Join HomeAid on the Links for 2nd Annual Golf Tournament
Building partnerships—while having fun at an affordable and collegial event—has never been easier: Join HomeAid Northern Virginia on September 23, when we host our 2nd Annual Golf Tournament at Raspberry Falls Golf & Country Club! This event will sell out, so register today and check out the many sponsorship opportunities available. All funds raised support HomeAid programs such as Helping Hands and the Housing Forum, community-building events such as Night at the Ballpark, and important recognition efforts for our homebuilder and shelter partners.
The tournament—the brainchild of John Darvish, Brian Davidson, and Jason McDonough—was created with the goal of giving the homebuilding industry a new opportunity to get together, learn more about what HomeAid does, and build support for its mission.
“We organized this golf tournament in between HomeAid’s summer BBQ and the fall Gala so that builders, trade partners, industry associations, and staff could have some fun in a totally different way,” explained Brian Davidson, executive vice president at Van Metre Homes. “For golfers, Raspberry Falls is one of the top courses in the area, and most of the builders active in this area will have a team there. It’s the perfect way to meet and network in a relaxed setting and give back to a community that has been good to us. The funds we raise help send kids from local shelters to a baseball game, provide a one-of-a-kind educational program and networking opportunity for our shelter partners and caseworkers, and support a program that encourages food drives and donations of household essentials. It’s a great event with a positive message.”
“At the end of the day, we want to fill the event and encourage supporters to come out with their staff, spend the morning at a golf course at an affordable rate, and support the critically important work that HomeAid does for our community’s homeless,” added Jason McDonough, senior vice president at Cardinal Bank. “It’s never felt more important to grow the community’s knowledge about HomeAid, as we need Builder Captains for several projects, and as we take on bigger and bigger projects, like the Youth For Tomorrow new builds that Stanley Martin Homes and Toll Brothers have led. I was so proud when we sold out our field and raised $40,000 at our inaugural event last year, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this year’s tournament stacks up!”
HomeAid, M/I Homes Renovate Vint Hill Transitional Housing for Family Working Toward Independence
HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain M/I Homes, and 15 trade partners have completed a $35,000 renovation of a three-bedroom townhome for Fauquier Family Shelter Services’ Vint Hill Transitional Housing Program, which will enable a single mom and her three children to transition from homelessness to independence, in a safe, stable, and now beautiful home.
Nearly 90 percent of the renovation—which included the kitchen, bathrooms, and flooring—was covered by M/I Homes and its trade partners, allowing Vint Hill Transitional Housing Program to invest critical funding toward programs that serve its clients rather than on costly home updates and repairs.
“This program was founded in 2000 and has served more than 150 families in Northern Virginia,” said Sheri Thorpe, interim executive director for Fauquier Family Shelter Services. “Residents pay 30 percent of their gross income per month for housing—and they must maintain full time employment and participate in educational programs in order to remain enrolled in our program. So taking away the worry about where they’ll live—and providing them with a beautifully renovated and updated supportive home—is a huge component of their ability to reach independence. We are so grateful to HomeAid and M/I Homes’ construction team for giving this gift to this family. Living in a home like this means more than a safe place to lay their head; it’s also a boost to their self-esteem to know that people care about them and want to see them succeed.”
“The best part about being a HomeAid Builder Captain is that the work is local, and we get to see the immediate impact that the project has on the people who will move into the home,” said Eric Ferreira, vice president of construction for M/I Homes. “And when the families see that a group of people have donated their time and money to help them improve their lives, it gives them the confidence that they are on the right track.
“I also don’t live far from the project—maybe 10 minutes,” he added. “So the families, the organization and I are all part of the same community. We shop at the same stores, eat at the same restaurants, and our kids play on the same sports teams. M/I Homes just finished building new homes in the same neighborhood, and our model homes are two miles away. This is as local as it gets.”
