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Announcements

Loudoun Hunger Relief, Staged Interior and Buhl Electric Company Recognized with HomeAid Northern Virginia Presidents’ Circle Awards

By | Announcements, In the News, News

Nov. 10, 2018 – Chantilly, VAHomeAid Northern Virginia (HANV) recognized local businesses, nonprofits and individuals for positive community impact and serving vulnerable families in the Northern Virginia region with its 2018 Presidents’ Circle Awards. HomeAid, a nonprofit that renovates homeless shelters and supportive housing facilities via the donated expertise, labor and resources of local homebuilders, presented the following awards at its 17th Annual Gala & Auction on Nov. 10th at Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg.

  • Nonprofit Service Provider Project of the Year Award, presented to Loudoun Hunger Relief
  • Trade Partner of the Year Award, awarded to Staged Interior
  • Presidents’ Award, presented to John Buhl, Jr. of Buhl Electric Company

Nonprofit Service Provider Project of the Year Award

Loudoun Hunger Relief (LHR, formerly Loudoun Interfaith Relief) is the largest food pantry in Loudoun County and has served the community for 27 years. Leesburg-based LHR distributes food to families six days a week, year-round. LHR collaborated with HANV this year on a full renovation of its food distribution space, which provides 1.2 million pounds of food to more than 8,000 individuals each year. The upgrade includes a separate lobby and waiting room for customers plus a new food selection “client choice” room that better displays the wide range of food items available. The new space gives families more autonomy over their choices, more privacy while they shop, and – as a result – more dignity while receiving food at Loudoun Hunger Relief’s distribution site. The renovation was led by Knutson Companies, which led the project as builder captain. The award recognizes the impact on the community through this project.

Trade Partner of the Year Award: Staged Interior

HomeAid’s trade partners are those in the home building industry – suppliers, manufacturers, electricians, plumbers, etc. – who play meaningful roles in shelter construction projects by donating materials, time, labor and expertise. A family-run, Chantilly-based company led by Young and Trish Kim, Staged Interior has enhanced HomeAid projects by providing furniture, accessories and labor in order to transform HANV renovation and new-build projects into warm, welcoming, family-friendly homes. The Trade Partner of the Year award recognizes Staged Interior’s customized, personalized focus to ensure that each completed project meets the needs of incoming residents. Staged Interior has donated more than $200,000 of furniture and accessories to HANV projects including: furnishings for a group home HANV built for Youth for Tomorrow for teen girls who are pregnant, homeless, runaways or survivors of sex trafficking; furnishings for the 7 HANV-renovated affordable housing units operated by Community Lodgings in Alexandria; and furnishings for the 12 supportive housing units in Woodbridge that HANV upgraded for Catholic Charities for families coming out of regional emergency shelters and domestic violence programs.

Presidents’ Award: John Buhl, Jr. of Buhl Electric

John Buhl, Jr. serves as president of Sterling, VA-based Buhl Electric Company, Inc., his family-founded and family-run company that has been wiring new homes in Virginia for more than 50 years.  Under John’s leadership, the company has supported HANV through donation and in-kind services/expertise to 15 different HANV projects, including Youth for TomorrowShelter House and ACTS Turning Points Domestic Violence Program. John has also generously supported HANV through sponsorship of numerous events, including the Gala, the annual Night at the Ballpark, and the Builder & Friends BBQ. The Presidents’ Award recognizes Buhl Electric’s willingness to regularly be “first in line to help” and provide meaningful assistance with HomeAid’s projects to serve our region’s communities. John has been an active member of HomeAid’s Board of Directors since 2016.

More than $400,000 Raised at Annual Gala

HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 2018 annual gala raised more than $400,000 to build and renovate homeless shelters, supportive housing and programmatic facilities. Falcon Heating and Air Conditioning served as the presenting sponsor of the event that included more than 450 people in attendance. The awards ceremony was sponsored by Builders Floor Service.

See more photos of the event here.

About HomeAid Northern Virginia

HomeAid Northern Virginia, a chapter of HomeAid America, convenes and mobilizes the local homebuilding business community and its corporate partners to undertake new construction and major renovations for homeless shelters and supporting housing facilities owned by nonprofit service providers that help homeless individuals and families in our community gain stability and get back on the road to self-sufficiency. The organization was started in 2001 by members of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA) and, since then, has completed more than 127 projects valued at more than $15.7 million, serving more than 112,000 homeless individuals.

