In the spring of 2016, the housing crisis in Jackson, WY reached emergency levels. Many locals, including families with young children, were facing rising and impossibly high rents and imminent evictions. Spread the Love recognized the situation had become dire when we were introduced to the Perez-Garcia family. A young, local family who had found themselves deeply entangled in Jackson’s economic and housing catastrophe. In an alliance with One22 (another local nonprofit) the local arm of Spread the Love was born. The mission; to encourage the community to pool their resources for one family at a time, to provide all levels of help and ultimately, a housing resolution.
Through social media, a weekly lemonade stand under the sponsorship of a local business, two budding politicos, a community fundraiser, a yard sale and over 45 volunteers and local businesses, the Perez-Garcia’s were provided with the aid they so desperately needed. The family consists of Noemi, a young mother with two young sons, one with special needs. Through Spread the Love’s efforts, the family was provided with everything from new shoes, a phone, an organic vegetable share for the summer, clothing, financial help and finally a new home 2 weeks before their eviction.
The success of this project not only saved this family from separation and relocation and forged many new friendships but infused the Jackson community with hope, and motivated more locals to step forward.
Although, Spread the Love secured a temporary living situation for the family that fall/winter, they needed a more permanent housing solution. A team of 20 volunteers, along with the family, began renovating another space to be ready by the summer of 2017. After more than 400 volunteer hours the family was able to move into their new home.
In total, the local branch of the Spread the Love Commission has come to the aid of three different families in the valley to date and there is plenty more to do. We hope to create an alliance with other local organizations and individuals and form a sustainable model for win/win housing solutions that we can share with other communities that face similar challenges.