Elmira/Corning Regional Airport
Clearing the Jungle
Written By: Joe Melillo
Two weeks before Christmas 2012, Carmen Guidi of Newfield bought eight mobile homes and helped the people living in the Jungle move out, before it got too cold.
Ithaca (WENY) - Two weeks before Christmas 2012, Carmen Guidi of Newfield bought eight mobile homes and helped the people living in the Jungle move out, before it got too cold. His effort isn't going unnoticed but he says he needs more help. Carmen Guidi has done a lot on his own including spending more than $30,000 of his own money, but he says he's not helping the homeless, he's helping his friends.
The patch of land in Ithaca behind Wegmans, covered with snow and garbage, in between the train tracks and the river is known as the Jungle.
“You get to a point in your life where you get so low there's no way out and sometimes all it takes is for someone who cares for you to reach out their hand and they latch on,” says Guidi.
Carmen used his own money to buy eight trailers, put them at his home and business, then moved his friends out of the Jungle.
“There was no where else, housing in Ithaca is very difficult so there was just no where else,” says Carmen.
Barry Segal, who renovated the house at 717 Court Street, says the Syracuse Rescue mission will help run it.
“I knew from being a drug counselor I knew that I had to make it nice so when guys came to this place they felt like they were in a home and not just some sort of institutional building. I wasn't going to be a slum lord I was going to make something nice for them,” says Segal.
Both Barry and Carmen just want to make a difference.
“I know that there is a lot of love here and people can't help but feel the love that's gone into this building people are going to walk into a home maybe for the first time or maybe its been a long time,” says Barry.
Carmen says he will build more homes on the property behind his business on Route 13. When I asked him how people can help, he said simply "step up".
“The next time you see someone on a street corner flying a sign that says “Homeless please help”, the 5 bucks is not going to help them. Pull your car over get out ask them who they are and get to know them. They're people, they're somebody’s son brother or father,” says Carmen.
Barry will soon be finished renovating the house on Court Street, and people from the rescue mission will open it in two weeks.