Formerly Homeless Women Veterans in Fairfax County to have Renovated, Upgraded Supportive Housing with Final Salute, HomeAid Northern Virginia Collaboration

By | Announcements

Collaboration between service provider for women veterans and homebuilders to improve housing for up to 10 veterans and their children in Fairfax

Fairfax, Va. – September 15, 2015 – Formerly homeless and vulnerable female veterans and their children will soon have a newly renovated and upgraded residence, following the kick-off of a collaboration between Final Salute and HomeAid Northern Virginia to renovate Final Salute’s residence in Fairfax County. Final Salute provides safe and suitable housing to homeless women veterans and their children; HomeAid Northern Virginia builds and renovates homeless shelters and housing facilities via the donated expertise, labor and resources of local homebuilders. The renovated home will provide housing for up to 10 female veterans who are struggling with homelessness or military transition and their minor children.

“There are an estimated 55,000 homeless women vets in America – the fastest growing population of the homeless. Yet 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. “More than 60% 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. That is not the case with Final Salute. Women have served in every major conflict since the Revolutionary War; it’s time they received the resources and support they have earned through their service and sacrifice.”

Jas, an Army veteran who deployed during the Operation Iraq Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom campaigns, faced 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 to provide assistance to both her and her son.  Since founding Final Salute in 2010 to provide support to other women veterans like her, Jas and Final Salute have served more than 2,000 women across 30 U.S. states and territories.

The Final Salute home in Fairfax County provides 8,700 sq. ft. of living space for up to 10 residents – all female veterans and their children.  The house currently has 7 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. With the renovation led by HomeAid and its “builder captain” Winchester Homes, overall living space will be reconfigured for 8 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms, with kitchen and bathroom upgrades, new fixtures, expanded storage and the overall space layout optimized for residence. 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.

Of the estimated $330,000 cost of the renovation, more than half will be donated by HANV, Winchester Homes and its trade partners – electricians, plumbers, etc. – participating on the project. Final Salute is receiving support from a generous donation provided by the Flatley Foundation, as well as assistance from local architect Ricardo Hendi and his team/partners from Arimse Architects in Alexandria, Va. Bank of America Charitable Foundation provided a $10,000 grant towards this project and Van Metre Companies Foundation is providing 100% of the proceeds from its upcoming annual Cornhole Challenge (Oct. 8 in Brambleton Town Center) to this renovation. HANV is seeking additional grants to cover the remaining costs, so that Final Salute is positioned to invest its budget in programs and services for women veterans and their children, rather than in construction costs.

“It’s inspiring to be involved with Final Salute and HomeAid on a project to give a safe sanctuary to women veterans and their families right here in our region,” said John Monacci, executive vice president of Winchester Homes, a Tri Pointe Group company, which is leading the renovation as a HomeAid builder captain. “Partnering on this project is a great way for us – and the trade partners who are collaborating with us – to serve those who have served our country.”

 

About HomeAid Northern Virginia

HomeAid Northern Virginia, a chapter of HomeAid America, engages the resources and interests of the homebuilding community and its corporate partners in order to undertake new construction and major renovations to properties owned by service providers that help homeless people gain stability and get back on the road to self-sufficiency. The organization was started in 2001 by members of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA), and since then, has completed 107 projects valued at a total of more than $13.6 million and serving more than 95,000 homeless individuals.

 

About Final Salute

The mission of Final Salute Inc. is to provide homeless women Veterans with a place to call home. Final Salute Inc. is the only non-profit organization in the DC Metro Area that offers housing assistance exclusively to homeless women Veterans and their children. Since it’s founding in 2010, the organization has provided more than 10,000 days of housing serving women veterans and their children. Among many national recognitions for this important work, founder Jas Boothe has received a Standing “O”vation from Oprah Winfrey and Toyota and been recognized as a CNN Hero and People magazine Hero Among Us. Learn more and support Final Salute by visiting www.finalsaluteinc.org.

