Rikki Gardner, Operations Director
Why is affordable housing important for Durham?
"I think affordable housing is important to Durham because Durham is a great place to live. It has always prided itself on being a place for everyone. But with the progress Durham has seen, the tech startups, and the different businesses and enterprises that have come here, Durham has all of a sudden become a very pricey place that not everyone can afford. There are those who have been born and raised in this city and they are now finding themselves priced out of areas that are comfortable and known to them. So I think everyone needs to work together to make sure that everyone can live here. Its a great place to be, but it shouldn't be an exclusive place to be."
What's your why? Why do you work to end homelessness?
"My why is because everyone deserves a safe, decent affordable place to live. No one should have to live outside or in a place not meant for human habitation. I think with all of the resources we have here in Durham this is a solvable problem. I think that as community we can come together and work together to make sure that everyone has a place to call home. And that's what I like about working for Housing for New Hope, its that we work together to make sure that everyone has a place to call home."
Is there a moment that has made an impact on you?
"So I've been Housing for New Hope for two years, but my most impactful moment happened 30 days on the job. I was working with the Rapid Rehousing team and we were helping move a family into their apartment. The family was composed of a single mom and she had three children. One of the things we were doing was accomplishing this move while the children were in school so that hopefully we would be done by the end of the school day and they come come HOME, like home for the first time in months. They had been living in shelter for about six months. And the look on those childrens' faces when they came to their new home and saw that each one of them had their own bedroom, with their own bed, it just made my heart smile and warmed my entire soul. I think Housing for New Hope does a tremendous service to this community of really giving them hope where they might have been previously hopeless. And so I live for moments like that one I experienced."