Rebuild Upstate proudly partners with the United Way of Greenville County as an Americorps partner site. AmeriCorps is the federal agency connecting individuals and organizations through service and volunteering to tackle the nation’s most pressing challenges. Learn more at AmeriCorps.gov. Or contact your local AmeriCorps program at [email protected] The Rebuild Upstate team is grateful for Trey’s hard work and passion to make homes safer, healthier, and more livable for the families living inside.
“I’ve been there.” These three words can make a world of difference. For Trey Austin, these words not only comfort his clients; they’re true.
“I’ve lived in conditions that aren’t great. I was homeless. I lived in a barn for five years and used a kerosene heater. I’ve been there.” Trey found the AmeriCorps program after a series of hard-won life changes propelled him to start fresh. These experiences, as well as deep faith, drive Trey to fulfill his service as an AmeriCorps member.
“I’ve always been committed to my faith. It’s my driving force. When I was pursuing ministry as a pastor [several years ago]… I started interacting with people about issues that were more social in scope. As those justice issues developed to the forefront of my mind, not just the cerebral theological level where I camped out, I began seeing how [theology] lives out on a daily basis is a better crucible for theology than just bandying about opinions. It’s where the rubber meets the road.”
Trey is an Americorps Member in his third year of service with Rebuild Upstate. Trey works with homeowners and other agencies to increase collaboration. Often, he says, people want to get help but just don’t know where to start. That’s where Trey comes in. Trey personally meets with a homeowner to address his or her holistic needs. In one visit, Trey may introduce an elderly homeowner to Meals on Wheels. In another visit, Trey may take the time to walk him or her through a confusing application to receive appropriate social services. But in every visit, Trey offers more than practical next steps. He offers community.
During his time of service with Rebuild Upstate, Trey has connected over 300 Upstate homeowners with additional resources, like financial management training, disability assistance, and home meal deliveries.
Around the office, Trey is known as a renaissance man. He is the reigning champion in our weekly trivia challenges, an artist and master woodburner, and an empathetic advocate for homeowners across the Upstate. When the need gets overwhelming, Trey remembers his faith and is encouraged by the way the Greenville community collaborates to find life-changing solutions for their neighbor.
And what does home mean to Trey? He doesn’t hesitate to share. “Home” means belonging and family. Here at Rebuild Upstate, we are forever grateful that Trey is a part of our family.