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Cilda Pretorius

300 Homeless Children and their Families Enjoyed an Exciting Night of Baseball at HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 6th Annual Night at the Ballpark

By | News

Chantilly, VA – August 20, 2016 – More than 150 children and families from 14 local Northern Virginia homeless shelters and supportive housing programs enjoyed “America’s Pastime” this weekend (Aug. 19) – a night of baseball and family fun with the Potomac Nationals vs. the Frederick Keys at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va. as part of HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 6th annual Night at the Ballpark.

Each year, HomeAid Northern Virginia (HANV) sends families from local shelters in NoVa neighborhoods from Arlington to Warrenton to enjoy a night of baseball and family fun with the Potomac Nationals.  The children – some of the most vulnerable in our region – get the chance to spend quality time with their family, run the bases, take pictures with the mascot and meet the players after the game. For many, HomeAid’s Night at the Ballpark presents their first opportunity to attend a baseball game.

Each of the shelter organizations sending residents to the game is a collaborator with HomeAid Northern Virginia. HANV builds and renovates homeless shelters and housing facilities via the donated expertise, labor and resources of local homebuilders. This enables nonprofit organizations serving vulnerable communities to invest more of their budgets in supportive programs and services rather than building expenses. HANV provides tickets to the event to case managers of these partner homelessness organizations, who in turn coordinate attendance with their residents.

Shelters sending residents to the HANV Night at the Ballpark included Shelter House in Reston; New Hope Housing in Alexandria; Northern Virginia Family Services (NVFS) in Manassas; Pathway Homes in Fairfax; Windy Hill Foundation in Middleburg; Doorways for Women and Families in Arlington; and Good Shepard Housing & Family Services in Woodbridge.

As part of the annual Night at the Ballpark, all residents, parents and children attending from the local shelters received vouchers for dinner at the stadium, a souvenir t-shirt and other goodies Each child was also provided a new backpack for the upcoming school year, provided by the HANV Backpack Challenge. The Night at the Ballpark was sponsored by Augustine Homes, Buhl Electric and Select Construction Company.

 

About HomeAid Northern Virginia

HomeAid Northern Virginia, a chapter of HomeAid America, engages the resources and interests of the homebuilding community and its corporate partners in order to undertake new construction and major renovations to properties owned by shelter service providers that help homeless people gain stability and get back on the road to self-sufficiency. The organization was started in 2001 by members of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA), and since then, has completed more than 107 projects valued at more than $13.6 million, serving more than 95,000 homeless individuals.

 

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300 Homeless Children and their Families Enjoyed an Exciting Night of Baseball at HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 6th Annual Night at the Ballpark

By | News

Chantilly, VA – August 20, 2016 – More than 150 children and families from 14 local Northern Virginia homeless shelters and supportive housing programs enjoyed “America’s Pastime” this weekend (Aug. 19) – a night of baseball and family fun with the Potomac Nationals vs. the Frederick Keys at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va. as part of HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 6th annual Night at the Ballpark.

Each year, HomeAid Northern Virginia (HANV) sends families from local shelters in NoVa neighborhoods from Arlington to Warrenton to enjoy a night of baseball and family fun with the Potomac Nationals.  The children – some of the most vulnerable in our region – get the chance to spend quality time with their family, run the bases, take pictures with the mascot and meet the players after the game. For many, HomeAid’s Night at the Ballpark presents their first opportunity to attend a baseball game.

Each of the shelter organizations sending residents to the game is a collaborator with HomeAid Northern Virginia. HANV builds and renovates homeless shelters and housing facilities via the donated expertise, labor and resources of local homebuilders. This enables nonprofit organizations serving vulnerable communities to invest more of their budgets in supportive programs and services rather than building expenses. HANV provides tickets to the event to case managers of these partner homelessness organizations, who in turn coordinate attendance with their residents.

Shelters sending residents to the HANV Night at the Ballpark included Shelter House in Reston; New Hope Housing in Alexandria; Northern Virginia Family Services (NVFS) in Manassas; Pathway Homes in Fairfax; Windy Hill Foundation in Middleburg; Doorways for Women and Families in Arlington; and Good Shepard Housing & Family Services in Woodbridge.

As part of the annual Night at the Ballpark, all residents, parents and children attending from the local shelters received vouchers for dinner at the stadium, a souvenir t-shirt and other goodies Each child was also provided a new backpack for the upcoming school year, provided by the HANV Backpack Challenge. The Night at the Ballpark was sponsored by Augustine Homes, Buhl Electric and Select Construction Company.

 

About HomeAid Northern Virginia

HomeAid Northern Virginia, a chapter of HomeAid America, engages the resources and interests of the homebuilding community and its corporate partners in order to undertake new construction and major renovations to properties owned by shelter service providers that help homeless people gain stability and get back on the road to self-sufficiency. The organization was started in 2001 by members of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA), and since then, has completed more than 107 projects valued at more than $13.6 million, serving more than 95,000 homeless individuals.

 

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300 Homeless Children and their Families Enjoyed an Exciting Night of Baseball at HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 6th Annual Night at the Ballpark

By | Announcements

Chantilly, VA – August 20, 2016 – More than 150 children and families from 14 local Northern Virginia homeless shelters and supportive housing programs enjoyed “America’s Pastime” this weekend (Aug. 19) – a night of baseball and family fun with the Potomac Nationals vs. the Frederick Keys at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va. as part of HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 6th annual Night at the Ballpark.

Each year, HomeAid Northern Virginia (HANV) sends families from local shelters in NoVa neighborhoods from Arlington to Warrenton to enjoy a night of baseball and family fun with the Potomac Nationals.  The children – some of the most vulnerable in our region – get the chance to spend quality time with their family, run the bases, take pictures with the mascot and meet the players after the game. For many, HomeAid’s Night at the Ballpark presents their first opportunity to attend a baseball game.

