HomeAid Northern Virginia Receives $84,000 from The Home Depot Foundation
Grant will benefit HomeAid project for Final Salute, women veterans, and their children
|HomeAid Northern Virginia was awarded an $84,000 grant from The Home Depot Foundation, 100 percent of which will be directed toward the repair and upgrade of “Karen’s Home.” The Fairfax, Va., home is owned by Final Salute, Inc., a nationally recognized organization that provides supportive services and transitional housing for women veterans, Reserve and Guard component military women, and their children—the fastest growing segment of the homeless population.
The $330,000 renovation is being led by Builder Captain Winchester Homes, a Tri Pointe Group company, with John Monacci, executive vice president of Winchester Homes and a member of both HomeAid Northern Virginia’s and HomeAid America’s Board of Directors, saying, “We at HomeAid Northern Virginia and Winchester Homes are deeply grateful to The Home Depot for their very generous grant for the Final Salute project. This money will go a long way in helping us create a wonderful environment that will assist these female veterans and their families get back on their feet. It is very reassuring that an organization as large as The Home Depot recognizes the plight of the female veteran and is willing to allocate funds to help the cause.”
“The Home Depot and its Foundation have been great supporters of HomeAid projects across the nation for years, but this new grant for the Final Salute project in Northern Virginia is truly a new milestone,” added Peter Simons, CEO of HomeAid America. “We hope that with the new process in place that facilitated this grant, we can expand our partnership together to help homeless veterans across the country.”
The Final Salute home in Fairfax County provides 8,700 sq. ft. of living space for up to 10 residents and will, upon completion, feature eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms, with kitchen and bathroom upgrades, new fixtures, expanded storage, and the overall space layout optimized for residents. A previously under-utilized area of the basement will be converted into living space — with a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen — for a live-in resident manager to provide ongoing services to house residents.
|The Van Metre Annual Cornhole Challenge on October 9 was a stunning success, with 32 registered teams, sponsorships, and a matching gift from the Van Metre Companies Foundation together raising more than $85,000 for HomeAid Northern Virginia. To put the donation in perspective, the Cornhole Challenge last year raised $37,000 for HomeAid; this year, organizers had set what they thought was a lofty goal of $50,000.
“Raising $85,000—with money still coming in—was without question a lot more than we expected,” admitted Kevin Rabil, founder and director of the Cornhole Challenge and operations manager for Van Metre Homes. “We increased the minimum amount each team had to raise in order to register, but more importantly, we changed the format to incentivize teams to spread the word about HomeAid and raise more money for the cause. Each team’s starting position in the tournament depended on how much money they had raised, and in the weeks leading up to the tournament, we sent out the teams’ standings … which spurred people to keep raising more. The teams ultimately more than doubled the amount they raised last year.”
HomeAid will direct 100 percent of the funds to its Final Salute project, a $330,000 renovation of “Karen’s Home,” which provides transitional housing for 10 homeless women veterans, their children, and a full-time resident manager. Karen’s Home is owned by Final Salute, Inc., and the project is being led by Builder Captain Winchester Homes, a Tri Pointe Group company. Final Salute is a nationally recognized organization that is tailored to the needs of women veterans; more than 60 percent of government-funded programs that take in veterans, on the other hand, don’t take in women, don’t take in women with children, have age limits on the children, or have limits on the number of children accepted.
The Founder of Final Salute shares her thoughts and thanks …
“Donations of this size – from The Home Depot, from VanMetre, and from their supporters – is absolutely amazing,” said Jaspen (Jas) Boothe, founder of Final Salute and a Major currently serving in the Army Reserves. “There are not enough words to describe my gratitude for their support of women veteran and their children, who are often a forgotten population. These women have served and sacrificed for our nation, and donations like these go so far beyond a handshake and a ‘thank you.’ Putting their support and company and values behind that ‘thank you’ means that they’re preventing a woman veteran and child from being homeless in a nation she served to protect.”
