Executive Director's Corner
It’s a busy month, with a lot of events filling our season with some of the very best that summer can offer. Last week’s Night at the Ballpark was unfortunately canceled by rain, but knowing that we’ll still be able to provide kids with tickets to a makeup game reminded me of the sheer joy that can result from a fun night out with family. It’s one thing to try to convey what it means to work with HomeAid at a networking event; it’s another thing entirely to do so over beers and the happy roar of Nats fans on a gorgeous summer night. And the ribbon cutting at the long-awaited completion of the Final Salute renovation—where 10 women veterans and their children will now live—was, quite simply, the culmination of a labor of love that never would have happened had it not been for the support, commitment, and patience of everyone who had a hand in seeing this project through. Through every event, I was reminded that no matter our personal circumstances, we are all the same, and we can create magic when we work together as partners and co-collaborators on something we care about. The result is a better community—within our organizations and within the towns, cities and counties where we all live. I witnessed a whole lot of happy this month, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that every time I cross paths with a HomeAid supporter, I leave that encounter feeling richer.
In the Spotlight
Formerly Homeless Female Veterans and Children Have New Place to Call Home
HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain Winchester Homes and 29 trade partners celebrated the completion of the renovated and expanded “Karen’s Home” in Fairfax County, owned by Final Salute, Inc., the only non-profit organization in the D.C. metro area that offers housing assistance exclusively to women veterans and their children who are experiencing homelessness. With a joyous ribbon-cutting on July 17, representatives from many partner companies that made the project possible gathered to open the home to 10 formerly homeless female veterans and their children.
The $650,000 project, of which 85 percent was donated, provides 8,700 sq. ft. of living space and converted the home’s original seven bedrooms and five bathrooms to eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms. The entire interior and exterior were renovated and brought up to code, including new windows, flooring, termite remediation and repair, plumbing and electrical work, expanded storage, new appliances, kitchen and bath upgrades, new fixtures, and paint throughout the interior. Outside renovations included all-new siding, a deck, pergola, and landscaping. Additionally, a previously under-utilized area of the basement was converted into living space – with a bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette – for a residential manager to provide ongoing, onsite services to house residents. The entire home was then fully furnished by Winchester and coordinated by Model Home Interiors.
“All too often, supportive housing programs for veterans aren’t tailored to the needs of women veterans, and in particular, single-mother veterans raising children,” said Jaspen (Jas) Boothe, founder of Final Salute Boothe and an Army veteran who served overseas during the Operation Iraq Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom campaigns. After facing homelessness herself when she lost her home to Hurricane Katrina and was simultaneously diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, she learned by direct experience that there were few veteran programs willing and able to provide assistance to her and her son.
Since its founding in 2010, Final Salute Inc. has assisted more than 5,000 women veterans and children in over 30 states and territories and provided over 12,600 days of transitional housing.
“Female veterans are among the fastest growing population of the homeless,” she added, “yet more than 60 percent of programs that take in veterans don’t take in women, or don’t take in women with children, or have age limits on the children or have limits on how many kids you can take.”
“I have gotten involved in a lot of charity work because Winchester is all about giving back to the community,” said Winchester Homes Project Manager Mark Woods-Hulse, who was on-site throughout the entire renovation process. “But even more important to me is that I especially like to give back to veterans. They’re doing something over there for us, and we need to do something for them here. I’ve been in the homebuilding industry for over 25 years now, 17 of which has been with Winchester, and this Final Salute project was a little different. It really ended up being a total remodel and buildout, so I needed to be onsite to make the kind of structural and non-structural decisions that come along with tearing apart a building and putting it back together again. I have a love and passion for all of my jobs, because in the end, I want the customer to move in and smile. That’s all I’m looking for out of the whole situation—when I see their enjoyment, that’s the best part of all for me.”