Each of the shelter organizations sending residents to the game is a collaborator with HomeAid Northern Virginia. HANV builds and renovates homeless shelters and housing facilities via the donated expertise, labor and resources of local homebuilders. This enables nonprofit organizations serving vulnerable communities to invest more of their budgets in supportive programs and services rather than building expenses. HANV provides tickets to the event to case managers of these partner homelessness organizations, who in turn coordinate attendance with their residents.

Shelters sending residents to the HANV Night at the Ballpark included Shelter House in Reston; New Hope Housing in Alexandria; Northern Virginia Family Services (NVFS) in Manassas; Pathway Homes in Fairfax; Windy Hill Foundation in Middleburg; Doorways for Women and Families in Arlington; and Good Shepard Housing & Family Services in Woodbridge.

As part of the annual Night at the Ballpark, all residents, parents and children attending from the local shelters received vouchers for dinner at the stadium, a souvenir t-shirt and other goodies Each child was also provided a new backpack for the upcoming school year, provided by the HANV Backpack Challenge. The Night at the Ballpark was sponsored by Augustine Homes, Buhl Electric and Select Construction Company.

 

About HomeAid Northern Virginia

HomeAid Northern Virginia, a chapter of HomeAid America, engages the resources and interests of the homebuilding community and its corporate partners in order to undertake new construction and major renovations to properties owned by shelter service providers that help homeless people gain stability and get back on the road to self-sufficiency. The organization was started in 2001 by members of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA), and since then, has completed more than 107 projects valued at more than $13.6 million, serving more than 95,000 homeless individuals.

 

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Groundbreaking at Youth for Tomorrow Previews New Residence for Runaway and At-Risk Girls in Northern Virginia

By | News

Bristow, VA – May 5, 2016 – Girls who are pregnant, homeless, runaways or survivors of sex trafficking will soon have a safe, stable place to call “home” on the Youth for Tomorrow campus in Bristow, Va. Construction of the new residence is being led by HomeAid Northern Virginia with “builder captain” Toll Brothers and its network of construction trade partners that will donate expertise, labor and/or materials to the project. The construction “groundbreaking” was celebrated today at the site with local politicians and community advocates.

“Many children at Youth for Tomorrow’s residential services program have survived abuse and other tragedies, arriving with little more than hope for a better future. This new residence will enable us to expand our services and programs, providing even more vulnerable young girls a chance to heal and rebuild,” said Dr. Gary Jones, the CEO of Youth for Tomorrow. The new facility will enable YFT to expand its residential services for nearly 36 more girls age 11 to 17 each year – girls who are often pregnant, young mothers, homeless, runaways or survivors of sex trafficking.  Founded by former Washington Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs, YFT is unique in that it not only provides a full continuum of residential and outpatient services, but also offers its own school for the at-risk youth it serves.

“HomeAid Northern Virginia and Toll Brothers should be commended for the selfless work they do for our community,” said Corey Stewart, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors for Prince William County “Projects like these are essential to helping young ladies who have had a hard path, get back on their feet.”

“Toll Brothers believes in giving back to the community and what better way to do that than through continuing our partnership with HomeAid and building a home for Youth for Tomorrow. Our goal is to provide a safe haven of hope for the young women who will be calling it home,” said Toll Brothers Regional President Bill Gilligan. Construction of the new 5,000 sq. ft. residence is expected to be completed this year.

This marks HomeAid Northern Virginia’s second project for Youth for Tomorrow, following the completion of the “Laura-Louise House” in December 2015. HomeAid Northern Virginia builds and renovates homeless shelters and housing facilities via the donated expertise, labor and resources of local homebuilders and construction trade partners – enabling nonprofit organizations serving vulnerable communities to invest more of their budgets in supportive programs and services rather than building expenses. Projects like this one increase the capacity of nonprofit service providers, allowing organizations like Youth for Tomorrow to serve more clients than otherwise would have been possible, ensuring that more individuals can receive the depth of care they need to get back on the path to stability and self-sufficiency.

About HomeAid Northern Virginia

HomeAid Northern Virginia, a chapter of HomeAid America, engages the resources and interests of the homebuilding community and its corporate partners in order to undertake new construction and major renovations to properties owned by homelessness service providers that help homeless people gain stability and get back on the road to self-sufficiency. The organization was started in 2001 by members of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA), and since then, has completed more than 107 projects valued at more than $13.6 million, serving more than 95,000 homeless individuals.

About Youth for Tomorrow

Youth for Tomorrow has been helping at-risk children become responsible members of society for more than 29 years. In 2015, more than 400 teenage boys and girls were served in the residential programs, which includes a national model program for sex trafficked domestic girls. This program has become a national model for re-directing the lives of these victims. More than 6,800 children and their families were served in YFT’s six Behavioral Health Services Programs in satellite offices in Woodbridge and Manassas.  YFT is nationally accredited through the Council on Accreditation (COA), an independent not-for-profit organization headquartered in New York that accredits human service organizations like YFT throughout the nation.  For additional information about YFT or its programs visit www.youthfortomorrow.org.

About Toll Brothers:

Toll Brothers, an award-winning Fortune 1000 company founded in 1967, embraces an unwavering commitment to quality and customer service. Toll Brothers is currently building in 19 states nationwide and is a publicly owned company whose stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: TOL). In FORTUNE Magazine’s 2016 Survey of The World’s Most Admired Companies®* Toll Brothers was ranked #6 worldwide across ALL INDUSTRIES in Quality of Products/Services Offered after Apple, Walt Disney, Amazon, Alphabet, and Nordstrom, and before Netflix and Facebook. In the same 2016 survey, Toll Brothers was named the #1 Home Builder Worldwide. The Company was named America’s Most Trusted Home Builder™ 2015† by Lifestory Research, receiving the highest numerical score among the largest 133 home builders in the country. Toll Brothers was also recently honored as national Builder of the Year by BUILDER magazine, and was twice named national Builder of the Year by Professional Builder magazine.

