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Carmel Steindam

Building Hope Newsletter, January 2018

By | News

Executive Director’s Corner

Kristyn Burr (center) helps distribute blankets and other winter essentials to “tent city” residents in Prince William County.

For some, this really is the most wonderful time of year, with family, parties, festive meals, and beautifully packaged gifts part of the everyday. But for others, it’s a season of stress, guilt, and worry over how to make the holiday feel special for a child when money is tight. And for many others, it’s just another day on the streets, with the fight to stay warm and fed taking precedence over all else. In mid-December, HomeAid joined with our partner, SevaTruck, at a tent city in Woodbridge, where we together provided hot meals and distributed blankets, warm socks, and other winter essentials to the individuals and families who live in tents year-round – many of whom work full-time jobs. It was a day full of feel-good moments, and what I’ll remember most isn’t so much the level of need out there – which of course is enormous – but instead the smiles and hugs from people who have a seemingly endless supply of gratitude. It was a reminder that while we all have different paths, we’re all human. And while everyone has a unique story, we all respond to kindness – one man even tried to give me some hand warmers, when he noticed that I was cold. It’s a moment I’ve carried with me into the New Year, as well as a reminder to always take a moment to acknowledge the people we meet along the way – even the shortest of exchanges can change someone’s day. I look forward to applying that same spirit of outreach in everything we do as an organization this year, whether through our tried and true events or through new opportunities and new partnerships. I hope you’ll join me with a similar resolution. Happy New Year!

In gratitude,


HomeAid and SevaTruck Deliver Food, Winter Essentials to Homeless
HomeAid volunteers and Board members gather on the season’s first snowy day to distribute winter essentials to homeless men and women living in a “tent city” in Woodbridge. Partner SevaTruck offered free hot meals, as well. (photo credit: Rushdi Nackerdien)

The first snowy winter weather of the season hit on Saturday, December 9, and HomeAid Northern Virginia and partner SevaTruck were out in force to greet it! With Board members and other volunteers in tow, the two organizations met in the parking lot of the Prince William County Drop-In Center, where they provided hot meals, backpacks, blankets, hats, socks, toilet paper, insulated sleeping mats, and other essentials to homeless men and women who live in the surrounding “tent city” in Woodbridge.

The residents, many of whom work full-time or attend school, are living in the tent city for a variety of reasons—but very few are there by choice; in a report by CBS-TV, Resident Dwyane Green explained, “It is like the safety net of life was snatched from under me, and that drop is a long drop.”

“I was a homeowner all my life, lost my home to foreclosure, my second husband quit his job and was unemployed for a couple months, and that was the catalyst,” another resident shared.

“It’s a common theme,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director Kristyn Burr. “Very few people choose to be homeless, but for a variety of reasons, their life circumstances worked out that way. Not everyone has a safety net to fall back on, so when they hit hard times, they don’t have much choice. They’re still working, still going to school … but they don’t earn what it takes to maintain a home and keep up with commuting costs in this region. It’s a difficult story, and we see it every day.”

Did you know? An estimated 400-500 homeless men and women live in about 55 homeless camps in Prince William County, with some residents living in the camps for as long as five years.

“As volunteers, it’s always rewarding to see a smile when someone tastes our meals,” added Sonny Kakar, SevaTruck Foundations’ founder. “We served veggie burritos with salad, cookies, juice, water, and coffee, and on a snowy and freezing cold day, we made all of our clients smile. This event really expressed the true meaning of the ‘Seva,’ a Punjabi word that means ‘inspired to serve,’ and that we must express our love for the Almighty through service to all of humanity without judgment or discrimination. Witnessing firsthand the incredible work HomeAid does for the most unfortunate members of our community was an experience that our organization will never forget, and we look forward to partnering with HomeAid again to make the present and future a little bit brighter for those in need in Prince William County.”


HomeAid and Van Metre Homes Nearing Completion of Women’s Empowerment Center Renovation

Workers build out lower-level classroom space for women to receive life-skills training and comprehensive case management.

HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain Van Metre Homes, and 14 trade partners are putting the finishing touches on a $35,000 renovation project for ACTS’ Women’s Empowerment Center, so that the organization can serve a broader population of women and families in the Prince William County community. Currently, the Center provides the “Empowering Women in Transition” residential program for women and families, as well as the ACTS Rapid Re-Housing Program, which is focused on getting homeless individuals and families into permanent housing.

The full renovation of the 2,452 square-foot basement into classrooms and offices will enable the Center to offer all programming downstairs, while allowing the first and second floors of the Center to retain a true “home” feeling. Five chronically homeless women and their children, many with physical and mental disabilities, will each have their own one- or two-room units with private baths, sharing a spacious kitchen, living room, children’s room, and yard with a deck and new playset. Downstairs, women will receive diverse training provided by ACTS and community partners, as well as comprehensive case management. The vision for the Center is to become a central location for women to find all they need to live on their own and maximize their own potential.

“As a core part of our mission, we at ACTS are here to offer a hand when the community reaches out to us, and we reach out to our local communities whenever we can be of service. The renovation of our Women’s Empowerment Center will give us greater ability to do both, and to forward our work to change lives and create safe and welcoming communities for vulnerable individuals and families in Prince William County and its surrounding areas,” said Steven Liga, chief executive officer of ACTS. “We thank HomeAid Northern Virginia and Van Metre Homes for taking on this project and bringing it to life for ACTS and for the communities we serve.”

“This project has been a long journey, but will be so worthwhile once it’s completed,” said Mike Sandkuhler, vice president of building operations for Van Metre Homes. “The property was zoned as residential but changed to commercial, which required a host of changes in the permitting and codes process. It’s been another illustration of the value of having HomeAid at the table, helping the shelters through what can be an incredibly difficult process, but we’re now underway, and we are looking forward to providing additional space and comfort to women who would not otherwise have this option.”

Thank you, Van Metre Homes and the following trade partners, for giving women the gift of greater economic independence and self-sufficiency.

Alliance Contracting Group LLC
Atlas Plumbing LLC
B&K Distributors, Inc.
Buhl Electric Company, Inc.
Builders Floor Service
Color World Paint & Drywall
Falcon Heating & Air Conditioning

G&G Carpentry
Miller & Associates
Scot Engineering
Sight and Sound Systems, Inc.
Van Metre B.A.S.E


Mike Sandkuhler Elected 2018 HomeAid Northern Virginia President
Mike Sandkuhler

Mike Sandkuhler, vice president of building operations for Van Metre Homes, was recently elected the 2018 president of HomeAid Northern Virginia, following three years of service on HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Board of Directors and after having served several years leading the Prince William chapter of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA) and serving as NVBIA’s president in 2016. Sandkuhler has also served as a Builder Captain multiple times for HomeAid, first with The Christopher Companies and more recently with Van Metre Homes.

“I’ve enjoyed every single thing about working with HomeAid and the other board members during my tenure, and I’m honored to help lead the organization in 2018,” Sandkuhler said. “As a builder, I’d be hard pressed to think of a better way to give back to those who need our help, and I’m looking forward to continuing to strengthen the bond and partnership between HomeAid and NVBIA. In particular, I would like to see more builders get involved by taking on projects as Builder Captains—it’s an incredible experience, and I understand the hesitancy in taking on a project when life feels so busy and time-crunched. But seeing for ourselves the people who need help makes a real impact; I think so many of us are pretty far removed from stories like that in our daily lives, but they are all around us in Northern Virginia. It’s extremely rewarding to be part of an organization that’s helping transform and potentially save people’s lives.”

Joining Sandkuhler on the HomeAid Northern Virginia 2018 executive committee are Jerry Berman (M/I Homes), immediate past president; Gary Chandler (K. Hovnanian Homes), vice president/president-elect; Rick Cole (The Long Companies), treasurer; and Jason McDonough (United Bank), secretary.

In addition, four new members were elected to the 2018 Board of Directors: Scott Canan (Toll Brothers, Inc.), Alison Lee, Deepak (Dee) Kakar (M&T Bank), and Soledad Portilla (Stanley Martin Homes).

Scott Canan
Toll Brothers, Inc.
Alison Lee Deepak (Dee) Kakar
M&T Bank
Soledad Portilla
Stanley Martin Homes

Many thanks to departing Board Members Jon Adler and Katherine K. Hanley; we appreciate your many years of service!

Making it Count

Donations Make Huge Impact for Shelter Clients, Homeless

Stearns Lending of Fairfax assembled 100 care kits as part of their HomeAid for the Holidays partnership with HomeAid America. We’ve already distributed some to individuals struggling with homelessness in D.C. and will distribute the rest during the Point in Time count in January. Thank you!

It’s a season for goodwill and giving, and HomeAid Northern Virginia was blessed with a lot of donations to our Helping Hands program, which encourages grocery gift card and household essential donations for individuals and families moving into recently completed HomeAid projects. At the start of December, Intercoastal Mortgage Company collected diapers and blankets at their Christmas party, and Frontpoint Security dedicated a staff Happy Hour to us — meaning that we received 20% of all proceeds and a collection of household essentials for our Welcome Home baskets. Next, NVBIA Custom Builder’s Council collected blankets and warm socks at their holiday mixer.

Did You Know? Some of the top needs for the homeless include: bottled water; new underwear and socks; gift cards from chain stores for shoes; personal grooming products such as deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, brushes, tissues, toilet paper, feminine hygiene, soap and shampoo; dish soap; baby wipes and diapers; sleeping bags; and reading glasses.

So where do all the donations to HomeAid end up, and what does it mean to those who receive them?

For starters, donations of diapers means relieving mothers of sometimes-impossible decisions:

“Diapers are so expensive, and if a mother is faced with spending limited resources on a prescription for her baby or diapers, they’ll often feel that the diapers are an immediate need and the prescription can be put off,” said Meghan Huebner, vice president of residential services for Second Story. “And no one can donate prescriptions … so getting a donation of diapers means that those moms can refocus their resources on what their baby also really needs. We also have families in our programs who are contributing to part of their rent … so when times are really tight, they can quite literally be faced with having to choose between paying rent or buying diapers. Getting donations takes that level of worry and difficult choices away.”

Diapers are a big expense for any new parent — but for homeless teen moms or mothers fleeing domestic violence, it is a major struggle to ever have enough. Thank you to Intercoastal Mortgage Company for collecting diapers that were distributed to HomeAid shelter partners!

Huebner added that larger-sized diapers are always in particular need, as babies outgrow newborn and size 1s and 2s so quickly.

Donated blankets will be distributed during the January 25 “Point in Time” count, when volunteers measure the unsheltered homeless population over the course of one night. HomeAid will be donating blankets to both Streetlight and ACTS, as both organizations help with the Point in Time count every year.

“Throughout the year, Shelter House is also honored to receive support from the community — through donations and through partnerships such as the one we enjoy with HomeAid Northern Virginia, who put in countless hours helping our neighbors in need,” added Joe Meyer, executive director and CEO at Shelter House. “HomeAid goes beyond their immediate scope of renovation and construction work to provide essential items to people experiencing homelessness, and we are so thankful to HomeAid for ALWAYS doing more, embracing our community, and leading the way by bringing equitable services to our most vulnerable citizens.”



SevaTruck and HomeAid Team Up to Fight Homelessness and Hunger

SevaTruck founder and CEO Sonny Kakar, Sevatec employee Willie Camp, Willie’s wife Pamela, and Sevatec employee Svetlana Wiczer (back to front) cook warm and nutritious meals for homeless men and women living in a tent city in Woodbridge,Va.

For the second year, HomeAid Northern Virginia has teamed up with SevaTruck, a nonprofit food truck serving nutritious hot meals to those in need. HomeAid’s partnership with SevaTruck has directly impacted the lives of many who struggle with homelessness in Northern Virginia.  Carol Barbosa Jeliazkov, of SevaTruck, talks about the origin of the organization and its relationship with HomeAid.

Q:  How did SevaTruck come about, and what is its mission?

A:  The SevaTruck Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, serves to combat the effects of poverty in major cities across the United States where there exists a vibrant and engaged Sikh Community. The first city identified to launch the SevaTruck initiative was in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Of the three essentials required by all of humanity — food, shelter, and security — hunger stands out as the most visible and the most debilitating, yet the easiest to address. Embarrassingly, it remains prevalent — even in the nation’s capital where one in seven families struggle with basic nutrition. Even more alarming is that Washington, D.C., has the highest rate of food insecurity among children.

SevaTruck, a mobile food truck equipped with a commercial full kitchen, aims to expand the reach and impact of the local area network of organizations addressing food insecurity and poverty in our community. While the D.C. metropolitan area sustains several food banks, shelters, and food assistance programs, to our knowledge there was no mobile food service solution.

We aim to provide healthy, vegetarian, nutritious meals to individuals and communities in need, where and when it is needed. Our primary focus groups include underprivileged children and veterans. Often, some individual shelters find themselves low on food, or the physical location of a shelter may be inconvenient for individuals or families to reach. In other cases, organizations are looking for partners to supplement and complement their services with meal services. In either case, offering a convenient, dignified opportunity for a nutritious meal through the “coolness” of a food truck concept can be an enjoyable experience. From this perspective, SevaTruck serves to supplement the local food banks by providing a new experience for those with food insecurity and helping the broader network of food banks, shelters, and food assistance programs helping eliminate hunger in our community.

SevaTruck serves an average of 200 meals per event. The meals consist of an entrée, a side dish, dessert, fruit, and water. Our partners are located around the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area, and we also serve Jefferson County in West Virginia. In addition to HomeAid Northern Virginia, we partner with organizations such as the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), a multi-faceted organization that empowers a diverse population of youth to achieve a successful transition to adulthood through multi-cultural, comprehensive, and innovative programs that address the specific social, academic, and career needs of today’s youth. Another one of our established partnerships is with The Christian Life Center, whose mission is to assist the residents of Prince George’s County. The center holds a bi-weekly produce distribution of more than 15,000 pounds of fresh produce to anyone who comes to the center. We also partner with many Title 1* schools in Fairfax, Montgomery, and Prince George’s Counties.

We are excited to have just expanded SevaTruck this past Thanksgiving by building a second truck in Michigan; that truck will operate in the Detroit area.

Q:  What motivated Sonny Kakar, SevaTruck Foundations’ founder, to start SevaTruck?

A:  Rooted deeply in the Sikh faith, preparing and serving food for anyone in need of a meal remains the cornerstone of the “Seva” performed by most Sikhs world-wide. To honor and continue with the Sikh heritage, initiated by Guru Nanak Sahib Ji, of combating food insecurity in local communities, Sonny decided to launch SevaTruck.

Q:  How long has SevaTruck had a relationship with HomeAid?

A:  Kristyn Burr, HomeAid Northern Virginia’s executive director, reached out to us and proposed a partnership to honor Homelessness Awareness Month in November 2016. Together, we hosted a unique event featuring SevaTruck serving burritos to the homeless and residents of the Woodbridge tent city, while HomeAid distributed backpacks with winter essentials.

Q:  How does collaborating with HomeAid help SevaTruck serve its mission?

A:  HomeAid’s mission of “building new lives for America’s homeless families and individuals through housing and community outreach” complements our mission of eliminating food insecurity and fulfilling a higher purpose of serving the genuine needs of our community.

By complementing each other’s mission with our strengths, we can enable our clients to look for opportunities to get them out of their current situation. Both organizations exist to help fight poverty. Shelters may not always have the financial resources to provide food daily, and our partnership is one that can help fulfill that mission. 

Q:  What are your hopes for the future of SevaTruck and HomeAid?

A:  We will always welcome the opportunity to do events with HomeAid. This was the second year that we did the Homeless Awareness Month event, and we hope to extend our partnership to other occasions: Every time HomeAid reaches out to us, we will be there!

*Title I is a federal grant. The purpose of this legislation is “to provide all children significant opportunities to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps.”

Title I elementary schools with the highest level of poverty receive funds that are used for staff and resources to meet the needs of their students and families. Schools are identified for Title I funds based on the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Thank You

Thank you to our 2017 Gala Committee! Many members have volunteered for a decade or more, and we were glad to celebrate their incredible dedication to HomeAid with dinner in early December—and also to start discussing plans for our 2018 Gala.

Call for Builder Captains

We have several projects lined up for the year, of varying scope, in need of a Builder Captain! Will this be the year you say YES to an experience that 2017 President Jerry Berman calls “a reward for the soul and spirit”? Contact Kathryn Kovacs for more information.

NVBIA President’s Ball

We’re looking forward to NVBIA’s President’s Ball on January 27 at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner – there’s always time for networking with colleagues and local and state elected officials, and we’ll welcome their 2018 president, Matt Kroll from Willowsford LLC. Please join us!

Point in Time Count

The region’s annual Point in Time Count, which measures sheltered and unsheltered homeless population during one night, has been scheduled for January 25, 2018. This important count provides a snapshot of who is homeless on a given night, and the statistics can be used to plan local homeless assistance systems, tailor programs, and raise public awareness of homelessness.

Save the Date!

Housing Forum – April 19 (venue TBD) This event is geared towards those who work in the field; more information will be sent out soon.

9th Annual Builders and Friends BBQ – June 21, The Barn at One Loudoun

8th Annual Night at the Ballpark – August 3, Potomac Nationals Pfitzner Stadium, for families living in local shelters

4th Annual Golf Tournament – September 21, Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club

17th Annual Gala & Auction – November 3, Lansdowne Resort & Spa


Like what you’ve read? Don’t miss out on next month’s issue of #BuildingHope! Subscribe Now!

