Executive Director & CEO Corner
Spring is the season of hope, and after this difficult past year and long winter, it’s never felt so good to soak in the sun and just … exhale. For me, spring is also a season of gratitude, as we are reminded of renewal with every beautiful flower bloom and the blush of red on even the most gnarled trees. At HomeAid, I’ve been reflecting a lot on gratitude, recognizing that our success depends entirely on people’s generosity, support, expertise, and willingness to give – what a magical list of qualities in people! But I also know that before any of that support can happen, people need to know about us, learn about us, and understand who we work so hard to support.
As you’ll read in this issue of Building Hope, we have a lot of great opportunities to educate and spread awareness this season: Our Builders & Friends BBQ is a go, and Toll Brothers and Darvish Construction are co-hosting a third-party fundraiser golf tournament on our behalf; both events offer an incredible platform for fundraising and for educating new audiences about our mission and homelessness in Northern Virginia and beyond, and I am so excited for these events! You’ll also see links to two important interviews I participated in last month, which I really hope you’ll take the time to listen to. One is a video recorded conversation with SN Mortgage’s Scott Shelton; the other a podcast with DC Local Leaders. In both, we talk a lot about the ‘why’ behind HomeAid and what drives us – and in learning more about our inspiration, my hope is that listeners will gain not only a greater understanding of what makes us tick, but that they’ll also gain greater empathy for those we serve. Because with empathy comes the desire to step up, say yes, and count yourself in. We’re here to welcome you at HomeAid!
In the Spotlight
Builders & Friends BBQ is a Go – NEW LOCATION
Registration and sponsorship opportunities are now open, and everyone can look forward to all-you-can-eat BBQ, craft beers and seasonal cocktails, live music, corn hole games, a raffle with great prizes, and the assurance that we’ll take all of the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe – we’ll even provide everyone with a sponsored mask!
Did You Know?
The nation’s homeless population grew last year for the fourth year in a row. On a single night in January 2020, there were more than 580,000 individuals who were homeless in the United States, a 2% increase from the year before. The numbers do not reflect the impact of the pandemic. Among the report’s more sobering findings: homelessness among veterans and families did not improve for the first time in many years. Also, more than 106,000 children were homeless during the once-a-year count, conducted in most communities across the nation. While the majority of homeless children were in shelters or transitional housing, almost 11,000 were living outside.
Source: Department of Housing and Urban Development, as reported by NPR
In Your Neighborhood
HomeAid, Joy Design + Build Provide Expanded Capacity for Pathway Homes
HomeAid Northern Virginia and Joy Design + Build, a custom-home builder based in McLean, VA, have teamed up for the first time to update and build out the basement of a townhome for Pathway Homes, bringing capacity of the home from three bedrooms to four. The project – nearly complete – will serve as home to four previously homeless adult men, who will pay 30 percent of their net adjusted income in rent and will have access to a wide range of counseling and life skill services provided by Pathway Homes.
“This important update and the addition of another bedroom means we can maximize capacity by housing an additional person and better serving all four residents,” said Rachel Matzke, Pathway Homes’ property manager. “It literally means bringing in someone off the waitlist, and it’s hard to overstate how important that is. How can you define what it means to put one more person on the road to recovery and able to live a more fulfilling and stable life?”
In addition to the bedroom addition, which required enlarging an egress window, the team is refinishing the floors; making cosmetic changes throughout the unit, such as by updating lighting fixtures and freshening the exterior landscaping; and correcting issues that were found by a home inspector when Pathway Homes purchased the townhome in 2019.
“This home is part of our permanent supportive housing program,” explained Liz Susla, director of development and communications for Pathway Homes, “which has proven to be a solution for our community’s most vulnerable, as it pairs non-time limited affordable housing with case management and supportive services. After coming to Pathway Homes, individuals with serious mental illness and co-occurring disabilities, including substance use and developmental disorders, can reclaim their lives and reconnect with family, participate in community activities, and lead safe and productive lives. This project is such a gift; recovery is virtually impossible without stable housing and support services, and now we can serve four men in this beautiful, updated home. We are grateful to HomeAid for doing another project with us, and to Joy Design + Build for choosing to lead their first project for us!”