“HomeAid Northern Virginia is proud to have partnered with Final Salute and to upgrade and enhance housing opportunities for female veterans returning from deployments and struggling with housing stability. Secure housing can change lives, enable success in school and in the workplace,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director Kristyn Burr. “No veteran in this country should be without a safe and stable roof over his or her head. HomeAid is grateful to builders and trade partners who donated significant time, expertise, materials and labor to improve the lives of these women and their families.”
Eighty-five percent of the project cost was covered through donations made by HomeAid, Winchester Homes and construction trade partners, as well as a Final Salute grant from the Flatley Foundation and HomeAid funding from Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Van Metre Companies Foundation and the Home Depot Foundation.
Thank you to Winchester Homes and the following trade partners for helping to provide 10 families a safe, stable new home!
Annandale Millwork & Allied Systems
Colorworld Paint & Drywall
East Coast Insulation
IDS/Broad Run Recycling
Hizer Home Improvement
J&D Cleaning Services, LLC
Model Home Interiors
Noel’s Fire Protection
Philip Hizer Home Improvement
Summit Management Permitting Service
Sundecks by T&A Contractors
United Site Services
W.C. Ralston Architecture
In Your Neighborhood
HomeAid, Brookfield Residential Breathe New Life into Gabriel Homes’ Oldest House
The last time HomeAid Northern Virginia worked on Gabriel Homes’ Reston house, the Builder Captain was Stanley Martin Homes, and HomeAid Northern Virginia was a brand-new non-profit in the area. In the 15 years since, Gabriel Homes has strived to keep the house in great condition, but with up to four adult men regularly transitioning through the house, the wear and tear had reached a point that the house needed an overhaul. So, in late July, 2018 Builder Captain Brookfield Residential, HomeAid Northern Virginia, 12 trade partners, and 25 Brookfield employee volunteers completed a $30,000+ renovation of the entire 2,016-square foot home, including improving accessibility inside and outside the 46-year-old home; refreshing and upgrading the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, and basement; painting; adding storage; remediating mold; and replacing flooring and carpeting throughout.
“Of the seven homes we own, this one is the oldest and has seen some of the hardest use,” said Rebecca Hartner, executive director for Gabriel Homes. “The men who live here are learning to be independent, and we’ve seen a lot of people come through as they develop the skills they’ll need to move on to bigger and better things. That has a big impact—it’s hard to keep a home in perfect shape when there’s so much movement and activity. This renovation brings us to our goal of always providing a home to our clients that we ourselves would want to live in with our own families. We want our clients to feel proud of and happy in their new home, and when someone appreciates and notices how nice their home is, they’ll take better care of it. From a resident’s perspective, it’s a huge gift to walk in the front door and know that this beautiful home is yours. From a staff perspective, it’s equally important: the average national turnover in this field is 50 percent, but ours is only 10 percent. I attribute it to the fact that our work environment is clean and nice, and a good working environment helps maintain a positive attitude, which allows us to do positive things for our residents. It all goes hand-in-hand and boosts us all.
“I’m also proud of the fact that we have unannounced, spontaneous inspections from the state licensing department,” she added, “and their first words through the door are invariably, ‘Wow, I could live here.’ And I think, ‘Why wow? This is a home, and our clients deserve the right to live in a place that’s as nice as where we live.’ They should feel equally comfortable, and I can say unequivocally that HomeAid has been instrumental in helping us keep that ‘wow’ factor.”
“I’ve worked on HomeAid projects before,” added Brookfield Residential’s Director of Construction Marc Dalessio, “and it’s always good to give back to local communities and to the organizations and people who need help. We do this kind of work every day for a living, so it’s so much easier for us to manage the process and get the right contractors in there to transform these homes.”
Gabriel Homes gives residents the opportunity to stay in supportive homes for as long as they need to learn the skills they want and need to live independently, and this property is a 24-hour care site. To minimize disruption to the residents’ progress toward independence, Brookfield Residential and Gabriel Homes coordinated the work to be completed during residents’ summer vacations.