HomeAid and SevaTruck Deliver Food, Winter Essentials to Homeless, HomeAid and Van Metre Homes Nearing Completion of Women’s Empowerment Center Renovation, Mike Sandkuhler Elected 2018 HomeAid Northern Virginia President, Donations Make Huge Impact for Shelter Clients, Homeless, SevaTruck and HomeAid Team Up to Fight Homelessness and Hunger, Announcements and Upcoming Events


Building Hope Newsletter, December 2017

By | News

Executive Director’s Corner

I read this quote today – “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” So, let me be sure to say, “Thank you.” As 2017 comes to a close and I look back on my first year as HomeAid’s executive director, I’m struck by so many acts of generosity and kindness that our supporters – YOU – have shown. Sponsorships and event attendance routinely broke records this year. New partnerships were formed, while organizations and individuals who have been with us since we were founded continue to show up, day after day, year after year. Donations for our Helping Hands program have come from all corners of the homebuilding industry, and our relationship with NVBIA continues to deepen and grow. Everywhere I look, I see people generously giving – of themselves and of their organizations. Our Gala & Auction event, held last month, felt like not just a celebration of a year well-spent, but also a celebration of the hundreds of people who are inspired to give every day, in a multitude of vastly different but equally important ways. I am in awe of you, and I am grateful that you are part of our HomeAid family. From all of us at HomeAid, happy holidays to you and yours!

In gratitude,


Annual Gala & Auction Raises $250,000 for HomeAid

A sold-out crowd of over 450 supporters and guests turned out for HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 16th Annual Gala & Auction on November 4 and raised more than $250,000 through donations, sponsorships, attendance, and live and silent auctions.

The new venue – Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg – was an extremely popular choice, and the night buzzed with electricity as hundreds walked the “Time Tunnel entry,” where they learned about the history of HomeAid on their way to the cocktail reception and silent auction; listened with rapt attention to keynote speaker Jas Boothe, founder and president of Final Salute, Inc., as she shared her powerful story of what it means to be a woman veteran struggling with homelessness; raised their paddles to participate in The Paddle Challenge, raising a total of $120,000, thanks also to a matching gift from Doug and Ann Smith; and celebrated the generosity and tireless commitment that our 2017 Presidents’ Award honorees give to at risk families in our communities. Intercoastal Mortgage Company served as the presenting sponsor of the event for the second year in a row.

Got Photos? Be sure to check out more photos of the Annual Gala & Auction – and download your photo booth best shot!


Presidents’ Circle Awards Honor Community Lodgings, Buhl Electric, Brian Davidson

Nonprofit Service Provider Project of the Year Award: Community Lodgings

Community Lodgings lifts families from homelessness and instability to independence and self-sufficiency through its affordable housing and transitional housing options, as well as community outreach and youth education programs throughout Northern Virginia. In 2017, Community Lodgings partnered with HomeAid on a renovation of its multi-unit supportive housing property in Alexandria’s Arlandria-Chirilagua neighborhood, completely upgrading six existing affordable housing units and adding a seventh two-bedroom unit. A consortium of four Builder Captains also upgraded the property’s onsite learning center, enabling families to take advantage of afterschool and youth mentoring programs, daily nutritious meals, and computer and English as a Second Language classes for families. Congratulations to Lynn Thomas, executive director for Community Lodgings who accepted the award, and her team for all the good work you do in your community!

Trade Partner of the Year Award: Buhl Electric Company, Inc.

A family-founded and family-run company based in Sterling, Buhl Electric Company, Inc., has been in business for more than 50 years and, over the past 16 years, has contributed to 11 HomeAid projects and sponsored countless events and programs. Buhl Electric and its team exemplify what it means to be dedicated, driven, and committed to helping our local community by using their expertise in residential electrical to improve housing facilities for the most vulnerable among us, and they’re unfailingly first in line to help and provide meaningful assistance with our projects that serve our community. Thank you and congratulations to John Buhl, Jr., president of Buhl Electric and an active member of HomeAid’s Board of Directors, who accepted the award on behalf of the company!

Presidents’ Award: Brian Davidson

BRIAN DAVIDSONBrian Davidson, group president of Van Metre Homes, was awarded the 2017 Presidents Award, HomeAid’s most prestigious award for individuals. Brian’s long-time leadership in the community, collaborative approach, and tireless commitment to ending homelessness and supporting our nonprofit partners is exemplary: He understands the strength and power of teamwork – and brings together the builder community with local organizations that provide emergency shelter and other housing – to aid in the construction and revitalization of safe, stable living spaces for those who are rebuilding their lives after experiencing homelessness. His invaluable leadership on our Board and active involvement has inspired us to seek new ways to engage the Northern Virginia building industry and to evolve and respond to the ever-changing needs of our shelter partners. Congratulations, Brian!



Final Salute: Our 2017 Reality Check!

We’ve all had that moment when a well-laid plan unexpectedly heads south, and in home construction, it’s an everyday experience. How many of us have set out to replace, say, an appliance, only to discover that the wiring behind it is bad or the floor beneath it damaged by water damage? Suddenly, a simple project becomes bigger – and more expensive.

At HomeAid, we have these moments all the time, particularly during larger renovation projects that go well beyond cosmetic updates – and while they may be cause for some headaches, they also serve as excellent reminders of why HomeAid’s deep bench of industry experts can make all the difference to our nonprofit partners.

When Jas Boothe, founder and president of Final Salute, Inc., first came to us in 2015 about renovating a home her organization had purchased in order to house up to 10 veteran women and their children, it seemed like a pretty straightforward project. Soon enough, though, we learned that a previous architect’s plans hadn’t been approved, so we brought in one of our own architect partners – at a fraction of the cost. Next came zoning and permitting processes with Fairfax County, which our partners helped navigate for almost a full year. Currently, we’re working through asbestos inspections and remediation, with ADA and sprinkler system considerations next.

“The HomeAid team is full of experts in the field, who are experts in this often-arcane world of building codes, permits, and rules and regulations,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director Kristyn Burr. “Our shelter partners are all experts in aspects equally important to solving homelessness – but rarely does that mean they also have the contacts and expertise that’s needed for navigating the permitting, zoning and building process. The end result may have taken us longer to achieve than we wished, but we also will be confident knowing that this home will be safe and secure for 10 moms who served their country and their children who have already survived wars, separation, and homelessness. We are proud to be part of their recovery.”

“Having HomeAid support us lets us focus on our mission and our bottom line, and they brought with them a unique level of expertise that we don’t have and never thought we would need,” added Boothe. “HomeAid’s partners fought each battle along the way for us, and we are so grateful; simply put, we were uneducated on what it takes to see a project through. We thought once we were approved, that would be it … we didn’t realize that there would be approvals on top of approvals that had to be made. Having them at our backs is the kind of support we needed.”

Special thanks to the many partners who are bringing the Final Salute to fruition, including Van Metre Companies Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, Bank of America, Builder Captain Winchester Homes, WC Ralston Architects, and dozens of trade partners.


It’s a Wrap!

2017 HomeAid Northern Virginia Impact

2017 projects infographic



Making it Count

Partner Donations Make Big Difference for Helping Hands Program

According to Charity Navigator, the American charitable sector is the largest in the world, with Americans contributing nearly $400 billion in 2016 plus $260 billion in volunteer time. And, it’s estimated that between 40 and 50 percent of those totals come during the winter holidays!

At HomeAid Northern Virginia, we see significant giving all year long, with major grants and in-kind donations from partners of all sizes; but during the holidays, we too see a welcome uptick in contributions, particularly to our Helping Hands program, which encourages grocery gift card and household essential donations for individuals and families moving in to recently completed HomeAid projects.

Special thanks to the following partners for your generosity this month!

  • Intercoastal Mortgage Company—which just sponsored our Annual Gala & Auction—is collecting diapers and blankets at their Christmas party.
  • Frontpoint Security dedicated its most recent staff Happy Hour to us – and we received 20% of all proceeds and a collection of household essentials for our Welcome Home baskets.
  • NVBIA Custom Builder’s Council is collecting blankets and warm socks at their holiday mixer tonight.

Want to help before the year is out? It’s not too late!

  • Shop with Amazon Smile: If you’re planning to do your holiday shopping on Amazon this year, designate HomeAid as your beneficiary (search for Housing Trust Fund of Northern Virginia, Inc.), and Amazon will donate a portion of each purchase to us at no cost to you.
  • We are always looking for volunteers to coordinate drives for grocery cards and household essentials; learn more about our Helping Hands
  • Learn about other ways to volunteer in the region.



Jerry Berman Looks Back on Rewarding Year and Forward to Exciting Future

Jerry Berman initially heard about HomeAid through his involvement with NVBIA, and the more he heard, the more he began to think that becoming involved with HomeAid would not only be good for his company’s team members, but that it would also be a good way for his company to give back to the community. As builders, they were in a unique position to help.

“Eventually, one thing led to another, I ended up on the board, and I have loved it ever since,” he said. With his term as 2017 president winding down, he reflects on his year and looks forward to many additional years volunteering with HomeAid. “This year has been a tremendous honor,” he said. “I am really lucky to have had this opportunity, and I am thankful for it.”

Q:  With your term as president of HomeAid’s Board coming to a close, what would you say has been your favorite thing about serving?

The way the HomeAid board is structured, every board member has an opportunity to contribute, and every member really does contribute. So, serving as president is really not that different than serving on the board. One thing that I really enjoyed as president, though, was the chance to work with other nonprofits and community organizations. HomeAid’s president and executive director typically attend fundraisers and award dinners for other local charitable organizations, and I enjoyed the chance to meet the wonderful people who are involved in these organizations and learn how they, like us, serve the community. And, of course, we always enjoyed and were honored to be recognized for the contributions that HomeAid makes to the community. Those are some of the special things that I will always remember.

Q:  What were some of the biggest challenges that HomeAid encountered during your tenure as president?

Finding new builders to get more involved – that’s consistently our biggest challenge. There are a fair number of builders who have been involved for a very long time and have remained committed and involved. As we continue to do more projects and renovations, we rely on builders to lead the way. Going back to the well as many times as we do with the same group is difficult. So, what we tell builders is just try it once, and we promise that you and your staff will really like it. The work that we do is very rewarding, and it is a welcome diversion from what builders do every day, when they are working to make a profit. This is a different kind of reward, and it is more than satisfying.

Q: What were some highlights of the past year with HomeAid?

Every project is special, but the opportunity to see the clients who are going to move into a renovated home continues to be the best part of HomeAid. To see the happiness and disbelief that they are going to have a comfortable home, and knowing that this will help them in their lives, makes it all worthwhile.

In terms of a particular project, Community Lodgings was very exciting. We completely gutted a seven-unit apartment building in Alexandria and rebuilt and redecorated it. There is a learning center there too. I single it out because we did the project in a different way than how we have typically done them: For this project, there was a consortium of builders, because it was an $775,000 project and we weren’t able to get a single builder to step up as Builder Captain. So, we put together a consortium of four Builder Captains who agreed to do it, and it worked really well. Typically, we all compete with each other in the industry, but in this case, everybody worked together very well, of course. It was a great project and probably the highlight of the work we did all year.

Another highlight was the Annual Gala. It’s always great, but as president, you get a lot more involved in the planning and the decisions that need to be made. You get to see behind the scenes how much effort goes into making the event happen, and it’s remarkable. There is a committee that has been doing it for a number of years that gets very little accolades for the amazing work that they do, and they create this great fundraising event every year. It was the best year ever, and the whole night is a lot to be proud of.

Q:  What will you miss about serving as board president of HomeAid?

I’m going to stay very involved with HomeAid. I plan to remain on the board, and I don’t plan on missing anything. In addition, there are certain duties that the immediate past president has, so there won’t be a whole lot of change – I just won’t be signing the checks like I was before.

I will also be involved on some HomeAid committees. For example, the Shelter Projects Committee initially vets the new applications for work; we go out and visit the home or shelter and really assess whether it fits within our mission, and we meet with the organization. We are always interested in helping, but we want to work with organizations that we know are set up to successfully maintain a new or renovated property. I really enjoyed serving on that committee, and I will probably get back into that.

Q:  What is it about HomeAid that makes it so valuable to the community?

There is not a lot of help available for people in need and for those who are struggling with homelessness. So many people, even in our wealthiest neighborhoods, do not have homes. In Loudoun County, the wealthiest county in the country, there are hundreds of people without a place to call home. It is a tough situation to climb out of without some help, and HomeAid is valuable because it provides housing that is dignified and similar to what others live in. The homes that HomeAid builds can provide a sense of pride and a ray of hope for people who move into them. That’s very special, and everyone benefits from that. HomeAid is a great organization, and we’re very lucky to have the best staff, board of directors, volunteers, builders, and trade partners of any other organization. Everyone is so involved, and they all make it special.

Q:  Other than serving the building industry and HomeAid, what do you like to do in your free time?

Number one is family. I have a wife of 43 years, four great kids, and one grandchild. Family has always been number one for me. I also love to travel and do so as much as possible – one of my sons has lived in Japan and China, and my daughter is in Germany, and we have visited them both often. We would travel even if they weren’t there, but having them there is an extra benefit. Also, I love to play golf. I’m lousy at it, but I love it.

Q:  What are your hopes for the future of HomeAid Northern Virginia?

Our vision as an organization has changed some in the past couple of years. Kristyn, our executive director, is so forward-thinking and willing to try new things, all with the same goal of helping people with housing needs. We are really moving in a direction of slightly expanding our mission, but not significantly outside of the housing umbrella. We have been exploring some new possibilities; for example, we are talking with a church in Fairfax that has some property, we are talking with a care provider organization, and with a group that does construction for the homeless, similar to what we do. We are looking into collaborating with them, and we have never done anything like that. We are working with a tent city in Prince William County where there are a lot of people struggling with homelessness, and we are exploring ways to help them. We are partnering with SEVA Truck, which provides hot meals. We are spreading our wings, and a lot of good things will be happening in the future.

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Annual Gala & Auction Raises $250,000 for HomeAid, Final Salute: Our 2017 Reality Check!, It’s a Wrap! 2017 HomeAid Northern Virginia Impact, Partner Donations Make Big Difference for Helping Hands Program, Jerry Berman Looks Back on Rewarding Year and Forward to Exciting Future


Building Hope Newsletter, November 2017

By | News

Executive Director’s Corner

Next week, our nation will recognize our military on Veterans Day. Last week, many of us at HomeAid were reminded that women veterans often have vastly different experiences than their male counterparts, when we were honored by Final Salute, Inc., at their Ms. Veteran America event in recognition of our work on a transitional home for women veterans and their children. We heard intense stories from 10 women also honored at the event, who have surmounted challenges ranging from homelessness to assault. It was both empowering and heart-wrenching, and it reminded me of my six years as a military spouse, when I saw for myself the gaps and discrepancies between men and women in the military. VA benefits cannot reach all of our nation’s veterans, and today, women veterans are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. Worse, we’re not even capturing the true story of how many women have no place to call home: “Point in time” counts of the homeless don’t include those who bounce around between friends and/or family—which is what most mothers do in order to protect their children. Ms. Veteran America was an important event for a host of reasons – it gave a voice to women whose stories must be told, it recognized the millions of women who have bravely served our country, and it reminded me that something as simple as a renovation on one home can have a powerful ripple effect throughout a community. I’m proud that HomeAid and our partners are at the center of ensuring that ripple gets started.

In gratitude,


HomeAid Honored with “Stand-Up Award” by Ms. Veteran America

On October 8, HomeAid Northern Virginia – along with Winchester Homes, Home Depot Foundation, and Van Metre Foundation – was honored by Final Salute, Inc., at the 6th Annual Ms. Veteran America event in recognition of our strong support of women veterans. All four organizations are involved in the 2017 renovation of “Karen’s Home” in Alexandria, owned by Final Salute, which upon its completion will provide housing for up to 10 women veterans and their children.

illustrated infographicSince its founding in 2010, Final Salute has supported more than 3,600 women veterans and their children in approximately 30 states and territories, provided 12,000+ housing days, and raised over $2 million to support to women veterans – now the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. This kind of support, said Founder Jas Boothe, wouldn’t be possible without the “heroes behind the heroes” – including organizations such as HomeAid, Winchester Homes, Home Depot Foundation and Van Metre.

Representatives from all four organizations were present to accept the award at the black-tie event, and all look forward to completing a project that will help make the home a safe, stable sanctuary for women veterans, who are three times more likely to be homeless than their male counterparts.

The Ms. Veteran America awards event also served to bring more attention to (according to Final Salute, Inc.) the estimated 55,000 homeless women veterans nationwide – more than half of whom are single mothers – and honor the two million women who have served in the U.S. military.




$30,000+ Raised for HomeAid at Cornhole Challenge

Kevin RabilOn Saturday, October 7, Van Metre hosted its 6th Annual Van Metre Cornhole Challenge, with 28 teams raising more than $100,000 for five organizations – HomeAid Northern Virginia, Emerging Scholars, HeroHomes, Payton’s Project, and Stillbrave. Twenty participating teams raised over $30,000 for HomeAid, helping ensure our continued efforts to build and renovate homes for the homeless. HomeAid Board Member Mike Sandkuhler’s team, in fact, took home bragging rights as raising the most of any team – thank you Mike and Josh Conlon of the Humble Heroes team! Special thanks also to Brian Davidson and Regis Arnold, on Team Tremendous Egos, for also raising big money for HomeAid!

The 2017 Cornhole Challenge was presented by Buhl Electric Company as part of the Brambleton Fall Festival and was hosted by the Van Metre Companies Foundation.



Making it Count

NVBIA’s Future Leaders Donate $550 to HomeAid’s Fill the Fridge

November is Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month, and NVBIA’s Future Leaders helped bring attention to it – and be part of the solution – by collecting $550 worth of grocery gift cards at their recent Oktoberfest networking event at Mustang Sally Brewery in Chantilly. The group donated the cards to HomeAid’s Fill the Fridge program, and will donate them to homeless families and individuals moving into HomeAid’s completed projects.

The cards are preferable to canned goods, because they empower families to make healthy choices at the grocery store, and purchase perishables like fruit and milk.

“As a group, we knew we wanted to do something to give back to the community,” said Avi Sareen, 2017 chair for Future Leaders, “and in chatting with Kristyn [Burr] at the golf tournament, we realized our Oktoberfest event—held on October 26—would be a great way to kickstart Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month. We gave people the option of bringing grocery cards of any denomination or making a financial donation so that we could purchase the cards for them. The night was a nice mix of networking informally with friends and colleagues while supporting an organization we believe so strongly in.”

According to Feeding America, one in seven children in Virginia struggle with hunger on a daily basis. Thank you, Future Leaders, for making a real difference in the lives of families seeking a fresh start in the Northern Virginia area!