John Joy, builder, president, and CEO of Joy Design + Build, first learned of HomeAid through a mutual business partner, and after attending a HomeAid event, wanted to get more involved. Serving as Builder Captain for the Pathway Homes project is the happy result, said Marc Shaw, project manager with the company and the lead for the Pathway Homes renovation.
“Working on this property has been a great experience,” Shaw added. “Turning the basement living room and bathroom into a living space, and working through the list of minor repairs and updates, has made this home much more livable and comfortable. We’re grateful too for the help of our trade partners, who are always a pleasure to work with.”
Thank you Joy Design + Build for accepting this project – and welcome to the HomeAid family!
Did You Know?
It is hoped that the housing aid included in the recent $1.9 trillion COVID relief package will go a long way toward alleviating the homelessness crisis, as the amount of aid is unprecedented: The bill provides $5 billion in homelessness assistance, more than $20 billion in emergency rental aid and $5 billion in new housing vouchers. The measure also includes direct payments for families, which could keep many in their homes. Some communities are planning to use the funds to buy empty hotels that can be used to house more individuals, both temporarily and permanently.
Source: National Alliance to End Homelessness, as reported by NPR
In Your Community
Toll Brothers 4 Charity
On June 21 at the Belmont Country Club in Ashburn, Toll Brothers – along with Darvish Construction – will be holding their “Toll Brothers 4 Charity” Golf Tournament, with HomeAid Northern Virginia chosen as their sole beneficiary! When they last held this tournament in 2019 (the 2020 tournament was canceled due to COVID), they raised more than $60,000 to support HomeAid’s mission – critically important funds that help us renovate and build homes and programmatic facilities that serve those experiencing homelessness and, in turn, help rebuild lives.
The event is important for another major reason; third-party charity fundraisers expand our capacity enormously in terms of event planning and hosting, since our staff is small, and of course is an excellent source of fundraising. But perhaps even more importantly, these events help spread awareness and increase education about our mission and local homelessness to an entirely new group of people – often resulting in a whole new group of HomeAid supporters and partners.
“We are so glad to be able to hold this tournament in 2021, especially after having to cancel last year’s charity event,” said Scott Canan, division vice president, production and customer care, Toll Brothers. “Choosing HomeAid Northern Virginia as our beneficiary was an easy decision for all of us who are working on this effort; by supporting those at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness, we are doing our part to strengthen, empower, and build communities that have been so good to us. Giving back is a way to spread kindness and, hopefully, inspire others to find their own way to give back. It’s an honor to introduce HomeAid Northern Virginia to our tournament participants, and I love nothing more than helping spark the desire in others to do more and give back.”
Thank you Toll Brothers and Darvish Construction for your generosity!
Making It Count
20 Years. 20 Ways of Making a Difference.
Third party events – when an organization plans and holds a fundraising event and the proceeds benefit HomeAid Northern Virginia – are our best version of a win-win, and over the years, these events have become a critical component of our educational campaign and an important source of fundraising. For us, it means that the capacity of our small staff is exponentially expanded, as the benefitting organization takes on the heavy lift of their event. But even better, the events give us an entirely new platform from which we can share our mission, introduce ourselves to people and organizations we may never would have otherwise met, and spread awareness that homelessness exists in our communities. And the more people who know about us – and gain an understanding of what homelessness really is – the more supporters we can welcome to our family. Thank you to the many organizations that have made the decision to make us your beneficiary – that decision has a ripple effect that is impossible to over-state!
Did You Know?
Locally, Fairfax County’s Office to Prevent and End Homelessness and local partners established a hotel room program to house homeless persons based on need during the coronavirus pandemic. The rooms were geared toward those who had been tested and were awaiting results, those who tested positive, and people at higher risk for severe complications from the virus. Hotels were also being used to help shelters run at a safer capacity in light of social distancing, and by year-end, more than 900 people transitioned into Quarantine, Protection, Isolation, and Decompression (QPID) Hotels since April 16. The QPID Hotels were managed by several non-profit (and HomeAid Northern Virginia) partners, including Cornerstones, FACETS, New Hope Housing, and Shelter House. Northern Virginia Family Service also operated a Central Intake to triage referrals to the QPID Hotels.
