Executive Director's Corner
With the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching—with its bounty and family gatherings—it feels particularly appropriate that this month is also Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month. There are many thousands of individuals and families in our communities who don’t have a home, don’t have a support system, and don’t know where their next meal will come from. The weather is also turning, and the stress of finding warmth is only growing. But next week, I look forward to helping change those realities for the people we serve through our non-profit partners, as hundreds of us gather for our 17th Annual Gala & Auction. It’s a glittering, fun, and exciting night—which may seem a juxtaposition for those who we are serving, but the importance of events like these cannot be overstated.
This annual Gala is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars we’ve raised together has meant change and hope within our community this year. Newly constructed/renovated homes, shelters for the men, women, and children who need it most. A food pantry that can serve more in a dignified way. Updates to supplies delivered to tent city residents and critical memory-making events for kids who rarely know the experience of a fun and stress-free family night out.
I look forward to seeing everyone, celebrating together, and making a huge impact on our little corner of the world.
In the Spotlight
Are YOU Ready for the Greatest Event of the Year?
Just one more week until our biggest fundraiser of the year—our “Give Me Shelter” cirque-themed 17th Annual Gala & Auction next Saturday, November 10! We have so much to offer this year, with a champagne welcome, cocktail reception featuring a DJ, and a signature drink sponsored by Capitol Building Supply. We’ll wow you with a mini cirque show, you can get your fortune told, and our silent auction (sponsored by Tamko) and live auction (sponsored by Darvish Companies) will offer a wide range of items for every budget, including:
- Weekend in Kohler, Wisconsin, at The American Club, with tee time at the renowned Straits Course and River Course, donated by Kohler
- Washington Redskins helmet—worn during a game—signed by Head Coach Jay Gruden, donated by the Washington Redskins
- Field-to-table bird hunting excursion and dinner with Chef Jacques of L’Auberge Chez François, donated by Steve Gray
- Flight and three-night stay in Las Vegas, with tickets to Cirque du Soleil
- Trip for four to Cuba including stay and excursions
- Jersey, signed by Stanley Cup Champion and Washington Capitals TJ Oshie, donated by Bruce Rahmani
- Innovative smart home technology package, donated by Sight & Sound
- Hot passes to the Spring NASCAR race in Richmond with Kurt Busch memorabilia, donated by Kurt & Ashley Busch.
Thanks to a brand new and interactive paperless bidding system, you can network, eat, drink, and have your photo taken while privately bidding!!
Final Salute’s founder, Jas Boothe, will also share her inspirational story, and we’ll all learn how the HomeAid-led renovation of Final Salute’s property in Fairfax County is helping 10 women veterans and their children find new footing. Raise your paddles for the auctioneer-led paddle challenge, and join us in applauding honorees during our 2018 Presidents’ Circle Award presentation, sponsored by Builders Floor Service, over a three-course dinner. Our double truss bar, sponsored by Van Metre Homes, will be back in the ballroom, and don’t miss the after-party donut wall and bar, sponsored by Pulte Homes!
This year’s dress code will be fun formal. We look forward to seeing you there!
This year’s event presented by
Thank you to all of our event sponsors; please click here for a full listing!
In Your Neighborhood
HomeAid, Ace Carpentry Convert Bedrooms to Suites for ACTS
In the spring, HomeAid and partners completed a full basement renovation at the ACTS Women’s Empowerment Center, converting 2,452 square feet of space into classrooms and offices that enable the Center to offer diverse training and comprehensive case management so that women in need can find all they need to live on their own and maximize their potential.
This month, we’ve embarked on another major project for ACTS, with Ace Carpentry, Inc., serving as Builder Captain and trade partners working to convert six bedrooms—1,800 square feet upstairs—into three living suites, each with their own bath. All-new flooring and fresh interior paint will also be included in the project. Three chronically homeless women and their children will live in the suites while the women are enrolled in ACTS’ “Empowering Women in Transition” residential program.