Builders Consortium to Renovate Community Lodgings
HomeAid Northern Virginia and a Builders Consortium of four Builder Captains—Brookfield Residential, Evergreene Homes, M/I Homes, and Richmond American Homes—have stepped up to complete a major renovation of an eight-unit apartment building for Community Lodgings in Alexandria, Va. The $900,000 project will, upon completion, provide housing and stability for families working toward independence and self-sufficiency through Community Lodging’s comprehensive program of transitional housing, affordable housing, and youth education. The idea of teaming four Builder Captains is for HomeAid a new concept of project management, but one that allowed HomeAid to take on a significant project for a key service provider.
“In a year when we just completed the $733,000 construction of a new home on the campus of Youth For Tomorrow, we had to recognize that immediately accepting a $900,000 project wouldn’t be easy,” said Barry Schwartz, HomeAid Board member and co-liaison to the Community Lodgings project. “This Consortium represents our creativity and nimbleness … this is a large project that not many builders could handle alone. It still represents a $250,000 project for each of the four builders—it’s not by any stretch a small commitment—but it’s more manageable, and it’s a great example of our board’s and builder partners’ spirit of cooperation. I look forward to working with our four Builder Captains— who put aside their natural competitiveness with each other to work together with HomeAid on this important community project. Community Lodgings is a long-time, important member of our service community, and we approached this challenge with the philosophy that we had to figure out a way to get it done.”
Russ Rosenberger, a co-liaison to the project from HomeAid’s Board of Directors, agreed, saying, “This new concept illustrates how HomeAid can harness its resources. We and our partners have a can-do attitude, and we’re flexible and creative in finding ways to accomplish our objectives. The Community Lodgings renovation was going to be a huge undertaking for any one company, and this solution—while possibly requiring a little more management and oversight to ensure coordination amongst a bigger team of players—is one that I’m really proud to be a part of.”
The project will entail gutting, rebuilding, and upgrading all eight units, with additional funding provided by the City of Alexandria; Virginia Community Capital; and the Virginia Housing Development Authority. The project is expected to be completed in Summer 2107.
November is National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month: How Will YOU Make a Difference in Someone’s Life?
|Thanksgiving has for decades spurred Americans to volunteer in soup kitchens or make and deliver meals to the homeless, sometimes resulting in the number of volunteers exceeding demand during the relatively short time period right before the holiday. So in 2015, HomeAid America joined the nationwide “Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month” campaign effort to help tap into that surge in volunteer interest and encourage a month-long spirit of giving, volunteering, and working toward long-term change through education.
“This year’s campaign, which kicked off on November 1st, is designed to raise awareness of the plight that many of our neighbors, colleagues and community members face every day, as they struggle to find housing, a dependable source of food, shelter from the elements, or simply a place to lay their head,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Executive Director Christy Zeitz. “HomeAid Northern Virginia is proud to again participate in the HomeAid America’s Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month for the second year, joining 14 other participating chapters around the country.”
In addition to our year-round efforts to build new lives for Northern Virginia’s homeless, HomeAid Northern Virginia will host a toy drive during our 15th Anniversary Gala & Auction on November 5; collected toys will be donated to Women Giving Back (WGB) for holiday distribution to children in local shelters. On November 14, we’ll be teaming up with the SevaTruck Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing hunger in our communities by serving hot, nutritious meals to anyone in need. Together, SevaTruck and HomeAid will travel to Woodbridge’s “Tent City”, a 50-acre homeless camp, to offer hot meals and backpacks filled with blankets and other cold-weather essentials to the families and individuals living there. From November 16-18, Zeitz will attend the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference—the Commonwealth’s largest housing event, with education sessions led by experts in housing, finance and community development—to understand the trends and challenges we face in finding homes for those who need them. HomeAid’s program manager will distribute grocery gift cards and household essentials, which have been collected through our Helping Hands program, to families and individuals who have moved into recently completed HomeAid projects. And, we will continue our education and information campaign online and in-person, working to help people understand that homelessness affects all of us, and we can all be part of the solution.
Find out how YOU can participate in Homelessness Awareness Month—and be inspired by ideas of how others are working to make change!
HomeAid’s Helping Hands Program Attracts Wide Range of Volunteers, Donations
|Giving back and getting involved with HomeAid Northern Virginia can mean a lot of things to a wide range of people. For some, it’s constructing and doing the finishing work on homes. For others, it’s funding those efforts. And for others, it’s getting involved in smaller but equally important ways through HomeAid’s Helping Hands program, which collects grocery gift cards and household essentials for local shelter partners, and connects volunteers who want to offer talents as varied as photography to cooking to life-skills training and education.