Thank you, Brookfield Residential and the following trade partners for helping to provide four men with intellectual disabilities a home to feel proud of!
Atlantic Building Supply
MidSouth Building Supply
TNT Services Group
Trade Partner Spotlight
Building a team is always one of the first things a Builder Captain does once they’ve committed to leading a project with HomeAid, and when Brookfield Residential took on the $30,000+ renovation project at Gabriel Homes’ Reston house, they turned to their tried and true partners. And with a significant amount of work needed in flooring and tiling for the 2,106 square foot home, Executive Floors was a key player in the success of the project.
“Ian Uhler, account manager for Executive Floors, is a longtime partner of ours, and we’ve worked with them for a number of years,” said Brookfield Residential’s Director of Construction Marc Dalessio. “Not only did they replace all of the flooring in the living, dining and family rooms, as well as the carpet on the stairs, but they were able to get discounts on the laminate flooring material from a supplier/manufacturer that we also work with frequently. That alone would have made a huge difference in the budget, but then they also supplied all of the tile for the lower-level bathrooms we renovated, for both the walls and floor. They’re just great to work with, and they helped make this project a success.”
“Wherever we can help, we like to give back,” said Uhler, “and that’s why we like to get involved with HomeAid projects. In this case, we work with Marc a lot, and the moment he asked if we’d like to work on the Gabriel Homes project with him, we knew it would be a great opportunity to give back. We’ve been involved with HomeAid for a long time—we always try to do at least one project with one of our builders every year, and it’s always a pleasure.”
Executive Floors, which carried a complete line of products from the world’s leading manufacturers, offers residential and commercial flooring and installation services. The company, founded in 1985, is locally owned and operated.
HomeAid Northern Virginia Launches New Program for Quick Turnover
It happens a lot: a tenant moves out, and once they’ve vacated a property, it doesn’t look its best. It may have years-old carpet, walls and paint in desperate need of repair and a refresh, or other wear-and-tear issues. While not considered major renovations, issues such as these have a very real impact on the health, safety, and dignity of residents, but shelter and affordable housing organizations are often faced with three challenges: They’ve lost any rental payments they were getting from the tenants; they lose the voucher rental assistance they receive only when the unit is occupied; and they’re hard-pressed to immediately find the funds needed to replace flooring or repaint, leading to even more financial strain and lost time.
Enter HomeAid Northern Virginia’s newly launched “Turnover Program.” Designed to help organizations quickly prepare units for new tenants by painting and replacing the flooring throughout, the program can easily fill this gap of coverage for our non-profit partners. HomeAid is also prioritizing the use of floor planking rather than carpet; while more expensive upfront, it is far more durable and easier to keep clean.
“Our shelter and affordable housing partners own many townhomes and condos that house a family for a period of time and then need to be quickly turned over,” explained HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director Kristyn Burr. “The goal of the program is to save our partners money by covering the cost of turning over the unit quickly—ensuring that they lose little income in between tenants—and also saving them money over time by replacing carpet with, for example, durable laminate flooring that doesn’t need to be replaced between each tenant. They’re typically fairly quick jobs that rely on just a few trade partners. We knew that such a service would make a big difference for our partners and their clients.”
To kick off the new program, HomeAid worked with Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services, Inc., replacing all of the flooring in three apartments the organization owns, as well as repainting one of the units.
“We would normally put in carpeting,” said Lesley Hatch, vice president and COO for Good Shepherd, “which doesn’t have the same life expectancy as the flooring that HomeAid and their partners were able to put in for us. HomeAid provided a product we can’t normally afford, and it will last for 15 years instead of just the three years that carpeting typically does—and it’s easier to keep clean and healthier for our families with small children. This is the kind of long-term investment in our properties that we can’t always afford to make but that will mean so much to our residents and our ability to fund other programs. We’ve worked with HomeAid for a long time, and they always do a gorgeous job.”
