Meet Our Member: Evan Girard
Shared Equity Program Coordinator at the Champlain Housing Trust
Before coming to the Champlain Housing Trust, Evan worked as a university-based community and economic development research assistant, a backcountry guide and ski instructor in New Hampshire's White Mountains, and a farm worker at the UNH Agricultural Experiment Station. As the Shared Equity Program Coordinator, Evan is the frontline contact for prospective SEP homebuyers. He hosts information sessions, assists individuals with the application process, and keeps the program's database up to date. When Evan is not dashing out of the office to an open house or property showing, you might find him growing foods for area food pantries and building local food security capacity at a community garden in the fertile Winooski delta.
Why did you join VHCB AmeriCorps?
It wasn’t because I couldn’t find a job or didn’t have opportunities to further my education. Active citizenship is an unwavering aspect of my life. VHCB has had an AmeriCorps program for almost the entire 20 years that AmeriCorps has existed. I read about the intersectionality of food insecurity and affordable housing as well as the work that VHCB is doing. Realizing that I need to better understand this, I applied to be hosted by a global leader in the community land trust movement.
What are you learning or gaining out of your service?
Creating an environment where everyone, including yourself, feels welcomed, appreciated, and valued is the imperative. Having said that, we have very little control beyond ourselves. Therefore, our understanding of how to do this starts by understanding our own privilege and being willing to step outside of our comfort zone, time and time again.
What has surprised you about serving in AmeriCorps?
Truthfully, it’s very challenging to make ends meet! The cost of living in Burlington is known to be very high. I’ve worked a 2nd job nearly my entire term. I can only imagine if I was a single mother! Even still, I am committed to doing a second term of service.
What's the best thing about serving at your site?
Everyone is very good at what they do, passionate about CHT's mission, and together are committed to expanding homeownership, creating individual wealth, enabling residential mobility, preserving affordability, retaining community wealth, and enhancing residential stability.
What would you like other people to know about serving in AmeriCorps?
You will be joining a group of civic-minded alumni numbering over a million. AmeriCorps service is well known to Vermonters. From my experience, they are aware of our impact and respond to our needs with enthusiasm because of what we are here to accomplish during our term of service and into the future.