Over the past month, HomeAid has received a virtual goodie bag of gifts from a wide range of donors. NVBIA’s Women in the Building Industry (WBI) committee, for example, donated approximately $750 worth of bed linens, pots and pans, and kitchen and bathroom items—packed into 10 laundry baskets—that Kristyn Burr, HomeAid’s program manager, can deliver to families and individuals moving out of homelessness and living in our recently completed projects.
“It was an easy thing for us to do at a recent networking event we held,” explained Lauren Duvall, chair of WBI’s community service committee and a senior wetlands scientist at TNT Environmental. “The community service component is really important to WBI, and we were excited to hear about all the projects that HomeAid was working on. We wanted to be part of that, but we all work for different companies … this was the perfect way to do something together while making a bigger impact than if we tried it alone.”
Next, Feld Entertainment generously donated 150 tickets to the always-popular Disney on Ice performance at George Mason University’s EagleBank Arena.
Veronica Roth, program director at Catholic Charities, received 11 tickets from HomeAid that she gave to two of their largest families, allowing them to enjoy a rare night out with family. “It’s really a wonderful opportunity for them,” she said. “On any given day, this is something they’d never be able to do … this will be such a special night for them, and they’re really excited to go.”
Meghan Huebner, director of residential services at The Alternative House, also secured a group of tickets for young mothers, aged 18-21, and their children. “These young women are either working or going to school or both at least 30 hours a week, and they’re on a tight budget,” Huebner said. “They’re paying down debt if they have it, and prioritizing money for food, for their children, and for transit to school or work. An event like Disney on Ice is something they would never be able to comfortably afford, so getting these tickets from HomeAid is a huge luxury. The moms are as excited as the kids are!”
Then, Karen Garceau, senior account executive at Insurance Associates, volunteered at HomeAid’s golf tournament in October and within days, the company donated $250 worth of grocery gift cards.
“Insurance Associates is one of the few independent insurance agencies in the Mid-Atlantic region that specializes in construction,” she said, “and since its founding in 1956, a guiding principle is that any truly successful organization must never lose sight of its responsibility to the community at large, and must always incorporate as a part of its mission the support of charitable organizations. As new members of NVBIA, we are proud to support Home Aid and look forward to working with the organization in the future.”
Make a positive difference; get involved with Helping Hands!
Doug Smith Raises the Stakes by Raising the Paddle for HomeAid
|Doug Smith, president of Miller & Smith, has served on HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Board of Directors for most of the organization’s 15 years. He is a crucial part of our Annual Gala & Auction, and he encourages everyone in the industry to attend or get involved with the fundraising aspect of the Gala. He and his wife generously sponsor the Doug and Ann Smith Paddle Challenge each year, which is a fun way for industry professionals to contribute to HomeAid while having their donations matched dollar-for-dollar by the Smith’s. “This charity is important to us,” Smith said. “And the paddle challenge is a way to help other people get involved and see the work that this charity does.”
Q: Why is HomeAid important to the community?
A: HomeAid is really unique in that although we live in one of the wealthiest areas in the country, there are individuals and families who find themselves homeless. HomeAid Northern Virginia addresses that need in a very efficient manner. Most of the transitionally homeless are mothers and children fleeing from an abusive relationship, and HomeAid helps find a way to help these vulnerable individuals during this difficult time in their lives.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being involved with this organization?
A: It’s been really good for our organization. It’s one of the most rewarding things we do as a company. By contributing to HomeAid, we’re doing two things: We’re providing some great work for charities, and we’re making a significant impact on helping them do things better. But what I’ve really found is that it energizes our organization. There are so many people in our organization who know someone transitionally homeless, or perhaps have found themselves being transitionally homeless. So when we have an opportunity to do a project for HomeAid, it really hits close to home for them, and it becomes one of the most significant things that they do that year. It’s been great for the charities, but it’s been equally great for Miller & Smith and our subcontractors who do the work.
Q: You’ve been a big supporter of HomeAid over the years. With all of the wonderful charities out there, what is it about HomeAid that is special?