 

* FORTUNE Magazine’s survey of the “World’s Most Admired Companies®” for 2016 began with over 1,500 companies across more than 50 industries, and asked over 4,000 executives, directors, and analysts to rate companies in their own industry on nine criteria (Go to http://fortune.com/worlds-most-admired-companies/ for the full methodology.) From FORTUNE Magazine, March 1, 2016 ©2016 Time Inc. FORTUNE and The World’s Most Admired Companies are registered trademarks of Time Inc. and are used under license. FORTUNE and Time Inc. are not affiliated with, and do not endorse products or services of, Toll Brothers, Inc. † Toll Brothers received the highest numerical score in the United States in the proprietary Lifestory Research 2015 America’s Most TrustedTM Home Builder study. Study based on 43,200 new home shoppers in 27 markets. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed between January and December 2014.

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Construction trade partners, manufacturers, suppliers, and others participating in and contributing to this project include:

ABC Supply
AJ Trim
Allied Building Supply
Armstrong
Atlas Plumbing
Audio Buys
Buhl Electric
Builders First Source
Building Fire Solutions
Burton & Robinson
Cesarios Inc.
C&C Landscaping
Carrier
Certainteed
CTI
DAL Tile
Falcon Heating & Air
Five Star Septic
GAF
GE Appliances
Glen Gery Brick
HDS Drywall and Paint
Home Team Pest Defense 
Kingpin
Kohler
Kwikset

Kwikset
Leggett & Platt 
Long Fence
Loudoun Stairs 
Masonry Masters 
McKeever Services 
My Maids 
New York Concrete 
Organized Living 
Owens Corning 
Potomac Waterproofing 
Progress Lighting 
Select Construction 
Seneca Valley Builders 
Shaw 
Sheets Sterling 
Sherwin Williams 
Silverline Windows 
Sky Marble and Granite 
Southland Insulators 
Stadler Nurseries 
State Hot Water
Timberlake Cabinetry 
Titan Erosion Control 
Toll Landscape 
Trex

Building Hope – May 2016

By | Building Hope

In the Spotlight
Housing Forum Focuses on Veteran Homelessness, Rapid Rehousing
Roundtable - with caption
HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Annual Housing Forum is one of the region’s most unique and valuable opportunities for meeting and learning from shelter partner colleagues, and last month, more than 60 representatives representing 40 organizations met to discuss veteran homelessness and the challenges and successes of the rapid re-housing model.

The morning was a study in contrasts: Attendees listened in near-total silence as Keynote Speaker Kerry Turner, a U.S. Army Captain and spokesperson for Final Salute, shared personal and often heartbreaking stories of homelessness among women veterans. Later, animated conversation reigned, as attendees broke into roundtable discussion groups to debate topics such as funding, cross-jurisdictional collaboration, and the differences between housing singles and families.

A panel discussion moderated by Karen Cleveland and featuring Blair Copeland, Carpenter’s Shelter; Oliver Reid, New Hope Housing; Minerva Labrador, Northern Virginia Family Service; and Michele Porter-Will, Volunteers of America Chesapeake, also provided sound advice for establishing critically important relationships with landlords. The honest and open format of the panel, which included strategies for finding housing for those with a criminal background, led one attendee to remark, “I liked the panel format – and I liked that people didn’t sugarcoat [the challenges].”

Overall, the Forum, themed “Creating Partnerships, Strengthening Communities that Keep the Homeless Housed,” was overwhelmingly rated by attendees as valuable to very valuable, with one attendee commenting on one of the most important take-aways of any good conference – empowerment – when she said, “This forum allowed me to open up a conversation with my supervisor on better servicing my clients.”

In a milestone moment for HomeAid, a reporter attended the Forum for the first time, writing a feature article for Centre View that explored the “war on homelessness” in a region with limited affordable housing. 

panel


DidYouKnow_Jan1

In Your Neighborhood
HomeAid, Christopher Companies Partner with Pathway Homes for First Time

pathwaysFor three women working to embrace their ongoing recovery from mental illness, having a stable home is critical to their ability to focus on their needs and futures. And now, thanks to an $11,000 project completed for Pathway Homes last month by HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain Christopher Companies, and seven trade partners, the women have a renovated and updated home in which to recover.

“Self worth and feeling good about life is easier when you know people care about you,” said Anna Smith, director of development at Pathway Homes. “This home—with a totally updated kitchen and bathroom—is so much brighter and more modern now, and the work that’s been put into making this feel more like a home means so much to these women, all of whom also share a history of homelessness or were at risk of becoming homeless. They have a lot to focus on, as they continue to learn how to manage medications and focus on their recovery, and being surrounded by beauty means so much. They’ve faced a lot of stigma over the course of their lives, and seeing something like this done for their benefit is truly an inspiration.”

“Our company has a long history of supporting HomeAid and being involved members of NVBIA,” said Mike Sandkuhler, project manager for Christopher Companies, 2016 president for NVBIA and HomeAid board member. “It’s part of our shared mission to provide shelter for those who cannot provide it on their own, and it’s an honor to serve and to see all the good that comes out of our efforts. It’s not always easy coming to terms with how some people live, and anything we can do to provide and improve other community members’ homes is something we’re glad to do.”

This marks the first time HomeAid Northern Virginia has partnered with Pathway Homes, which provides permanent supportive housing to adults with serious mental illness and co-occurring disabilities in Northern Virginia.

Thank you, Christopher Companies, and the following trade partners for giving three
women a stable, safe home so that they can focus on their recovery!

