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Homeless Men Get íSecond Windí at Life
Written By: Tanja Rekhi
NEWFIELD (WENY) -- Despite the best efforts of some good Samaritans, dozens of people still live in Ithaca's homeless encampment, known as the Jungle. Carmen Guidi of Newfield bought 8 mobile homes for homeless men to live in last Winter. Now, he's taking it further and building homes for them behind his garage- Guidi's Auto Collision.
It's all part of a mission project by Guidi and Community Faith Partners. The goal is to have 18 cottages up for homeless men to live in before Thanksgiving comes and the ground freezes. It's all being done by volunteers. Tomorrow, they're looking to put the framing up on six cottages and they're looking for some help.
Thomas Persun will be living in the first cottage being built by Second Wind. Right now, Thomas lives in one of Guidi's campers. He lived in The Jungle for 3 1/2 years.
"I'm a recovering alcoholic, I've been sober now for almost a year now a few more days now and it'll be a year," says Persun.
He says his addiction took all of his money. He remembers the brutal winters living in The Jungle.
"I worked at one of the local diners here and I'd be at work and when it would start snowing, I would constantly be wondering if my tent roof was going to be caved in when I came home," says Persun.
That's why Second Wind would like to get these 18 cottages built before it gets too cold out. They have a number of business, church and community partners donating time and money.
This Saturday, they're having a chicken barbeque called Dinner for a Dollar. It's behind Guidi's Auto Collision at 1435 Elmira Road in Newfield from 2:00-6:00 p.m. It's a minimum one dollar donation to go and all proceeds will fund the project.
"Everybody makes mistakes, I've made mistakes in my life," says Guidi. "And so I just can't understand why people won't give people a second chance. So, this is an opportunity for them to have a second chance."
He founded Second Wind after a mission trip to Haiti. When he got back, he learned a good friend of his who was homeless there committed suicide. That caused him to wonder what else he could do to help homeless people out.
Thomas Persun says if he hadn't met Guidi he probably would have still been an alcoholic or have died by now.
"This will give men a second wind at life, to start over with their lives," says Persun."That's what happened to me, I got my second wind."