HomeAid Gala Continues to Grow, Thanks to Efforts of Miriam Goldin

Miriam Goldin is one of the many keys to HomeAid’s success. A retired teacher from Fairfax County; a new grandmother; and a busy member of Inclusion Consultants, where she teaches teenagers and adults effective communication and social skills, she somehow manages to find time each year to help plan and coordinate HomeAid’s fundraising Gala. Philanthropy is important to Miriam’s family; when their three kids were young, she and her husband emphasized the importance of community service. They continue to be involved with several organizations, and her husband travels to the Philippines each year, where he volunteers as a dentist. Read more to find out what motivates Miriam to donate a tremendous amount of her time to HomeAid, and what keeps her coming back each year.

Q:  What is your role with HomeAid Northern Virginia, and how did you become involved?

A:  Several years ago, my friend Patti Brownstein – HomeAid board member and Gala & Auction Committee Member – asked me to help at a HomeAid Gala, and I was intrigued. I enjoyed it so much that when I was asked to chair the Gala Committee the following year, I happily accepted.

Q:  How many HomeAid Galas have you planned?

A:  This is my seventh year as chair. The theme for this year’s Gala is TOMORROW IS TODAY, which will be held at the Lansdowne Resort – a new venue for us. We more or less have outgrown every hotel that we’ve been in, and Lansdowne gives it a little more panache. The ballroom is exquisite.

The Gala takes a tremendous amount of planning, and I am very lucky to have an incredible group of volunteers and staff who have worked with me for the past seven years – I can’t do this on my own! A lot of people work very hard on this and give so much time and effort to planning it.

As soon as the Gala is over, we go into planning mode for the following year. We have our congratulatory dinner in December, and in January, I host a thank you dinner and kick-off meeting in my home, where we talk about the next year’s Gala. We discuss the new theme, fresh ideas, and generally have a wonderfully productive evening. We meet monthly after that, and, starting in September, we meet every other week. In addition, there are small focus groups and meetings with hotel and audio-visual (AV) staff. I negotiated a two-year contract with Lansdowne this time, and we will meet with hotel staff at least six times. This year we also separated the AV, because we like to do it a little differently. We’re having two different rehearsals with a new and creative AV company.

I would compare our meetings to an orchestra; I might be the conductor, but I cannot possibly do what the other talented players do to make the performance a hit. It really takes a year to pull together, and I couldn’t put this event together without the help of the following individuals:

  • Patty Mao Booker – registration
  • Kim Calavas – creator of our raffle boxes and entertainment, with her husband Chris
  • Beth Cline – registration
  • Jennifer Keesling – procurement
  • Board and Committee members – Patti Brownstein, John Darvish, Scott Shelton, Jason McDonough, Debbie Rosenstein, and current President, Jerry Berman
  • HomeAid Northern Virginia staff – Kristyn Burr (Executive Director), and Cilda Pretorius (Operations and Events)

Q:  What have been the biggest challenges in planning the event each year?

A:  Trying to keep the event relevant, interesting, and productive. The attendance has grown every year, and I am delighted to say that we are extremely close to being sold out for this year’s event, with an expected attendance of 500. We are excited about this remarkable achievement.

Q:  What is your favorite thing about planning the Gala, and what is it about HomeAid’s mission that keeps you so dedicated to the organization?

A:  I love to see how it all comes together – the charity part of it and the organizing part of it. I don’t like to hyper-manage; I just let people do their job because they’re masters at what they do. We’re a troupe of players, and we’re friends, which makes it fun. Friendships have grown out of this event, and we have a good time.

Also, it makes me feel better than just giving money. My husband and I donate to many charities, but working on this Gala gives me an opportunity to do more than write a check. I am awed by the generosity and quality of work that the builders bring to the HomeAid projects. They create beautiful homes and bring a sense of pride and accomplishment to the people who live in them. HomeAid brings dignity and hope to people who need it. Volunteering for HomeAid is very important to me.

Welcome New Interns!

Alexandra Abellard and Rose Baham have joined HomeAid’s staff as our events and communications interns, respectively.

Alexandra, enrolled in the Bachelor of Individualized Studies (BIS) program at George Mason University, is majoring in hospitality/tourism/events and hopes to graduate in 2019. Attracted to HomeAid because its mission aligns so closely with her own values, Alexandra hopes that her real-world experience with HomeAid will help her plan and execute major social and fundraising events, so that she can becoming an effective event coordinator.

“Through my time here, I’ve also realized that homelessness is a real societal problem,” she said, “and while one individual or organization alone cannot solve all the problems associated with homelessness, if we work together, we’ll have a better ability to fight it – along with homelessness among veterans or sex trafficking. I hope to also learn how I can be part of the solution.”

Rosemarie interned for HomeAid in 2014 as part of her efforts to re-enter the workforce in the marketing field, which was her major concentration at the University of San Carlos, Philippines, in the 1980s.

“As a returning intern, I am ultimately impressed with the hard work and dedication of HomeAid Northern Virginia’s staff, and by its housing renovation projects that result in such comfortable, updated homes for those in life transition,” she said. “This internship has not only brought dramatic and exciting exposure to marketing events, networking, and digital marketing, but it also helps me realize how much we can affect the quality of lives for others in need, who are working their way back. I’m proud to be here.”


Like what you’ve read? Don’t miss out on next month’s issue of #BuildingHope! Subscribe Now!

HomeAid Honored with “Stand-Up Award” by Ms. Veteran America, $30,000+ Raised for HomeAid at Cornhole Challenge, NVBIA’s Future Leaders Donate $550 to HomeAid’s Fill the Fridge, HomeAid Gala Contues to Grow, Thanks to Efforts of Miriam Goldin, Welcome New Interns

Building Hope Newsletter, October 2017

By | News

Executive Director’s Corner

ribbon cutting on front porch of new home

Completing a project gives all of us at HomeAid such an enormous sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing that together, we have immeasurably helped those who need it most. At the ribbon cutting for the Community Lodgings project last week, a huge number of our partners turned out to celebrate the completion of seven apartments for at-risk populations and community meeting space for mentoring and life skills programming, and it felt great to thank them for their incredible contributions. But what resonated the most, I think, was our recognition of what these homes will really mean to the seven families who will be living there. The pure sense of relief these moms must feel, knowing they’re moving into fully stocked homes … meaning they won’t have to worry about furnishing them. And the impact it will all have on 14 kids who probably aren’t accustomed to having anything new. It’s these moments when our hard work comes full circle, as we see first-hand what it means to change so many lives for the better. Best of all, we’re not finished for the year: We have several other projects in process, and we just received long-awaited permits to continue the renovation of a home in Fairfax County for Final Salute, which will provide housing for up to 10 residents – all female veterans and their children. These projects, valued at nearly $1.4 million, will provide sanctuary and life-changing programs to our youngest citizens and give their parents a safe and stable place to rebuild their futures. It’s an incredible feeling, and I’m so grateful to our countless partners for working so hard with us to help make others’ dreams come true.

In gratitude,

“Tomorrow is Today!”

Are You Registered for HomeAid’s Gala & Auction?

November 4, 2017 • 6:30 p.m. • Lansdowne Resort & SpaLeesburg, VA

sponsor button

It’s our Sweet 16, and trust us when we say you’re going to want to celebrate with us at our 16th Annual Gala & Auction! There’s a lot of “new and improved” at this year’s futuristic-themed “Tomorrow is Today” event, and we know it will make our biggest fundraiser of the year feel different from the moment you arrive:

  • A bigger, better location—at the beautiful Lansdowne Resort & Spa in Leesburg, Va.
  • Time-tunnel entry—learn about the history of HomeAid as you walk the tunnel toward the cocktail reception!
  • Out-of-this-world signature drink, The Blue Atlantic, and magnificent truss bar conveniently located in the Ballroom.
  • Entertainment provided by a techno DJ.
  • Exceptional silent and live auction items, with something to fit every budget!
  • Our first-ever “After Party”—when it’s time to clear the ballroom, we’ll head outside to Lansdowne’s patio overlooking the golf course, where partygoers can enjoy a nightcap from the outdoor bar and sweet tooths can roast marshmallows for late-night s’mores  at the patio fire pit.

We’ll also celebrate three Presidents’ Circle award winners, enjoy a three-course dinner, and salute the future of HomeAid with our annual paddle challenge, which last year raised $120,000 for HomeAid.

This year’s dress code will be futuristic formal. We look forward to seeing you there!

Whether you’re hoping to score a pair of Washington Capitals tickets or want to take a trip of a lifetime, our silent and live auction has you covered!

Here’s a sampling of just a few of our 2017 auction items:

  • A 10-day trip with Africa Sport Hunting Safaris for four, at a 4-star lodge (all meals/beverage included) and a $1,000 credit to hunt local game among other activities.
  • Two passes to the Wanderlust Festival in June 2018 (Snowshoe, WV), for yogis, foodies, and music lovers!
  • Personalized barrel with whiskey-making kit
  • Four Park Hopper passes to Walt Disney World
  • Field-to-table bird hunting excursion and dinner with Chef Jacques of L’Auberge Chez Francois
  • Amazon Echo Show, the “smart home assistant”
  • Autographed poster of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 champion Kurt Busch
  • Overnight stay with breakfast at Lansdowne Resort and Spa
  • Condo in beautiful Snowmass, CO
  • Joe Theismann Redskins jersey, signed by Joe Gibbs.

Our procurement team is still collecting donations and are in particular need of restaurant, technology, and unique experiences and getaways. Contact Jenn Keesling to coordinate your donation.


Do You Know? 1


HomeAid, Four Builder Captains, 35 Trade Partners Complete Major Renovation for Community Lodgings
Seven low-income families now have newly upgraded and fully-furnished homes in the City of Alexandria, following the completion of renovations to a Community Lodgings multi-unit supportive housing property led by HomeAid Northern Virginia and a consortium of four builder captains—Brookfield ResidentialEvergreene HomesM/I Homes, and Richmond American Homes. Representative from all organizations gathered on a beautiful fall day in September to celebrate the ribbon cutting for the completed project and help welcome some of the seven families—14 of whom are children—who will be living there.

Brookfield Residential logo Evergreene Homes logo MIHomes logo Richmond American Homes logo

The nearly $900,000 project—HomeAid’s largest for 2017—involved upgrading the property’s six existing affordable housing, as well as adding a seventh two-bedroom unit. The lower level now also features a family learning center, a kitchen area for residents, and a new meeting space that will be open to the community for mentoring and programming.

“The impact this renovation has on our families is incredible,” said Lynn Thomas, executive director of Community Lodgings. “I grew up in affordable housing in southeast DC, and I know how important it is for a low-income family to live in a nice, safe house. We are all so grateful to HomeAid Northern Virginia, the builders, and the many other supporters who made this happen.”

The project required a great deal of prep work, and architectural firm Rust Orling was brought in to submit architectural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing drawings for Community Lodgings, with the goal of bringing the circa 1940s apartment building up to today’s building standards, as well as designing an additional two-bedroom unit; new covered front entrance; and HVAC, bathroom and kitchen upgrades to their children’s learning center.

“Architecture is a powerful tool and much needed in improving vital areas in Alexandria City,” said Lisa Lettieri, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Rust Orling Architecture. “We feel it’s important to help create a home one can feel good about on their way to bettering themselves and their futures, which they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. We were proud to be part of the team that helped make this happen for Community Lodgings and for the residents who will now live there.”

For Cris Maina, director of construction for Brookfield Residential, the project was his first with HomeAid, although Brookfield has led many projects as a Builder Captain. “This was really a new experience for me, as we’re of course more accustomed to working on new builds rather than on renovations. But everyone really stepped up, and having Greg Poulson from Madison Homes work as the general manager for the project was an integral part of our success. This was a huge, high-profile project, and we wouldn’t have been able to take it on by ourselves at this point … so having this consortium of builders was a creative solution to getting the job done. I enjoyed this experience tremendously.”

Rob Cappellini, founder and CEO of The Evergreene Companies, agreed that Greg Poulson did an amazing job leading the project and coordinating the countless details from start to finish. “We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a great cause and very proud of the teamwork that made it all possible. Within our own company, Tim Brown and Corey Smith really enjoyed working with the group to achieve the goals that were set. The leadership team and the trade partners really came together to make this project a success, and they should all be very proud of the work done to support the Home/Aid and Community Lodgings mission. Many thanks to a great team.”

Thank you, Brookfield Residential, Evergreene Homes, M/I Homes, Richmond American Homes, and the following partners for dedicating your time, skills, and resources to the seven families who can now call their apartments at Community Lodgings “home!”

A&M Drywall Construction
Ace Trim Carpentry
Airtron Heating & Air Conditioning
AJS Consulting Engineers
Annandale Millwork & Allied Systems
ARC Firestop Solutions, LLC
B&K Distributors
Best Painting Services LLC
Better Termite
Builders First Source
Bryant Plumbing
Capital Construction of America, Inc.
Christopher Consultants
Countryside Electric, Inc.
Custom Services & Flooring
John Darvish Construction Co.
General Electric Appliances
Homestead Building System
Horizon Contracting
K&M Masonry
Madison Homes
Metro Stoneworks

Metro Tile
Mid Atlantic Contracting
Mid South Building Supply
Nicholas Trucking
Potomac Concrete Proper Tree Care, LLC
R&F Metals
Rust Orling Architecture
Southland Insulators
TAC Ceramic Tile
TNT Services Group
Tysons Service Corporation
Vintage Security
Virginia Cleaning and Punchout Inc.Furnishings provided by
Staged InteriorMajor Contributors
City of Alexandria
Virginia Housing Development Authority


Tysons Service Corporation

Tysons Service Corporation LogoGreg Poulson of Madison Homes was tasked with managing and coordinating HomeAid Northern Virginia’s biggest projects of the year—a nearly $900,000 renovation of a 1940s apartment building for Community Lodgings—along with a Builders Consortium of four homebuilders. And once the plans were finalized and permits pulled, it was time to start demolition.

“I knew it wouldn’t be easy to find someone to do it,” Poulson said. “It was a difficult job, and it had to be done by hand. I turned to Jim Parks, president and owner of Tysons Service Corporation, because I’ve worked with him for a long time, they do great work, and I knew that they’ve done community projects like these in the past. Sure enough, they stepped right up and got it done for us. It was a substantial give—the value of their work was easily worth $70,000.”

“I’ve known Greg for a long time, and I’ve worked with Madison Homes countless time. [HomeAid Board Member] Barry Schwartz reached out to me as well, and I felt compelled to give a hand,” Parks said. “We’ve been involved with the homebuilding industry for 25 years, and we’ve worked with NVBIA’s HomeAid and other charities many times. I’m familiar with the people and the work, and I enjoy extending our services to help. It went well, and I really hope the people living there now will benefit from it. We’re a local business, and we like supporting the community and people here.”

Tysons Service Corporation has serviced Northern Virginia owners, contractors, and local government agencies since 1994, specializing in demolition, site work, and environmental services for residential, commercial, industrial and retail. The company also owns and operates three recycling centers located in Northern Virginia, where they recycle construction debris, concrete, plastics, and metal; crush and screen salvaged concrete; and offer roll-off container service.



Annual HomeAid Golf Tournament Raises $70,000+

A sold-out field of 144 golfers turned out on a gorgeous fall day to raise more than $70,000 for HomeAid, network with colleagues, and enjoy friendly competition on the links at Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club in Leesburg, Va.

Thank you to our supporters and sponsors for making this year’s golf tournament possible! Special thanks to John Darvish, John Buhl, Brian Davidson and Jason McDonough for being the inspiration behind the event and for all of your work in steering this year’s tournament with our HomeAid team and tireless volunteers.


Sponsor thank you graphic


Do You Know? 2


Making it Count

HomeAid Partner Staged Interior Furnishes Apartments for Community Lodging, Seven Families

Work team from Staged Interior pose in front of truckOver a warm weekend in September, moving trucks and a team of volunteers converged on an apartment building owned by Community Lodgings, where HomeAid and a consortium of four Builder Captains had just completed a nearly $900,000 renovation project. The weekend team was led by Young and Trish Kim, founders and owners of Staged Interior—a professional home staging company—and they were there to furnish and accessorize all seven apartments—for free.

It’s the second time Staged Interior has donated and installed interior furnishings for a project; last year, they fully outfitted a 5,000 square foot home built by HomeAid and partners on the campus of Youth For Tomorrow. But this time, they needed seven of everything, and they were on a deadline to get it all done before the ribbon-cutting the following week.

living room with new furnishings“Community Lodgings was a hugely successful result of collaboration between Builder Captains and trade partners,” said Young, “and we dedicated that same level of collaboration and coordination to put the finishing touches on all seven units, with the talent of all of our team members. We had to be extremely organized, with most of the preparation done at our warehouse so that the day of execution would go as smoothly as possible. We faced some challenges—a blocked entrance door that meant bringing everything in a circuitous way—but we got it all done 3:00pm! On the day of dedication ceremony, it was awesome to hear the ‘oohs and ahhs’ from trade partners and HomeAid and Community Lodgings team members, and it gave us such a pure sense of appreciation when we met and saw the excitement of the residents who will be living in these units. We can’t wait for next year’s project!”

All photos ©2017, Staged Interior. All rights reserved. All photos by Susan Maunders Olson.

See more photos of these remarkable volunteers and this remarkable project!


Do You Know? 3



Women in the Building Industry View Philanthropy as Foundation of Leadership

Erin Thiebert, president of Women in the Building Industry (WBI), and a transactional attorney at Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley and Walsh, has been committed to HomeAid Northern Virginia since WBI’s founding three years ago. WBI, an outgrowth of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA), has featured numerous events, roundtables, and other networking opportunities for women in the industry. The group just held its annual and popular winetasting event last month, which led to the donation of stockpiles of useful items for HomeAid’s shelter clients as they move into homes renovated or built by HomeAid and partners. WBI is devoted to philanthropy and continues to create opportunities for members who enjoy networking and learning while generously donating to those in need. Read more as Erin shares the history of WBI and what drives the organization’s commitment to HomeAid.

Q:  Can you tell us about WBI and how this organization came about?

