This semester, THC’s Rapid Re-Housing team is hosting two interns from the University of California, Davis (UC Davis). We asked our interns to tell us more about themselves and what interested them in working with THC. Meet UC Davis senior, Roman Rivilis.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Roman Rivilis. I grew up in West San Jose, California and have been living in Northern California my entire life. I attended University of California, Davis, graduating with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Economics. The Bay Area is notorious for becoming one of the most unaffordable places to live in the country, and its rapid gentrification has displaced a lot of the diversity and culture that breathed life into my world growing up. In pursuit of a new environment to learn from, I found my way to Washington, DC.
What are you passionate about?
Gaining knowledge and addressing social problems primarily motivate me. What I realized by the end of my undergraduate career is that no course – and no degree – is going to solely focus on how to resolve the central dysfunctions of society. Instead, I think the best approach includes a moral element. I try to search for the right answers independent of what a book has taught me. Organizing against poverty is one component of these passions.
What brings you to THC?
I wanted the experience of submerging myself in the environment of working directly with families experiencing homelessness. You hear homelessness as an abstract in the media, as some sort of existential threat – and at times you will see it on the street – but you are not often directed to consider what keeps people on the street every day. In many cases, it’s inaction on the part of the local community; on a more fundamental level, it’s a system that does not address the underlying causes of homelessness effectively. We have an individual and a collective obligation to empower families experiencing homelessness to reclaim the vitality of their lives.