Good Shepherd has served families and individuals at risk of homelessness in Northern Virginia for more than 40 years, and 83 percent of Good Shepherd housing residents are families with children.
Another turnover project took place at a townhome owned by ACTS; a client moved out abruptly, and the unit—particularly the carpet—needed a refresh.
“We knew the minute we saw it that we couldn’t have another person move in until it was fixed, and we didn’t have the budget to do it right away,” said ACTS CEO Steve Liga. “If we applied for a grant, it would result in more time we just didn’t have. With this new Turnaround Program, HomeAid ensures we’ll never have to worry about a nasty carpet again, and the home is painted and cleaned and ready for another family within a few weeks. It means kids can move in to a home that doesn’t look like a hand-me-down! The people we serve have typically been in a shelter, but things are going well for them; the next step is permanent housing. This new ability to move them in fast—into what feels like a new place—is really special and can jumpstart their continued recovery. With the rental rates in this area, houses they can afford aren’t usually very nice and can reinforce ‘they don’t deserve any better.’ These refreshed homes remind them they ARE worth it, and that they’re on their way to more stable futures.
“I love that HomeAid is doing this,” Liga added. “It’s just a super idea that really fills a need.”
This program is funded by HomeAid to ensure that turnovers can be completed quickly and a new family has the opportunity to find stability and safety in a short period of time. Contact us for more information!
In Your Community
Night at Ballpark Canceled Due to Rain
HomeAid to Distribute Backpacks and Free Tickets for Future Game
This July has been one of the wettest in the region’s history, and as much as we hoped that Mother Nature would cooperate with us on Friday, August 3, for our Annual Night at the Ballpark, it was not to be; the Potomac Nationals canceled the game at 6:00 p.m. due to rain and thunderstorms.
While it was a big disappointment, we are hopeful that all of our shelter partner families who had registered to attend can still enjoy a fun night out together—all have received game vouchers to attend any Potomac Nationals game before the end of the season on September 3! We will also distribute 100 percent of the 400 new backpacks that were collected by our supporters before the start of the school year.
Many thanks to all of our partners and supporters who joined us in making our Night at the Ballpark possible; while this year’s game didn’t go as planned, we are grateful to the many supporters, sponsors, and partners who joined us in working to make fun family memories for our region’s youth.
Making It Count
Teens Supporting Teens: Local Students Make Blankets for Residents of Second Story
Teens know teens best, and in July, a group of student artists—all part of the National Art Honor Society at Riverside High School and the National Junior Art Honor Society at Belmont Ridge Middle School in Leesburg—joined together to make 40 cozy “tie” fleece blankets, which join two pieces of fabric with fun, tied fringe. The students made the blankets for teens living at Second Story, formerly known as Alternative House. Cilda Pretorius, HomeAid’s operations and events manager, and Amiee Freeman, programs and communications specialist, delivered the blankets to a very appreciative Tina Seeley, NCC, program manager at Second Story.
“We are so grateful for all of the effort these girls put into this project,” said Seeley. “We’ve distributed them to teens in all our programs, with some going to teen moms and their babies, some to our teen shelter, and others to homeless youth. They’re perfect for their beds or for watching movies, and they will provide so much comfort to youth who really need it. Thank you!”
Founded in 1972 as “Alternative House,” Second Story transforms the lives of children and youth, helping them stay safe, make positive decisions, achieve educational success, and overcome personal crises. The organization offers children, youth and families hope for brighter futures by providing counseling, shelter and neighborhood-based support.
John Monacci, on Finding Inspiration and Paying It Forward
John Monacci, executive vice president for Winchester Homes, has been one of our most dedicated Board members, Builder Captain, and volunteer, willing to do whatever it takes to help us reach our mission. Whether he’s stepping up to lead a project or lead the Board as president, John does it all with boundless energy, an infectious smile, and the will to encourage those around him to jump in and get involved with the organization he cares so much about. Find out what led him to HomeAid Northern Virginia in the first place, and why he keeps coming back for more!