A:  WBI is a subcommittee of NVBIA, and it was started in 2015 by three women who were in the industry, two of whom work with builders: Alicia Skoug with Drees, Soledad Portilla with Stanley-Martin, and Heather Hanes-Long with RES.  They saw a need for a group to help embolden women in the industry and support their rise to leadership positions. They reached out to me early on to see if this was something that I thought women would be interested in, and to get some feedback.  The moment I heard about it, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. I said, ‘Sign me up and tell me what I need to do.’

WBI held a few events in their first year, 2015, in an effort to get it off the ground. They had an introductory happy hour, which was very well attended—the attendees were just bubbling over about it. It served as a great foundation and has continued ever since. Our first full year of events was in 2016, which was very successful. We have tried to retain a similar style of events throughout each year, this being our third year.

One of the features of our popular winetasting event, which was just held in September, is a Welcome Home Basket Drive for HomeAid. That was something that was started in 2015 and something we will continue. Those attending the event enjoy bringing something brand new to outfit a home—laundry baskets, skillets, measuring cups, small appliances, towels, coat hangers—things that you wouldn’t think of that every home needs and people may not think of when you’re transitioning from a homeless situation into a home. We collected about seven big laundry baskets filled with home goods, and then HomeAid creates a basket for each room depending on what has been donated. They just used up last year’s supplies for the recently completed Cornerstones project; a mom of four kids who moved in had a fully stocked kitchen, plus sheets and towels and a bunch of other home goods to get her started. I am a huge supporter of HomeAid—it does good work for a cause that people may not think about enough. If we can supply the basics for somebody who is transitioning from homelessness, that leaves HomeAid with more resources elsewhere.

WBI has an executive committee for the first time this year, made up of four of us. We make a great team, and though I currently serve as president, the entire committee does so much work that I think I rely on them more than they rely on me. They’re wonderful, and include our events and education committee head and vice president, Lauren Duvall; public relations and communications head, Carmela Patrick, and Karen Garceau, who heads up community service.

Q:  What other events does WBI sponsor?

A:  I served on WBI’s events and education committee in 2016; on that committee, we would discuss the events we wanted to have, and talk about what aspects of the industry could use our organization’s assistance.

One of the big events that we have continued since our first year is a women’s leadership roundtable event. The first roundtable we hosted featured a panel of women leaders from local homebuilders and an engineering company: Diane Cox-Basheer, Deborah Rosenstein, and Susan Wolford. They shared their history of rising to their positions of leadership in the industry and the types of challenges they encountered along the way. Some of them started in the industry years ago, at a time when it was very challenging for women. The panel was open for questions, and it was just a very informative and popular program.

We tried to keep that momentum going—sharing experiences, learning from one another, and just bouncing ideas off of each other. We did that in 2016 as well, but then we added breakout panels, including, for example, work-life balance and how to ask hard questions at work, such as asking for a raise. This year, we’re already preparing for our next roundtable in November; much of the focus will be on creating a leadership program within your company.

Q:  Who is eligible to join WBI?

A:  It is open to anyone who is member of NVBIA, including men. We try to keep the events neutral—they are not just for women. We love for men to attend our events, especially the events that include women sharing their experiences, as well as the issues and decisions we face. There is often a difference in how women make decisions versus how men make decisions in this industry. We welcome men at our events so they can see what drives us.

Q:  How did you become involved in the building industry?

A: I come from a long history of builders and developers. My family started a road construction company in Texas in the 1800s. They built roads with mule trains across Texas. My grandfather, all of my cousins and uncles, and my father grew up working for the construction company, and my father and brothers eventually spun off a general contracting firm that constructs buildings rather than roads in 2007. General contracting and development is what I was raised on and what I know, so it was sort of natural that I would get into that line of work as an attorney. I help homebuilders and commercial developers by providing legal expertise and assisting with due diligence and other aspects of real estate transactions.

Q:  Why is it important to your organization that you support HomeAid?

A:  When WBI first got started, the women who started it wanted to ensure that we were pushing forward with an agenda of promoting women into leadership positions within the industry. In my view, it is naturally inherent to any leader that they recognize philanthropy as a foundation of becoming a leader; good leaders are also good philanthropists. I don’t think you can be an effective leader without also being altruistic. It was natural to go with HomeAid since it was already part of NVBIA. Many of the supporters of HomeAid are members of NVBIA, so it was a natural fit, and we know they do good work.

There are so many worthy charities, but I have been very protective as president to ensure that the two charities that we support (HomeAid and Women Giving Back) get our full attention. I know how easy it is to spread yourself too thin, and then you don’t accomplish anything. The winetasting event we just had has always been geared toward collecting home essentials for HomeAid. You have to build that strength up gradually, and I think repetition is the best way to do that. And if we can keep HomeAid stocked up on those baskets that they need through the year, that’s our goal.

Also, when I first joined Walsh Colucci, I was put in charge of HomeAid’s backpack drive, to collect backpacks for kids going back to school in the fall. I headed that up at the office for the last three years, and the firm has continued to donate new backpacks to HomeAid for the drive. We get a lot of participation from everyone at the firm.

Q:  What would you say about HomeAid and how important it is to the community?

A:  It’s exceptionally valuable because it is able to reach out to an aspect of the construction industry that maybe wouldn’t normally be tapped. The founders of HomeAid obviously figured out early on that there are people willing to help their cause in the construction industry. And, there is need for construction expertise in renovating and building housing for those in need here in Northern Virginia. The two go hand-in-hand, and they’re not just building shelters; they’re building homes in order to help move people from homelessness into a home. They saw a resource they can depend on in the homebuilding industry, and they rely on that. It’s great because the members of NVBIA aren’t just builders—they’re also engineers and law firms and banks. There is a wealth of experience and resources within the membership of NVBIA and if everybody just gives a little bit, it’s amazing what comes of that.

Like what you’ve read? Don’t miss out on next month’s issue of #BuildingHope! Subscribe Now!

“Tomorrow is Today!”—Are You Registered for HomeAid’s Gala & Auction?, HomeAid, Four Builder Captains, 35 Trade Partners Complete Major Renovation for Community Lodgings, Trade Partner Spotlight: Tysons Service Corporation, 3rd Annual HomeAid Golf Tournament Raises $70,000+, HomeAid Partner Staged Interior Furnishes Apartments for Community Lodging, Seven Families, Women in the Building Industry View Philanthropy as Foundation of Leadership


Building Hope Newsletter, September 2017

By | News

Executive Director’s Corner

September marks back-to-school season, and we look forward to a season of new beginnings and fresh starts. As I look at my own calendar for the month, I’m filled with gratitude for the support of so many of you: Thanks to your unwavering commitment to our mission of giving new hope and second chances to at-risk and homeless individuals and families, we’ll be celebrating a ribbon cutting on September 19 at Community Lodgings—our biggest project of the year—where seven families will soon experience what so many of us take for granted: a safe, stable home. Just a few days later, on September 22, I look forward to seeing many of you at Raspberry Falls for our 3rd Annual Golf Tournament. The event is testament to our volunteers; organizing this tournament is an enormous undertaking, and I’m grateful for the passion and effort shared by all who make it possible. We’ve also raised more than $50,000 and counting through the sold-out tournament, ensuring that HomeAid’s mission of building and renovating homes for the homeless can continue. Thank you!

In gratitude,

Filling the Grandstand with Joy

After having to reschedule the 7th Annual Night at the Ballpark once due to intense rain on the original date of July 28, HomeAid held its breath when stormy skies once again threatened the August 18 game. But, the game was happily a go, and HomeAid and Pfitzner Stadium welcomed parents and kids from many local shelters for a Potomac Nationals baseball game followed by fireworks. As has become the tradition, families enjoyed free concessions from the ballpark stands, and kids met the Nationals mascot, Uncle Slam, and ran the bases after the game. Families also enjoyed the stadium’s “Bark in the Park” theme night, which allowed many fans to bring their dogs with them to the park for the game!

“HomeAid’s Night at the Ballpark has grown into such a feel-good event, and we repeatedly hear from our shelter partners what an enormous difference an outing like this can make for their clients,” said Kristyn Burr, HomeAid’s executive director. “It’s hard to quantify how much it means for families who rarely – if ever – get to enjoy a night out together, especially when you consider not having to worry about managing the cost of tickets, concessions, parking, and all the other things that seem to add up for family outings like this. We are so grateful to event sponsors Buhl Electric Co., Van Metre Homes, and Franklin Electric Co., who made this night possible for these families.”

“This is a great opportunity as a whole,” said Simajah Jackson, MSW, assistant director, Fairfax Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Programs, New Hope Housing, Inc. “Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and we were all captivated with the dogs in attendance – it was nice to attend the Bark in the Park game, as we know dogs and other pets also have therapeutic value.”

HomeAid, Miller & Smith Renovate Townhome for Cornerstones and Family of Five

HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain Miller & Smith, and trade partners have completed a $70,000 renovation of a townhome owned by Cornerstones, and a single mom and her four children have already moved in to start their new lives.

“Ranging in age from three to 10, including eight-year-old twins, the kids are squealing with excitement at having their own bedrooms, and the house is in a great school system,” said Tierra Faggins, asset manager for Cornerstones. “This family moved from a shelter, and this is the first long-term stability these children will know. We look forward to working with the mom on her short-term and five-year goals—for herself, her kids, and her finances—so that she can reach self-sufficiency; this house will provide such a solid foundation for her and her kids.”

“This townhome was built in the 1980s,” she added, “and it was in bad shape. As a non-profit, it would have cost what is to us a fortune to repair it, and this partnership with HomeAid and Miller & Smith was an incredible opportunity to make it a beautiful home for another family.”

Miller & Smith and its trade partners gutted much of the interior, ultimately renovating and updating the kitchen and bathrooms; replacing laundry appliances, roof, interior flooring, and exterior walkway and patio; repainting the entire interior; and updating electrical and plumbing systems.

“I love having the opportunity to take something that most wouldn’t want to live in and make it something that anyone would want to live in, no matter their situation,” said Scott Alford, vice president of production for Miller & Smith and the project manager for the renovation. “It feels good to give someone a second chance—as well as the chance to feel proud of where they’re living rather than feeling like ‘this is the best I can do.’ I know we’ve turned the corner when even our subs are saying the end result is nicer than their own homes!”

“There were a lot of surprises behind the walls with this house, he added, “and we won’t ever just Band-Aid over hidden problems. This house is going to be solid for years, and we were proud to have been involved in its renovation – it’s always an honor to work with HomeAid.”

Thank you, Miller & Smith and trade partners, for giving new hope to
a single mom and her four young children!
Bee & H Electric

Builders FirstSource

Commercial Concrete

E.D.S. Flooring

Falcon Heating & Air Conditioning

G&B Insulation & Garage Doors

GE Appliances

Hall Mechanical

JD Landscaping

John Darvish Construction Co.

Johnson Drywall


McCormick Paints

Metcalfe Heating & Air Conditioning

Next Day Blinds


SBS Siding Co.

Signature Companies

Stadler Nurseries

TAC Ceramic Tile Co.

Titan Erosion Control


Commercial Concrete

You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation, and when it came time for Builder Captain Miller & Smith to replace the flooring in a circa 1970s townhome for Cornerstones, they knew just who to call first: Commercial Concrete.

“The flooring inside the house had layers and layers of hardwood and tile, all atop a concrete floor, and after we removed all of the old flooring, Commercial Concrete came in to grind and prep the concrete surface so that it was in perfect shape for new flooring throughout,” said Scott Alford, vice president of production for Miller & Smith and the project manager for the renovation. “There’s no point in putting good on top of bad, and this is a trade partner who always does it right.”

The company also re-poured the front walkway and backyard patio, ensuring that the entry was smooth and safe for residents and guests, and that the family of five living in the home will have outdoor space to enjoy together.

“We’ve worked on three or four HomeAid projects,” said Robert McLaughlin, owner of Commercial Concrete. “I’ve been in business for 28 years, and as a business owner in the community, I feel strongly that you have to give back to the community. I do a lot of volunteer work—with local fire departments and a lot of one-on-one situations with families who need help with sick children. Over the years, I’ve built out spaces for kids’ special needs and even additions onto houses to help; it’s important to me. I also work with the Loudoun County Public School system, ranging from building a labyrinth for kids to a memorial for a school principal who passed away. I love going a little further and a little deeper to help people, so working on a project like this with Miller & Smith and HomeAid is a natural fit. I’m glad to be able to help.”

Founded in 1989, Commercial Concrete can handle everything from a backyard patio to a multi-million-dollar construction job, including residential and commercial real estate, land development, and roadways, curbs and gutters. For more information, please call Robert McLaughlin at 703.503.7800.


Looking Ahead: HomeAid’s 16th Annual Gala & Auction Coming Soon! Are You Ready?

November 4, 2017 • 6:30 p.m. • Lansdowne Resort & SpaLeesburg, VA

sponsor button

gala logoThe future happens fast, so be ready for it! HomeAid’s Tomorrow is Today future-themed 16th Annual Gala & Auction will be here before you know it, and as our largest fundraiser of the year, you won’t want to miss it! We’re moving to a bigger and better location—at the beautiful Lansdowne Resort & Spa in Leesburg, Va.—and we’ll kick things off in a whole new way with a time-tunnel entry. Learn about the history of HomeAid as you walk the tunnel toward our always-popular cocktail reception, which will feature a giant, double-scaffold open bar with our signature drink (The Blue Atlantic), shrimp bar, and a techno DJ. Enjoy hot and cold hors d’ouvres while checking out our exceptional silent and live auction items.

We’ll celebrate three Presidents’ Circle award winners, enjoy a the three-course dinner, and add a twist to our live auction, which will of course include an auctioneer-led paddle challenge, which last year raised $120,000 for HomeAid.

But we have a lot to do before the big night, so be sure to register today for yourself or for an entire table of 10! Put your company’s name in lights through a sponsorship, and help make this year’s auction the best yet with your donation!

This year’s dress code will be futuristic formal. We look forward to seeing you there!

Making it Count

What Can You Do TODAY to Help?

A single mom with four children just moved from a shelter into a townhome this week, and the family is ready to start their new lives! Please help them make their house a home through your donation of new:

  • Queen sheet set and comforter for mom
  • Four twin sheet sets and comforters for kids (three girls, one boy, ages 3-10)
  • Everyday silverware and dinnerware
  • Set of eight bath towels
  • Grocery gift cards of any size

Thank you, Builder Captain Miller & Smith and trade partners for all your work on this project for Cornerstones!

HomeAid and CarrHomes also recently renovated a home owned by Pathway Homes, and now the three women living there are ready to enjoy the beautiful fall weather on their new patio—but first, they need patio furniture! Can you please help us furnish it with a table and umbrella—or donate a gift card to a home improvement store? Thank you!

For help coordinating your Welcome Home donation, please contact Kristyn Burr at HomeAid.

Hands-on for HomeAid

Scott Alford has lost count of how many HomeAid projects he has overseen during his 19 years with Miller & Smith. As vice president of production, he estimates that it’s close to one each year, but he never loses sight of the fact that HomeAid projects are an integral part of his company’s culture and an important part of his company’s community outreach.

“We’re always looking forward to the next HomeAid project,” Alford says, “and I hope that other builders who have not had the opportunity to work with HomeAid will consider giving it a try.”

Q:  As vice president of production, you play a very direct role in every job. What do you enjoy most about working on HomeAid projects?

A:  I try to be very involved. We usually try to assign a superintendent to each project when we can, but that doesn’t always work out. So, I help coordinate, communicate with the vendors and ask them to participate, and sometimes clean up onsite. I do whatever needs to be done to make sure the project is completed on time.

The best part is being able to give back to the community and to the shelters or providers that have a need. It is satisfying to take a house that is older or hasn’t been taken care of as well as it should, and transform it into a home that someone can be proud to live in. It makes us feel good to hear a vendor say, “It’s nicer than my house,” and to give the shelters a product that will last at least 10 years or so. It’s not a temporary fix; we always try to go above and beyond what is required for our projects and deliver a product that will fulfill their needs for a long time.

Q:  What types of jobs have you done for HomeAid?

A:  We’ve been involved in a wide variety of renovations. For example, the Cornerstones project we [recently completed] is a transitional housing shelter in Herndon, which means that somebody will be placed there when it’s ready, and they will be allowed to stay until they get back on their feet. They will receive job and money management training so that they can become self-sufficient.

[The townhouse] was built in the 1970s, and we did the flooring, the kitchen, the paint, the drywall, the plumbing, the bathrooms, the roof, and redid the exterior. Basically, we did a complete renovation so it will last them another five or 10 years before they will have to spend any money or do anything to it at all. It is a great feeling; all of us—myself, our organization, our vendors—all enjoy being able to do this sort of a job.

Q:  Do you have any favorite HomeAid projects?

A:  We did one in Loudoun County that had six apartments. Miller & Smith and Winchester Homes did the project jointly, going in and gutting the apartments and doing a thorough renovation. We had an interior decorator working on the project with us, so when we were finished, the space was redesigned, redecorated, and much more useable. The property was very nice and provided homes for multiple clients.

There was another condominium project that we did where we renovated it and then were able to decorate it with some very nice model home furniture. We were there when the home was presented to the mom, and she was just overwhelmed. It was beautiful—decorated by a professional decorator—and the mom was in tears. She just kept saying how much of a difference this home would make in her life, how special it was, and how it would give her a whole new beginning in life.

Q:  How does that feeling compare to working on the new homes that Miller & Smith typically produces?

A: Building houses for people—giving them their dream homes—is incredibly satisfying too. We always go above and beyond what is required in anything that we build. But to be able to do something for somebody in need—building a home for somebody who might otherwise not have a place to live, who may otherwise have to live in their car or on the street—that’s definitely satisfying. Nothing compares to that.

Also, the staff really enjoys working on HomeAid projects when they have a chance. We have done some projects where we built a playground and some outdoor spaces, and we made it a company day where the whole company could participate. They landscaped and sodded, put together playground equipment, built a deck, and painted. They really enjoy those company-wide events. Both Co-Founder Gordon Smith and President and CEO Doug Smith have made philanthropy part of our company’s culture. It’s just something that we do.

