The mission of Second Wind is to house and walk with people toward restored lives. We are a not-for-profit organization that provides homes and hope!
Homelessness is a serious and complex problem in the United States. Factors contributing to homelessness go deep - well beyond the surface of an individual’s current situation. Second Wind is based on a community first approach to ending homelessness.
Our work starts with building relationships with those who have become “invisible people”, people for whom our community has given up hope. This is accomplished through our Homeless Crisis Alleviation work and our supportive housing cottage site. Research shows that “poverty” comes not only from a lack of resources, but also a lack of relationships. Therefore we focuses on building relationships with those who most desperately need a friend. Over time, trust is built and we are able to assist those who desire a changed lifestyle.
How is Second Wind funded?
Our funding comes from private individuals, grants, businesses, other organizations, and fundraising events. Several local businesses and professionals have donated and/or discounted their products and services. Residents pay a program fee if or when they are able, some through a housing subsidy and some through their income source.
How many cottages will you build?
Local and state site-planning regulations allow 18 cottages on our present site. We moved residents into the final three cottages in November of 2018. During a future phase of this project, we plan to build a permanent building for office, meeting, and program space which will replace the trailer which is currently functioning as our common building.
How are furnishings for completed cottages provided?
All cottage furnishings are donated. We welcome donations of furniture and other household items the men need. If you would like to donate furnishings and household goods, you may contact Amy Bach at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are the cottages for men only?
The site at 1435 Elmira Rd is for men, we have a new location in Dryden, NY that is going to be for women and their children.
Do the occupants pay rent?
Residents pay a program fee as they are able to, which helps meet operating expenses. Not being able to pay does not in itself exclude a potential resident.
Are there rules occupants must comply with?
The goal of Second Wind is to walk with men toward restored lives. To this end, a code of conduct (good neighbor policy) must be agreed to and signed before the resident moves into a cottage. There are restrictions on guests, and Second Wind is a clean and sober environment.
What resources and services are available to occupants?
The restoration process always includes regular meetings with staff to assess areas for growth and support. Other resources available on-site include Christian fellowship and support, life skills training, meals and social events such as movie nights with other residents and the larger community, laundry facilities, exercise equipment, and a food pantry. Additionally, we partner with a wide array of private and government agencies to support the residents at Second Wind.
Are Christian studies or practices required?
No, any faith-oriented opportunities are voluntary and optional.
What transportation services are available?
The cottages are on the public bus route serving downtown Ithaca and Tompkins County. In addition, residents are connected with people who can provide rides to special appointments as needed. Medicaid cab is available to residents who have Medicaid and require transportation to medical appointments.
How is this housing different from St. John's Community Services (formerly the Rescue Mission) in Ithaca?
St. John's offers a dormitory-style living arrangement and short- term housing. As an emergency shelter, St. John's is designed to meet the crisis housing need in our area. Second Wind provides a place for men to learn to be sober and stable in independence and dignity, which takes time. The cottages are one room, energy efficient dwellings clustered around the community building, where we have meals, training, meetings, office space, laundry and interface with the wider community.
Where do we hope each person will be in 5 years?
We hope residents will be able to move on a less supported environment, and that the relationships formed during their stay at Second Wind will endure.
How do I start something like this in my community?
Every city/town has unique regulations for building. Second Wind was started through a private donation of land and initially was supported by a community nonprofit organization. The obstacles of building and zoning were overcome one at a time working with the local town in which the land resided. Building the cottages was a community volunteer effort headed up by Carmen Guidi, who is now the chairman of the board of Second Wind. Through community fundraising and volunteer labor, the first six cottages were built and Second Wind established itself as its own nonprofit organization. Since that time Second Wind has added 12 cottages and is now at capacity. The programming at Second Wind is very individual and is different for every resident. The staff work one on one with the residents to help them towards restored lives and encourage them to engage in community building activities. Every situation across the country is going to be unique. Our first recommendation is to make local connections. Talk to others in your local area who have a passion for the homeless and put your brains and resources together to create a vision. Ours started with one man who had a big heart and some donated land.