American Building Systems of Maryland
Builders Floor Service
GE Appliances
LCS

MEP Partners
Signature Companies
Sky Marble & Granite


DidYouKnow2_May

Helping-Hands
HomeAid Establishes Discretionary Fund for Emergency Assistance
Fund will fill gap between limited shelter funding and client needs

When HomeAid Immediate Past President Brian Davidson and Program & Operations Manager Kristyn Burr toured a townhome owned by Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services, Inc., last month, they went with the intention of completing a site visit to assess the home for a future renovation project. What they found instead was a single mom—who had recently moved into the property—with four children ages three to 11, with virtually nothing more than the clothes on their backs.

“The shelter had provided them with the basics, but after being homeless and on the move for so long, they were truly starting from scratch,” said Burr, “and with limited funding, there’s only so much shelters can do. But as a mom myself, it broke my heart to see not a single toy, minimal furnishings, and mattresses on the floor. Staff from Good Shepherd brought over a desk for the oldest boy a desk for homework, and he lit up with excitement … but then his little sister wanted a desk too. I knew we had to do something.”

HomeAid’s Executive Director Christy Eaton and Shelter Care Chair David Cogley agreed, and they set up a discretionary fund that will now allow HomeAid to offer immediate assistance in emergency situations.

“This is what we’re here for,” Burr added. “Even if it’s not project-related, this is now an additional way that HomeAid can make an impact and go above and beyond our building and renovation projects. This family needed help, and having the ability to make such an immediate difference meant the world to them. Whether we can offer help before, during, or after a project shouldn’t matter—if we can help, we will.”

HomeAid provided the family with $1,000—split between gift cards at Value City Furniture and Target—so that the family and their caseworker can together prioritize needs and make purchases. The family was also connected with Women Giving Back (WGB), formerly a HomeAid Northern Virginia program that provides free clothing and accessories to women and children from area shelters. WGB became a 501(c)3 organization last year.

“The family had very few belongings when they moved into their home,” added Lesley Hatch, vice president and COO of Good Shepherd, “and it would have taken them more than a year to save enough money to buy the basics—things like bed frames, dressers, lamps, clothing, toys, and kitchen items. They are thrilled with the generosity of HomeAid and the opportunity to have an apartment that now feels like home.”

DidYouKnow_Apr4 

Supporter Spotlight
McDonough Brings New Relationships and New Event to HomeAid

jason mcdonoughJason McDonough, one of the newer members of HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Board of Directors, is also senior vice president, real estate lending officer for Cardinal Bank, in McLean, Va. By combining his career experience with his service and volunteerism with HomeAid, he is a valued partner in advancing HomeAid’s mission. 

Q:  As a senior vice president in the banking industry, how did you first become involved with HomeAid?

A:  I’ve been with Cardinal Bank for 10 years. In 2011, I started to manage Cardinal Bank’s sponsorship contributions and participation with the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA). Through that process, I was introduced to HomeAid, met Executive Director Christy Eaton, and began to learn about the wonderful things HomeAid was doing in our community. Through my position at Cardinal Bank, I provide construction financing to many homebuilders in the region, and a lot of my clients were building or revitalizing older homes in Northern Virginia. When I would go out to see the properties, I would notice that there were appliances and other items that were still functioning, so my first personal initiative with HomeAid was a partnership in 2012/2013, when we came up with an idea to facilitate getting some of these items from houses that were being torn down into local shelters. That was the start of my personal involvement and relationship with HomeAid.

I also realized that while I couldn’t be out there swinging the hammer, and I’m not helping to build a house or renovate a bathroom, I could add value behind the scenes by serving on various HomeAid sub-committees in an effort to help generate funds for the organization, which we can use to facilitate new and improved housing for those in need.

As I continued to see the great things that HomeAid was doing in the community, I advocated for the bank to play a larger role and expand our sponsorship level at HomeAid’s Annual Gala. I knew from that point that HomeAid was an organization that I wanted to dedicate my time to.

Q:  You are fairly new to the HomeAid Board of Directors. How did you first become involved on the Board, and what do you enjoy about serving?

A: I managed a number of builder relationships through my position at Cardinal Bank, had experience in coordinating charitable event planning, and was truly passionate about philanthropic efforts in the community and especially the efforts of HomeAid. I was asked to join the board, and I began my term in the first quarter of 2015. It’s been a great experience to be in the room with the caliber of professionals who comprise this board and to see the inner workings of the organization. I have had the privilege of being involved in a number of ways—from board member to Gala Committee member, and helping form our annual Golf Tournament. I also serve as the HomeAid liaison on NVBIA’s board.

Q&A Graphic_cropped2 - with borderQ:  You were instrumental to the success of the First Annual HANV Golf Tournament in 2015. How did the idea first come about? 

A: Two other board members and I recognized that our board was comprised of a number of industry professionals with a passion for golf; that industry trade partners would welcome an opportunity to have some fun while supporting HomeAid’s efforts; and that there was a need for an additional fall event to help generate proceeds. For those reasons, we conceived, developed, and hosted our First Annual HomeAid Golf Tournament at Raspberry Falls Golf and Hunt Club in October 2015. It was a remarkable event; we sold out to 144 golfers, a feat acknowledged by the golf pro that he had never seen that before for a first-time tournament. We raised a considerable amount of funding for HomeAid and knew when it came together that it was something special and could grow in the future. The Second Annual Golf Tournament will be this September, and we just started rolling out sponsorship opportunities. Last year was an opportunity for me to jump in and get my feet wet, to make an impact, and to put my experience at charitable event planning to work for HomeAid.  

Q:  As a board member, what are your thoughts about HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 15th anniversary this year?