Helping Hands Program Eases Move-In for Single Mom
A single mom and her children, who recently moved into a townhome unit at Vint Hill that was renovated by HomeAid and M/I Homes, also benefited from HomeAid’s Helping Hands program, which allows HomeAid to provide household essentials—such as cookware, dishes, towels, shower curtains, and grocery gift cards—so that individuals and families can focus on recovery instead of worrying about making costly purchases for their new home.
For the Vint Hill project, a single generous donor—who preferred to remain anonymous—stocked the entire home with all of the kitchen, bath, and bedroom essentials they would need.
“I’ve donated funds before, but I felt it was time to get more personally involved and find an even more direct way to help the homeless,” she told us earlier this spring. “I learned about the Helping Hands program and knew the timing was right; it was a great way to totally outfit a home for a family who needs the extra help.”
Please contact Kristyn Burr at 571.283.6300 to find out how you can get involved with Helping Hands!
Thank you, M/I Homes and the following trade partners,
Virginia Punchout and Cleaning
|There’s a lot of things that Eric Ferreira, vice president of construction for M/I Homes, likes about working on HomeAid projects—the feeling of giving back, supporting the community in which he lives and works, and giving families new hope. But when M/I Homes served as Builder Captain on a townhome for Fauquier Family Shelter Services’ Vint Hill Transitional Housing Program, he was reminded of another, perhaps less obvious benefit: The close-knit feeling that comes from working with trade partners toward a philanthropic, common goal.
“Working on a HomeAid project brings us all closer together, and in particular, it made me think back on how long I’ve known and worked with Luis Vasquez, now the owner of Best Painting. We met more than 15 years ago, and I have watched him grow his company as we’ve built our own relationship over the years. He’s a quality, hard-working guy, who epitomizes what I love about working with trade partners on HomeAid projects. He always takes responsibility for everything and is always willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. He’ll do it himself if that’s what it takes to make it right.
“We work with trade partners on construction sites every day,” he added, “but you see a different side of them when we work on these projects together. I learn about their families, their hobbies and their lives. It’s one of my favorite things about working as a Builder Captain, and I’m grateful for these opportunities to get to know people like Luis in a new and different light.”
“M/I Homes is a number-one partner for us, and when they asked us to help with this HomeAid project, it was an easy ‘yes!’,” said Vasquez. “The Vint Hill project—where we repaired and replaced drywall throughout the townhome and repainted the interior—is probably the second or third time we’ve worked on a HomeAid renovation, and it feels so good to give back, for people who really need it. It’s a treasured experience.”
Best Painting, founded in 1997, is based in Springfield, Va., and specializes in drywall and paint. For more information, contact Luis Vasquez at 703.928.5136.
HomeAid Hosts Kids and Families from 14 Shelters at 6th Annual Night at the Ballpark
Supporters collect 700 backpacks for kids from local shelters
A summer night under the lights is a classic American experience for millions of baseball fans, and HomeAid Northern Virginia gave the gift of that priceless memory to families from 14 area homeless shelters who attended a Potomac Nationals game at Pfitzner Stadium on Friday, August 19, as guests of HomeAid’s 6th Annual Night at the Ballpark event.
While HomeAid may be better known for building and renovating homes for the homeless, an equally important priority is helping renew spirits and making memories for families who rarely, if ever, get the chance to spend carefree moments together. And indeed, this year’s Night at the Ballpark was an evening full of joyous fun, with a seven-year-old HomeAid guest invited to throw out the first pitch and all the kids given the opportunity to run the bases after the game. HomeAid also provided concession vouchers and t-shirts to all of its guests.
“Homelessness is a condition—not an identity, but many of the kids we serve are from a very underserved population and feel homeless, fatherless, and hopeless,” said Charlyne Braxton, transitional housing case manager for Community Lodgings, which brought several clients to the baseball game. “So when an organization like HomeAid offers these kinds of outings, it gives kids hope that their lives are not always going to be like this. They get to experience some of the fun activities that ‘normal’ kids do; they can forget for one night about a life of instability or domestic violence. They’re all great kids who work hard to maintain and accept the situations they’re in, so any type of enjoyable experience like this that comes forward, we grab hold of. HomeAid’s Night at the Ballpark lets them do things that a lot of kids take for granted and puts smiles on their faces, and that’s a beautiful thing.”