Q: How did you initially get involved and interested in HomeAid?
A: On a personal front, my brother is veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and formerly lived in Florida. He became intermittently homeless, and there were countless people in his community who helped him and gave him a hand up, and he’s now back on his feet and living in Pennsylvania. They’re people who I may never meet, who I may never be able to thank … and so I turned to helping build and support HomeAid Northern Virginia up here, as a way to pay tribute to all who helped my brother. Even though I couldn’t personally thank them, I hope that my involvement here will help pay my gratitude forward.
I’ve now been involved for more than 14 years and served as president of the HomeAid Northern Virginia Board in 2014. Six years ago, I also joined the HomeAid America Board. I just really love this organization, and I love the people. I’m constantly inspired by fellow board members, the staff, the people who work so tirelessly on behalf of the shelter organizations. Everyone gives me a sense of purpose, and it’s what keeps me coming back. Just last month, I attended the ribbon cutting at the recently completed renovation of Final Salute’s house for women veterans and their children, and I got to meet one of the families who will live there. I saw their relief and gratitude, knowing they’ll have this beautiful home in which to continue to thrive. That’s why I keep doing this.
Q: From your perspective, how did it help Final Salute to have HomeAid and partners like Winchester Homes at the table?
A: The project hit a variety of permitting and code challenges with Fairfax County along the way, and those issues really allowed HomeAid and its partners the ability to show our unique talents and skill sets. We’ve seen and done it all, and we have a willing and charitable trade partner base that will come together to make every build and renovation a great experience. Some plans that Final Salute first brought to the project weren’t tenable, but it didn’t matter; we brought in an architect to get us back on the right path, and we can together save the client significant funds through charitable and in-kind donations of labor and materials. We all work together for the most cost-effective solution and experience, navigating the ups and down in the process. It was a longer road than usual for this project, but it ended the same way they all do—an outstanding success and a beautiful home where families can regain their footing and a new chance at rebuilding their lives.
Q: What appealed to you about serving as Builder Captain for this project?
A: Above all, I was drawn to the unique nature of who Final Salute serves – female veterans and their kids. I was astounded to learn – when I first met [Final Salute Founder] Jas Boothe that the Veterans Administration doesn’t provide the same level of benefits to women – only to men – and that women make up 30 percent of active military personnel. That’s just tragic. The fact that she founded Final Salute to fill that void and that we could play a part in giving women and kids a safe place was very appealing. Jas is a formidable woman with a great heart. It was an easy ‘yes.’
Q: What would you say are some of the best reasons for serving as a Builder Captain?
A: First is the experience of seeing what it means for families and individuals who have been through so much. The level of gratitude and overwhelming relief they show gives me an incredibly good feeling, and I love knowing that we gave them a safe place to call home. Bottom line, you receive back so, so much more than you give. It’s also just a great hands-on and practical way to give back to the communities that give us license to continue to do business.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself outside of the building industry … what do you enjoy outside of work?
A: I enjoy time with my family. My wife, Donna, and I have a daughter, Julianna, who will be heading off to James Madison University in the fall. We all like to travel, play golf, and go on adventures with our dog, Cali. I’m also a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan, so it was a wonderful year in that regard.
Our 4th Annual Golf Tournament is coming up on Friday, Sept. 21. The tournament has SOLD OUT, with 144 players ready to hit the links, but you can show your community involvement through sponsorships which are still available. A sponsorship puts your company name front and center and is featured on tournament marketing material. All proceeds from the event will help us continue our mission of building and renovating homes for those experiencing homelessness in Northern Virginia.
The rain cleared and the sun came out just in time for NVBIA’s Women in the Building Industry brewery bash on July 17 at the Caboose Brewing Company in Vienna. Revelers turned out in spades to network, meet new friends, and donate 40 backpacks for distribution to kids from local shelters. Thank you!
