Maria Bushby, a junior at Ithaca College, is a student leader addressing the need for better access to housing among Ithaca and Tompkins County residents. For the past two years, Maria has been working closely with the IC Habitat for Humanity, the Ithaca Rescue Mission, and Second Wind Cottages to generate resources for people in the area who are experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness. Maria was instrumental in organizing the "Hear for the Homeless" concert at Ithaca College in December 2018, which helped keep the Ithaca Rescue Mission's resource center open through the end of last year. She is currently working on several projects with our local Habitat for Humanity to generate awareness around the need for affordable housing here in Tompkins County, NY .
I believe that every person deserves and needs a place that they can call home. I first became heavily involved with the Ithaca community through our college chapter's Habitat for Humanity, whose mission statement built off my summers volunteering with a non-profit organization called Appalachia Service Project. Both of these organizations had focus on the importance of stable housing and the people behind the homes. The idea of everyone deserving a home began to drive me in my life in and out of Ithaca College as I began to work with a transitional housing organization for men in need and want of a second chance, homeless shelters, and encampments in the New York area. This lead me to research homelessness and affordable housing in the Ithaca area to learn more about the inequity, inequality, and injustice fueling homelessness. In the future, I would like to more about the systemic causes of homelessness and how to encourage individuals to believe in themselves and know that they can make a difference, and that relationships are at the core of it all.