A:  There is undeniable need for an organization like HomeAid in Northern Virginia. The fact that the organization has completed more than 100 projects, invested close to $13 million, and impacted nearly 100,000 community members for the betterment of this community is truly remarkable. The leaders of this organization, some of whom have been involved since the beginning, are comprised of some of the largest homebuilders in the area, and they are taking their time to focus on making our community better. HomeAid Northern Virginia is making an impact that is felt by so many, and it’s amazing to be a part of that.

Q:  What is the most exciting part of your involvement with HomeAid?

A:  The collaboration among board members. These individuals are bankers, attorneys, CPAs, homebuilders, and other professionals, all coming together for one common goal: to do right for others in the community. They are not being compensated—they are dedicating a significant amount of their time, and many of them have been involved for years! One of the most fascinating things to me is the commitment of those who are doing right in the community.      

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

A: On the immediate horizon, it is going to be critical for HomeAid to establish mutually beneficial partnerships with companies and other charitable organizations, like Youth For Tomorrow, to collaborate with and align our interests in an effort to expand our outreach. We need to continue to partner with homebuilders in this region to improve aging shelters and to construct new shelters as well. Personally, I am thinking about the future of the organization; how to preserve the integrity of the organization while discovering new and creative ways to help it grow. I hope I can continue to be involved with this great organization for many years to come.

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

 

READ: Housing Forum Focuses on Veterans, Rapid Rehousing, HomeAid, Christopher Companies Complete Pathways Project, HomeAid Establishes Discretionary Fund, Supporter Spotlight: Jason McDonough

Progress Made, Challenges Remain on Ending Homelessness

By | Announcements, In the News

From left — The panel for the HomeAid “Keeping the Homeless Housed” were Minerva Labrador, Northern Virginia Family Service; Michele Porter-Will, Volunteers of America Chesapeake; Oliver Reid, New Hope Housing; and Blair Copeland, Carpenter’s Shelter. Moderator Karen Cleveland, the Cleveland Group, leads the discussion from the podium. Photo by Andrea Worker.

In 2008, Fairfax County partnered with the City of Falls Church to adopt an ambitious strategic plan to address the issue of homelessness in the region. The following year, the Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness was established to “manage, coordinate and monitor the day-to-day implementation” of the plan, with its ambitious target date of 10 years to achievement. In 2014, the county accepted the “Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness” as announced by First Lady Michelle Obama, and supported by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This one came with an even more aggressive deadline: accomplish the mission by the end of 2015.

photo

Let’s talk about it – the attendees at the HomeAid Housing Forum break into groups to share their experiences and expertise and look for ways to collaboratively prevent and end homelessness in the region.

The numbers for both goals are certainly encouraging. In November, Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared that Virginia had become the first state to reach that “Challenge” milestone, with every veteran having housing, except for those who had been offered, but refused shelter. By “functionally” ending veteran homelessness, the state certifies that it has in place systems to prevent veteran homelessness wherever possible, and to see that it is otherwise a “rare, brief, and non-recurring experience.” To maintain this status, being able to secure housing for willing veterans within 90 days, and having more homes readily available than the numbers of veterans without shelter, are parts of the requirements.

Among the general population of homeless, the numbers have also decreased. According to the 2016 “Point-in-Time” census (an annual survey where county personnel and volunteers scour the streets, woods and other areas to approximate the numbers of area homeless) conducted on Jan. 28, the total number of homeless declined by 42 percent since the implementation of the 10-Year Plan. In just the last year, the numbers fell from 1204 to 1059. While the number of homeless singles remains relatively unchanged since the last survey, homelessness among families declined from 715 to 577. Even better news is that there are 33 percent less families in emergency shelters, and at the time of the survey, shelters reported vacancies.

It looks like there are battles on this front finally being won, but with over 1000 of our neighbors – that we were able to count – still unhoused, the war on homelessness is far from over, according to Karen Cleveland, president of the Cleveland Coaching Group, president and CEO of Leadership Fairfax, and the moderator of the 2016 HomeAid Northern Virginia (HANoVA) Housing Forum, held on April 7. The annual gathering brings together those who work directly with the homeless and with those who are struggling to avoid homelessness, from across all of the jurisdictions of Northern Virginia. “This is a unique opportunity to meet with, and learn from, colleagues who understand your challenges, to share best practices, and brainstorm a bit and maybe come up with some new ways of tackling the problems,” noted Cleveland.

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From left — Susan Mekenny, member of NVAR Cares, the charitable arm of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, speaks with U.S. Army Capt. Kerri Turner at the Forum. Turner, who is also Ms. Veteran America 2015, was the event’s Keynote Speaker and highlighted the plight of homeless female veterans, especially those with families.

HomeAid Board president Greg Carter, a senior vice president with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, opened the event with a welcome, and an invitation for all to check out his company’s free website “Better Money Habits.” “When I say free, I really mean it,” said Carter. “No passwords, no fees, so sign-ups, just access to easy-to-understand tips and instructionals on better financial planning and management…ways to save money.” Since assisting their clients with just these issues is often a part of their work, the attendees seemed interested and pleased to add the website to their resource kit.

Following a quick “stand up and introduce yourself” exercise, Cleveland introduced a panel of four – Minerva Labrador with Northern Virginia Family Service, Michele Porter-Will of Volunteers of America Chesapeake, Oliver Reid with New Hope Housing, and Blair Copeland from Carpenter’s Shelter – and the discussion on “Keeping People Housed” began.

THE PANELISTS shared success stories and some of the methods by which they overcame obstacles to success with certain clients and situations. Despite the different jurisdictions in which they operated and the different aspects of the problems they specialized in, all four agreed on some common issues and some common positive approaches.

