Building Hope

Building Hope Newsletter, July 2018

By | Building Hope, In the News, News

Executive Director's Corner

Kristyn Burr, executive director of HomeAid Northern Virginia, at the annual Builders and Friends BBQ in June.

In this issue of Building Hope, you will learn that there are nearly 10,500 homeless men, women, and children in the DC area … people who spend every day wondering where they will sleep that night, who don’t have a consistent place to look for work or do their homework, who have no easy way to do their laundry or store their clothes, who are never sure where their next meal will come from. You’ll be reminded of how special a simple night out can be for those who rarely—if ever—get to enjoy time with family without the crushing stress of how much it can cost. And we’ll celebrate companies that consistently serve as Builder Captains, pouring their hearts and resources into renovating homes and shelters for our partners. In every case, I’m reminded why working in this community that HomeAid has created feels so special: Homelessness is, quite simply, every community’s challenge, and our partners don’t turn a blind eye.

It’s an important reality, because—as I’m reminded every time I have the opportunity to meet some of the clients we serve—no one decides to be homeless. No one chooses to have their children live in a shelter. No one wants to weigh whether it’s better to buy their baby a prescription medicine or a pack of diapers. But every day, people have to make those choices, most often through no fault of their own. Maybe they lost a job or a spouse, are going through a divorce, are survivors of domestic violence or sex trafficking, or suffer from unresolved mental illness or adverse childhood trauma. Combine these realities with other societal issues like a high cost of living and low wages, and it becomes abundantly clear how easy it can be to fall from a position of stability into a position of homelessness.

Sadly, many in our society ignore the homeless, look the other way, or dismiss them as being lazy or somehow deserving of their fate. Why is it that we readily accept “it takes a village to raise a child,” but so many in our society don’t offer that same help when it comes to helping an adult who needs a hand up? At HomeAid, that’s a question I never have to ask; everywhere I look, I see supporters who are willing to give it their all to make a difference, give back, and change a life. It’s an incredible place to be.

In Gratitude,

In the Spotlight

Annual Point-in-Time Count Reveals: Homelessness on a Decline in Metro DC

Volunteers gather locations and health information from the homeless population in Fairfax County. Source: Lorton Patch

According to a 2018 report by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), there are 10,480 persons experiencing homelessness in the area—a 6 percent decrease (or 648 people) from 2017. The reportHomelessness in Metropolitan Washington, contains the results of the 18th annual census—carried out on January 24, 2018—of the region’s residents experiencing homelessness within nine area jurisdictions.

Of particular interest to HomeAid Northern Virginia was the fact that on the night of the count, 21,882 people in the region were residing in some form of permanent or permanent supportive housing and were no longer considered homeless. For the second year in a row, the number of families experiencing homelessness decreased, down 15 percent from 2017.

The District of Columbia experienced the largest decrease in the number of persons experiencing homelessness, counting 569 fewer individuals. Prince George’s County achieved the greatest percentage decrease at 10 percent of its homeless population (or 54 individuals). The largest increase in persons counted was in Fairfax County (23 individuals), while Frederick County experienced the largest percentage increase (19 percent).

“Permanent housing is the ultimate goal to reduce homelessness,” said Matt Letourneau, COG Board Chairman and Loudoun County Supervisor. “It is encouraging that we are continuing to make progress, but we clearly have more work to do as a region.”

“We have to figure out a way to work collectively to assist those homeless persons crossing through our jurisdictions,” added Robert White, COG Board Vice Chairman and District of Columbia Councilmember. “We need to be able to provide residents with services regardless of where they are in the region.”

For the five-year period of 2014-2018, the region reduced the number of individuals experiencing homelessness by 12 percent. Eight of nine jurisdictions reported a decline over this five-year period.

Several challenges remain for the region and its efforts to end homelessness. Despite downward trends in past years, the region recorded an 8 percent increase (33 individuals) in the number of veterans experiencing homelessness this year, mirroring the national trend. Similarly, the number of chronically homeless persons increased by 2 percent (or 38 persons). However, despite these one-year increases, the region overall has reduced the incidence of veteran homelessness by 25 percent and the number of chronically homeless persons by 9 percent since 2014.

According to the report, a lack of affordable, permanent housing opportunities and stagnating wages for less-educated workers remain the most significant and persistent obstacles to ending homelessness in the region. It calls on jurisdictions to continue efforts to reach out, assess, and house unsheltered homeless persons, increase its permanent supportive housing, rapid rehousing and other permanent housing inventory, and provide training opportunities to low-skilled and low-wage workers to “create ladders of opportunity” to higher-paying jobs. Affordable housing for all income levels must also be available across the region in order to realistically reduce and eliminate homelessness. The report was compiled by the COG Homeless Services Planning and Coordination Committee.

Participating jurisdictions are: The City of Alexandria; Arlington County; District of Columbia; Fairfax County, including data from the City of Falls Church and the City of Fairfax; Frederick City and County; Loudoun County; Montgomery County; Prince George’s County, including data from the City of Bowie; and Prince William County, including data from the City of Manassas and the City of Manassas Park.

In Your Neighborhood

HomeAid, Stanley Martin Homes Complete Renovation of NVFS Townhome

Representatives from Stanley Martin Homes, NVFS, and HomeAid Northern Virginia celebrate the completion of a total renovation of a NVFS-owned townhome.

HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain Stanley Martin Homes, and 25 trade partners have completed the total renovation of a townhome owned by Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS), a long-time partner that provides services to families and individuals in need so that they can achieve stability and self-sufficiency.

New paint, new flooring, and gleaming new appliances turn an outdated townhouse into a warm and welcoming home.

The $70,000 project—100 percent of which was donated by Stanley Martin and trade partners—included new flooring, windows, kitchen cabinets, counter tops and appliances, interior painting, lighting, mold remediation, bathroom renovations, and exterior landscaping and patio.

The townhome, part of NVFS’ affordable housing program, is demonstrative of NVFS’ philosophy that “shelter is a basic need for everyone, and it’s the foundation from which families and individuals can begin to build, or rebuild, their potential to live independently.”

The project is the ninth time that Stanley Martin Homes has served as a Builder Captain for HomeAid Northern Virginia; we look forward to our next project with you!

Thank you, Stanley Martin Homes and trade partners, for your work in giving a townhome in NVFS’ affordable housing program a total makeover!