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Construction trade partners that will be contributing labor and resources to the

Final Salute project include:

Augustine Plumbing

Annandale Millwork

Buhl Electric

Colorworld Drywall

Crigger Contracting

CTI

Falcon HVAC

Hizer Home Improvement

L&H Mechanical

MJ Exterior

TA/Sundecks

Oakwood Worldwide

Summit Roofing

United Foundations

 

 

 

Media Contacts:

 

Final Salute:                                                                            HomeAid Northern Virginia:

Rusty Foster                                                                            Shelley Ducker

703.646.1282                                                                          202.255.0561

rustyfoster@bowtiestrategies.com                                         sduckercommunications@gmail.com

300 Homeless Children and their Families Enjoyed an Exciting Night of Baseball at HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 6th Annual Night at the Ballpark

By | Announcements

Chantilly, VA – August 20, 2016 – More than 150 children and families from 14 local Northern Virginia homeless shelters and supportive housing programs enjoyed “America’s Pastime” this weekend (Aug. 19) – a night of baseball and family fun with the Potomac Nationals vs. the Frederick Keys at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va. as part of HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 6th annual Night at the Ballpark.

Each year, HomeAid Northern Virginia (HANV) sends families from local shelters in NoVa neighborhoods from Arlington to Warrenton to enjoy a night of baseball and family fun with the Potomac Nationals.  The children – some of the most vulnerable in our region – get the chance to spend quality time with their family, run the bases, take pictures with the mascot and meet the players after the game. For many, HomeAid’s Night at the Ballpark presents their first opportunity to attend a baseball game.

Each of the shelter organizations sending residents to the game is a collaborator with HomeAid Northern Virginia. HANV builds and renovates homeless shelters and housing facilities via the donated expertise, labor and resources of local homebuilders. This enables nonprofit organizations serving vulnerable communities to invest more of their budgets in supportive programs and services rather than building expenses. HANV provides tickets to the event to case managers of these partner homelessness organizations, who in turn coordinate attendance with their residents.

Shelters sending residents to the HANV Night at the Ballpark included Shelter House in Reston; New Hope Housing in Alexandria; Northern Virginia Family Services (NVFS) in Manassas; Pathway Homes in Fairfax; Windy Hill Foundation in Middleburg; Doorways for Women and Families in Arlington; and Good Shepard Housing & Family Services in Woodbridge.

As part of the annual Night at the Ballpark, all residents, parents and children attending from the local shelters received vouchers for dinner at the stadium, a souvenir t-shirt and other goodies Each child was also provided a new backpack for the upcoming school year, provided by the HANV Backpack Challenge. The Night at the Ballpark was sponsored by Augustine Homes, Buhl Electric and Select Construction Company.

 

About HomeAid Northern Virginia

HomeAid Northern Virginia, a chapter of HomeAid America, engages the resources and interests of the homebuilding community and its corporate partners in order to undertake new construction and major renovations to properties owned by shelter service providers that help homeless people gain stability and get back on the road to self-sufficiency. The organization was started in 2001 by members of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA), and since then, has completed more than 107 projects valued at more than $13.6 million, serving more than 95,000 homeless individuals.

 

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More Room for Women Giving Back

By | Announcements

Women Giving Back, which runs a clothing donation center and store to provide women and children living in Northern Virginia shelters with free clothing and accessories, recently doubled its capacity with the completion of an addition led by HomeAid Northern Virginia and Knutson Companies.

The recently unveiled $36,000 expansion doubled the warehouse and retail space, which enables the local nonprofit to provide many more shoppers—vulnerable and at-risk women and children—with clothing and accessories for work and school. Since 2007, the center has donated more than 300,000 clothing items to more than 23,000 women and 15,300 children in crisis.

National Association of Home Builders’ “NAHB Now” blog

wgb-ribbon-cutting

Workforce Shortages and Creative Partnerships

By | Announcements, In the News

The shortage of skilled construction workers is a key factors rising construction costs that have a significant impact on the industry’s ability to provide affordable housing…HANV is addressing workforce issue by convening our partners around job training and job placement. Partnering with select construction trade businesses to understand the skills they are looking for, we’re matching these needs to the workforce training programs our nonprofit service provider partners offer to their clients.