Backpack Challenge Participants Collect 700 Backpacks for Schoolchildren
Every child attending HomeAid’s Night at the Ballpark went home with a brand new backpack for school, thanks to the enormously successful efforts of eight organizations that collected 700 backpacks as part of HomeAid’s 2016 Backpack Challenge—more than double the number collected last year.
Congratulations to Van Metre Companies, for collecting the most backpacks—175—and winning HomeAid’s 2016 Backpack Challenge!
THANK YOU, AJ Team Realty, Keller Williams Real Estate; Custom Builders Council; Ferguson; Paul Davis Restoration; Preferred Insurance; Thompson Greenspon; Van Metre Companies; and Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh PC!
Special thanks to volunteers from Ferguson and Paul Davis Restoration, who helped distribute the backpacks at the ballpark, and sell 50/50 raffle tickets on behalf of HomeAid. The extra backpacks will be donated to ACTS, Catholic Charities, Community Lodgings, Cornerstones, Final Salute, Good Shepherd Housing, Mobile Hope, and Transitional Housing BARN.
Help Fill the Fridge … with Gift Cards
The monthly cost of groceries for a family of four can range from $560 to more than $1200, depending on the ages of family members and how thrifty the shopper is. But no matter which end of the scale one’s grocery bill falls, putting food on the table is one of life’s most unrelenting financial pressures, particularly for those who have struggled with homelessness or unemployment.
To ease that burden, HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Fill the Fridge program was created so that volunteers could collect and donate grocery gift cards for individuals and families who move into recently completed HomeAid projects. In addition to putting food on the table, the program’s focus on grocery gift cards instead of on non-perishable food donations means that recipients can purchase exactly what their family needs—including the more healthful fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and meat and seafood.
“When families in our community are struggling to feed themselves and keep a roof over their heads, there are often only hard choices and tradeoffs that no person would willingly accept for their family,” said Cornerstones’ CEO, Kerrie Wilson. “We are grateful for our long-term partnership with HomeAid, which helps us address these challenges. Grocery gift cards received through HomeAid’s Helping Hands Fill the Fridge program allows families recovering from homelessness to stretch precious resources as they are rebuilding their lives.”
HomeAid’s Fill the Fridge program is especially well suited for individuals who don’t work for a builder or trade partner company but still want to support HomeAid, as well as for offices, youth sports teams, and school and church groups.
“As children go back to school, there is renewed importance on the ability to provide healthy breakfasts, to fuel kids’ minds and bodies for their school day, and gather as a family over a healthy dinner at the end of the day,” said Kristyn Burr, HomeAid’s program and operations manager. “Grocery purchases are obviously a year-round need, and donations alleviate a huge source of stress for people who are working so hard to get back on their feet and return to a life of independence. Donated gift cards give them the opportunity to shop and make healthy choices for their families, which is empowering and life-giving.”
HomeAid’s Helping Hands program also includes Welcome Home Baskets, which coordinates the donation of household essentials, such as cookware, bed linens, towels, shower curtains, and dishes, for projects that HomeAid and our Builder Captain partners complete.
Similarly, anyone with the time and talents to help teach life skills and strategies—whether that’s cooking, saving at the grocery store, space organization, or creating and sticking to a budget—can be paired with a small group of homeless clients who are seeking to better their circumstances and become more productive citizens in our community.
To find out more about any of these life-affirming initiatives—and learn how YOU can make a difference—contact Kristyn Burr at 571.283.6300.