Source: Patch.com and FairfaxCounty.gov
Lifting Others Up with Falcon HVAC
One doesn’t need to look very hard to realize that Falcon HVAC is more often than not listed as a trade partner to a just-completed project, a sponsor of an event, or an active participant in just about every fundraising effort. A dedicated supporter since 2014, the faces behind Falcon HVAC – Bruce Rahmani, president, and Ali (Alex) Hosseinian – are also always positive and always looking to lend a hand. The company is currently working on two projects with us, for Bethany House and ACCA, and since they began partnering with HomeAid, Falcon has donated nearly $60,000. Find out more about what drives Bruce and his company to keep putting HomeAid’s mission atop their priority list.
Q: What were your earliest impressions of HomeAid, and why did you decide to get involved?
A: I know what it feels like to be in need, as I have tasted difficulties and hard times in the past. So whenever we are able, it is our responsibility to give back to the community and to those who need the help most. It’s the right thing to do, and I’m honored to be in a position where I can give back.
Q: What makes you keep saying “yes” to HomeAid?
A: It feels good to put a smile on people’s faces and see that a small contribution can make a huge difference in someone’s life.
Q: What have you enjoyed most about working with HomeAid?
A: Beyond the feeling of giving back to the community, it is our pleasure to work with such a wonderful, selfless, and giving group of people and friends.
Q: Tell us about your company.
A: Falcon was established in 1988, and we currently employ more than 100 dedicated men and women whose mission is to be the best HVAC company in the DC Metro area. We strive every day to serve the community in the best possible way.
Q: If someone was thinking of working with HomeAid, what would you tell them?
A: “HURRY UP! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!”
Sitting Down with SN Mortgage’s Scott Shelton
We are so grateful to our friends at SN Mortgage Company and Regional Manager Scott Shelton for taking the time to sit down with Executive Director and CEO Kristyn Burr to learn all about her journey with HomeAid Northern Virginia and give her the opportunity to share the essence of HomeAid. Scott, a HomeAid Board member, and Kristyn cover a wide range of topics, including what a ‘typical’ day looks like with her young daughter sidekick, what Kristyn learned about homelessness when she first joined the organization, who the superpowers are behind the scenes, and what one of Kristyn’s most memorable projects has been over her six-year-tenure. The duo also take a look forward, examining fundraising, housing and programmatic projects in the pipeline, and a big new step HomeAid is taking into new territory. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and join them for this engaging conversation!
HomeAid in the News
Highlights of HomeAid Northern Virginia’s recent project with Operation Renewed Hope in Alexandria was recently covered in several local news outlets, including: Fairfax County Government, WDVM, Alexandria Times (page 3), the Zebra Press, Dominion Energy, among others! Check out all the good press this project received!
The DC Local Leaders Podcast, hosted by Phillip Naithram, shares the journeys and real stories of leaders in the DC area, and last week, they aired their hour-long conversation with our very own CEO and Executive Director Kristyn Burr! She talks about how she blended an MBA with a passion for philanthropy and service to others – built on a foundation shaped by her travels to over 40 countries and by being a mother, a cyclist, and the founder of SEVA Prison Yoga, where she takes her yoga practice to incarcerated men and women in Fairfax County and Loudoun County. You’ll come away inspired and with a greater understanding of what makes Kristyn tick – be sure to download this important podcast today!
Save the Date
SN Mortgage Treasure Quest Adventure Hunt – THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED
12th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ – Thursday, June 17, 2021, “North Lake Pavilion” at The National Botanic Garden, 26314 Ticonderoga Road, South Riding, VA 20152 (Please note the new venue)
Toll Brothers 4 Charity Golf Event – Monday, June 21, 2021, Belmont Country Club, Ashburn, VA (Benefiting HomeAid Northern Virginia)
7th Annual HomeAid Golf Tournament – Friday, September 17, 2021, Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club, Leesburg, VA
20th Annual HomeAid Gala & Auction – Saturday, November 13, 2021, Lansdowne Resort & Spa, Leesburg, VA
In-person events pending Virginia State COVID-safety guidelines.