Affordable Housing Finance

Progress Made, Challenges Remain on Ending Homelessness

By | Announcements, In the News

From left — The panel for the HomeAid “Keeping the Homeless Housed” were Minerva Labrador, Northern Virginia Family Service; Michele Porter-Will, Volunteers of America Chesapeake; Oliver Reid, New Hope Housing; and Blair Copeland, Carpenter’s Shelter. Moderator Karen Cleveland, the Cleveland Group, leads the discussion from the podium. Photo by Andrea Worker.

In 2008, Fairfax County partnered with the City of Falls Church to adopt an ambitious strategic plan to address the issue of homelessness in the region. The following year, the Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness was established to “manage, coordinate and monitor the day-to-day implementation” of the plan, with its ambitious target date of 10 years to achievement. In 2014, the county accepted the “Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness” as announced by First Lady Michelle Obama, and supported by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This one came with an even more aggressive deadline: accomplish the mission by the end of 2015.

photo

Let’s talk about it – the attendees at the HomeAid Housing Forum break into groups to share their experiences and expertise and look for ways to collaboratively prevent and end homelessness in the region.

The numbers for both goals are certainly encouraging. In November, Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared that Virginia had become the first state to reach that “Challenge” milestone, with every veteran having housing, except for those who had been offered, but refused shelter. By “functionally” ending veteran homelessness, the state certifies that it has in place systems to prevent veteran homelessness wherever possible, and to see that it is otherwise a “rare, brief, and non-recurring experience.” To maintain this status, being able to secure housing for willing veterans within 90 days, and having more homes readily available than the numbers of veterans without shelter, are parts of the requirements.

Among the general population of homeless, the numbers have also decreased. According to the 2016 “Point-in-Time” census (an annual survey where county personnel and volunteers scour the streets, woods and other areas to approximate the numbers of area homeless) conducted on Jan. 28, the total number of homeless declined by 42 percent since the implementation of the 10-Year Plan. In just the last year, the numbers fell from 1204 to 1059. While the number of homeless singles remains relatively unchanged since the last survey, homelessness among families declined from 715 to 577. Even better news is that there are 33 percent less families in emergency shelters, and at the time of the survey, shelters reported vacancies.

It looks like there are battles on this front finally being won, but with over 1000 of our neighbors – that we were able to count – still unhoused, the war on homelessness is far from over, according to Karen Cleveland, president of the Cleveland Coaching Group, president and CEO of Leadership Fairfax, and the moderator of the 2016 HomeAid Northern Virginia (HANoVA) Housing Forum, held on April 7. The annual gathering brings together those who work directly with the homeless and with those who are struggling to avoid homelessness, from across all of the jurisdictions of Northern Virginia. “This is a unique opportunity to meet with, and learn from, colleagues who understand your challenges, to share best practices, and brainstorm a bit and maybe come up with some new ways of tackling the problems,” noted Cleveland.

photo

From left — Susan Mekenny, member of NVAR Cares, the charitable arm of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, speaks with U.S. Army Capt. Kerri Turner at the Forum. Turner, who is also Ms. Veteran America 2015, was the event’s Keynote Speaker and highlighted the plight of homeless female veterans, especially those with families.

HomeAid Board president Greg Carter, a senior vice president with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, opened the event with a welcome, and an invitation for all to check out his company’s free website “Better Money Habits.” “When I say free, I really mean it,” said Carter. “No passwords, no fees, so sign-ups, just access to easy-to-understand tips and instructionals on better financial planning and management…ways to save money.” Since assisting their clients with just these issues is often a part of their work, the attendees seemed interested and pleased to add the website to their resource kit.

Following a quick “stand up and introduce yourself” exercise, Cleveland introduced a panel of four – Minerva Labrador with Northern Virginia Family Service, Michele Porter-Will of Volunteers of America Chesapeake, Oliver Reid with New Hope Housing, and Blair Copeland from Carpenter’s Shelter – and the discussion on “Keeping People Housed” began.

THE PANELISTS shared success stories and some of the methods by which they overcame obstacles to success with certain clients and situations. Despite the different jurisdictions in which they operated and the different aspects of the problems they specialized in, all four agreed on some common issues and some common positive approaches.