84 Lumber
BRC Industries—Waste Disposal Services
Capital Mechanical, LLC
Century Tile, Inc.
East Coast Insulators, Inc.
Eastern Applicators, Inc.
Electrolux Home Products
Exceptional Choices, Inc.
Falcon Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.
Franklin Electric Company, Inc.
Heritage Contracting
John Darvish Construction Company
King Carpentry

L & L Carpet Company
Loudoun Stairs
McCormick Paints
MJ Exteriors
Premier Surfaces
R & F Metals, Inc.
Reyes General Cleaning
SmartCom Home Technologies, Inc.
Stadler Nurseries
T & A Contractors, Inc.
Timberlake Cabinets
Titan Erosion Control

In Your Community

Staged Interior Named HomeAid Trade Partner of the Year

Hundreds attend annual BBQ for friendship, food, and fun!

Trish and Young Kim, far right, and staff are recognized for their enormous contributions to HomeAid and our partners with 2018 Trade Partner of the Year honors.

HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 9th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ attracted hundreds of partners, supporters and guests for a beautiful night of friendship with colleagues, light-hearted games of cornhole, raffle prizes, and a delicious dinner of all-you-can eat BBQ.

It was also our opportunity to introduce our 2018 Trade Partner of the Year—Staged Interior. The company, led by Young and Trish Kim, has worked with us on three major projects since 2016, providing more than $200,000 worth of labor, furniture, and accessories in order to turn our renovation and new-build projects into warm, welcoming homes. The company and its staff will be more formally recognized at our 17th Annual Gala & Auction on November 10, but since the BBQ is one of our favorite ways to say thank you to the companies who have so generously contributed their time, resources, and expertise to HomeAid projects, we’ve made it our tradition to announce our selection for Trade Partner of the Year honors in June.

Executive Director Kristyn Burr also highlighted HomeAid Northern Virginia’s success at the event, noting HomeAid’s to-date completion of 123 projects, worth an investment of $15.7 million into the community, saving the shelter organizations $9 million.

Bryce Miller of Sponsor Company Wetland Studies and Solutions Inc. won the always-coveted wheelbarrow of beer!

“I know most – if not all of the builders here today have participated in our projects as a Builder Captain, and I thank each of you for stepping up to help us end homelessness in Northern Virginia,” added HomeAid Northern Virginia President Mike Sandkuhler. “As a builder myself, [along with] the builders on the HomeAid Board, we recognize that it is only with the generosity of our trade partners, suppliers, and manufacturers that we’re able to complete so many projects for those in need. This event is for you – to recognize and appreciate that every HomeAid trade partner has given so generously – sometimes more than once in a given year – to complete projects that help get people off the street and into safe stable housing. Thank you very much for all that you have done and continue to do to support our work.”

Many thanks also to our many sponsors, to One Loudoun for the beautiful space, to Doug Wall and the Liberty Street Band for providing live entertainment, and to the many volunteers and staff who made it all possible!

Couldn’t make it this year? Be sure to check out our online photo album of this year’s BBQ!

HomeAid’s Board of Directors turn out in force for the 2018 Builders & Friends BBQ.

Making It Count

Make a Family’s Day: Support HomeAid’s Night at the Ballpark!

A seven-year-old boy from a local shelter had the experience of a lifetime when he was selected to throw out the first pitch at HomeAid’s 2016 “Night at the Ballpark.”

In 2014, a mom attending HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Annual “Night at the Ballpark” told us, “This is the best day of their lives, and we haven’t even parked yet!”

In 2016, Charlyne Braxton of Community Lodgings reminded us that “homelessness is a condition—not an identity—but many of the kids we serve are from an underserved population and feel homeless, fatherless, and hopeless. So, any type of enjoyable experience like [the ball game] 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.”

And last year—when our Night at the Ballpark coincided with the baseball team’s “Bark in the Park” day, when dogs were welcome to attend the game with their families, Simajah Jackson of New Hope Housing, pointed out, “We were all captivated with the dogs in attendance – we know dogs and other pets also have therapeutic value.”

All are great reminders of why we do this baseball outing for the hundreds of families our partners serve: While our primary mission is building and renovating homes for the homeless, we also know that our focus must extend “beyond the bed.” So many of those we serve struggle with major life obstacles on a daily basis. Having the opportunity to spend quality time with your family—without having to worry about cost—can feel as life-giving as a warm home.

Please join us in our effort to give these families a fun summer’s night out at the ballpark! Here’s how you can help:

  • Sponsor a family! Your donation can help send families from local shelters to the baseball game—and you will receive complimentary tickets to the game, signage, recognition, and more, based on sponsorship levels.
  • Donate a backpack or coordinate a Backpack Drive! About a quarter of the homeless population that HomeAid’s non-profit partners serve are children. This summer, we will once again give a backpack to every child who attends our Night at the Ballpark, so backpacks can be collected all month; contact Cilda Pretorius to schedule a drop-off or pick-up.

Our guests will enjoy free concessions; will meet team mascot, Uncle Slam; and one lucky kid will get to throw out the first pitch! All kids are invited to run the bases between innings, and a post-game fireworks display will be put on by the Potomac Nationals.

Want to join in the fun? Then be sure to register for NVBIA’s pre-game Triple Play Tailgate, where guests receive tickets to the game, an exclusive baseball cap, 10% off at the Potomac Nats National Mall Team Store, and an all-you-can-eat buffet of burgers, hot dogs, and non-alcoholic beverages. The event kicks off at 5:30 p.m., just inside the stadium gates. Cost is $38 for adults and youth (ages 6-12); admission for children 5 and under is $16. Contact Alex Whitson for more information about NVBIA’s Triple Play Picnic.


It’s not easy to take a family to a sports event: In 2016, it cost an average of $502.84 to take a family of four to an NFL game. That amount covers two adult tickets, two children’s tickets, two small beers, four small soft drinks, four hot dogs, two programs, two adult-size ball caps and parking. The same family outing to an NBA game totaled $339.02 in 2016. In Major League Baseball, the family-of-four average in 2016 was a veritable “bargain,” at $219.53 (up a whopping 176 percent from $79.41 in 1991).

Supporter Spotlight

Chip Devine of Brookfield Residential Believes Putting People First is Job One

Chip Devine, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Housing & Land Development for Brookfield Residential

There are some companies—and some people—who have been such an integral part of the industry and HomeAid’s story that it seems as though they’ve always been there. Chip Devine, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Housing & Land Development for Brookfield Residential, is one such person, and Brookfield Residential is one such company. A decades-long veteran of the industry, Chip and his colleagues at Brookfield have been quietly supporting HomeAid since 2008, both as a Builder Captain and a constant at our events, ranging from the Builders & Friends BBQ to golf tournaments to the Gala. The ultimate behind-the-scenes partner, Chip and Brookfield epitomize what it means to partner for the greater good. Read on to find out how Chip got his start in the industry and why HomeAid became part of the company’s giving circle.

Q: How did Brookfield make the initial connection with HomeAid, and why did the company choose to become involved?