“This is the first HomeAid project we’ve led,” said Ace Carpentry General Manager Thomas Vittitow. “I started building homes 20 years ago—starting with Jerry Berman at Lennar—and because of his involvement, I’ve been wanting to get involved too … and this project came up during a perfect window of opportunity. It’s been a great experience, and it’s been a pleasure building our team of trade partners—everyone has done an incredible job, and they’re all willing to step up and do what it takes to get this project done for ACTS.”
“This house was originally configured for our transitional living program, with one room per woman or per family,” explained ACTS CEO Steven Liga. “Under that program, the women were employed and working with a caseworker, and they only stayed up to six months. We’re now transitioning to a permanent supportive housing model, which allows women to stay for a longer period of time, with the goal being getting them on their own in two years. The women who will live here will have significant barriers to getting out their own more quickly, such as mental illness or a disability that leaves them chronically at risk for homelessness, and in order to get funded for this model, we couldn’t have one room per woman or family.
“This renovation will give us the space we need for this model,” he continued, “with three beautiful suites of varying sizes—a one-room studio, a two-room apartment, and a three-room apartment—which will allow us to accommodate families of different sizes. They’ll all have their own bathrooms and can share a common kitchen, rec area, and laundry. It’s the first time we’re able to follow this model, and we’re really excited—it ties in so nicely with the previous HomeAid project that converted our basement into classrooms and office space, as it allows our residents to really have their own space for living vs. being enrolled in our programming.”
Thank you, Ace Carpentry and trade partners, for giving three women and their children the gift of a beautiful personal space to live in as they work toward independence.
Second Turnover Project Completed at ACTS
HomeAid Northern Virginia’s new Turnover Program is all about quickly refreshing properties that don’t need major renovations, but that do need a fresh coat of paint and updated flooring. At a three-level town home owned by ACTS in Woodbridge, we recently replaced dirty, worn carpet with luxury vinyl planking and repainted the entire interior. The result is a warm, welcoming, and clean home that not only allows new families to move in quickly, but also helps preserve ACTS’ funding for years to come so that they can redirect it toward programs and services for those experiencing homelessness.
This program is funded by HomeAid, but we couldn’t do it with out the support and expertise of our trade partners. Thanks to the following for the quick turnaround on this unit: Construction Applicators, Darvish Interiors, and McCormick Paints.
Did You Know?
In Your Community
Van Metre Cornhole Challenge, NVBIA Future Leaders Support HomeAid
On Saturday, October 6, the Van Metre Companies Foundation hosted the 7th Annual Van Metre Cornhole Challenge, presented by Buhl Electric as part of the Brambleton Fall Festival, and 32 teams raised an incredible $110,000 that will be split evenly between three organizations—HomeAid Northern Virginia, HeroHomes of Loudoun, and Payton’s Project. Van Metre has been supporting us through this tournament for four years, donating a total of over $250,000 over the years to HomeAid, and we are profoundly grateful. Our ability to make a difference in the communities in which we work and live is thanks to companies and supporters like Van Metre. Thank you!
Closing out the month, NVBIA’s Future Leaders honored Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month for the second consecutive year—and helped ensure a less stressful and happier start to the holiday season for families in need—when they collected $905 worth of grocery gift cards at their Oktoberfest networking event at Mustang Sally Brewery. With thousands of individuals struggling with food insecurity in Northern Virginia, these kinds of donations are incredibly important; not only do they help put food on the table, but they also boost self-esteem by giving gift card recipients the opportunity to shop and make food choices just like anyone else. Thank you, Future Leaders!
Did You Know?
Supporting the Community One Auction Item at a Time
Jennifer Keesling, director of customer experience for Van Metre Homes, has been one of our most committed and consistent volunteers since 2004, starting as a member of the Gala committee and, since 2009, serving as the chair of the Auction Committee’s procurement function. The funds that our Auction Committee brings in—through its silent and live auctions—is enormous; since Jenn stepped up as Gala procurement chair, the Auction Committee has raised about $290,000 for HomeAid, all of which went toward supporting our mission of ending homelessness in Northern Virginia. Read on to find out why Jenn got involved, and why she keeps coming back year after year!
Q: How did you initially get involved with HomeAid? What drew you to the organization?