Q: Will Miller & Smith continue to be involved with HomeAid projects in the future?

A: Absolutely. It is so worthwhile to take the time to do whatever we can to give back and help out. I would also hope that more and more builders will get involved who are not already. If they take the time to do whatever they can to give back, they won’t regret it. I think sometimes people may be reluctant because they worry about time or money. There are a million reasons why you can’t do it. But HomeAid has projects for everybody. Whether you want to spend a day or a month doing something, or whether you want to spend $500 or hundreds of thousands of dollars, there are plenty of things that need to be done. I think sometimes HomeAid has to turn down projects or applications from shelters because they don’t have somebody to take on the project. I would encourage all builders, even if it’s not in the near future, to put their name out there to HomeAid and say they’re willing to do something at some point. At the end of the day, they’ll be glad that they did.

Like what you’ve read? Don’t miss out on next month’s issue of #BuildingHope! Subscribe Now!

Filling the Grandstand with Joy, HomeAid, Miller & Smith Renovate Townhome for Cornerstones and Family of Five, Trade Partner Spotlight: Commercial Concrete, Looking Ahead: HomeAid’s 16th Annual Gala & Auction Coming Soon! Are You Ready?, What Can You Do TODAY to Help?, Hands-on for HomeAid


Building Hope Newsletter, August 2017

By | News

Executive Director’s Corner

For most of us growing up, heading back to school in the fall was a time of great excitement as we looked forward to new teachers, new friends, and new experiences – and it all started with the thrill of picking out new school supplies and a new backpack. These traditions are ingrained in us, and we continue them with our own children.

What we don’t always consider is that not every child has the same experience. For a child who is homeless or at high risk of homelessness, something as simple as a new backpack may feel completely out of reach, making the start of school yet another stressor in their young life. And it’s for those children that I want to share my tremendous gratitude to all of our supporters who donated brand new backpacks and to those who coordinated drives at their workplaces. While our original plan was to distribute the backpacks at our Night at the Ballpark event last week, a rain cancellation of the game means that we are instead distributing them to many of our shelter clients before the start of the new school year. We’ve already been able to deliver some, and seeing the joy in kids’ eyes, as they selected the backpack they really wanted, was so rewarding.

I am grateful to all of you who made this possible, and it was an important reminder for all of us that sometimes, it’s the littlest things that make the biggest difference.


Record-Setting Rain Forces Postponement of HomeAid Night at the Ballpark

Rescheduled event to be held August 18, 6:00pm at Pfitzner Stadium

An intense storm that brought up to six inches of rain in just 24 hours to the Northern Virginia region on Friday, July 28, forced the cancellation of HomeAid’s 7th Annual Night at the Ballpark, but we are pleased to announce that we will make it up to our clients on August 18, at 6:00 p.m. at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge!

And while the date of this widely anticipated event will be different, we’ll carry forward all of the same traditions that have made this event such a positive one: Families will receive parking and concessions vouchers; HomeAid will coordinate pictures with the Potomac National’s mascot, Uncle Slam; one lucky guest will get to throw out the first pitch; and all the kids will get to run the bases after the game!

“HomeAid’s Night at the Ballpark is an enormously important event for us, and while we were disappointed that the weather forced us to change our plans, we’re very grateful to our partners at Pfitzner Stadium for working with us so diligently to reschedule this game and include our shelter partner clients,” said Kristyn Burr, HomeAid’s executive director. “We look forward to welcoming everyone who registered for our Night at the Ballpark event on August 18 at Pfitzner Stadium, and we are so grateful to event sponsors Buhl Electric Co., Van Metre Homes, and Franklin Electric Co.

Backpack Drive Collects over 600 Backpacks for Schoolchildren

Special thanks to Alison Paley of Van Metre Homes, AJ Team Realty, NVBIA Custom Builders CouncilPreferred InsuranceThompson GreensponVan Metre Homes, and  Walsh Colucci Lubeley & Walsh PC for coordinating the collection of brand-new backpacks.

Because our Night at the Ballpark event was rescheduled for August 18 due to a rain cancellation, we are distributing the backpacks to our shelter partners this week to ensure that school-age children receive them well before the start of school. Thank you to all who made this important donation possible!


Deepening and Building Our Bench through Outreach, Education, and Fun

On July 27, 25 HomeAid board members, homebuilders, and trade partners enjoyed a Nationals baseball game in style, thanks to the generous donation of The Washington Post’s suite at Nationals Park. But it was a night with purpose, as HomeAid Northern Virginia invited veteran Builder Captains and trade partners who do so much – along with homebuilders who haven’t yet worked on a HomeAid project. The goal was to educate more homebuilders about HomeAid’s mission, give interested builders the opportunity to talk in an informal setting about what it really means to serve as a Builder Captain, and encourage more homebuilders to join our Builders Circle of Excellence by accepting a project!

The suite was donated by the Post’s Howard Bomstein, advertising category manager for real estate, who also served on HomeAid Northern Virginia’s first Board of Directors in 2000/2001. The Post is also a long-time member of NVBIA and supporter of HomeAid.

“It takes a lot to make our mission of building and renovating housing for Northern Virginia’s homeless a reality, and we not surprisingly depend most heavily on our Builder Captains and trade partners,” said Executive Director Kristyn Burr. “They of course bring their skill, labor, and materials to every project, but they also bring their own connections and relationships to every project, and every time a new homebuilder joins our partner team, our pool of supporters grows exponentially.”

“We simply could not do what we do without our Builder Captains and Trade Partners,” she added, “and the ability to treat some of them them to a Nats game was such a nice way for us to say thank you to our longtime partners, while spreading the word about what we do to those with whom we haven’t yet had the opportunity to work. We’re very grateful to the Post for their generosity—the benefits of this night will be long-lasting.”

This is the second time that Bomstein and the Post donated the suite; HomeAid held a similar builder appreciation and recruitment event last summer.

Join Us on the Links to Compete, Network, and Support HomeAid

Presented by

Friday, September 22
Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club
7:00 a.m. check-in | 8:00 a.m. shotgun start

It’s hard to imagine a better way to spend a Friday morning in September than on a beautiful golf course with friends and colleagues, so register today for HomeAid’s 3rd Annual Golf Tournament! This event will sell out, and whether you support the tournament through a sponsorship or by teeing up, you’ll play an important role in raising critical funding for HomeAid Northern Virginia; in 2015, the tournament raised more than $40,000 for HomeAid, and last year’s sold-out field raised more than $55,000. In addition to helping fund our shelter projects, the funds raised also allow us to host educational programs such as the Housing Forum, community-building events such as Night at the Ballpark, and important recognition and recruitment efforts for our homebuilder and shelter partners.

“This golf tournament has become a premiere fundraising event for an organization that does so much for those in our community,” said Jason McDonough, one of the tournament’s founders. “Participants get a chance to play a prestigious golf course in a beautiful setting with some of the area’s top builders, and it’s a top-quality tournament for the builder community and goes a long way in supporting HomeAid’s mission of improving housing facilities for those in need in Northern Virginia.”

John Darvish, a co-founder and a major sponsor, added, “This tournament gives participants the opportunity to play with a diversified group of industry members, such as bankers, IT specialists, marketing and advertising, architecture/design firms, and engineers, all of whom are some of the best in their industry.”

And, added John Buhl and Brian Davidson, who also helped launch the tournament, it’s a way to network with kind-hearted business people who want to give back to their community and have some fun—and with an early shotgun start—still be done by early afternoon on a Friday!

Don’t miss out! Take part in HomeAid’s 3rd Annual Golf Tournament, presented by John Darvish Construction and Darvish Interiors.


CarrHomes Builds Partnerships and More for HomeAid

Tom Avery, vice president of CarrHomes, was joined by Tim Schiesl, the company’s customer service manager and HomeAid coordinator, to talk about the company’s involvement with HomeAid Northern Virginia. Find out why CarrHomes has been a generous supporter of HomeAid since its founding 15 years ago, and why they plan to continue their support long into the future. “As long as we’re in business, we’ll be doing projects for HomeAid,” said Tom.

Q: Can you tell us about the history of CarrHomes, and how the company became so devoted to HomeAid?

Tom: CarrHomes is a private local builder/developer working mostly in Northern Virginia. Our company was founded in 1925, and we build luxury single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums. I’ve been with the company for about 15 years, but the truth is, I’m the new guy.

CarrHomes has a strong philosophy of giving back to the community, and we have always been involved with other charities, such as Christmas in April. Our land acquisition manager, Tara Craven, was on the NVBIA board at the time HomeAid was started more than 15 years ago, and we just naturally started doing projects with them. For us, it was a great fit, so we are proud to have been doing projects with HomeAid from the beginning. CarrHomes is owned by Tom Jordan, and he is really the force behind our involvement. It starts at the top.

CarrHomes has probably done 12 or so HomeAid projects thus far—we try to do about one project per year. The satisfaction of seeing what we can do with the resources and the great trade partners that we have is really special; they’re willing to do so much work for us. To take something that is in dire need of repair and to see it come out looking like new construction is very satisfying—it’s amazing what a brand-new kitchen with new countertops, cabinets, and appliances can do to improve the quality of the resident’s life. Just seeing the looks on people’s faces when they see that kind of thing really makes it worthwhile.

Tim: I have been with the company for 29 years and have worked with HomeAid from the beginning. The owner, Tom Jordan, has always been very dedicated to HomeAid. He often asks us; “Have you done the HomeAid project yet?” He visits all of the sites several times.

Q:  It sounds like your trade partners also enjoy working on these projects.

Tim: Our trade partners are very invested; all of the HomeAid projects we have done over the years have always been 100% contributed. The charities never have to pay a dime; we’ve been lucky in that regard, and it shows how dedicated our subcontractors are. We enjoy great relationships with them, and it says so much about the type of people they are.

Tom: They are a big part of the reason we are able to do these projects. Much like the tenure of people who have been here 15 to 30 years, our contractors have been with us, in some instances, for decades. We have very strong relationships with all of our trade partners, and they’re always willing to step up. They know that they’re going to be asked to help out, and they’re more than willing to do so. They know it’s a two-way street; we take care of them, and they take care of us.

Q: Why is HomeAid so special to CarrHomes?

Tom: It’s the people of HomeAid. We go out and meet people in the field, and we see how hard they work. When we do a project, whether it is a major project or not, we meet the folks from HomeAid, and we see all of the work that they do, day-in and day-out, to help people. They do it because they have kindness and goodness in their hearts. There are incredible people within the organization, and for us it allows us to give back to the community that has been so good to us.

Tim: Over the years, we’ve gotten to know each other. It makes it easier for us to be charitable because they know what our strengths are. HomeAid can handpick projects that are well-suited to us and that they know we can accomplish. They select charities that are custom-made for us. It’s a give and take.

Q:  Your most recent project was for Pathways; can you tell us about that project?

Tom: We have done two projects for Pathways, one of which was this year. It was a total kitchen redo, including new appliances, floor, counters, and cabinets. We tore out the whole kitchen and made a laundry closet, installed some ceiling fans in residents’ rooms, and put in a patio in the backyard so they can enjoy extended living outside of the home.

Tim: Each HomeAid project is unique. It’s hard to say that any one project is more special than the other. But that one was nice because the residents were living in the home, and we got to know them. A lot of times we don’t get to meet them because it may be after somebody moves out and before someone else moves in. Every time we came in the house, they would comment, “Oh, you’re making us feel like princesses.” It was nice to hear that from these ladies. It was precious, and to get a hug from the residents of the house that you’re working on makes it worth it for me.

Tom: We participate in these projects because it gives us a tremendous sense of satisfaction to know that the residents will be able to get up every morning and use that new kitchen to make a little breakfast, or come home after a long day and make a nice dinner. The original kitchen was cramped, there was no dishwasher, and the washer and dryer were right next to the sink. It was all circa 1950. The difference now is night and day.

Q:  What would you say to others who may be considering doing a project with HomeAid?

Tom: Just get involved. Once you do one project, you’re going to be hooked. It seems like it could be a daunting task depending on the project, but your trade partners make it easy on you.

Tim: The last project we did we had about eight or nine trade partners, so everyone did a little. But together, it added up to be a $17,000 project. Everyone doing a little adds up to a lot. It’s all worth it in the end.

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Record Setting Rain Forces Postponement of HomeAid Night at the Ballpark, Deepening and Building Our Bench through Outreach, Education, and Fun, Join Us on the Links to Compete, Network, and Support HomeAid, CarrHomes Builds Partnerships and More for HomeAid

Building Hope Newsletter, July 2017

By | News

Executive Director’s Corner

It’s been an exhilarating start to my role as executive director for HomeAid Northern Virginia, and I want to thank all of you—our partners, stakeholders, and champions—for being so overwhelmingly supportive. Last week’s Builders & Friends BBQ is a perfect case in point, where we raised a record-breaking $54,000 for HomeAid—a full $20,000 more than our previous best year! And what’s particularly encouraging is that so many of our donors and sponsors at this year’s BBQ were new to HomeAid—we look forward to getting to know all of them even better in the coming months and strengthening our new partnerships. I’d also like to say thank you to our amazing staff and corps of volunteers. Events like the BBQ require a great deal of work, and seeing even our former interns return to pitch in and help our small staff and many of our hardest-working volunteers and Board members warmed my heart. Your commitment is inspiring, and I am so grateful for your support of HomeAid, as well as for your support of me as I continue to settle in as executive director.


Builders & Friends BBQ Breaks Fundraising Records for HomeAid

John Buhl, Buhl Electric Named 2017 Trade Partner of the Year

More than 300 supporters and partners turned out on a warm summer night for HomeAid’s 8th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ, raising an incredible $54,000 for the organization—surpassing previous top fundraising totals for the BBQ by more than $20,000. Perhaps most importantly, many of the donations came from an expanded list of sponsors and supporters who had not previously partnered with HomeAid, including JamesHardie, which joined Granite Source, a repeat supporter, as our top-level “Smokehouse Sponsors” of the event.

A project of this size always requires a lot of helping hands, and volunteers from Cox Communications and the NVBIA Associates Council pitched in, along with former HomeAid interns, current staff, and many HomeAid Board members—thank you to all for helping make this important event run so smoothly!

The night proved to be the perfect venue for also recognizing and thanking trade partners for their enormous investment of time and in-kind donations to HomeAid projects, with special congratulations going to John Buhl of Buhl Electric, who was named HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 2017 Trade Partner of the Year.

“John’s unwavering generosity is remarkable,” said HomeAid President Jerry Berman. “He has made in-kind donations of more than $60,000 for 11 different projects over seven years, while also donating more than $40,000 in sponsorships at various HomeAid events—including this year’s BBQ! He is equally generous with his time, serving on our Board of Directors as well as on our projects. It’s a level of support that stands out in so many ways, particularly when one considers that Buhl Electric is still a family-owned company. And the beauty of it all is nobody ever asks John to help – he’s always there, and first in line!”

Special thanks to our 2017 sponsors
for their generous support of this year’s BBQ!

HomeAid, CarrHomes Give Gift of Outdoors and New Kitchen to Pathways Residents

HomeAid, Builder Captain CarrHomes, and 11 trade partners are putting the finishing touches on a single family home owned by Pathway Homes, a local, independent, nonprofit organization that provides non-time-limited housing and supportive services to adults with serious mental illness and other co-occurring disabilities in Northern Virginia. Workers scheduled the $17,000 renovation project around the three women living in the home, completely updating and renovating the kitchen; installing new flooring in the entrance foyer; converting and moving laundry facilities to a corner stack unit to expand available storage; and wiring new ceiling fans in the women’s bedrooms. A new patio will also be installed in the coming weeks, giving the women the gift of comfortable outdoor space.

“This was a relatively quick, two-week, in-and-out project for us,” said Tim Schiesl, customer service manager for CarrHomes, “but it feels as good to give a new kitchen and outdoor space to these women as it does to make over an entire house top to bottom. These residents were so grateful—even getting ceiling fans in their rooms can make the kind of difference that so many of us take for granted.”

“We as a company always try to complete at least one HomeAid project every year,” he continued, “and our company’s leadership will do just about whatever it takes to make sure that we get costs as close to 100 percent covered as possible, often dipping into their own pockets and sending us to Home Depot on them to get it done. I love working on HomeAid projects for that feeling of giving back, but it also gives me so much appreciation for my employer. It’s a win-win for everyone!”

“The women living in this home would be at extremely high risk for homelessness were it not for our support, and to gain the additional care from HomeAid and CarrHomes is hard to quantify,” said Anna Smith, director of development for Pathways. “This project showed them in such a concrete way that people care, and it’s such a lasting gift. Every time they prepare a meal in their new kitchen or spend time outdoors, we take another positive step forward. We are so grateful to HomeAid, CarrHomes, and the trade partners for taking such good care of us!”

Thank you CarrHomes and the following trade partners for investing in our community—you have made a very real difference in the lives of three women!
A & S Sales
Builders FirstSource
Bryant Group
Capital Carpets
Delta Concrete
General Electric
HDS Drywall Service
Reico Kitchen and Bath
Southern Electric Service Company
T.A.C. Tile


Southern Electrical Services Company

It’s a common occurrence: HomeAid and Builder Captains work hard to create the most thorough scope of work document possible, but once walls are opened and unknown issues are found, some additional work is invariably needed. And at the recent project at Pathways led by CarrHomes, electrical issues came to the forefront during a renovation. That reality led trade partner Southern Electrical to go above and beyond the call of duty, rewiring systems in the home to bring it up to code and ensure its safety for the three women living in the home.

Danny and Faron Lee, the owners, always have our backs,” said Tim Schiesl, customer service manager for CarrHomes, “and this project required a lot of additional effort. They are always willing to make things right, and it makes such a difference to work with partners who are so committed to quality and excellence. I could say the same about all of our partners with HomeAid—I’m always honored to work with a team of individuals made up of people like Danny and Faron from Southern Electrical.”

Founded in Leesburg, Va., by Jack Lee and owned and operated by the Lee family continuously since 1963, Southern Electrical Services Company now employs 200 people and is a residential, commercial, and industrial full-service electrical contractor.