A: We found out about HomeAid through our involvement with NVBIA. Choosing to get involved was easy. Giving back is so important, and it’s really part of our company philosophy to never forget that. We are all very lucky where we are in life, and it only makes good sense to give back and help out those who haven’t been as fortunate. One of our first projects was helping renovate a shelter in Prince William County for women and children who escaped domestic violence. It’s the kind of project that really sticks with you.

Q: What do you personally enjoy most about working with HomeAid?

A: As a builder creating communities all around the metropolitan D.C. area, we love having the opportunity to give back to those communities in which we build. The opportunity to leverage our connections in the building industry to provide the most value for HomeAid Northern Virginia’s projects is also very satisfying—I really enjoy interacting with some of the other industry veterans who have been involved with HomeAid for as long as we have. It’s also always fun to reconnect at projects or at events, and it makes staying involved in between projects an important reason for our ongoing support too.

Most recently, we partnered up with three other builders on a renovation of a small apartment building in Alexandria owned by Community Lodgings. This project was especially memorable because these other builders are usually the ones we’re bidding against or competing against generally in the industry, so the opportunity to put that aside and establish camaraderie for the greater good was an experience I won’t forget. It’s a really satisfying feeling.

Q: Why should a builder join HomeAid’s network?

A: It’s always good to give back to those in need. Joining Home Aid and participating in its projects is a relatively easy way to accomplish this goal. As builders, we are able to use our connections to suppliers and subcontractors to create the biggest benefit for HomeAid Northern Virginia, their partners, and the clients they serve. It’s also extremely rewarding to create or renovate physical structures that you know will go to good use from day one.

Q: How did you get into the homebuilding industry? What do you think you’ll be most proud of when you look back on that career?

A: I started in the industry at age 13, for Pulte, in Potomac, Maryland—its only project outside of Detroit, Michigan. My parents were the second family to move in, and I started mowing lawns for Pulte. I worked for them through college, where I majored in building construction and architecture, and continued working for them summers. When I got my license, I worked as a “gopher” deliverer, and then next took care of their model homes. They next asked me if I wanted to learn construction, and I soon found myself 35 feet below grade in a sewer that needed to be cleared, and I joked, ‘It’s a long way up from here.’

After college, I went into commercial real estate, and then into building custom homes with a partner for three years. I went out on my own next, building custom homes again, for three years, and although it was a great learning experience, it wasn’t right. So, I went to NVR for several years with Dwight Schar and Bill Moran, where I started as assistant superintendent and left eight years later as vice president of construction. And for the last 28 years, I’ve been with Brookfield, minus one sabbatical year with Pulte to help them with Stone Ridge by Pulte. Throughout my career, I’ve worked in suburban Maryland and D.C.

Unquestionably, when I look back on my career, I think of the people. Those relationships will be my legacy. This is a people business, and yes, the building and design and architecture is fun, but it’s the getting along with people, understanding them and their perspectives—that’s what really matters. We treat our trade partners incredibly well, and they treat us well in return. We don’t have labor issues as a result; we really foster that relationship. Working with people is a core philosophy that’s carried through my own career.


HomeAid Northern Virginia has two active social media accounts—on Facebook and Twitter—where we post photos and news of our efforts in both renovating and building homes for the homeless as well as helping make memories and connections for the families we serve. We also post related news, give kudos to our many supporters, and provide inspiration for ways to get involved. Follow us today!


A Fresh New (Online) Face

We have a new look and a new website! Thanks to Alexandria-based Grafik, who updated and refreshed HomeAid Northern Virginia’s website at a significant discount. The result is easier navigation, a more streamlined experience, and enhanced graphic design. This is a huge job that our small staff could not have tackled alone, and we are so grateful for Grafik’s generous contribution and continued support. Check out our new look today!

School Done Right

Thank you, NVBIA Custom Builders Council (CBC) for collecting over 30 backpacks for kids served by HomeAid partners at your summer mixer on June 7! We look forward to distributing them at our 8th Annual Night at the Ballpark, and we appreciate your members’ help in ensuring that kids have the supplies they need to start school on the right foot

Many thanks to NVBIA’s Women in Building Industry (WBI) as well, for setting up a backpack collection at your upcoming networking Brewery Bash at the Caboose Brewing Company on July 17 in Vienna, Va.!  We are grateful for your continued support and look forward to seeing you at the event!

Much gratitude to Van Metre Companies for their collection of backpacks at their annual picnic which was held on June 28. And a special thank you to Beau and Dea Van Metre, Rick and Sue Rabil and the Van Metre Family Foundation, courtesy of Alison Van Metre Paley, for their generous financial contributions to help us purchase more.


Thank you, Washington Post and long-time HomeAid supporter Howard Bomstein, advertising manager for the Post, for again offering to co-host a Builder Captain recruitment and appreciation event with us, this year scheduled for August 1 at Nationals Park. We look forward to cheering on the Nats, sharing information about what it means to work with HomeAid Northern Virginia, and catching up with homebuilder colleagues!

Ribbon Cutting

We are eagerly awaiting July 17, when Builder Captain Winchester Homes, 17 trade partners, and HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Board of Directors will cut the ribbon for the long-awaited, $550,000 renovation of Final Salute’s residence in Northern Virginia. The project launched in 2015 and, after a series of setbacks that were met and surmounted by our team, will now feature 8,700 sq. ft. of living space for up to 10 residents – all female veterans and their children. For more information, contact Kristyn Burr and check next month’s Building Hope for photos and details!

Thank You

A round of applause to 11 local Wal-Mart stores for your generous $7,500 in grant donations; all of the funds will go toward supporting our mission of building homes—and new lives—for Northern Virginia’s homeless men, women, and children.

Save the Date

Final Salute Ribbon Cutting – July 17, 2018, Final Salute’s “Karen’s Home”
NVBIA Women in Building Industry Brewery Bash – July 17, 2018, Caboose Brewing Company – Bring a new backpack to support HANV’s backpack drive!
8th Annual Night at the Ballpark – August 3, 2018, Potomac Nationals Pfitzner Stadium. For families and individuals served by our nonprofit and shelter partners.
NVBIA Crab FeastAugust 16, 2018, The Farm Brewery at Broad Run
4th Annual Golf Tournament – September 21, 2018, Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club
NVBIA Oyster Roast – September 27, 2018, Potomac Shores
Great American Living Awards – October 4, 2018, Hilton McLean Tysons Corner
17th Annual HomeAid Northern Virginia Gala & Auction – November 10, 2018, Lansdowne Resort & Spa

Building Hope Newsletter, June 2018

By | Building Hope, In the News, News

Executive Director's Corner

HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director Kristyn Burr and her daughter hand out backpacks at the 2016 Night at the Ballpark.

HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director Kristyn Burr and her daughter hand out backpacks at the 2017 Night at the Ballpark.

Our mission is “Building New Lives for Northern Virginia’s Homeless,” and while our priority will always be building and renovating homes and shelters for the homeless with our provider partners, I also think it’s important to go beyond providing a bed and a roof. For me, that mission also means focusing on supportive services that help make a person feel valued, that reduce stress and worry, or that provide the tools needed to regain independence. Maybe you’ve noticed a shift in some of our efforts. For example, our Night at the Ballpark is all about giving the gift of fun to families living in local shelters. Our Helping Hands program helps fill refrigerators and provide household essentials to make families’ move-in day feel more manageable.

In this issue of Building Hope, you’ll learn about additional ways we’re working to extend ourselves “beyond the bed.” Last month, Sight & Sound opened its doors to welcome kids and moms for lunch and a movie in their showroom theaters. This month, we’re launching another Backpack Drive to help ensure that kids start the school year out right in the fall. We’re also partnering with an after-school center to help them build out an entire floor of an Arlington Community Center, so that they can double the number of elementary-age kids they help with reading and other academic priorities. Data show that the ability to read plays a huge role in high school graduation rates—which of course has an impact on a person’s ability to support an independent life. And when we can mix in events that celebrate family, we’re constantly reinforcing that important priority too. It’s a holistic approach, and I’m so proud of our supporters and partners for helping us find new ways to make a difference. Another silver lining? We’re enhancing stakeholders’ connection with the projects, the partners, and the people we’re supporting, which in turn leads to greater giving. What’s not to love?

In Gratitude,

In the Spotlight

HomeAid’s 9th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ is in Two Weeks!

The Details

When: Thursday, June 21
4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Where: The Barn at One Loudoun

Because it’s not every day you get to roll out of a BBQ with a barrel of beer … register today for HomeAid’s 2018 Builders & Friends BBQ!

Because it’s not every day you get to roll out of a BBQ with a barrel of beer … register today for HomeAid’s 2018 Builders & Friends BBQ!

This spring has gotten off to a rocky start! First we froze. Then we were deluged by endless rain. Now summer is on our doorstep and we have one question for you: Are you as ready as we are for a fun summer outing? Then register today for our 9th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ! Your ticket will grant you access to one of the season’s best networking events, an all-you-can-eat BBQ, an open bar, cornhole games, and great raffle prizes. We promise this will also probably be your one and only opportunity all year to win a wheelbarrow full of beer!

The BBQ is one of our favorite ways to say thank you to the companies who have so generously contributed their time, resources, and expertise to HomeAid projects; as part of that celebration, we’ll also announce and honor our 2018 Trade Partner of the Year. Please join us!

All 2018 trade partners, suppliers, or subcontractors that have participated on a HomeAid project this year will receive TWO FREE BBQ registrations! Contact Cilda Pretorius for more information and to get registered!

In Your Neighborhood

HomeAid, HITT Construction Partner with Aspire! Afterschool Learning

HomeAid and partners will soon begin building out 9,400 square feet of classroom space for at-risk kids in Arlington County, on behalf of Aspire! Afterschool Learning.

HomeAid and partners will soon begin building out 9,400 square feet of classroom space for at-risk kids in Arlington County, on behalf of Aspire! Afterschool Learning.

HomeAid Northern Virginia and General Contractor HITT Construction have created a unique partnership with Aspire! Afterschool Learning and Arlington County to build out 9,400 square feet on the third floor of the Arlington Mill Community Center on Columbia Pike. Aspire! will use the dedicated space for after-school academic and summer enrichment programs, along with community dance and movement classes. Aspire! currently serves 40 upper elementary-age students each day at this site. The new space will allow them to double or even triple that capacity.

“Our program targets children who are at risk of falling into an achievement gap in Arlington,” said Courtney Reeve, executive director for Aspire! “Reading is a very strong component of our work, as research has shown that reading proficiency is strongly correlated with high school graduation. Last year in Arlington, nearly one in three economically disadvantaged fourth graders failed their reading proficiency tests. It’s a persistent pattern that we aim to change, along with providing social emotional learning and other educational support. In the last school year, our flagship program, ‘Learning ROCKS!,’ helped 92 percent of our students improve their reading ability and, more critically, 67 percent of English language learners made significant gains in their English proficiency. We know that kids who are being well served are four times more likely to graduate from high school.

“Until now,” she added, “we haven’t had any dedicated space. We’ve been operating across several sites, which really affects our ability to consistently provide services to the kids who need it. This project will of course not only give us the home and headquarters we’ve needed for so long, but it will show at-risk kids that they’re valued. We’re incredibly excited for this opportunity, and having HomeAid at the table will exponentially increase our ability to leverage different builder and trade relationships that will be so critical to the success of this project.”

Perkins + Will, an international design and architecture firm specializing in education and health spaces, designed the space pro bono. Plans include an option for multi-phased construction based on existing resources, but Aspire!’s goal is to build out the space and move in advance of the 2018-19 school year. It is expected that the total project cost will near $1 million, with seed money for the project being contributed by the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Philip Graham Fund, the HDR Foundation, and the Washington Forrest Foundation, in addition to pledges and gifts totaling about $450,000. Aspire! seeks to raise an additional $200,000.


In 2015, 43% of fourth grade public school students in Virginia performed at or above the proficient level in reading. In Arlington County, 89% of fourth grade public school students performed at or above proficiency. BUT, look more closely: Within the fail rate among fourth graders, 29% of economically disadvantaged students failed, compared to 5% of non-disadvantaged kids.
Sources: The Nation’s Report Card (Virginia state statistic) and Aspire! Afterschool Learning (Arlington County statistic)

In Your Community

Play Ball! Support HomeAid’s Annual Night at the Ballpark

The Details

When: Friday, August 3, 2018
Gates open: 6:00 p.m.
Game time: 7:05 p.m.
Where: Pfitzner Stadium

Volunteers work with eager “shoppers” as they pick out a brand-new backpack at the 2016 Night at the Ballpark

HomeAid’s Annual Night at the Ballpark is one of our most popular summer events. Over the past eight years, we’ve sent hundreds of families from local shelters to enjoy a Potomac Nationals baseball game on us. It’s a night dedicated to making memories for families who rarely enjoy a night out together, and we need your help to make this summer’s event a success!

Your sponsorship can help send families from local shelters to the baseball game—and you will receive complimentary tickets to the game, signage, recognition, and more, based on sponsorship levels.