“Affordable housing. That’s the stumbling block over and over again,” declared Porter-Will to the nods of agreement from her fellow panelists and most of the audience, as well. “Especially for families,” she added. “People with good-paying, stable employment can find it difficult to afford a decent, safe place to live in our region. Now try doing it on minimum wage or less.” Credit issues, health issues, poor job histories, and the unexpected difficulties of life like divorce, abandonment, domestic abuse, and sudden job loss also contribute to pushing people into homelessness.

Lack of affordable housing has been further highlighted by the recent focus on “Rapid Re-housing” as the first priority. Reid explained that the paradigm shift to quickly finding housing for the homeless, then “wrapping the services around them in this more stable environment,” means less time to work with the client to find suitable housing or to help them correct barriers to good housing options like poor past credit. Historically, assistance to the homeless meant accepting them into shelters where case managers and others would work with them to solve the problems and issues that had led to their situation, sometimes for months, if not even years, before placing them in independent housing. The “Rapid Re-housing” model sometimes leads to a “race against time” was Blair Copeland’s assessment. While agreeing that the model offered a stable environment from which clients could begin their journey upward and was especially favorable for homeless families, Copeland admitted that it often left them scrambling to find housing before they could address the obstacles, prepare the client, and create a partnership with a landlord willing to take on what they might view as a higher-risk tenant. Reid’s New Hope Housing in particular requires a strong relationship with landlords since his organization often deals with clients who have served prison time, and some who are registered sex offenders.

The change to “Rapid Re-housing” also meant that new roles – like Housing Locators – have had to be created in the organizations and agencies represented, and other personnel have had to learn new skills and deliver them “even more rapidly,” said Minerva Labrador. “The more traditionally specialized roles of service staff are becoming more integrated. There’s a lot less ‘you’ll have to wait until Tuesday for the case worker to address that’ than we had before. That’s a good thing,” said Porter-Will.

Working cross-jurisdictionally within the region, and even out of state, was another significant challenge discussed by the service providers. Copeland noted that sometimes to find suitable and affordable housing meant relocating clients out of the area. Some of the attendees spoke of relocations to Winchester, Front Royal, Hagerstown, Maryland, and even towns in North Carolina, but all expressed concerns about the follow-up and continued services these movers would receive – and there might be the perception that Northern Virginia is merely “moving the problem along, and that is not what we are trying to do,” insisted Copeland.

After the panel concluded, the attendees were treated to U.S. Army Captain Kerri Turner as the Keynote Speaker. Capt. Turner also happens to be Ms. Veteran America 2015 and is a spokesperson for Final Salute, a nonprofit whose mission is to find safe and affordable housing for women veterans and their families. By the looks on their faces, Turner shocked quite a few in the audience when she informed them that neither the Veterans Administration nor the Department of Housing and Urban Development had kept any records on homeless female vets before 2011. Final Salute’s founder was a female veteran and single-mother who served her country for 15 years, but when faced with serious adversity – including head, throat and neck cancer – she was advised to seek assistance through welfare programs since the military did not have programs for female veterans with families. Not long after her circumstances and health improved, Jaspen Boothe started Final Salute to assist “the forgotten soldiers.” Since 2010 the organization has assisted over 900 women veterans and children in over 30 states and territories.

A CHAPTER of HomeAid America, HomeAid NoVA is a nonprofit that was started in 2001 by members of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association. Founded on the belief that the “best way to solve homelessness is to ensure that everyone has a safe and stable place to live,” the organization’s partners build and renovate housing and shelter facilities. To date, they have completed over 100 projects, and with so much donated labor, expertise, materials and resources, they are able to help shelter organizations save significant amounts of money that can be used to fund vital programs and services to keep their clients housed and leading better lives, and to help others avoid homelessness.

The attendees at the HomeAid Housing Forum want everyone to realize that ending homelessness really does “take a village” and that it is in everyone’s best interest to help prevent it, and to help return our homeless neighbors to safe and productive lives in the community. For information on the issue and how to help, there are numerous agencies and organizations to contact. Starting points can be HomeAid NoVA at www.homeaidnova.org or the Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.

Read the full story in CentreView

Building Hope – April 2016

By | Building Hope

In the Spotlight
HomeAid, Toll Brothers to Build Girls Home for Youth For Tomorrow

Groundbreaking Ceremony:  May 5, 2016,  10:00 am

artists rendering_x250 - with borderHomeAid Northern Virginia and Builder Captain Toll Brothers have announced that they will break ground next month on a 5,000 square-foot, $650,000 home on the Bristow, Va., campus of Youth For Tomorrow (YFT). The groundbreaking – on Thursday, May 5, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. – comes just five months after YFT opened its doors in December 2015 to a new girls home built by Home Aid, Stanley Martin Homes, and trade partners. This second HomeAid-built home will again allow YFT to expand on-campus residential services for up to 36 more girls who are pregnant, young mothers, homeless, runaways, or survivors of sex trafficking every year.

The new home will also include a three-bedroom, attached apartment to accommodate a “house parent,” who will be responsible for the daily care and safety of the 11- to 17-year-old girls.

“Having ‘house parents’ so close at hand will also allow them to provide the loving care – in a real home – that so many of these girls have never known,” said Dr. Gary L. Jones, CEO of Youth For Tomorrow. “The generous and gracious support of HomeAid and Toll Brothers will greatly aid the children who are directed to receive the benefits of our comprehensive program, which includes counseling, education, and the re-direction of their personal behaviors.”

toll_brothers_logo

“We have worked with HomeAid on several projects, and this will be our third as Builder Captain,” said Toll Brothers Regional President Bill Gilligan. “HomeAid makes the Builder Captain’s job easier by serving as an interface between Toll Brothers and the charitable organization. We believe in giving back to the community and our partnership with HomeAid has been a great way to do that.”

The project is expected to be completed this year.   