“Affordable housing. That’s the stumbling block over and over again,” declared Porter-Will to the nods of agreement from her fellow panelists and most of the audience, as well. “Especially for families,” she added. “People with good-paying, stable employment can find it difficult to afford a decent, safe place to live in our region. Now try doing it on minimum wage or less.” Credit issues, health issues, poor job histories, and the unexpected difficulties of life like divorce, abandonment, domestic abuse, and sudden job loss also contribute to pushing people into homelessness.

Lack of affordable housing has been further highlighted by the recent focus on “Rapid Re-housing” as the first priority. Reid explained that the paradigm shift to quickly finding housing for the homeless, then “wrapping the services around them in this more stable environment,” means less time to work with the client to find suitable housing or to help them correct barriers to good housing options like poor past credit. Historically, assistance to the homeless meant accepting them into shelters where case managers and others would work with them to solve the problems and issues that had led to their situation, sometimes for months, if not even years, before placing them in independent housing. The “Rapid Re-housing” model sometimes leads to a “race against time” was Blair Copeland’s assessment. While agreeing that the model offered a stable environment from which clients could begin their journey upward and was especially favorable for homeless families, Copeland admitted that it often left them scrambling to find housing before they could address the obstacles, prepare the client, and create a partnership with a landlord willing to take on what they might view as a higher-risk tenant. Reid’s New Hope Housing in particular requires a strong relationship with landlords since his organization often deals with clients who have served prison time, and some who are registered sex offenders.

The change to “Rapid Re-housing” also meant that new roles – like Housing Locators – have had to be created in the organizations and agencies represented, and other personnel have had to learn new skills and deliver them “even more rapidly,” said Minerva Labrador. “The more traditionally specialized roles of service staff are becoming more integrated. There’s a lot less ‘you’ll have to wait until Tuesday for the case worker to address that’ than we had before. That’s a good thing,” said Porter-Will.

Working cross-jurisdictionally within the region, and even out of state, was another significant challenge discussed by the service providers. Copeland noted that sometimes to find suitable and affordable housing meant relocating clients out of the area. Some of the attendees spoke of relocations to Winchester, Front Royal, Hagerstown, Maryland, and even towns in North Carolina, but all expressed concerns about the follow-up and continued services these movers would receive – and there might be the perception that Northern Virginia is merely “moving the problem along, and that is not what we are trying to do,” insisted Copeland.

After the panel concluded, the attendees were treated to U.S. Army Captain Kerri Turner as the Keynote Speaker. Capt. Turner also happens to be Ms. Veteran America 2015 and is a spokesperson for Final Salute, a nonprofit whose mission is to find safe and affordable housing for women veterans and their families. By the looks on their faces, Turner shocked quite a few in the audience when she informed them that neither the Veterans Administration nor the Department of Housing and Urban Development had kept any records on homeless female vets before 2011. Final Salute’s founder was a female veteran and single-mother who served her country for 15 years, but when faced with serious adversity – including head, throat and neck cancer – she was advised to seek assistance through welfare programs since the military did not have programs for female veterans with families. Not long after her circumstances and health improved, Jaspen Boothe started Final Salute to assist “the forgotten soldiers.” Since 2010 the organization has assisted over 900 women veterans and children in over 30 states and territories.

A CHAPTER of HomeAid America, HomeAid NoVA is a nonprofit that was started in 2001 by members of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association. Founded on the belief that the “best way to solve homelessness is to ensure that everyone has a safe and stable place to live,” the organization’s partners build and renovate housing and shelter facilities. To date, they have completed over 100 projects, and with so much donated labor, expertise, materials and resources, they are able to help shelter organizations save significant amounts of money that can be used to fund vital programs and services to keep their clients housed and leading better lives, and to help others avoid homelessness.

The attendees at the HomeAid Housing Forum want everyone to realize that ending homelessness really does “take a village” and that it is in everyone’s best interest to help prevent it, and to help return our homeless neighbors to safe and productive lives in the community. For information on the issue and how to help, there are numerous agencies and organizations to contact. Starting points can be HomeAid NoVA at www.homeaidnova.org or the Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.

Read the full story in CentreView

Setting the Proverbial Table

By | Announcements, In the News

The Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance. The National Housing Council. The National Alliance to End Homelessness.  As the names reflect, those of us in the affordable housing and homelessness arena recognize that no single organization has all the solutions or the tools to address these seemingly intractable social problems, so stakeholders must collaborate. All of us must gather around the proverbial table.