Donate a backpack or coordinate a Backpack Drive! About a quarter of the homeless population that HomeAid’s non-profit partners serve are children. This summer, we will once again give a backpack to every child who attends our Night at the Ballpark. Here’s how you can help:

  • Contact HomeAid to let us know that your organization would like to participate in the Backpack Drive.
  • Share/print the Backpack Drive flyer and add your company details to help spark interest in participation at your organization. (Contact Cilda Pretorius at HomeAid if you would like an editable version of the flyer.)
  • Drop off your collected backpacks (or schedule a pick-up) during the last two weeks of July.

In addition to giving families tickets to the game and a backpack for each child, we offer parking and concessions vouchers; coordinate pictures with the Potomac National’s mascot, Uncle Slam; and one lucky guest will get to throw out the first pitch. All the kids will get to run the bases after the game, and families will enjoy a post-game fireworks show put on by the Potomac Nationals.

Attention Case Workers!

Would you love to see families from your organization take part in this year’s Night at the Ballpark? Please contact
Cilda Pretorius at HomeAid to let us know how many tickets you would like, and how many school-age children will likely attend the August 3 event. Thank you!

Making It Count

Sight & Sound Builds Hope through New Family Memories

We say it a lot: Finding a way to support HomeAid Northern Virginia is limited only by your imagination. On May 20, trade partner Sight & Sound Systems showed us once again that support can come in a wide variety of ways, when they invited a dozen children and their moms to their two beautiful showroom theaters for a movie, pizza, and priceless memories of a day out with family.

“Movies have, since their invention offered a respite for people – the chance to escape reality for a while,” said Kris Kaymanesh, president of Sight & Sound. “While we know that throwing an event like this doesn’t put money in anyone’s pockets, we figure it puts smiles on their faces, and that makes it worth it.”

The families, who are currently living at the Kate Hanley Family Shelter at Shelter House, had their choice of seeing “Guardians of the Galaxy” or “Peter Rabbit.” Kaymanesh plans to offer the movie outings again following this successful launch.

“Shelter House has been a proud partner of HomeAid of Northern Virginia for over 10 years, and HomeAid has provided so much more than bricks and mortar to our families experiencing homelessness and domestic violence,” said Laura Woody, LCSW, division director of Family Homeless Programs for Shelter House. “And now, through the leadership of Executive Director Kristyn Burr, they are providing even more. In May, [the movie day] at Sight and Sound Systems gave our families the chance to enjoy a pizza party along with a movie, and having such an outlet for these families is extremely important as they face the day-to-day stress of finding permanent homes. Thank you, HomeAid of Northern Virginia and Sight and Sound, for providing our families an experience they will not soon forget.”

“There are so many people right in our own backyards who need our help,” Kaymanesh added. “Homelessness has so many different tentacles that touch many lives, and I’m glad we could provide a fun day out for families who probably don’t get that opportunity very often. We are proud to help our community in this way.”

Sight & Sound Systems is a home automation and home theater company, founded in 1994 by Kris Kaymanesh and based in Loudoun County.


It costs, on average, $60 for a family of four to go to the movies, assuming standard seating, four separate drinks, and two orders of popcorn to share. Add in transportation costs, some extra snack bar purchases, or upgraded seating, and that number can easily double or triple.
Source: Peachtree Financial Solutions

Supporter Spotlight

Long-time Supporter Howard Bomstein Values HomeAid's Measurable Community Impact

Howard Bomstein, advertising manager for The Washington Post and long-time supporter of NVBIA and HomeAid Northern Virginia

Anyone who has worked in the Northern Virginia homebuilding industry over the last 40 years has probably crossed paths with Howard Bomstein—and while all may not have realized it, all have surely benefited from his work in helping advance and market the local real estate market. The native Washingtonian launched a career in marketing for a national homebuilder, co-founded what would become a buyer’s and seller’s bible for advertising properties, and now is one of our most consistent supporters. Howard’s long-time involvement with the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA) has helped us expand our network of Builder Captains. We are as grateful for his support as we are for the builder recruitment and appreciation event he co-hosts with us at Nationals Park every summer. Read on to find out how this DC-metro institution found us and why he remains one of our most tenured partners.

Q: You were one of HomeAid Northern Virginia’s earliest board members. What interested you about the then-new nonprofit?

A: I joined the HomeAid Board of Directors at the behest of my client, Don Knutson, when he was at Beazer Homes. For me, HomeAid represented the type of charity that had a measurable impact on our local community. The more new facilities that were built, the more families and individuals could be served when they most needed it—and we could easily know exactly how many people used the facilities and over what time period they used them. This was both meaningful and measurable, and it is what I find important and relevant for any charity effort.

Q: How does HomeAid today compare to the HomeAid then?

A: HomeAid in the early days, back in 2000/2001, was tiny. We completed one project over a six-month period with limited participation by the local homebuilding industry. In time, multiple projects were engaged, and industry-wide support from Builder Captains to suppliers ensued. Momentum continued to build, and today, HomeAid is integral to the mission of NVBIA.

Q: The Washington Post has been a long-time supporter; how has HomeAid’s mission fit with the Post’s philanthropic efforts?

A: The Washington Post reports the news and offers features that engage and enlighten readers. In the case of Real Estate, our weekly section is designed, written, and produced for those of our readers who follow trends in homebuilding; resales; and topics like mortgage rates, neighborhoods in which we live, and the latest in new home construction. Lastly, The Washington Post is a good corporate citizen in our community, so it behooves us to support charities that help our citizens lead better lives. We cannot support everything, but HomeAid in our opinion is deserving of that support.

Q: How did you get involved with NVBIA, the homebuilding industry, and the people who work in the industry?

A: I am a lifelong Washingtonian. My first real job after military service and graduate school was for U.S. Home (now Lennar) in marketing. I co-founded the New Homes Guide in 1975. I then spent 35 years in advertising for my own company, The Bomstein Agency, and we were NVBIA members for the company’s entire existence. We provided advertising and marketing communication services to nearly every major homebuilder in the market from 1977 until 2009.

When I joined The Washington Post in 2013, I renewed our support of NVBIA through my position as advertising category manager for real estate and property management. I am also an adjunct professor for the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, where I teach branding and design.

NVBIA, I firmly believe, serves its builder and associate members in ways too numerous to mention here, but it has without a doubt helped me and The Washington Post connect to builders, developers, and Realtors. I believed that way back in 1977, and I continue to do so today.


NVBIA’s Triple Play Picnic

The pre-game party was enjoyed by many at the 2015 Night at the Ballpark.