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In Your Neighborhood
HomeAid, Knutson Homes Double Capacity at WGB Store

WGB - with borderHomeAid Northern Virginia and Builder Captain Knutson Companies have put the finishing touches on more than 7,000 square feet of space at The Women Giving Back (WGB) Store, where women and children from local service providers shop for free clothing and accessories every month. The $36,000 addition, adjacent to The Store’s existing retail space, essentially doubled The Store’s capacity and will ultimately allow WGB to add weekday shopping hours to its monthly schedule.

“Our shelter partners have been telling us for a long time that their clients would benefit enormously from being able to shop The Store during the week instead of only on our current second-Saturday of every month,” said WGB Co-founder Terri Stagi. “We are now conducting a survey to find out which day of the week would be the most helpful. This addition is really a game-changer; not only will we double our Store hours every month, but we’ll be able to serve 50 percent more shoppers—3,000 women and 6,000 children every year. The project also allowed us to improve egress; add an accessories department; and create a new children’s space where kids can play while their mothers shop for clothes.”

Don Knutson, a co-founder of HomeAid Northern Virginia and now president of Knutson Homes, was honored to accept this first philanthropic project since launching his own company three years ago.

“I led several HomeAid projects when I worked for a national homebuilder,” Knutson said, “but since going out on my own a few years ago, I’ve finally gotten to a scale where I can lead a HomeAid project again. WGB is an awesome enterprise, and I’m so pleased to be able to help them do even greater things simply by having more space. It’s the first project of many that I will do with HomeAid, and it feels great.”

WGB will officially dedicate the expanded Store at their Annual Cinco de Mayo celebration, on Thursday, May 5, 2016, at 5:30 p.m. WGB, formerly a HomeAid Northern Virginia program, was granted 501(c)3 status in May 2015.

Thank you, Knutson Homes, and the following trade partners, for doubling The Women Giving Back Store’s capacity. Your donation will allow thousands more women and children shop for free clothing every year!

Builder Fire Solutions
Carter Lumber
Eastern Applicators

Green Landscaping
HD Supply
Southern Electric

 

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In Your Community
Register Today for the 7th Annual HomeAid Builders & Friends BBQ!
Trade Partner of the Year Award to be announced

Thursday, June 23, 2016
4 – 7:00 pm
The Barn at One Loudoun
20405 Savin Hill Drive
Ashburn, VA 20147

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Make plans now to attend one of the season’s best career-builders: The Builders & Friends BBQ on June 23! You’ll join hundreds of colleagues (with the opportunity to talk one-on-one with up to 25 presidents and executives of the region’s biggest building companies) all while playing cornhole, feasting on all-you-can-eat BBQ, and sampling from an open beer and wine bar.

More than 240 HomeAid supporters enjoyed the 2015 Builders, Friends BBQ while tuning up their cornhole-playing skills and raising $40,000 to support HomeAid. Guests will learn more about HomeAid’s mission of building and renovating housing for the homeless, as well as celebrate the 2016 Trade Partner of the Year, which goes to a vendor, trade partner, or industry partner who has gone above and beyond in their service to the community through their work with HomeAid. 2016 Trade Partners will receive two complimentary registrations.

Registration is $35 and includes an open bar, all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet and one free raffle ticket for a variety of prizes (additional raffle tickets can be purchased on-site). Sponsorships are also being accepted.

Many thanks to press-time sponsors One Loudoun and Thompson Greenspon!

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Support the 2016 BBQ!

 

Register!

Join 250 other homebuilding industry representatives for the networking event of the Summer! Register today!

Donate a Raffle Item!

Help fellow builders and friends take home some swag – raffle item donations are being accepted now! Contact HomeAid Communications & Special Events Manager Faith Boruta (703.953.3525) for more information.

Sponsor!

Put your company name in front of hundreds of HomeAid supporters through a sponsorship! Contact HomeAid Executive Director Christy Eaton (571.283.6320) for more information.

 

DidYouKnow3_Apr4

Supporter Spotlight
John Darvish: Stepping Up to Help HomeAid

Darvish - with captionJohn Darvish, founder and president of John Darvish Construction and Darvish Interiors, has served on the HomeAid Northern Virginia Board of Directors for nine years and as a HANV trade partner for many years prior to that. He has become known as not only a friend to HANV, but also as a member of the building community who consistently steps up when there is a need. Find out what drives his commitment to community service and to HomeAid.

Q: How did you become involved with HANV?

A: Because I was very involved as a trade partner, served on several trade councils, and because of my active community work, HANV approached me in 2007 to see if I would join the Board of Directors. I accepted, and shortly thereafter, realized that through everything I do for this organization, I can touch people’s lives. I make a difference in people’s lives. It became very important to me.

Q: You have been involved in so many HANV projects. Do you have a favorite?

A: I have been involved in a number of projects, and for several of them, I served as Builder Captain. My most interesting and favorite project was Youth for Tomorrow. That project was such a phenomenon, with more than 75 trade partners, suppliers, and distributors who all came together as a collective and built this beautiful project in a matter of months. It’s a joyful project, and we enjoyed it while we were doing it. We did it with such enthusiasm, and we knew that it was for a great cause. In the end, thanks to the selflessness of Joe Gibbs and all the other supporters, it was a project I personally really enjoyed.

Q&A Graphic_cropped2 - with borderQ: How do you feel about winning the 2015 Presidents’ Award, and being named Trade Partner of the Year in 2011?

A: I really don’t focus on the trophy—I have a lot of trophies in recognition of what I’ve done in my career. But what came out of those moments of being honored—at the end of the day when I go home and put my head to the pillow—is that the trophy represents the fact that I made a difference in others’ lives. For me, that’s what I get out of it. I really want to add to my collection of touching people’s lives.

Q: Why do you feel it is important to give to an organization like HANV?