Yet despite the need for a cooperative approach, social dynamics and economic jurisdictional dynamics often serve as obstacles to progress and shared best practices.

Convening around a Collaborative Table

Housing-Forum-photo-300x166To proactively address local trends and the varied jurisdictional resources and approaches, we’ve created a unique “table” to gather around: our Annual HomeAid Northern Virginia Housing Forum. The Forum brings local nonprofit organizations that provide housing and supportive services together with government agencies, foundations, corporate partners, and more.  Participants range from executive directors to case managers to government officials. It is a community of practitioners – not a think tank, but the actual staff and leadership of organizations on the front lines, doing the day-to-day work of serving our local homeless community.  The Forum gives all of these stakeholders the platform for boundary-free dialogue to benefit from each participant’s real-world experiences and to stay current with shifts in policy and priorities that impact our local landscape.

HomeAid-Loudoun-Shelter-renovated-kitchen2-AFTER-300x201The Forum’s convener and organizer is HomeAid Northern Virginia, the charitable arm of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association. While the work of the homebuilding industry and homelessness service providers don’t seem immediately to go hand in hand, HomeAid is changing that paradigm across the country.  HomeAid chapters build and renovate homeless shelters and housing facilities via the donated expertise, labor and resources of homebuilders and trade partners (suppliers, subcontractors, etc.). HomeAid projects provide significant cost savings to shelters, freeing up a provider’s scarce financial resources for programs and services rather than building expenses. Now entering our 15th year, HomeAid Northern Virginia has completed 107 projects valued at more than $13.6 million, more than half of which was donated. As a result, approximately $7.7 million in cost savings was passed along to shelter organizations.

The Housing Forum helps HomeAid better understand and meet the evolving needs of the organizations we serve, but more than that, it provides an opportunity for communal brainstorming to devise solutions for unmet needs, and to carry them forward from concept to implementation.

Creating Jobs for Formerly Homeless Persons

We recently launched a pilot program that was a direct outgrowth of conversations at past years’ forums: a new job skills training program that engages clients at the organizations we serve in the building/construction trade.  Follow-up steps included detailed conversations with participating homebuilding trade businesses to understand the skills needed, and the supportive job skills that human service organizations could provide.

Today, thanks to collaborative work with Northern Virginia Family Services and Cornerstones and local homebuilder trades TAC Tile Company, Buhl Electric, and Home Team Pest Defense, formerly homeless individuals are placed in jobs in the homebuilding industry and provided the support they need in the areas of transportation, childcare, financial management and more.

The idea “seed” at the Housing Forum table took root and created new programming that offers a win-win for all parties: the homebuilding industry addresses the gap of skilled, reliable workers in the construction industry; homelessness service providers bolster the availability and success of their workforce development programs; and most importantly, individuals seeking gainful employment as a pathway to self-sufficiency begin to rebuild their lives with better tools at their disposal, including marketable job skills, stable employment and housing. It is a pilot that we will grow and expand over the years ahead.

We expect more ideas and opportunity for collaborative action at this year’s upcoming Housing Forum on Thursday, April 7th in Fairfax, VA.  Learn more about HomeAid and our 2016 Annual Housing Forum program. 

 Christy Eaton is the Executive Director of HomeAid Northern Virginia. Funding for the Housing Forum is provided by the Virginia Housing Development Authority and Bank of America.

Read the story on the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance Blog.

Workforce Shortages and Creative Partnerships

By | Announcements, In the News

HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Christy Eaton’s letter to the editor of Affordable Housing Finance:

CEaton3Affordable Housing Finance’s article Threats to LIHTC’s Mojo Loom in the January/February issue correctly argues that the shortage of skilled construction workers is one of the key factors in rapidly rising construction costs that have a significant impact on the industry’s ability to provide affordable housing.

Numerous organizations are impacted: affordable housing developers by the escalating costs, the builders and subcontractors who are challenged to find and hire skilled laborers, and ultimately, the individuals who pay the literal and figurative price when affordable housing is not available, local, or accessible.