In partnership with HomeAid’s Night at the Ballpark, which is on Friday, Aug. 3, NVBIA will again host the Triple Play Picnic, where guests receive tickets to the game, an exclusive baseball cap, 10% off at the Potomac Nats National Mall Team Store, and an all-you-can-eat buffet of burgers, hot dogs, and non-alcoholic beverages. The event is held just inside the stadium gates, starting at 5:30. The cost is $38 for adults and youth (ages 6-12); admission for children 5 and under is $16. Contact Alex Whitson for more information about NVBIA’s Triple Play Picnic.

The picnic is held in conjunction with HomeAid’s 8th Annual Night at the Ballpark, where 300 children and family members facing homelessness enjoy a night of baseball, food, and family fun, free-of-charge.

Thank You!

Executive Director Kristyn Burr welcomes and thanks representatives from Toll and trade partner companies who attended the luncheon.

Many thanks to Builder Captain Toll Brothers and 18 trade partners, who completed a $126,000 renovation on 12 individual apartments and a children’s activity center at Catholic Charities’ St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Residences. During our appreciation luncheon on May 31, we thanked all of our contributors, as well as offered tours of the completed space. All of the families are referred to Catholic Charities from regional emergency shelters and domestic violence programs; the majority of residents are mothers with young children.

Thank You to the Following Trade Partners who Contributed to this Project:
  • American Disposal Services
  • Allied
  • Atlas Plumbing, LLC
  • B&K Distributors, Inc.
  • Buhl Electric Company, Inc.
  • Doug Construction, LLC
  • Falcon Heating & Air Conditioning
  • GE Appliances
  • Kohler
  • L & P Carpenter, LLC
  • Mid South Building Supply, Inc.
  • Poe Porcelain Repair
  • Precision Drywall Services
  • Premier Surfaces
  • Price Construction
  • Staged Interior
  • T.A.C. Ceramic Tile, Co.
  • Titan Erosion Control

Local Emerging Leaders Getting Recognized

Congratulations to Executive Director Kristyn Burr, for her nomination by Shelter House Executive Director and CEO Joe Meyer for the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Award in the Emerging Influential Leader of the Year category! The awards honor individuals, businesses, and non-profits for above-and-beyond business leadership and corporate social responsibility and will be announced at the awards luncheon on June 13. More information and tickets to the luncheon are available from the Chamber of Commerce.

BBC Video Features HomeAid Director’s Commitment to Community

According to a report by BBC, two-thirds of released U.S. prisoners end up back in a cell within three years. But through the power of mindfulness and the benefits of practicing yoga, Seva Prison Yoga (the Virginia affiliate of Prison Yoga Project) hopes to change that. HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Executive Director Kristyn Burr—who founded Seva Prison Yoga and was recently featured on a BBC video report—teaches yoga at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, where she works with incarcerated men and women to help them find peace, balance, and new hope. The program has quickly expanded to seven classes at two local facilities, including the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center, with four teachers donating their time and passion for yoga.


Danielle Emhof

Danielle Emhof and Nick DeSimone have joined our staff as event and communications coordinator interns, respectively.

Emhof, who just completed her freshman year at Penn State University, came to HomeAid due to her interest in nonprofit organizations and the impact that HomeAid has on the community. “The atmosphere during my interview made me feel it would be a great place to work,” she said. “I am interested in learning all aspects of the job and believe it will allow me to expand my knowledge and gain valuable experience that will be helpful in my future.”

Emhof plans to major in accounting and hopes to utilize the experience gained at HomeAid in a career with a nonprofit.

Nick DeSimone

Nick DeSimone, a rising senior at Virginia Tech who is pursuing a B.A. in public relations, chose to intern at HomeAid to get involved with a hometown-based organization and gain work experience in communications, marketing, and event planning.

“Knowing that the work I do will simultaneously benefit the community and ultimately contribute to alleviating the very real homelessness issue we have in Northern Virginia is extremely attractive to me,” DeSimone said. “I hope to acquire valuable experience formulating news media and organizational writing, while also learning more about the marketing side of nonprofits.”

DeSimone hopes to eventually secure a communications position for a professional sports organization, or land a communications or marketing position at an amusement park.

Save the Date

9th Annual Builders and Friends BBQ – June 21, 2018, The Barn at One Loudoun
NVBIA 2018 Scramble Golf Tournament – June 25, 2018, River Creek Club
8th Annual Night at the Ballpark – August 3, 2018, Potomac Nationals Pfitzner Stadium, for families living in local shelters.
NVBIA Crab FeastAugust 23, 2018, The Farm Brewery at Broad Run
4th Annual Golf Tournament – September 21, 2018, Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club
17th Annual HomeAid Northern Virginia Gala & Auction – November 10, 2018, Lansdowne Resort & Spa

Building Hope Newsletter, May 2018

By | Building Hope, In the News, News

Executive Director's Corner

Friend Rhonda Wilson (left) and Joe Meyer, CEO of Shelter House (right), join Kristyn at the April yoga fundraiser for HomeAid Northern Virginia.

Our mission is building new lives for Northern Virginia’s homeless. More often than not that means building and renovating homes and shelters to ensure that Northern Virginia homeless residents have a safe, stable, beautiful space to call home. But it also means providing opportunities to the men, women and children we serve, through memory-making outings like our upcoming Night at the Ballpark this summer. Last month, thanks to donated tickets provided by Feld Entertainment, we sent a group of 50 parents and children from Shelter House and Catholic Charities to Disney on Ice.

I mention both not only because they are perfect examples of gifting our at-risk and homeless populations with a rare day out as a family, but also because they represent an enormously different way that our supporters can help us achieve our mission. As you’ll also read in this issue, a brand-new supporter of HomeAid just last month organized a benefit yoga class on our behalf, raising hundreds of dollars. As a passionate yogi myself, I was of course thrilled to hear from her – a benefit yoga class for HomeAid felt tailor-made for two of my top interests! But it also serves as such an important reminder that there are countless ways to support HomeAid. You don’t have to be a builder or tradesperson in the industry … you don’t even have to work in the industry. All that’s needed is creativity and the desire to give back to the community; we’ll work with you to find a way to make it happen.
I look forward to seeing many of you – especially now that spring finally seems to have arrived – at our upcoming Builders and Friends BBQ. We’ve already welcomed sponsorships from several brand-new supporters and long-time supporters, and we look forward to this important and fun event that is always a great way of saying thank you to all of our friends and supporters!

In Gratitude,

In the Spotlight

BBQ Season is Here! Join HomeAid to Celebrate!

Thursday, June 21
4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: The Barn at One Loudoun

Register Here!Be a Sponsor!

Spring has been slow to arrive, but if you’re itching to enjoy some delicious barbeque, celebrate friendships, and welcome the new season, be sure to join us at HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 9th Annual Builders and Friends BBQ! This event is always one of the best opportunities to connect with industry colleagues – including our region’s top homebuilder executives, decision makers, and trade partners. Each $40 registration includes a ticket to some great raffle prizes, all-you-can-eat BBQ, an open bar, and cornhole games.