A: It’s our moral obligation. As successful citizens of this country, at some point it is our turn to give back to our communities. We have to do it to make this nation great, and this is where I believe that I can do my part, starting with my local community. I’m in construction, and I can do things for communities by doing what we are good at. We cannot wait for the government to do this for us; maybe we can ask them to facilitate it for us and ease up regulations so that we can succeed, but it always starts from within ourselves.

Q: Are there any stories that you would like to share about your involvement with HANV?

A: I serve on the Gala subcommittee, and whenever we get to the point where we start talking about who can do things for us and who can sponsor various things, they always come and ask me, because they know that I cannot say, “No.” It’s hard to say no to these guys, and every two or three years, they’ll say, “Hey John, are you still up for serving on the Board? Do you still want to be part of the group?” And I always say, “As long as I’m breathing, I will help you out.”

 

Announcements
Welcome

erin - with captionErin Ziegler, a graduate student enrolled in George Mason University’s Science Communication Graduate Certificate Program, has joined HomeAid’s staff as our communications intern.

Ziegler chose to work with HomeAid because, as she shifts from a background in biology and science, she wanted to broaden her communications experience in a real-world setting, particularly as she learns what goes into outreach and public relations efforts.

“Studying communication tools in class is fine, but learning how the concepts are actually put to use will be a fantastic experience for me,” she added, “and I’m excited to have the opportunity to move beyond being a ‘name with a resume’ through my work experience.”

In her first few weeks with HomeAid, she’s been most surprised by how much a small staff can accomplish: “Given the nationwide reach of HomeAid and professional materials and programs, I expected the local chapters to be much larger. The staff in Northern Virginia have been so welcoming, and to learn that everything is done by just a handful of people shows just how much work everyone puts into HomeAid.”

HomeAid Northern Virginia has regular openings for interns in a variety of positions. Job descriptions can be found online. To apply, please send a cover letter and resume.

 

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

 

READ: A Second Home for Youth For Tomorrow, HomeAid, Knutson Homes Double Capacity at WGB Store, 7th Annual HomeAid Builders & Friends BBQ, Supporter Spotlight: John Darvish, Welcome to Our New Intern

Setting the Proverbial Table

By | Announcements, In the News

The Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance. The National Housing Council. The National Alliance to End Homelessness.  As the names reflect, those of us in the affordable housing and homelessness arena recognize that no single organization has all the solutions or the tools to address these seemingly intractable social problems, so stakeholders must collaborate. All of us must gather around the proverbial table.

Yet despite the need for a cooperative approach, social dynamics and economic jurisdictional dynamics often serve as obstacles to progress and shared best practices.

Convening around a Collaborative Table

Housing-Forum-photo-300x166To proactively address local trends and the varied jurisdictional resources and approaches, we’ve created a unique “table” to gather around: our Annual HomeAid Northern Virginia Housing Forum. The Forum brings local nonprofit organizations that provide housing and supportive services together with government agencies, foundations, corporate partners, and more.  Participants range from executive directors to case managers to government officials. It is a community of practitioners – not a think tank, but the actual staff and leadership of organizations on the front lines, doing the day-to-day work of serving our local homeless community.  The Forum gives all of these stakeholders the platform for boundary-free dialogue to benefit from each participant’s real-world experiences and to stay current with shifts in policy and priorities that impact our local landscape.

HomeAid-Loudoun-Shelter-renovated-kitchen2-AFTER-300x201The Forum’s convener and organizer is HomeAid Northern Virginia, the charitable arm of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association. While the work of the homebuilding industry and homelessness service providers don’t seem immediately to go hand in hand, HomeAid is changing that paradigm across the country.  HomeAid chapters build and renovate homeless shelters and housing facilities via the donated expertise, labor and resources of homebuilders and trade partners (suppliers, subcontractors, etc.). HomeAid projects provide significant cost savings to shelters, freeing up a provider’s scarce financial resources for programs and services rather than building expenses. Now entering our 15th year, HomeAid Northern Virginia has completed 107 projects valued at more than $13.6 million, more than half of which was donated. As a result, approximately $7.7 million in cost savings was passed along to shelter organizations.

The Housing Forum helps HomeAid better understand and meet the evolving needs of the organizations we serve, but more than that, it provides an opportunity for communal brainstorming to devise solutions for unmet needs, and to carry them forward from concept to implementation.

Creating Jobs for Formerly Homeless Persons

We recently launched a pilot program that was a direct outgrowth of conversations at past years’ forums: a new job skills training program that engages clients at the organizations we serve in the building/construction trade.  Follow-up steps included detailed conversations with participating homebuilding trade businesses to understand the skills needed, and the supportive job skills that human service organizations could provide.

Today, thanks to collaborative work with Northern Virginia Family Services and Cornerstones and local homebuilder trades TAC Tile Company, Buhl Electric, and Home Team Pest Defense, formerly homeless individuals are placed in jobs in the homebuilding industry and provided the support they need in the areas of transportation, childcare, financial management and more.

The idea “seed” at the Housing Forum table took root and created new programming that offers a win-win for all parties: the homebuilding industry addresses the gap of skilled, reliable workers in the construction industry; homelessness service providers bolster the availability and success of their workforce development programs; and most importantly, individuals seeking gainful employment as a pathway to self-sufficiency begin to rebuild their lives with better tools at their disposal, including marketable job skills, stable employment and housing. It is a pilot that we will grow and expand over the years ahead.

We expect more ideas and opportunity for collaborative action at this year’s upcoming Housing Forum on Thursday, April 7th in Fairfax, VA.  Learn more about HomeAid and our 2016 Annual Housing Forum program. 

 Christy Eaton is the Executive Director of HomeAid Northern Virginia. Funding for the Housing Forum is provided by the Virginia Housing Development Authority and Bank of America.

Read the story on the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance Blog.