HomeAid Northern Virginia is undertaking a unique approach to address this situation: We are proactively convening seemingly disparate partners—homebuilder construction trades and nonprofit homelessness service providers—and building a pathway to skilled construction jobs for some of our community’s most vulnerable residents.

A national organization with chapters across the country, HomeAid builds and renovates homeless shelters and supportive housing facilities across the country via the donated expertise, labor, and resources of homebuilders and construction trade partners. HomeAid projects provide significant cost savings to nonprofit homelessness service providers, allowing organizations to invest their budgets in programs and services rather than building expenses.

HomeAid Northern Virginia is taking this one step further and addressing the workforce issue by convening our partners around job training and job placement. Partnering with select construction trade businesses to understand the type of workers they need and the skills they are looking for, we are matching these needs to the workforce training programs that our nonprofit service provider partners offer to their clients. The hope is to create a virtuous cycle: build capacity in the local skilled labor workforce and change the lives of vulnerable individuals by providing them job skills and a path to employment with our partner companies.

Today in our local area, formerly homeless individuals are now being placed in jobs in the homebuilding industry and are being provided the support they need in terms of housing, transportation, childcare, financial management, and more. The pilot program offers a win-win for all parties: The construction industry fills a need for reliable workers, nonprofit homelessness service providers bolster the availability and success of their workforce development programs, and most importantly, individuals seeking gainful employment as a pathway to future success begin to rebuild their lives. It is a pilot that we will grow and expand over the years ahead.

Higher development costs are slowing affordable housing construction in our area and across the country. There is no one solution. But on the workforce front, being specific about the workforce gaps in local regions—and creatively collaborating with nontraditional partners such as social service organizations that provide housing and job skills training—can help change the dynamic and build a more sustainable future for local affordable housing developers, the local construction industry, and individuals rebuilding their lives after homelessness alike.

Christy Eaton is executive director of HomeAid Northern Virginia. Now entering its 15th year, HomeAid Northern Virginia has completed 107 projects for more than 35 shelter and supportive housing providers, valued at a total of more than $13.6 million. With more than half of all labor and materials costs donated, HomeAid Northern Virginia has passed along approximately $7.7 million in construction cost savings to shelter organizations, who then in turn allocate their budget dollars to programs and services rather than to building expenses.

 

Read the story in Affordable Housing Finance

Local Nonprofits Team Up on Route 1 Corridor Housing Project

By | Announcements, In the News

New-Hope-Housing-photo-2Vulnerable homeless families in Fairfax County’s “Route 1 Corridor” now have a newly upgraded residence owned and managed by New Hope Housing – the oldest and largest provider of shelter beds in Northern Virginia. The renovation was recently completed through a collaboration with HomeAid Northern Virginia, which builds and renovates homeless shelters and housing facilities via the donated expertise, labor and resources of local homebuilders – enabling nonprofit organizations serving vulnerable communities to invest more of their budgets in supportive programs and services rather than building expenses.

The New Hope Housing home provides non-time-limited, permanent supportive housing, which means that a family—with at least one parent with a disability—will pay no more than 30% of their income in rent while receiving case management support, for as long as they need it or until their children turn 18. The $129,000 construction project was led by HomeAid’s “Builder Captain” Miller & Smith and included gutting and renovating the entire 1980s-era townhome from the inside out. Ninety-one percent of the total construction costs were covered by Miller & Smith and the 32 trade partners that donated labor and resources to the project.

“Our work is about giving families a long-term place to call home,” said Pam Michell, executive director of New Hope Housing. “Many of the families coming to us have lived disrupted lives because of a parent’s disability, and we provide the help and advocacy these parents need so that children can remain in local schools and receive any education support they need. Stability is critical to successful development, and so many of these children would otherwise bounce from place to place. Through this renovation of one of our supportive housing properties, HomeAid Northern Virginia, Miller & Smith and its partners have provided a local family a residence that truly feels like a home, a new beginning and a fresh start.”

“By setting the bar really high, everyone on our team walked away saying, ‘Wow, this is nice, and this was a really great experience.’ When the residents move in to what is essentially a new home, we hope it will give them a new outlook on life, too. That’s what really makes taking on these projects so much fun and so worthwhile,” said Scott Alford, vice president of production for Miller & Smith.

 

Read the article in Red Brick Town