A: There are two things that make HomeAid Northern Virginia special: Seeing homebuilders within our industry getting together to help address a problem, and solving issues and doing good deeds within the community, in a very efficient way. As homebuilders, we’re very good at building houses and efficiently bidding jobs with our subcontractors. And our care provider partners do a great job of providing services for the transitionally homeless. Combined, it really lets us capitalize on our skill of doing the construction. For the most part, we can save care providers about 50 percent of what the market rate of a particular project would be, which frees up a tremendous amount of resources for those care providers, who can then provide either better service, or additional housing, for the transitionally homeless. It’s an efficient model that has worked well over the past 15 years and has made a significant impact on the community. It allows us to do what we do best, and the care providers to do what they do best.
Q: What would you say to builders or potential trade partners who might be considering getting involved with HomeAid?
A: Do it, and to do it enthusiastically. Not only is it a great charitable activity where you see real, tangible results, but you’re also giving transitionally homeless people a dignified way to make this transition. It provides great bonding within your own company.
Q: HomeAid’s Annual Gala is this Saturday; what is your favorite thing about the Gala?
A: The whole evening is a pretty phenomenal event, but what I think I like the most is that it’s a very competitive industry that we’re in, but for this one evening, everyone comes together and enjoys the conversations, the comradery, and the philanthropic endeavors that we celebrate. It’s great for the whole industry to get together behind a unique charity. It’s just a great atmosphere—everyone in the industry is there, whether they’re homebuilders, contractors, bankers, or lenders. So it’s a wonderful networking opportunity, with all of our industry players under one roof. So it’s a great opportunity to reacquaint yourself or get to know all of the people in the building industry.
Q: How was the idea for the Paddle Challenge conceived?
A: The idea really came about in talking with people who had been to HomeAid fundraisers. One of the fundraising mechanisms is an auction of items and goods, but not everyone is a “winner” during the auction. There are a large number of people who want to be able to give to the charity that evening, but there wasn’t really a mechanism to allow people just to support that charity if they weren’t successful in winning an auction item. So, the Paddle Challenge came about as a way for people to give whatever amount they want to, and it is matched dollar-for-dollar up to a certain amount. It has evolved into a really great fundraiser, and my wife and I feel fortunate that we’re able to do this.
Q: What’s the best part about being a homebuilder?
A: It’s really a creative, dynamic process. You are building something that’s lasting, and for the most part, it’s a person’s biggest purchase. So many memories are made in the homes that we build for our buyers, and I really enjoy going back and seeing the communities that have evolved over the years. Miller & Smith is more than 50 years old, so I can drive through that first community that we built, and those houses are still there, and I can see how the communities have evolved and developed. It’s pretty unique to have a job where you’re building something that lasts for generations.
We all thoroughly enjoy doing projects for HomeAid Northern Virginia, as well. We generally do a project per year with HomeAid, either a smaller renovation project for a shelter, or a much larger project. Employees clamor to do those jobs; they get a lot of satisfaction from them. So instead of me asking if they want to do a HomeAid project, they’re asking me. It’s been really great to see that transition.
|Debbie Rosenstein, Rosenstein Research Associates and former president of NVBIA, has been appointed to the HomeAid Northern Virginia Board of Directors.|
|Indira Kc-Karki has joined HomeAid’s staff as our marketing intern. She is enrolled in Training Futures, a six-month workforce development program of Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) that is accredited by the Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC). The program curriculum includes courses in computer skills, records management, business communication and writing, and organizational behavior, and enrolled students also attend professional development workshops and weekly speakers club meetings.
“I recently enrolled at NVCC and was pleased to secure this internship at HomeAid,” Kc-Karki explained, “because it’s so committed to helping other local charitable organizations and provides quality housing for families and individuals to help minimize the effects of homelessness on their health and well-being. Its focus on helping others is very appealing to me, and I look forward to learning many things through my experience here, including office behavior and time management, as well as how to help one another, do volunteer work, work in teams, and work as a professional.”
“Volunteering is a long-term aspiration of mine, because helping people makes me happy, and helping others is a great way to learn how to work as part of team, give back to our community, and expand my knowledge,” she added.
For students looking for meaningful work experience, an internship with HomeAid can launch a career. HomeAid is offering internships in a variety of positions, and all offer meaningful, real-world work experience in a busy office. Stipends available! To apply, send a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.