AmeriCorps VISTA Report: Armando Rios

Clockwise from top left: Armando loves snow!, Armando with Habitat for Humanity (HFH) Volunteers, Armando & Jack at HFH House, and Armando leading volunteers at HFH House.

“I am almost 5 months into my Green River life. Working at the Epicenter is a great way to use my architecture education in a meaningful way that affects people on a special level. I am excited to be here doing great work alongside my fellow Epicrew. In these short 5 months I have focused on incorporating myself into the community by going to as many community meetings as possible (e.g. business group meetings, city council meetings, planning and zoning, Utah Housing Matters conference). Attending these meetings has allowed me to have a better understanding on what is going on in the community.”

“Now that the Epicenter has completed the first Habitat for Humanity house in Green River, the housing focus (and my personal focus) is shifting to the new Critical Home Repair (CHR) program. Funded through Bike & Build, the CHR program is set up to be a revolving loan fund that will provide micro-loans to residents who cannot afford the upfront cost of a major home repair (e.g. a $1,000 roof repair). In addition to providing the up-front cash, the CHR program identifies future candidates, provides a material takeoff, a quote for the work to be done, and organizes volunteer groups to perform the work. Utilizing volunteer groups helps keep costs down while also building a greater sense of community, a neighbors helping neighbors mentality. I am excited to see the results of this program and to watch it grow.”

“Here is a quote about snow because it is colder here then I have ever experienced, and I have never lived
in a place that has snow on the ground for weeks on end: ‘Snow flurries began to fall and they swirled around people’s legs like house cats. It was magical, this snow globe world.’ -Sarah Addison Allen, The Sugar Queen.”

Playing a vital role in the completion of the first ever Habitat for Humanity House in Green River, Armando quickly became a godsend for Epicenter. His patience and dedicated work ethic will prove useful in the coming months as he’ll be the project lead on the new CHR program that has the potential to assist 6-12 families this year with home repairs. Armando has had at least one major “win” in Green River, and we look forward to those to come!