Help Make Summer Memories—Send a Family to the Ballpark this Month!

Friday, July 28, 2017
NVBIA pre-game Triple Play Picnic: 5:30pm
Gates open: 6:00pm | Game time: 7:05pm
Pfitzner Stadium

HomeAid’s 7th Annual Night at the Ballpark is fast approaching, but there is still plenty of time to support this popular event and help make lasting summer memories for families living in local shelters! Your sponsorship can help send families from local shelters to the baseball game, where they’ll watch the Potomac Nationals take on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans—and you will receive complimentary tickets to the baseball game, signage, recognition, and more, based on sponsorship levels.

In addition to tickets to the game, families will receive parking and concessions vouchers; HomeAid will coordinate pictures with the Potomac National’s mascot, Uncle Slam; and kids will get to pick out a new backpack for the new school year, thanks to the participants of our Backpack Drive. One lucky guest will get to throw out the first pitch, all the kids will get to run the bases after the game, and families will also enjoy a post-game fireworks show put on by the Potomac Nationals!

“HomeAid’s mission is focused on building new hope for the homeless, and that means going beyond just giving at-risk or homeless men, women, and children a safe, stable place to call home,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director Kristyn Burr. “This baseball event gives parents the gift of time with their children, helps instill the importance of family time, and gives them a night out—without having to worry about whether they can afford ballpark prices. For this one night, they can feel like ‘everyone else’—out enjoying America’s favorite pastime with their kids.”

For more information about how YOU can make special memories through a sponsorship, contact Kristyn Burr at 571.283.6320.

Thank you, Van Metre Homes, Buhl Electric Co. and Franklin Electric Co., Inc. for your generous support of Night at the Ballpark.

“It’s affirming to not only be able to attend a game, but also to be able to treat a family member. For many, the lack of income – and, for some, symptoms of mental illness – lead to isolation, and activities like the HomeAid baseball game help mitigate those feelings of loneliness and accelerate recovery.” 

~ Anna Smith, director of development for Pathway Homes, Inc.

Making it Count
It’s Never Too Soon to Plan for Back to School
Summer may have just started, but for families in crisis, there’s no break from the stress of making ends meet, finding childcare, or planning for the future. And when schools re-open in August and September, HomeAid Northern Virginia and partners will once again ease school expenses with another highly successful Backpack Drive!

Thank you to Alison Paley of Van Metre Homes, NVBIA Custom Builders Council, Preferred Insurance, Thompson Greenspon, Van Metre Homes, and Walsh Colucci Lubeley & Walsh PC for coordinating the collection of more than 300 brand-new backpacks, which will be distributed to every child who attends HomeAid’s Night at the Ballpark event. Any extra backpacks will be donated to shelter partners to distribute to their clients with school-age children.

Thank you to all who made this year’s drive such a success—back-to-school supplies cost between $659 and $1,498 for elementary through high school students for the 2016-2017 school year, and it’s an investment that many cannot make. We are grateful for your help!

Outdoor Essentials Needed for Pathways Project

HomeAid Northern Virginia is looking for volunteers to help furnish an outdoor patio for the recently completed Pathway Homes project, led by Builder Captain CarrHomes. The collection effort, part of our “Welcome Home” program, will ensure that the three women who live in the home will be able to enjoy their new outdoor living space, and will help our shelter partner redirect critically important funding toward programs. It’s also a great way to involve members of office, school, church, or sports groups who want to support HomeAid’s mission.

Priority items for the outdoor patio include:

  • Patio table
  • Patio chairs and cushions
  • Umbrella

HomeAid Northern Virginia can arrange for interested individuals and/or groups to deliver the furnishings in person, or staff from HomeAid can schedule a pick-up. Please contact Kathryn Kovacs if you would like to coordinate a collection for this project. Thank you!


Jon Lindgren and NVBIA Appreciate Organization’s Relationship with HomeAid

In 2001, two members of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA) founded HomeAid Northern Virginia to foster the building industry’s charitable outreach efforts. Since then, HomeAid and NVBIA have enjoyed a strong relationship; in addition to supporting HomeAid’s charitable mission, Jon Lindgren, executive vice president of NVBIA, notes that the partnership has been a great way for the building industry to connect with the local community. Lindgren shares his thoughts on the successful partnership between HomeAid and NVBIA and how involvement with HomeAid remains a point of pride for NVBIA.

Q:  How did you become involved with NVBIA?

A:  Prior to accepting my position at NVBIA, I worked for Pulte Homes, where I was very active in NVBIA. I served on the board of directors, as well as vice president and president of the Fairfax Chapter. As an NVBIA board member, I witnessed first-hand the critical role that HomeAid performs in providing stable housing to families in need. I am consistently impressed with our members’ commitment to supporting HomeAid and have been pleased to see HomeAid’s positive impact in our community.

Q:  What is your connection to HomeAid?

A:  Our organizations are very close. HomeAid was founded as NVBIA’s charitable organization, and our offices are co-located in Chantilly. In addition to being physically co-located, these two organizations share a common commitment to community service. NVBIA members appreciate that a stable living environment is one of the best ways for a family in need to be able to get on solid footing and succeed—especially in our area, where housing costs make up such a large part of a family’s expenses. Through HomeAid, NVBIA members can help to improve the quality of life for local families in need.

Q:  Can you talk a little bit about the role of NVBIA?

A:  NVBIA’s primary role is to foster a thriving economic and political climate in Northern Virginia that allows the homebuilding industry to meet the demand for safe, attractive, and affordable housing. We strive to accomplish this through our four pillars: Philanthropy, Education, Advocacy, and Networking.

In terms of philanthropy, HomeAid has been NVBIA’s primary focus. In 2017, NVBIA is budgeted to contribute nearly $45,000 to HomeAid, and NVBIA members will also contribute hundreds of hours of volunteer time and in-kind contributions. In the area of education, NVBIA provides members with many opportunities for continuing education courses, including training on OSHA requirements, Certified Sales Professional, and Certified Aging-in-Place courses.

NVBIA also plays a critical role as an advocate for the building industry. NVBIA’s local chapters work with political, legal, and regulatory contacts in Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince William, and Fauquier counties to ensure that our industry has a seat at the table regarding industry-related issues. NVBIA’s Legislative committee also represents our members at the General Assembly in Richmond and works very closely with the statewide organization, the Homebuilders Association of Virginia (HBAV), and at the federal level with the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB).

NVBIA recognizes the importance of networking within the industry and hosts events throughout the year to foster and encourage business-to-business relationships. Some of the more popular events include the annual Crawfish Boil, Crab Feast, and Oyster Roast, along with Meet The Builder—which has a March Madness tie-in.

Q:  NVBIA shares a lot with HomeAid, including proceeds from some events and leadership. Can you talk a little about what they share?

A:  It’s a very close relationship. Since its inception, NVBIA’s members have been strongly committed to HomeAid and its mission. In addition to sharing office space—which is great because it makes it very easy for NVBIA and HomeAid to interact and collaborate with each other on a daily basis—we also share many of the same board members. Many past NVBIA board presidents have gone on to become president of HomeAid’s board and vice versa. HomeAid is more than just a charitable organization; it is a passion for many people in our industry, and it provides a way for our members to give back to the community by providing one of the most fundamental aspects of a stable family life, which is a clean, safe place to call home.

Q:  NVBIA has been very supportive to HomeAid financially. How are those funds raised?

A:  NVBIA contributes to HomeAid in a variety of ways. A portion of the member dues that are collected each year go to HomeAid, and NVBIA also gives a portion of the proceeds from several of our more high-profile events to HomeAid. Most recently, NVBIA held its annual golf tournament and donated $5,600 to HomeAid.

In July, NVBIA’s Prince William Chapter will hold its “Triple Play Picnic” in conjunction with HomeAid’s Night at the Ballpark. Not only is this a wonderful event for the entire family, but it is a great way to support HomeAid and enjoy a great baseball game.

Over the course of the summer, NVBIA also encourages members to bring new backpacks to our networking events. HomeAid will donate the backpacks to local schoolchildren in need. NVBIA is proud of its partnership with HomeAid and will continue to support the organization—whether through financial contributions, encouraging members to become Builder Captains, or collecting items for local families in need. HomeAid’s mission is part of NVBIA, and our entire community benefits from their continued success.

Q:  Why has NVBIA selected HomeAid as its charity?

A:  As homebuilders, and those involved in the homebuilding industry, NVBIA’s members know just how critically important it is for families to have stable housing. Having personal security, safety, and a permanent place to call home is a foundation of success. NVBIA created HomeAid to provide a way for the industry to give back and fight homelessness in Northern Virginia. NVBIA has been, and will continue to be, proud partners with HomeAid, and our members have shown continued dedication to supporting HomeAid’s mission. NVBIA is honored to be a part of this important work, and our organization looks forward to working with HomeAid as they improve the lives of families in our community for many years to come.

Like what you’ve read? Don’t miss out on next month’s issue of #BuildingHope! Subscribe Now!

Builders & Friends BBQ Breaks Fundraising Records for HomeAid, HomeAid, CarrHomes Give Gift of Outdoors and New Kitchen to Pathways Residents, Trade Partner Spotlight: Southern Electrical Services Company, Help Make Summer Memories—Send a Family to the Ballpark this Month!, It’s Never Too Soon to Plan for Back to School, Outdoor Essentials Needed for Pathways Project, Jon Lindgren and NVBIA Appreciate Organization’s Relationship with HomeAid


Building Hope Newsletter, June 2017

By | News

Are You Ready for HomeAid Builders and Friends’ BBQ?

Thursday, June 22, 2017
4:00 to 7:00 p.m.
The Barn at One Loudoun
20405 Savin Hill Drive
Ashburn, VA 20147
Wheelbarrow with beer at BBQJust three more weeks until HomeAid’s 8th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ – have you registered yet? It’s the summer’s best opportunity for connecting with Northern Virginia’s top homebuilder executives, decision makers, and trade partners—and each $40 registration includes all-you-can-eat BBQ from Red, Hot & Blue; an open beer and wine bar from Old Ox Brewery, Crooked Run Brewery, and Potomac Point Winery; a chance at raffle prizes; and cornhole games. Colleen Shumaker of Paul Davis Restoration will be providing deejay services, and volunteers from Cox Communications and the NVBIA Associates Committee will ensure that the event runs smoothly for all of our guests.

HomeAid will also announce the 2017 Trade Partner of the Year at the BBQ to recognize a trade partner that exemplifies what it means to be dedicated, driven, and committed to helping our local community by using its expertise to improve housing facilities for the most vulnerable among us.

Register today by downloading our registration form, and we will look forward to seeing you on June 22! Have questions? Contact Cilda Pretorius at 703.953.3525!

It’s a Wrap! HomeAid, K. Hovnanian Homes Complete Two Projects for Brain Foundation

KHovnanian logoHomeAid Northern Virginia and Builder Captain
K. Hovnanian Homes have completed two projects for The Brain Foundation, an organization based in Fairfax that provides affordable housing for those suffering from serious brain diseases, such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorders, who are homeless or vulnerable to becoming homeless.The first project, a $44,000 investment, was a townhome where four men live, which now boasts an updated kitchen, new windows, additional storage space, renovated bathrooms, and new flooring throughout. New basement flooring, in fact, was installed as a surprise and makes a significant difference for the home’s basement-level bedrooms!The second home, occupied by four women, has new and much safer exterior stairs, an updated kitchen, and an entirely repainted interior, representing a $34,500 investment. During renovation, a serious black mold issue was also discovered and abated, ensuring a much healthier space for all who live there.

Thank you, K. Hovnanian Homes and the following trade partners, for providing eight men and women with welcoming, safe, and stable homes!

Advanced Flooring & Design
Alliance Structural Engineers
Aristokraft Inc.
Ayalas Carpentry Inc.
B&K Distributors Inc.
BMC/Stock Building Supply
Builders First Source
Capital Mechanical
CC Carpentry
Choice Stairways
Construction Applicators
Darvish Interiors
Dominion Electric Supply Co.
GE Appliance
Green Landscaping, Inc.
Industrial Disposal Services, Inc.
J&J Ironworks
John Darvish
Construction Co., Inc.
JSC Concrete Construction Inc.
K & M Masonry
LMO, Inc. Professional Carpentry
McCrea Heating & AC
SC Companies, Inc.
Southern Electric
Virginia Cleaning and
Punchout, Inc.
Virginia Marble & Granite
For every home that HomeAid and Builder Captains collaborate on, all of the trade partners are critical to the success of the project. And oftentimes, a trade partner seems to rise even higher, either because it so happens that their expertise is most needed on the project or they just seem to constantly go above and beyond.

For the two projects recently completed for The Brain Foundation by HomeAid and K. Hovnanian, trade partner Construction Applicators did just that.

“Drywall touches every component of the home, and as renovations happen, unanticipated and excessive repairs are oftentimes needed, so Construction Applicators were in on a lot of the planning for both projects,” said Paul Huff, director of homeowner services for K. Hovnanian Homes, who led both renovation projects and coordinated internal staff as well as the trades to plan, budget, and perform the work.

“Once the projects were underway, they showed up early, stayed late, and came on the weekends to keep to the schedule. Their team unfailingly showed up with the attitude of ‘what do we need to do to make this happen, on time and above expectations?’ They were proactive on making additional repairs as they came across them, and when they were done, they repainted the entire house, which is what made the biggest impression in the end.”

“Sometimes, when people are doing things at a very low cost or as volunteers, you sometimes get the feeling that they don’t go all the way, but that’s sure not the case for HomeAid projects, and Construction Applicators epitomized it with their attitude and approach. Even one of the owners, Chris Shedeck, regularly came to check on and work at both houses, making sure everything was perfect.”

“HomeAid is a great cause, these projects give us the opportunity to work with other great builders and trade partners, and it’s nice to give back,” Shedeck said. “We’ve worked on several HomeAid projects and will be starting soon on another in Alexandria. We’ve volunteered with the Wounded Warrior Project, as well. HomeAid is a really nice organization to work with, and it’s so satisfying to see how these projects come together. There’s a lot of reward in seeing the before and after, and knowing what an improvement it will be for the people who will live in these renovated homes.”

Construction Applicators is a regional construction-drywall-paint contractor, founded more than 20 years ago. Focusing primarily on drywall hanging, finishing and painting, the company prioritizes performance and quality. For more information, please call 703.378.3330.

Capital Mechanical LLC, a longtime partner of K. Hovnanian Homes, also works with many other builders in the HomeAid Northern Virginia family. So when it came time to find a trade partner who specializes in plumbing for the two Brain Foundation projects, K. Hovnanian and Paul Huff, director of homeowner services, reached out to Capital Mechanical and Chris Settle, their service manager.

“Chris and his two colleagues poured their hearts and souls into these projects, pulling permits, having to make on-the-fly adaptations to some 20-year old plumbing issues they came across during their work, and scheduling their work with an eye on moving everything forward so that we could finish as quickly as possible,” Huff said. “Chris is the service manager, and they’re a big player in the Northern Virginia homebuilding industry. But every time I call him, I feel like I’m calling the owner of a small company. They’re always a pleasure to work with.”

Capital Mechanical has worked on many HomeAid projects over their 14 years in business, focusing this time on all the plumbing and plumbing fixtures for both houses owned by The Brain Foundation.

“It’s such a good cause,” said Settle. “We handle a lot of K. Hovnanian’s new builds, so when they asked us to do these two projects, it was an easy ‘yes.’ We donated everything, and we always enjoy the process. It feels great to help out a partner like K. Hovnanian and HomeAid.”

Founded in 2003, Capital Mechanical LLC is based in Dulles, Va., delivering residential plumbing solutions to Home Builders throughout NOVA, Richmond, DC and West VA. Owners Craig Simounet and Chris Carspecken share 60 years of combined industry and management experience, with the overarching goal of attracting, maintaining, and exceeding the expectations of customers.

HomeAid, Training Futures Help Launch Careers

An internship at HomeAid Northern Virginia is an opportunity to work for a small but incredibly busy non-profit, and with internships available in a wide range of interests—communications, event planning, fundraising, marketing, shelter programming, and volunteer coordination—young professionals can gain valuable real-world experience.

In May, HomeAid welcomed three interns, Sajad Sharifi, Jena Mundy, and Adam Darif, events, communications, and marketing interns, respectively.

Sajad is enrolled in NVFS’ Training Futures program, a nationally recognized workforce development program that provides training for living-wage professional office careers.

“Training Futures’ goal is to train people for entry-level administrative and office-support job functions,” said Christine Miller, training coordinator at Training Futures. “We teach technical skills, including MS Office, and customer service, professional business skills, and professional writing and oral communications skills. What really stands out about our program is our focus on soft skills—we work closely with trainees to help them understand the attitudes and behaviors necessary for success in a corporate environment. Training is delivered in a simulated office environment for the first 15 weeks before trainees like Sajad move on to internships with partner companies and non-profits. Those internships allow them the chance to demonstrate their skills, build their resume, gather professional references, and learn American office culture first-hand.”

Sajad’s journey to HomeAid is an interesting one. Born in a small village on the hillside of Hindu Kush Mountain in northern Afghanistan, he grew up in a place without basic necessities, clinics, or roads. His family had to walk for seven days to buy basic supplies, and he walked five miles every day to get to attend elementary school in another village. He later moved to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, in the pursuit of a better education and to learn English.

In 2012, while taking business classes at a private college, he landed a job in a transportation company that had a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense, responsible for transferring army cargos from one state to another throughout the country.

His next stop was Germany—to escape his home country’s unemployment, violence, and social anxiety—where he studied German and worked as a volunteer translator for Persian refugees who needed help with tasks such as going to the doctor and filling out applications. A U.S. immigration visa brought him to the States, where he settled in Virginia and began the arduous process of looking for work.

“I didn’t know how to drive, and I didn’t know about job market expectations. I found a job at a food company in Dulles Airport, but without a car, I was paying 80 percent of my income every day for transit,” he said. “I feel lucky to have found Training Futures, where I’ve been learning office skills. The public speaking club is especially useful for me, because it has helped me learn more about giving presentations and thinking on my feet.”