It’s always a crowd at HomeAid’s Builders & Friends BBQ – we look forward to seeing you on June 21 for our 9th Annual!

We will also announce the 2018 Trade Partner of the Year, recognizing a trade partner that exemplifies what it means to be dedicated, driven, and committed to improve housing facilities for the homeless and at-risk populations in Northern Virginia.

“The Builders & Friends BBQ is our way to give thanks to companies that have continued to help us build safe, stable housing for the homeless in our community, year after year,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia President Mike Sandkuhler. “We are so grateful to every single one of our builders and trade partners who so generously contribute their time, resources, and expertise, and we look forward to celebrating them – and thanking them – at this always-popular event. I look forward to seeing many of our stakeholders and supporters, and I hope you’ll join me in congratulating our Trade Partner of the Year and toasting our future success.”

Register today! (All 2018 trade partners, suppliers, and subcontractors that have participated on a HomeAid project this year will receive TWO FREE BBQ registrations; contact Kristyn Burr to ensure you are on the list!)

Many thanks to our event sponsors!


Since 2010, supporters have raised nearly $130,000 for HomeAid Northern Virginia through the Builders & Friends BBQ. The funds help support our mission of building and renovating homes for the homeless and help support educational and awareness programs for our partners.
Source: HomeAid Northern Virginia

In Your Neighborhood

HomeAid, Toll Brothers and Partners Complete Renovations on Catholic Charities’ 13-Unit Building

Toll Brothers renovated 13 apartment units owned by Catholic Charities. The renovations included updated and upgraded kitchens and bathrooms, drywall repair, and new flooring. The top photo shows construction in progress; the photo above shows a finished kitchen. Toll Brothers covered approximately 70% of the costs.

Toll Brothers renovated 13 apartment units owned by Catholic Charities. The renovations included updated and upgraded kitchens and bathrooms, drywall repair, and new flooring. The top photo shows construction in progress; the photo above shows a finished kitchen. Toll Brothers covered approximately 70% of the costs.

HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain Toll Brothers, and trade partners have completed a $96,000 renovation on 12 individual apartments and a children’s activity center at Catholic Charities’ St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Residences, giving 12 families a completely refreshed and updated home in which to continue their journey toward independence. All of the families are referred to Catholic Charities from regional emergency shelters and domestic violence programs; the majority of residents are mothers with young children.

In order to minimize disruption, HomeAid and its partners worked on three units at a time, rotating families to local hotels until their units were completed before moving on to the next three in the schedule. While it meant a longer timeline for completion – and a more difficult project management process since each unit had differing levels of needed repairs – the team’s focus remained on the families’ comfort throughout the three-month renovation process.

“Our clients are thrilled. It’s hard to explain how excited they are by all of the overhauls these units got,” said Veronica Roth, program director for St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Residences. “One family has a disabled child in a wheelchair, and she just can’t say enough about the new flooring; it’s so much easier to get her child around. The granite countertops and updated bathrooms are all so lovely – and such a luxury for people who haven’t had luxuryin their lives lately. We keep calling it St. Margaret’s Makeover! It’s really brought this building up to modern standards, and it will increase the longevity of the building’s ability to serve families.”

Some common repairs to all 13 units included drywall repair, interior paint, and new flooring, with most units also getting new kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, countertops, and electrical and plumbing work. Other common issues included HVAC repairs, upgraded lighting, new refrigerators, and upgraded door locks for security.

Scott Canan, division vice president for Toll Brothers, first started planning the project at the end of December 2017, with construction beginning the first week of February. “It’s been a non-stop schedule. We had only one day that we had to deviate from the schedule due to snow. All of the trade partners have been fantastic and really good to work with. Everyone has been equally focused on making sure we do this right. We thought the building was on a slab, for instance, but when we found out it had a crawl space, we went ahead and replaced the rotten subfloor. The condition of the building had really degraded over the years, and it feels so great to give these families a beautiful space to move back into. We’ve had a lot of happy people; it’s been a great experience.”

The housing program provides up to 24 months of temporary housing and support services, as well as an after-care program for those who need it. By accepting referrals from shelters located within the Diocese of Arlington, Catholic Charities reaches 21 counties in the D.C. metropolitan area.

Thank you, Toll Brothers and the following trade partners, for giving 12 families recovering from domestic violence a safe, stable home!

American Disposal Services
Atlas Plumbing, LLC
B&K Distributors, Inc.
Buhl Electric Company, Inc.
Doug Construction, LLC
Falcon Heating & Air Conditioning
GE Appliances

L & P Carpenter, LLC
Mid South Building Supply, Inc.
Poe Porcelain Repair
Premier Services
T.A.C. Ceramic Tile, Co.
Titan Erosion Control

Trade Partner Spotlight

While no project is ever truly straightforward, the renovation of an apartment building owned by Catholic Charities’ St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Residences really tested the flexibility and project management expertise of Builder Captain Toll Brothers and the 15 trade partners who worked on the building. With 12 apartments and a children’s activity center to renovate on a rotating schedule, and a widely varying scope of work needed for each unit, the only constant for the project team was a long schedule of multiple trips. And one trade partners in particular, Atlas Plumbing, was in from the beginning.

“They were the first contractor in and had probably the largest responsibility of any,” said Scott Canan, division vice president for Toll Brothers. They started by unhooking all the appliances, including a gas range, dishwasher, kitchen sink, and bath vanity, as well as removing the toilets. They later returned in the final stages to re-hook up everything and run new lines, including refrigerator water lines and new water and waste lines to the kitchen and bath. And, they had to repeat it six times! There never once was a complaint, even when we made a scheduling error that resulted in a wasted trip for their crew. Chris Shirk was simply great to work with and did whatever was needed to make this project a success. He and his team were a pleasure to work with, start to finish.”

Atlas gives back to the community a lot, Shirk explained, but Catholic Charities was just his second project with HomeAid. “I’ve heard the stories and seen the struggles, and I’m glad to be able to help out this way. I’ve kept the same crew on both projects for continuity, and the communications with both projects has been great. The project went well, and it’s so good to hear that the families are happy. It’s such a great way to help make a difference for someone.”

Atlas Home Services, LLC, provides a full range of plumbing services to homeowners throughout the Northern Virginia area. AHS is led by master plumbers and staffed by highly trained, licensed plumbing professionals. Its sister company, Atlas Plumbing, LLC, has plumbed and provided plumbing services to major home builders and homeowners in Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Arlington County, the City of Alexandria, Stafford County and northern Spotsylvania County since 1981.