Many thanks to the many organizations that also collected backpacks throughout the month—we now have 400 to distribute. And while Mother Nature forced the cancellation of our Night at the Ballpark, we will still ensure that kids in need will get their brand-new backpacks before the start of school. We couldn’t have done it without you, Custom Builders Council, Stanley Martin Homes, Thompson Greenspon, Toll Brothers, and Van Metre Companies!
A big welcome to Vali Thorson, our Training Futures intern. Training Futures is Northern Virginia Family Service’s six-month workforce development program, with a program curriculum that includes courses in computer skills, records management, business communication and writing, and organizational behavior. Enrolled students also attend professional development workshops. Vali will be with us for three weeks, helping with early preparations for the Gala and assisting with some program management work.
Vali, his wife, and their two sons immigrated to the U.S. in March 2017 from East Turkestan, the northern part of China. In China, Vali was a road construction manager and a procurement officer.
“With this internship, I hope to practice what I am learning in Training Futures and adapt those skills to a new office environment,” Vali said. “I found out about this program from one of my friends who was a former Training Futures trainee, and I’m enjoying learning office management systems like Power Point, Word and Excel, as well as improving my public speaking. The program is not only teaching me multiple skills, but it also provides a different office environment opportunity and gives us a new platform from which to launch our future lives.”
Vali also hopes to learn how to help those in the community who need it, as he long-term hopes to find a job that helps people and gives back to the community. “As a member of a low-income family, I know more what people really need, so I hope to help create a better relationship between people and government.”
Builder Appreciation Luncheon
It’s not a wrap until we’ve said thank you, and on July 19, we invited Builder Captain Stanley Martin Homes and all 25 trade partners to BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in Gainesville to say thank you and recognize each partner for their contribution toward the completion of the $70,000 renovation of a townhome owned by Northern Virginia Family Service.
Seen Around Town
If you’ve seen Staged Interior’s trucks around town, you may have noticed a new addition: our logo! The 2018 HomeAid Trade Partner of the Year, the company has worked with us on three major projects since 2016, providing more than $200,000 worth of labor, furniture, and accessories in order to turn our renovation and new-build projects into warm, welcoming homes. We’re so grateful for their support – and we’re thrilled to see them now advertising their support all over town! Thank you, Young and Trish Kim!
Nats, Bats, and Brews
Another big thank you to The Washington Post and long-time HomeAid supporter Howard Bomstein, advertising manager for the Post, for co-hosting a Builder Captain recruitment and appreciation event with us at Nationals Park. Held on August 1, we had a great turnout of seasoned and prospective Builder Captains, and we loved having the opportunity to share what it means to work with us in such a fun atmosphere.
Our Fresh Face
Renovations can happen online, too, and we just have to ask: Have you checked us out online yet? You really must, because we have a gorgeous new website! Thanks to the hard work of Alexandria-based Grafik, our new website features easier navigation, a more streamlined experience, and enhanced graphic design. Please, pay us a visit and let us know what you think!
Save the Date
NVBIA Crab Feast – August 16, 2018, The Farm Brewery at Broad Run
Law Rocks – September 13, 2018, The 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW, Washington, D.C. HomeAid has been chosen by Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley, & Walsh as a beneficiary of this fundraiser.
4th Annual Golf Tournament – September 21, 2018, Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club
NVBIA Oyster Roast – September 27, 2018, Potomac Shores
NVBIA Great American Living Awards – October 4, 2018, Hilton McLean Tysons Corner
Van Metre Cornhole Challenge – October 6, 2018, Brambleton Fall Festival. HomeAid Northern Virginia is a key beneficiary of the Cornhole Challenge!
17th Annual HomeAid Northern Virginia Gala & Auction – November 10, 2018, Lansdowne Resort & Spa