Once Training Future interns complete their internship, they spend the next four weeks focusing on the job search, including writing resumes, applications, and cover letters; improving their interview skills; and attending career fairs. Training Futures typically has 40 to 50 trainees for each six-month program, with 70 percent of graduates securing full-time employment in an office environment within six months of graduation. If you are interested in hosting a Training Futures intern, please contact Beth Lavin at NVFS at 571.748.2868.

“It’s been a joy hosting Sajad at HomeAid, and we are grateful for all the work he has completed for us during his tenure,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director Kristyn Burr. “We wish him our very best!”

Welcome HomeAid Summer Interns

Jena Mundy, communications intern, has come to HomeAid from Radford University, College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, where she is a senior majoring in communications with a concentration in public relations.

Jena had been looking for an internship to complete requirements for her degree and chose HomeAid because of its focus on volunteerism.

“I have always enjoyed volunteer work, working with a non-profit in the Roanoke area where I am from,” she said, “so I knew an organization like HomeAid would be a wonderful fit. I love that every aspect of the organization involves working together to give back to communities; that’s something I wasn’t able to find anywhere else, and I knew that this internship would help me develop professional skills and allow me to make a great impact on others.”

Jena looks forward to applying her experience at HomeAid and gaining a more hands-on approach while learning more about the technical and detail-oriented approaches to event planning, communication and networking in the professional business world. In the future, she plans to attend graduate school to earn a Master’s degree in communication, with a concentration on public relations, before seeking work at a corporate agency or doing in-house work for a non-profit.

Adam Darif, marketing intern, is a senior at Freedom High School and will be graduating on June 11. He will attend George Mason University in the fall to study marketing.

“I was interested in working for HomeAid because I wanted to be part of an organization that is so focused on giving back to the community, and this internship allows me the opportunity to also gain first-hand experience learning how marketing works for a non-profit,” he explained. “I hope to learn and gain new, practical knowledge about marketing, and learn how to improve my networking skills. I’m also interested in learning more about branding and how to convey a brand to an audience who is unfamiliar with an organization.”

Adam one day hopes to work as a marketing manager for an automobile company, with Mercedes or McLaren being dream jobs, before eventually becoming the chief marketing officer of the company.

Making it Count

Support Local Kids by Supporting HomeAid’s Backpack Drive

According to an annual “Backpack Index” compiled by Huntington Bank, back-to-school supplies cost between $659 and $1,498 for elementary through high school students for the 2016-2017 school year. It’s an investment that many cannot make, and starting this month, HomeAid Northern Virginia is launching its annual Backpack Drive to encourage companies to collect new backpacks for children living at local homeless shelters who otherwise would not have one for the upcoming school year.

The backpacks will be distributed at HomeAid’s Annual Night at the Ballpark on July 28, when families from local shelters are invited to enjoy a FREE night out at the Potomac Nationals baseball field!

Getting involved is easy:

  1. Contact HomeAid to let us know that your organization would like to participate in the backpack drive.
  2. Share/print the Backpack Drive Flyer and add your company details to help spark interest in participation at your organization. (Contact Cilda Pretorius at HomeAid if you require an editable version of the flyer.)
  3. Drop off your collected backpacks (or schedule a pick-up!) during the first two weeks of July.

Be part of the solution: Help close the gap for families and remove the sense of embarrassment a child can feel if they don’t have what their peers have. Give the gift of a new backpack, and spark a child’s joy in the start of a fresh new school year!

Staging Homes and Improving Lives

Local business owners Young and Trish Kim have devoted countless hours and generous financial contributions to HomeAid Northern Virginia. The owners-founders of Staged Interior met more than 30 years ago in Korea; Trish as a teacher, and Young, a student in an English as a Second Language class.

“I married my teacher,” Young smiled.

Years later, their careers as decorator and information technology (IT) professional eventually dovetailed into a successful home staging business. Fortunately for HomeAid, the Kims are also very generous philanthropists. Staged Interior completely furnished and decorated one of HomeAid’s largest projects in 2016, Youth For Tomorrow, and have committed to doing the same for HomeAid’s Community Lodgings project in Alexandria. Young and Trish have also pledged additional support to future HomeAid projects. Find out more about what motivates the owners of Staged Interior and why they’re so committed to HomeAid’s mission!

Q:  How did you get into the staging business?

Young: Trish was a decorator in 2006 when we started this business, and she had been for almost 20 years. I was in IT and was burned out. When I walked away from my IT career, it was during a time when everybody was flipping houses. So, I became a Realtor®, and we began flipping houses. We were trying to figure out how to marry real estate and decorating, and we heard from a former colleague about staging. We had no idea what that was in a real estate sense, but we quickly learned. We liked what we heard, and so we started small: We stored and used items from our house for staging, and we used rental furniture in the beginning until we got to the point where we could purchase our own furniture. Now we stage everything from $200,000 one-bedroom condos to multi-million dollar estates. We do it all.

Trish: We got in on the tail end of flipping houses. It was really lucrative for only a short time. Two weeks after we learned about the concept of staging, we knew we wanted to do it. That’s when I became an Accredited Staging Master (ASP). At the time, the only ASP education program available was in California, so I went there for training. We’ve been staging ever since. At the time, it was brand new here in Virginia, so there was an educational curve. We educated Realtors and sellers about how valuable it is, which took some time.

Q:  What is the most rewarding part of your line of work?

Trish: For me, it’s knowing that I’ve helped somebody move on with their lives. For instance, I recently staged a house for a woman who had lost her husband. She had been in that house, where they both had lived, for a long time, and she was extremely sad. It was a difficult time for her. We helped her home look newer and more marketable, yet she was still able to feel comfortable in it after it was staged and while it was on the market. It was rewarding to help her move on to the next step in her life. I feel like we help sellers transition in their lives from one place to another. And, it’s very rewarding to know that they sold their house for top dollar, as quickly as possible, and could move on with their lives.

Young: We love seeing responses from sellers and Realtors. After we stage, they walk in ‘oooing and aahing’ about how great their houses look. Some of them never realized that their houses could look so good. The listing shines and gets sold quickly. The Realtor’s business and reputation grows. Some Realtors have been with us from the beginning, and it is very rewarding.

Q:  What is most challenging about the staging business?

Trish: For me, it’s trying to find just the right thing for a particular house. Also, the energy that it takes to keep this business going is amazing. We are all usually exhausted and running on empty. Sometimes we will get a call saying that a Realtor has to list a house right away, and can we come now? We try to make timelines for our Realtors because they’re our bread and butter. But they do understand our load; they’re very kind and flexible.

Young: I agree; trying to keep up with the demand is challenging. It involves working the calendar to make sure we are meeting a Realtor’s timeline. We see photos of the house, we do a consultation, we stage, and then after house is sold, we de-stage. The timing is challenging. We have 16 wonderful team members and have completed 110 stagings so far this year. We do an average of 5.8 stagings per week.

Q:  How did you choose HomeAid as a charity?

Young: Last year, we joined NVBIA, and we learned about HomeAid because of its relationship with that organization. We were impressed by HomeAid’s reputation, history, and quality of the builder teams they put together. Because we are professionals, we enjoy working with professionals of all kinds and at all levels. They do their part, they know their stuff, and we wanted to be part of that and contribute our expertise. The Board at HomeAid is made up of top-notch people representing top-notch builders in the area. We enjoy being part of that team.

Trish: We also became familiar with HomeAid through last year’s project, Youth For Tomorrow. We were familiar with that organization through our church, and we wanted to help that particular ministry. Once we got involved with HomeAid, we found that there are so many nice people working there. They’re just lovely. But mostly, we feel that we have been so blessed by our business—we are just overwhelmed by it sometimes. So, we feel that we need to give back for that.

Q:  Are you currently working on a HomeAid project?

Young: Yes, we will be furnishing and accessorizing this year’s Community Lodgings project in Alexandria. There are four builders working on it, and it will be similar to any other project for us. We do this day in and day out. We are honored to be doing the Community Lodgings project for HomeAid.

Trish: It is just a shell right now, but we had a chance to go through it. We’ve never done this kind of shelter before, and I am excited about that. They have completely gutted it, so it will help me visualize our contribution when we can get in there after they put the walls up. We have already started stashing stuff away, including a whole room full of art and accessories that we know we will be donating. I think we’ll have to wait to choose the furniture until after we see it. It is a lot of fun.

Q:  How much do you estimate Staged Interior will be donating?

Young: Last year’s Youth For Tomorrow project was a 5,000-sqare foot facility with seven bedrooms. We estimated our retail and labor costs at around $85,000. This year’s Community Lodgings project is seven apartment units with different bedroom combinations, but we’re anticipating 15 to 20 bedrooms, seven living rooms, seven dining rooms, seven kitchens, etc. It will be bigger than last year’s project. I am guessing it will be in the high-five or low-six figures.

Q:  How do you feel about being a part of HomeAid’s mission?

Trish: There are a lot of people who are marginalized in this area, because it is expensive to live here. With this area’s cost of living, it’s no wonder that people have a hard time finding housing that they can afford. I cannot think of anything scarier than being somewhere where you don’t have a place to go, no matter how big or small. I like being a part of helping people find a place to call home, where they can rest and recoup. The shelter providers with whom HomeAid works counsel children and adults, and help them find positions, careers, and do well in school and life.  So, it’s not just the real estate we are contributing to—it’s the lives of those families that will be enhanced. It’s amazing to be a part of that.

Young: In this area, it takes a lot of resources to run these charity organizations. HomeAid comes in by putting these teams together and providing the materials and services that are needed for projects. HomeAid helps these local charities in terms of financial resources, allowing them to outfit houses or facilities so that the charities can use resources where they are most needed.

Like what you’ve read? Don’t miss out on next month’s issue of #BuildingHope! Subscribe Now!

Are You Ready for HomeAid Builders and Friends’ BBQ?, It’s a Wrap! HomeAid, K. Hovnanian Homes Complete Two Projects for Brain Foundation, Trade Partner Spotlight: Construction Applicators and Capital Mechanical LLC, HomeAid, Training Futures Help Launch Careers, Support Local Kids by Supporting HomeAid’s Backpack Drive, Staging Homes and Improving Lives

Building Hope Newsletter, May 2017

By | News

HomeAid and Builders Consortium to Kick Off $650K Project for Community Lodgings

MIHomes logo

On May 9, HomeAid and a consortium made up of Builder Captains Brookfield Residential, The Evergreene Companies, M/I Homes, and Richmond American Homes will kick off the renovation of a six- (soon to be seven-) unit apartment building owned by Community Lodgings.

The estimated $650,000 project, expected to take four months, will increase capacity – by converting space on the ground floor – by one unit and will include the complete renovation of the apartments and a family learning center and kitchen area for residents. A new meeting space that will be open to the community and other agencies will also be created, and the HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems will be upgraded.

“This project will provide desperately needed housing for low-income families,” said Lynn Thomas, executive director of Community Lodgings. “Affordable housing, as we all know, is a much-needed resource, and these units will provide families who were previously homeless with permanent supportive housing, along with case management support.”

Marie Musella, chair of Community Lodgings’ Board of Directors, added, “We are pleased to be working again with HomeAid and this consortium of Builder Captains. We had a terrific experience working with HomeAid and its many partners in 2012, and we’re especially grateful that this renovation project was selected: It will help our families live in safe, refreshed homes, which will help give them the confidence they need to work toward living independently and self-sufficiently.”

The Builders Consortium is being led by Greg Poulson, construction manager for Madison Homes, and will allow all four Builder Captains to leverage the power of their unique vendor partnerships, as well as divide the large project amongst several homebuilder companies to help make it more manageable.

Madison Homes has led many HomeAid projects, and Russ Rosenberger, president, has made giving back to the community an integral part of the company’s culture.

“It’s impossible to quantify exactly how enormously this renovation will impact the families who will live in these apartments,” said Rosenberger. “But we know that having an updated, welcoming, safe, and clean home provides the foundation that the homeless need to plan for their futures, and we are honored to help lead this project.”

Additional funding for the project is being provided by BB&T Bank, the City of Alexandria, and the Virginia Housing Development Authority.


HomeAid, CarrHomes Project Gives the Gift of the Outdoors to Pathway Homes’ Residents

HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain CarrHomes, and several trade partners will soon begin renovating a kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room at a single family home owned by Pathway Homes, which provides non-time-limited housing and supportive services to adults with serious mental illness and other co-occurring disabilities in Northern Virginia.

“The three women who live here would be at extremely high risk for homelessness were it not for the support they receive through organizations like ours,” said Anna Smith, director of development for Pathways. “We’re also very excited that CarrHomes and its partners are planning to reconfigure space to improve the flow of the home and add patio and deck space, providing therapeutic space for the women to more easily enjoy the outdoors.”

The project is expected to take approximately two weeks to complete, with CarrHomes and trade partners scheduling their work around the residents, who will remain in the home throughout the renovation.

Tim Schiesl, customer service manager for CarrHomes, says that the company has been doing philanthropic work in the community for as long as he can remember and generally tries to complete at least one HomeAid project every year.

“We strive to give back to the community in different ways year-round, whether it’s a renovation project or ‘adopting’ a family over the holidays. We try to do as much as we can, and our trade partners do the same, usually donating all of the work or doing it at cost. It always feels good to help people in need, and we’re looking forward to getting this project wrapped up.”


Start the BBQ Season with HomeAid!

Thursday, June 22, 2017
4:00 to 7:00 p.m.The Barn at One Loudoun
20405 Savin Hill Drive
Ashburn, VA 20147
Temperatures are rising, and summer will be here before you know itmake plans today to attend our 8th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ – the summer’s best opportunity for connecting with Northern Virginia’s top homebuilder executives, decision makers, and trade partners! Each $40 registration includes all-you-can-eat BBQ, an open beer and wine bar, a chance at raffle prizes, and cornhole games.

HomeAid will also announce the 2017 Trade Partner of the Year at the BBQ to recognize a trade partner that exemplifies what it means to be dedicated, driven, and committed to helping our local community by using its expertise to improve housing facilities for the most vulnerable among us.

“The BBQ is a great opportunity for HomeAid to thank all of our great building partners who make the real difference,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia President Jerry Berman. “I look forward to seeing our Trade Partners and Builders, who really care about our mission and enjoy good food, a good time, and the chance to catch up with those they may not get to see as often as they’d like.”

Thank you to our BBQ sponsors — your support helps us continue the fight against homelessness and has helped ensure our 16 years of success!

 Making it Count

HomeAid and SevaTruck Welcome Service Providers and Clients to Bill Mehr Drop-In Center for the Homeless

Staff and volunteers from HomeAid Northern Virginia and SevaTruck, a licensed food truck dedicated to reducing hunger in our communities, joined together in April to support the opening of the Bill Mehr Drop-in Center for the Homeless in Woodbridge. The drop-in center—which provides services as varied as dental and medical care, mental health therapy, employment referrals, and food and shower facilities—was recently renovated, and HomeAid and SevaTruck teamed up to help celebrate its reopening and welcome homeless service providers, teachers, and their clients to the center. HomeAid distributed care kits with towels and toiletries, while SevaTruck served up delicious veggie burgers to many of the 80-plus people in attendance.

“The SevaTruck Foundation was honored to recently partner with HomeAid and the Bill Mehr Drop-In Center,” said Carol Barbosa Jeliazkov, Sevatruck program coordinator. “Witnessing firsthand the incredible work they do for people in need was an experience our organization will never forget. Their effort in not just providing temporary relief to their clients but also providing them with services that can make a long-term impact is truly inspiring. We look forward to partnering with the center and with HomeAid Northern Virginia many more times in the future and making the present and future a little bit brighter for members of the community in Prince William County.”

Last November, HomeAid Northern Virginia and SevaTruck provided winter essentials and hot meals to the homeless at a “Tent City” in Woodbridge, Va., where hundreds of people live year-round.

Many thanks to Prince William County Department of Social Services and the Cooperative Council of Ministries – CCoM for sponsoring the event and bringing everyone together to learn more about services offered at the center and in the community. And, thank you, Staybridge Suites Chantilly/Dulles, for donating toiletries for our care kits!

Make a Difference for a Young Student: Coordinate a Backpack Drive!

Almost half of the homeless population that HomeAid serves are children, and this summer, we will once again host a Backpack Drive with the goal of giving a backpack to every child who attends our Night at the Ballpark event on July 28.

If you are interested in helping children from local shelters start their school year with a new backpack, please consider participating in our backpack drive in June through mid-July! HomeAid volunteers will pick up donated backpacks and distribute them at the baseball game—all you need to do is coordinate the collection effort at your office, church, school, or other organization. Please contact Kristyn Burr for more information, and thank you!


Keynote Speaker for Annual Housing Forum Shares History of Involvement in the Campaign to End Homelessness

Samantha Batko, director of the Homelessness Research Institute – National Alliance to End Homelessness, addressed a group of housing and homeless service providers at HomeAid’s 2017 Housing Forum this spring. Her presentation highlighted some encouraging statistics in the campaign to end homelessness, noting that homelessness dropped by 14 percent nationwide between 2010 and 2016, which meant 90,000 fewer homeless individuals on a given night. Still, Batko stressed that while the numbers are encouraging, challenges remain.

Q:  During this year’s Housing Forum, you presented an informative look at the rate of homelessness over the past 10 years. What challenges remain in the struggle to end homelessness?

A:  The primary challenge that exists in ending homelessness is the continuing and, in a lot of places, worsening affordable housing crisis. Deficits of affordable, available units – particularly for extremely low-income households – continue to put people at-risk of and push households into homelessness. This also makes it difficult to re-house individuals and families once they become homeless.

Other challenges include gaps in resources to support people in housing, including rental assistance (both permanent and time-limited options), sufficient mainstream and community-based income supports, affordable child care options to support employability, sustainable funding sources for services in supportive housing environments, and sufficient community-based services to enable households to stabilize in housing without ongoing support of the homeless service system.

Q:  Is there anything in particular about the current climate that gives you either encouragement or concern in the fight to end homelessness?