Faith in HomeAid and Building Industry Fuel Knutson’s Enthusiasm
Longtime board member and HomeAid Northern Virginia co-founder, Don Knutson, shares his thoughts about HomeAid’s mission and his involvement in the organization’s founding. Fifteen years ago, Knutson, then with Beazer Homes, was instrumental in putting together the Northern Virginia chapter of HomeAid and says, “I don’t really like to take credit for starting HomeAid Northern Virginia; a lot of people were involved. I was just there in the beginning.”
Now, as president and owner of his own company, the Knutson Companies, he has as much faith in the future of HomeAid as he did 15 years ago, attributing it to the energy and selflessness of the building industry.
Q: Why is the issue of homelessness important to you and your company?
A: It’s a natural fit for homebuilders: We have shelter care providers who are very good at doing what they do, but they’re not very good at building things or expanding things. And without fail, when we reach out to our subcontractor base, they’re always there and ready to contribute. The shelters need things built, and we know how to build things. So you put two and two together, and we end up with a lot of opportunity and leverage. It’s easy to muster support for HomeAid projects because the building industry, by nature, is a very gregarious and giving group. Moss doesn’t grow under the typical builder’s feet. We can make things happen.
Over the years, I served as a Builder Captain a number of times with Beazer Homes. In 2012, I left Beazer Homes and started my own company. We’ve been building townhouses in Loudoun County, Leesburg, Brambleton … it’s exciting. After being with a public builder for years and then moving out on my own, it was pretty cool to be able to be the Builder Captain with my own company. We led the recent Women Giving Back (WGB) project, where we doubled its capacity to serve women and children ‘shopping’ for clothes and accessories. I’ve done a lot of HomeAid projects over the years, and I expect to do more.
Q: Can you talk about some of the successes or challenges that HomeAid faced in its early years?
A: When we started out, we put a good board together immediately, and we were fortunate to have Bill Berry and Steve Alloy on board. Next, we found projects. We were able to get it up and running pretty quickly, which is a testament to the people who are in this industry. I don’t really remember any particular challenges, other than the board was maybe a little smaller. It’s always been an action-oriented group—not long on parliamentary rules, but very long on action. If you go back and look through our 15-year history, we’ve been doing projects with very committed, active people from many different parts of the industry. It’s all very rewarding because you get to see what you do. That may sound pretty basic, but it gives you a lot of satisfaction.
Q: Are there any projects that stand out as pretty special?
A: For me, it was the first one HomeAid completed for Alternative House. Somebody showed me an article about it a few months ago, and there was a picture of the Beazer people who made it happen. I don’t know if anyone thought HomeAid would get as big as it has, but again, that’s just a testament to the industry. The more recent WGB project was exciting because I reached out to the subcontractors from my own company, and they were more than willing to jump in and help.
Our smaller projects—shelter care projects—allow more people to get involved, because while we can only do maybe one or two really big projects a year, it’s the smaller renovations and updates that happen all the time, with sometimes up to 10 per year. It’s a good way for people to stick their toe in without taking on a major commitment, and I would imagine people grow from shelter care Builder Captains into major project Builder Captains. There are so many builders who have gotten involved with the organization over its 15 years; people really enjoy being involved with HomeAid.
Q: What do you hope your family has learned from your dedication to HomeAid Northern Virginia and its efforts to solve homelessness?
A: I live in Leesburg and have a wife and three children, ages 16, 23, and 25. I think if you have an opportunity to do something in your community, you need to do it. I always say you get a lot more out of it than you put into it, and my experience has proven that. I still remember the dedication ceremony for Alternative House like it was yesterday. There are subcontractors who worked on that with me who also worked on the WGB project 15 years later. We’re all busy, but if you have an opportunity to make a difference, you should do it. It’s that simple.
Q: What is your hope for the future of HomeAid Northern Virginia?
A: I was on the Board for a long time—from 2001 to 2009—and now I am back on. It’s a pretty active board, so my hope is that HomeAid will just keep going with the same gusto they’ve had over the last 15 years. I really do believe that people in the industry are attracted to the positive energy of HomeAid. We have had a lot of new, committed people join the board, and as new people get involved and share their energy, it renews HomeAid.