A: My connection with HomeAid started through my boss at the time who was heavily involved in the organization and recruited me to help with the Annual Gala. The more time I spent learning about the organization, the more I wanted to help. I loved the diversity of the projects that HomeAid supported, from expanding shelters to provide more space, to townhome renovations for transitional families, to an entire house built for survivors of sex trafficking.
Q: What do you find most challenging about your work with the Auction Committee, and what is the most gratifying?
A: This will be my 14th year helping with the Gala; I started assisting with procurement, and, as time went on, I ended up taking over the role of Procurement Chair for the silent and live auctions. I think the most challenging part was during the downturn when we really had to shift where we were getting items from compared to previous years. Although, that challenge has resulted in building some great relationships with donors outside of our industry! I will say, though, that it is absolutely amazing the amount of support that our trade partners provide. Year after year, project after project, they are oftentimes donating to multiple projects and to our Gala in one year without hesitation. The most gratifying part would be two-fold: seeing everyone at the event excited for the different items is great, but seeing the people who we help during the projects and knowing that the money from the Gala allowed us to provide a home for a mother and her children and seeing the excitement on their faces is the most gratifying part of all.
Q: What makes you keep saying ‘yes’ when asked to help out again each year?
A: The people that we help by providing support for the various HomeAid projects. If anyone has participated in a HomeAid project and has been able to see the reaction of the families moving into the home/shelter that we worked on, then you know exactly what I am talking about. I’ve had the pleasure of working on the Builder Captain team for multiple HomeAid projects, and there is nothing more rewarding than providing that support.
Q: Why would you tell someone to go to the Gala?
A: The Gala is such an important part of the HomeAid puzzle. While everyone has a fun evening giving back to a worthy cause, it’s important for those who may not have the opportunity to participate on the front lines of a HomeAid project to see what HomeAid has been doing that year. The Gala gives HomeAid the chance to highlight their projects and show how they have impacted those who they are serving, along with providing recognition to those folks who work so tirelessly throughout the year helping on these projects. The most impressive part of the evening is during the Paddle Challenge, where we light up the room with donations; you can give anywhere from $50 to $5000, and, as you donate, we give you a lighted object. Just look around the room at the end of that and you’ll see an entire room of amazingly generous people with all the lights lit up across the room.
Q: What do you love most about your career?
A: I have been blessed to work with an amazing group of people over the 15 years that I have been in the industry. I’ve been lucky enough to work with two builders who not only support my time with HomeAid but who also are heavy supporters themselves, giving their own personal time to various projects while serving on the HomeAid Board. The homebuilding industry’s support of charities like HomeAid makes me proud of our industry and of our commitment to giving back.
Did You Know?
On the night of January 24, 2018, there were 987 people who were literally homeless in the Fairfax-Falls Church community, representing a two percent increase from January 2017 (23 more people). But, the total decrease in the homeless population from 2008 to 2018 is 46 percent, which represents 848 fewer people homeless on one night in January 2018 than there were on one night in January 2008.
Applause to Richmond American Homes for taking on our next project at Vint Hill Transitional Housing. Your willingness to serve as Builder Captain will make a life-changing difference to the families enrolled in Vint Hill’s intensive, one- to two-year program that helps them acquire the skills necessary to maintain stable and independent living.
Thank you, Wells Fargo, for your generous $7,500 grant, which will help support our mission of ending homelessness in Northern Virginia.
Thank you, NVBIA, for your donation of $2,500, presented to HomeAid during the Great American Living Awards. The funds we receive from events such as this will support our mission throughout the year and give us latitude to enact new programs, like our Turnover Program, which pays for the painting and flooring of housing units between clients.
And, a round of applause for Walmart, for an additional three grants this year totaling $10,500 from 11 of our local stores!
Save the Date
17th Annual HomeAid Northern Virginia Gala & Auction – November 10, 2018, Lansdowne Resort & Spa
NVBIA 2019 President’s Ball – January 26, 2019, Hilton McLean Tysons Corner
2nd Annual GolfAid Fundraiser – March 7, 2019, TopGolf Loudoun, more info coming soon!
In observance of Thanksgiving, the HomeAid Northern Virginia office will be closed on Thursday, November 22, and Friday, November 23, 2018.