We had the good fortune of connecting with Remy Gordon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Remy, what do you want your legacy to be?
I think we all want to be remembered for something positive, to be remembered as more than ordinary, to be remembered as someone who really made a difference. I want to be remembered for making a difference and leaving an imprint on this world. I want my legacy to be of someone who always would lend a helping hand and who had a fierce passion in her for helping others, especially people experiencing homelessness or in some sort of crisis. I want people to remember that I always gave it my all and did all I could to help others. I want people to think of me and think of the lives that I touched- the lives that were changed for the better. I want a young child to ask his/her mother their family history and I want the mother to say, “A long time ago, grandma and grandpa were just two young adults trying to survive on the streets of Miami until they met Remy who helped them exit a life of homelessness. She brought them food, clothes, hygiene products, and most importantly love and hope. Remy never stopped believing in them and that’s when the start of our family changed.” Making a difference and working towards ending homelessness isn’t just a hobby for me, it is a calling.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I was in graduate school, I created a 501c3 nonprofit called Seeking Shelter Inc. I created it with the intention of providing assistance to people experiencing homelessness throughout the United States. My nonprofit has several different areas of practice to help others. With the help of two software developers, I was able to create a free app for both Apple and Android phones. The app, Seeking Shelter, provides a database of resources that someone experiencing homelessness could use to search for shelter, medical resources, or anything else they would need when in a crisis. Additionally, I go out in the community and provide outreach to the people experiencing homelessness in whatever city I am in. Currently, I am living in Miami and make my way to several areas that I know of where many people congregate on a weekly basis. I bring them food, hygiene products, mental health help, love, compassion, sleeping gear and more. I take the time to get to know each and every person’s story and how they got to where they are and see the best way for me to help them. Sometimes it may be through offering them a nonjudgmental ear to listen to them and sometimes it may be by finding them a pair of shoes to replace their two sizes too small flip flops. My ultimate long-term goal is to open up a wraparound shelter program, Charlie’s House, for the transition aged youth, 16-24 years old. It was not easy to get to where I am. It has taken several years for me and I am still learning and still trying my best to succeed every day. I have had to find people to believe in my mission along the way, people to invest money in my nonprofit to help me provide for the people experiencing homelessness. I still need to find funding sources to be able to open Charlie’s House. I still need donations to help me provide food, hygiene products, and clothing to the people that are unsheltered. I think there have been many times where I could have given up but I don’t because I truly believe that the people who I am serving deserve better, they deserve more. I think it is important to recognize that nobody grows up saying that they want to be homeless when they are older. There are many situations that can happen to someone that puts them in that position (i.e. mental health, substance abuse, unemployment, generational poverty, incarceration, domestic violence, immigration and more). The average person may overlook them on the street corners and under the bridges while going about their daily lives. I am not that average person though- I seek them out and help them make their voices heard. I do all I can to provide for them. Sometimes, that even means I am putting myself in dangerous or risky situations but it never stops me. I want the world to know that I will not give up. I will continue to do what I love and I will continue to help those experiencing homelessness. I will fight the stigma, I will educate others, I will offer assistance, I will show compassion, and I will fight for them to have a life worth living.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Miami is such a diverse community and has many things to offer. If someone came to visit me, I would want them to experience the different neighborhoods of Miami. I would take them on a tour through Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Wynwood, South Beach, Homestead, Pinecrest, Brickell, Downtown, Edgewater, and more. I would show them how each neighborhood has its own special vibe and characteristics. I would point out neighborhoods like Wynwood that are being more and more gentrified. I would make sure to show them how even though there are high end restaurants in Wynwood, only a few blocks away there are people experiencing homelessness on the streets still. Some sights that I think are worth seeing and visiting would be the Wynwood Walls, Viscaya Museum and Gardens, University of Miami campus, Lincoln Road, Calle Ocho and Miracle Mile. For pizza, I would bring them to Miami’s Best Pizza. For sushi, I would take them to Matsuri. For Cuban, I would bring them to Versailles. To show them some Miami nightlife, I would take them to the Clevelander in South Beach, Monty’s Bar in Coconut Grove, and Ball and Chain on Calle Ocho. For a relaxing day, I would bring them to the pool at the Biltmore Hotel or for a swim in the ocean at Miami Beach.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I think that there are many people who have helped me in my success. The first one that comes to mind is my graduate school, The Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. My school taught me that I can be who I want to be and instilled in me the best practices, the best research methods, and the best way that I could be a change maker.