A:  I have reasons for both encouragement and concern. On the encouragement front, communities have proven we can end homelessness, with several communities and a couple of states having ended veteran homelessness, and at least one community having ended chronic homelessness. And, lots of communities have seen a significant reduction in the number of people who are homeless on a given night. It seems as though we have figured out what works, and places are starting to get those interventions aligned and targeted to the correct people.

My primary area of concern right now is the federal budget outlook for discretionary spending and the possible threat of entitlement reforms. The new Administration’s proposed budget would drastically cut non-defense, discretionary spending, which would—even if it did not directly cut homeless assistance resources—necessitate cuts to other programs that would likely leave more people vulnerable to homelessness. Similarly, entitlement reform, particularly if the large housing subsidy programs were targeted for block granting, would likely leave fewer people with subsidies over time and thus leave more people vulnerable to homelessness.

Q: How did you become interested in the issue of homelessness? What has reaffirmed that what you are doing is important?

A:  As a child, my mom included me in a number of the volunteer opportunities she took on, one of which was providing dinners at Carpenter’s Shelter in Alexandria. As an adult, I fell into homelessness policy unexpectedly while looking for a policy job where I felt I could make a difference in people’s lives. I’ve been at the Alliance for 11 years, and my boss, Nan Roman, the president and CEO of the Alliance, has been an inspiration to me, as she is singularly mission-focused and helps keep our movement centered.

But, more so, I think it is the people I have met as I’ve traveled to different places in the country over the [past 11 years]. Some of them have really stuck with me: One was a woman I met in Nebraska about six years ago. She and her two teenage sons were escaping a horribly violent situation, and she was able to get into a permanent supportive housing program. A decade ago, that permanent supportive housing program might not have existed for her. If not for all the hard work done in this field for so long—such as by those using research to change federal policy and by those doing local planning and program development—that program might not have existed for her and her boys. I kept in touch with her for several years, exchanging letters.  She stayed in the program, was healthy and much happier, and one of her sons went off to college on a sports scholarship. That experience, and others, has really affirmed how important the work I am privileged to be a part of is.

Q:  Why do you think the work of HomeAid’s partners is so important and makes a difference to the homeless community?

A:  This area is my home. I may work in D.C. and work in federal policy, but I grew up here and my children are growing up here now. I feel strongly that we all have a responsibility to improve the lives of all of our neighbors. Supporting HomeAid and the local providers of services here does that. I strongly believe that federal aid is a key component of supporting our most vulnerable neighbors, but without the dedicated people who put in the face-to-face work day in and day out, the federal resources would be useless.

If you attended the Housing Forum and haven’t yet had the opportunity to complete the post-event survey, we’d love to hear your feedback so that we can make next year’s Housing Forum even better. Thank you!

Like what you’ve read? Don’t miss out on next month’s issue of #BuildingHope! Subscribe Now!

HomeAid and Builders Consortium to Kick Off $650K Project for Community Lodgings, HomeAid, CarrHomes Project Gives the Gift of the Outdoors to Pathway Homes’ Residents, Start the BBQ Season with HomeAid!, HomeAid and SevaTruck Welcome Service Providers and Clients to Bill Mehr Drop-In Center for the Homeless, Make a Difference for a Young Student: Coordinate a Backpack Drive!, Keynote Speaker for Annual Housing Forum Shares History of Involvement in the Campaign to End Homelessness

Building Hope Newsletter, April 2017

By | News

Find a Foursome and Register Today for HomeAid’s
3rd Annual Golf Tournament

golf cartsSeptember 22, 2017

7:00 a.m. Breakfast & Registration
8:00 a.m. Shotgun start

Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club
Leesburg, VA


It’s never too early to start perfecting your golf game, and with spring upon us, the time is now! HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Golf Tournament Committee is already making plans to make our third annual tournament the best yet, and now we need YOU to register! This event will sell out, so register today—preferably as a foursome—and contact Kristyn Burr for information about sponsorship opportunities! All funds raised by the tournament will support HomeAid programs such as Helping Hands and the Housing Forum, community-building events such as Night at the Ballpark, and important recognition efforts for our homebuilder and shelter partners.

Presented by
Darvish Construction logo
Darvish Interiors logo

The tournament – the brainchild of John Darvish, Brian Davidson, and Jason McDonough – was created with the goal of giving the homebuilding industry a new opportunity to get together, learn more about what HomeAid does, and build support for its mission. The first two tournaments raised $46,000, and the organizing committee has its hopes set on beating last year’s $30,000 fundraising effort.

golf committee at tournament“We all as citizens have moral obligations to give back to our community, and being in this field of construction, in a free country built on success and capitalism, means that we have to give back to the community,” said Darvish. “We can’t wait for the government to do it for us—it’s up to us to help people in distress.

“I’ve been a board member for 10 years, and after the first few years, we thought we could use golf to help the charity. We couldn’t get it going at the time, but when Brian Davidson—a golf enthusiast—became president in 2015, the timing was right. He, Jason and I had just the right mix of resources to lift it off, and this year, we’d love to take it to an even higher level. Ultimately, we’d like to see the golf tournament ‘on par’ with the Annual Gala in terms of fundraising, through foursome registrations, sponsorships, and a live auction.”

Raspberry Falls is one of the top courses in the area, and with most of the Northern Virginia builders expected to field a team, the day will provide a great opportunity to network in a relaxed setting while giving back to a community and growing community awareness of HomeAid.

Don’t miss out! Take part in HomeAid’s 3rd Annual Golf Tournament, presented by John Darvish Construction!

HomeAid, K. Hovnanian Homes Set to Launch Two Projects for Brain Foundation

K Hovnanian logoHomeAid Northern Virginia and Builder Captain K. Hovnanian Homes are closing in on the start date for two projects for The Brain Foundation—an organization based in Fairfax that provides affordable housing for those suffering from serious brain diseases, such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorders, who are homeless or vulnerable to becoming homeless.

crowded kitchen before renovationIt will be the first time HomeAid has worked with The Brain Foundation, and it’s a partnership that all stakeholders are excited about launching.

“K. Hovnanian and its trade partners have planned a lot of badly needed improvements for both of our properties,” said Trudy Harsh, president of The Brain Foundation, “and I’m thrilled to see these projects taking shape.

“We have four men living in a townhome that we’ve now owned for 11 years,” she added, “and one of the most important aspects of the projects—updating the kitchen and adding storage space and cabinets—will make such an enormous difference. It may seem like a small thing, but when a number of unrelated adults live together, having separate storage space is really important. Other planned improvements, including updating all three bathrooms and replacing old wall-to-wall carpet with hard-surface flooring, will make the house not only look more updated and beautiful, but it will make it easier to keep clean, and that too is such an important aspect of shared living space.”

At the second home, occupied by four women, the HomeAid team will repair and replace crumbling cement stairs outside, replace the kitchen subfloor and floor, and repaint the interior.

Crumbling Stairs“K. Hovnanian has partnered with HomeAid many times,” said Gary Chandler, Virginia division president for the homebuilder. “We feel it’s our obligation as good corporate citizens, and giving back to the communities that have been so good to us seems a great place to start. We also enjoy being part of all the good work that HomeAid does; these projects always give our employees the chance to shine, and they provide a unique way to deepen our working relationships with many of our trade partners. We’re excited to kick off both of these projects and help improve the lives of eight men and women.”

Both projects are expected to get underway this month and should be completed within four to six weeks. Thank you K. Hovnanian and trade partners!

In Your Community

Is Ending Chronic Homelessness Really Possible?

HomeAid’s 2017 Housing Forum examines successes and challenges of finding affordable and effective solutions for the homeless
More than 100 housing and homeless service providers from 44 non-profit and governmental organizations turned out for HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Annual Housing Forum last week, sharing experiences and strategies for addressing the complex needs of—and finding solutions for—homelessness in the region.

Samantha Batko, director of the Homelessness Research Institute – National Alliance to End Homelessness, kicked off the morning with a fascinating and informative historical analysis of regional homelessness rates over the past decade, which since 2010 to 2016 have shown a 14 percent drop in overall homelessness. Batko, whose interest in helping the less fortunate evolved from monthly meal deliveries she made with her mother as a young girl, also shared her views on the four beliefs that she views are key to ending chronic homelessness: rapid rehousing works; assessing and prioritizing need is critical; the value of local data and planning cannot be overstated; and the value of community-based partnerships and services will create and build a supportive community.

On the flip side, rental markets are tightening and affordable housing is scarce—making concerns about the country’s current administration, appropriations and discretionary funding, healthcare, and tax reform all the more important. “Advocate and call your elected officials,” Batko urged. “Local voices will be the most influential, and remember to leverage the strength of faith-based organizations.”

A panel discussion moderated by Karen Cleveland and featuring Jon Frederick, Alexandria Housing Development Corporation; Meghan Huebner, The Alternative House; Meredith McKeen, Northern Virginia Family Service; Ben Noll, Friendship Place; and Shannon Steene, Carpenter’s Shelter, also provided real-world advice on a wide range of issues, including working with young adults who are survivors of domestic violence but are still recovering from their childhood trauma; collaborating between jurisdictions for veterans; building relationships with multiple boards and government entities for the greater good; and working with individuals who have insufficient income, addiction, or eviction records.

Attendees were highly complimentary of the morning’s speakers, focusing on the “deep and helpful content” that is “applicable to increasing capacity for agency services and community engagement.”

discussion group at forumLater, attendees broke into roundtable discussion groups to debate topics such as implementing coordinated entry; landlord engagement; immigration orders and resources for the homeless community; resource gaps and needs; aging populations and housing needs; and coordinating advocacy efforts.

Overall, the Forum was overwhelmingly rated by attendees as valuable to very valuable, with attendees calling the 2017 Forum the best and strongest in three years and giving extra kudos to the speakers, topic choices, the wealth of information provided about upcoming projects, and the presence of a State Representative, who was able to provide government context for much of the discussion.

A reporter attending the Forum for the second time also wrote a feature article for The Connection Newspapers that explored the realities and successes of ending homelessness, with particular attention paid to the positive result of a shift in strategy toward rapid rehousing.

Making it Count

7th Annual “Night at the Ballpark” & Backpack Drive Moved to July

July 28, 2017
Pfitzner Stadium
Baseball fans celebrated Opening Day of the 2017 Major League Baseball season this week, and the moment wasn’t lost on HomeAid Northern Virginia: We have finalized plans for our 7th Annual “Night at the Ballpark, moving this popular event a month earlier, to July 28 at Pfitzner Stadium. While a lot will remain the same—we will offer Potomac Nationals game tickets, free concessions, and parking passes to 300 parents and children from area homeless shelters—the schedule shift will mean July fireworks after the game and (we hope!) lighter summertime traffic.

We also hope the date shift will help make our annual Backpack Drive even more successful; in years’ past, when the outing was held in late August, we found that many of our ballpark guests had already purchased backpacks for the school year. We hope a much earlier distribution of backpacks will save many more families what can be a significant expense!

Sponsorships to help offset the cost of parking, tickets, and concessions are being accepted now—please contact Cilda Pretorius at 703.953.3525 for more information. And, continue to watch for more information in the months to come about how you can help support this important event, which Anna Smith, director of development for Pathway Homes, Inc., has said can be life affirming. “All of our clients have very limited incomes, and they rarely have the opportunity to enjoy a night out at a ballgame with friends and family on a summer night. For many, the lack of income—and, for some, symptoms of mental illness—lead to isolation, and activities like the HomeAid baseball game help mitigate those feelings of loneliness and accelerate recovery.”

John Buhl Shares Enthusiasm and Knowledge as Trade Partner on HomeAid Board

John Buhl in HomeAid shirtJohn Buhl, president and owner of Buhl Electric, brings a unique viewpoint to HomeAid’s Board of Directors. Having completed his first year on the Board, John has shared his valuable insight as a Trade Partner with HomeAid’s leadership and agrees that Trade Partners are crucial to the organization’s success.

“We don’t want to take advantage of any of the trade base, and we do not want to hurt them financially,” he said.  “But we want them to be involved and to feel like they are part of the mission. HomeAid brought me onto the Board to give a Trade Partner’s perspective on how HomeAid’s operations affect the builders and trades—it’s one of the reasons I’m here.”

Q:  Why is it important to have Trade Partners on the Board?

A:  Let’s say I have “x” amount of dollars or goods and services to donate in a given year. If Toll Brothers asks me to contribute, and another builder asks, and yet another, it’s in their interest to make sure they don’t strain the subcontractor base. When your biggest client asks you if you will make a charitable contribution, of course the answer will be yes. But HomeAid is careful to not take advantage of any of the trade base. I always say, ‘I’ll tell you when it hurts.’ But I’m all in. I think HomeAid is just a wonderful thing to be a part of, and the synergy that goes on between the builders and subs during these projects is an incredible thing to watch.

Q:  How many projects have you done with HomeAid, and are there any that stand out?

A: I did several jobs over the years—15 to 20—for various builders. They are all meaningful in their own right. One of the things that I do is go out and vet the projects. Of course, you want to do them all, and the process is fascinating. The Youth For Tomorrow (YFT) home really stands out. I was impressed with how fast Stanley Martin turned that first YFT home over. And I worked on the YFT project with Toll Brothers. I thought both were just fascinating projects; the number of people who the program touches is just an incredible legacy and to see what it’s grown into in about 30 years is pretty amazing. But all of the projects are amazing in their own right, both big and small.

Q:  Do you serve on any HomeAid committees?

A:  I’m on the Shelter Projects Committee, the Golf Committee, the Finance Committee, and the new Ad Hoc Committee, which focuses on the general purpose of HomeAid going forward. We are looking at the best way to use our funds to give back to the community in the best way.

The Golf Committee plans the golf event and makes sure it’s full and well-sponsored. It’s golf, and it’s fun. It’s a grand time, with a bunch of positive people. Also, doing it for a cause feels great—it’s a fun and easy way to raise money for people who are less fortunate.

Everything that HomeAid does is successful. These people are real movers and shakers. Everybody has a positive attitude. Success is not an option; it’s just expected, because the people you have on the Board and staff are incredible. They can tackle anything—whether they’re throwing a golf outing or doing a fix-up in Arlington—nothing is impossible with HomeAid. It’s pretty amazing.

Q:  You have a reputation as someone who is always willing to step up when there is a need. What is it about HomeAid that makes you so dedicated?

A:  I have been very blessed to be a part of this industry. It’s provided for me and my employees throughout the years. We have been in business since 1959, so it’s a long time. It’s just a good thing to give back. When I joined these committees, I thought, ‘This is just an awesome thing to be a part of.’  It fits my personality of who I am as a person, and I find that there are a whole bunch of other people who are like-minded. I just think this is what I should be doing. It’s great.

Q:  What is the best thing about being a community philanthropist?

A:  I’d say it’s the culture at HomeAid. You feel it from the very first Board meeting, the synergy of great people who are there to give back to the community. It just gives you a feeling of pride and fulfillment that you are doing something for people who are less fortunate than you. It’s a contagious feeling that everybody in there has got a hold of the rope, and they’re all pulling together. It’s amazing.

Q:  How did you get into the electrical business?

A:  My dad started the company in 1959 out of Vienna, Va. It was a very small company that focused primarily on residential in Arlington, Vienna, and McLean. My dad was big on schooling, so he sent me to Elon for college, and he was a big proponent of Dale Carnegie and other leadership and corporate training programs, which helped me in my career. When I graduated in 1987 with a marketing and economics degree and moved to Ashburn Village, all of this growth blew up around us. I was kind of in the right place at the right time. So, we went through several growth periods; in 2005, I think we wired 5,000 houses. I don’t think I would want to do that again—it was pretty crazy—but when I was a young man, I wanted to do it all. I wanted to be the best I could be. Of course, then the recession came, and that was kind of humbling. I have been through two or three recessions; my dad has been through six. But we’ve had some good times as well. It’s a volatile business, but it’s a very good business as well. There are peaks and valleys. I’m not a very good electrician, unfortunately, but I’m a pretty good businessperson. I really believe people do business with people they want to do business with, and if you treat people well, they treat you well in return. Our industry is very loyal. And that’s one of the great things about HomeAid—there are all good people on that Board. I love going to Board meetings.

Q:  Why do you think HomeAid is important to the community?

A:  It takes tremendous leadership to help the less fortunate, and HomeAid takes the know-how of being able to do things that other people cannot do for themselves, and offers affordable solutions to pretty complicated problems. You go into some of these places where people don’t have anywhere else to go, and we see HomeAid vetting these projects and seeing what can be done. HomeAid is a great problem solver.


Kathryn KovacsKathryn Kovacs, formerly the events manager at Arlington Free Clinic, has joined HomeAid’s staff as our program manager.

During Kathryn’s tenure at the Arlington Free Clinic, she managed three committees and all aspects of the Clinic’s two flagship events, the Bites & Blues Dental Fundraiser and Annual Benefit Gala. In 2014—the Clinic’s 20th anniversary—the Gala was attended by a record 900 guests and grossed $1.5 million, nearly 50 percent of that year’s operating budget.

“Her experience planning events to build relationships with local organizations and businesses, fundraising, boosting awareness of the organization, and managing a website conversion will tie in perfectly with the goals of HomeAid Northern Virginia,” said HomeAid Executive Director Kristyn Burr. “We’re excited to support her interest in growing her project management experience as we continue to grow as an organization ourselves!”

“HomeAid has made such a difference in the lives of homeless individuals and families in Northern Virginia and I am so excited to be a part of this effort,” Kovacs said. “After several years in fundraising and events, I am looking forward to working on programs that directly impact those in need in our community. I can’t wait to start really digging in to HomeAid’s Shelter Care projects.”

Kovacs graduated from The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., with a bachelor of arts in Chinese language and culture and also attended universities and colleges in Beijing, China; Prague, Czech Republic; and Cannes, France.

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Find a Foursome and Register Today for HomeAid’s 3rd Annual Golf Tournament!, HomeAid, K. Hovnanian Homes Set to Launch Two Projects for Brain Foundation, Is Ending Chronic Homelessness Really Possible?, 7th Annual “Night at the Ballpark” & Backpack Drive Moved to July, John Buhl Shares Enthusiasm and Knowledge as Trade Partner on HomeAid Board, Welcome Kathryn Kovacs