a medium that audiences of all ages can understand, and can’t ignore. The vlog puts into context one of our nation’s most troubling and prevalent issues through personal stories captured by the lens of Mark Horvath – its founder – and brings into focus the pain, hardship and hopelessness that millions face each day. One story at a time, videos posted on InvisiblePeople.tv shatter the stereotypes of America’s homeless, force shifts in perception and deliver a call to action that is being answered by national brands, nonprofit organizations and everyday citizens now committed to opening their eyes and their hearts to those too often forgotten.

Invisible People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the way we think about people experiencing homelessness.

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