Brian Hovis first learned about ‘Sidewalk,’ when Executive Director Phil Owens came to speak at his church, and called on volunteers to “help end homelessness.”
Brian was no stranger to volunteerism. He’s been involved with many organizations, especially since retiring.
“When you retire, you lose your work network,” Brian explains, “volunteering helps you connect with people.” Brian has always been drawn to issues surrounding homelessness, and is now a Housing Stability Advocate for Sidewalk.
Sidewalk uses a unique approach to housing the homeless called “rapid rehousing,” where clients receive rental assistance and case management in finding a permanent and sustainable home. Sidewalk wouldn't exist without volunteers like Brian. All the work done directly helping homeless clients is done by volunteers.
For Brian, “volunteering is a selfish thing. If you want to have a more fulfilling life that keeps you energized and helps you live longer – you’ll find things to do. For me, it can’t just be about myself.”
Sidewalk is very thankful to have Brian, saying he “exemplifies the incredible volunteer spirit we have here in Thurston County. With everything he contributes to, Brian brings the fullness of his intelligence, experience, talent, and heart.”
These qualities shine through in the way Brian talks about his work, “Sidewalk gives you a hands-on opportunity to be there for people who want you to be there for them. You don’t just go up to someone and give them a plan for their life. You have to build trust quickly, and you have to be gentle. Let them be the one to want to work on things.”
Volunteer Spotlight is sent to us by United Way of Thurston County. You can find them online at www.unitedway-thurston.org.