Staged Interior Partners with HomeAid for Third Project at Catholic Charities

Staged Interior furnished six apartments with donated and purchased furniture at Catholic Charities’ St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Shelter.

In 2016, Staged Interior – a home-staging company based in Chantilly – completely furnished and accessorized a 5,000 square foot, seven-bedroom home that HomeAid Northern Virginia and Toll Brothers built for Youth For Tomorrow. In 2017, they did it again, outfitting seven apartments – including 15 to 20 bedrooms and seven living rooms, dining rooms, and kitchens – for Community Lodgings after HomeAid and a consortium of four homebuilders renovated the building top to bottom. And now, the company has teamed up with HomeAid again, furnishing and accessorizing six apartment units for families who have left domestic violence situations and emergency shelters and who will be moving into the recently renovated Catholic Charities apartment building.

“We’ve been so blessed by our connection with HomeAid, which started through our affiliation and membership with NVBIA,” said Young Kim, business manager for Staged Interior. “I completely trust both NVBIA and HomeAid, and we are confident that whatever they’re working on is a worthy project. We want to contribute as much as we can, but it’s always a challenge in the midst of the spring real estate market when our regular business of staging homes for sale is really hot. The fact that the schedule for this project is on a rotating basis, as the renovation crew works on three units at a time, has been a really good fit for us. It is working out so well to have some breathing room between each phase!”

Staged Interior also recently finished up another project for Homestretch – a frequent HomeAid partner as well – following their philosophy of giving back and contributing whenever they have the opportunity.

In Your Community

2018 Housing Forum Examines Complex Needs, Focused Solutions: Training and Support for Homeless Service Providers

An interactive format allowed for lively discussion between attendees and presenters throughout HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 2018 Housing Forum.

More than 100 housing and homeless service providers from 50 non-profit and governmental organizations filled the conference room at Brookfield Residential last week, turning out for what has become the region’s best networking and educational program for individuals and organizations serving the homeless – HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Housing Forum.

Keynote Speaker Norm Suchar, director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Special Needs Assistance, kicked off the morning with an insightful, high-level overview of trends and policies affecting homelessness and an examination of what’s working and what’s not. He also shared with the group his hope for streamlining future services and programming, with a goal of reducing red tape and paperwork.

A panel discussion on the “State of our Union,” moderated by Joe Meyer, executive director of Shelter House, featured Dean Klein, director, Fairfax County Office to End and Prevent Homelessness; Jessica Lurz, director, City Of Alexandria’s Department of Community and Human Services; Tony Turnage, division chief, Homeless Services, Prince William County Government; Nicole Harmon, bureau chief, Housing Assistance, Arlington County Department of Human Services; and Jennifer Hope, coordinator, Loudoun County Continuum of Care, Department of Family Services. The panelists—through anecdotes and examples of their daily work—illustrated the diversity of our region and addressed concerns that are both unique to the different counties and common challenges for all.

Following the panel discussion, the Forum turned to a series of short training sessions, with Meredith McKeen, NVFS’s Youth Initiatives and Multicultural Center, addressing trauma-informed care; Kendall S. Cloeter, Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development, discussing how to implement low-barrier services; and Dr. Eleanor Vincent, Pathway Homes, Inc., and Libbie Rozofsky, Fannie Mae, making a joint presentation on removing barriers to permanent stable housing.

Overall, the Forum was overwhelmingly rated by attendees as valuable to very valuable, with attendees saying, “It was the best Forum I have attended that addresses the reality of the issues and the challenges we face” … “the presentation on removing barriers to permanent stable housing was FANTASTIC” … “interesting and eye opening” and “very valuable; the Forum gets better each year.”

A complete summary of the 2018 Housing Forum as well as photos from the event are available.

Thank you to Presenting Sponsor Bank of America and to Venue Sponsor Brookfield Residential!


Since 2008, Fairfax County has achieved a 47% reduction in overall homelessness and a 50% reduction in the number of homeless families. Over the past seven years in Alexandria, homelessness has decreased by over 46%. In the past year, Prince William County has seen the number of homeless individuals drop by 7%. And in Arlington, homelessness has dropped by 54% in the 10 years since its Plan to End Homelessness initiative was launched.

Making It Count

Namaste for Charity

Sunni Ford raised hundreds of dollars for HomeAid Northern Virginia through a Karmic Giving yoga class in Woodbridge, Va., in April.

The ways you can give back to the community are limited only by your imagination, and lucky for us, Sonjia (Sunni) Ford is as creative in thought as she is in life. Sunni is working toward her certification in yoga and as part of that journey needed to select a charity and raise funds for it. Called “Karmic Giving,” the effort is just one aspect of yoga certification; she also must earn 200 hours of training!

“I originally chose the Boys and Girls Club because it was familiar to me,” Sunni said, “but I decided to go in a new direction … I quite randomly started searching for terms like ‘giving back’ and ‘Northern Virginia,’ and HomeAid popped up. I clicked through and learned more about its mission of helping the homeless, and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is right in my backyard!’”

Little did Sunni know when she emailed HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director Kristyn Burr that she would be reaching out to another yogi; Kristyn teaches multiple classes—including weekly classes every Wednesday for incarcerated men and women at the Fairfax Adult Detention Center.

“It’s like it was fate,” Sunni added. “The minute I heard back from Kristyn, my stress level went way down and I knew I was where I was supposed to be. HomeAid agreed to co-brand the promotional flyer I had created to encourage donors to attend my class. Kristyn even came to my class, along with Joe Meyer, CEO of Shelter House, and HomeAid supporter Rhonda Wilson. It was so inspiring to meet them and learn about what they do for HomeAid. I was so glad that Kristyn took the time to share some words with the class about what HomeAid is and what they do. It really made the whole event come to life for us.”

Best of all, Sunni raised $600 for HomeAid Northern Virginia, and she was reminded that fundraising doesn’t have to be intimidating or scary. It just means finding something meaningful to you and helping in any way you can, whether that’s through time, money or talent.

“You can be who you are, and you can connect in a way that works for you,” she said. “Yoga is my passion, and it connected me to HomeAid. I’m so grateful.”

Thank you to Sunni for organizing this benefit class; to My BodYoga in Woodbridge, Va., for hosting the event; and to Soul Cakes by Tanya for providing delicious post-class cupcakes! For more information about how YOU can give back to your community, please get in touch!

Supporter Spotlight

Scott Canan Helps Lead Toll Brothers’ Regional Philanthropy

Scott Canan, division vice president for Toll Brothers

Scott Canan, division vice president for Toll Brothers, is finishing up a renovation project with HomeAid Northern Virginia and already looking forward to the next opportunity to partner with the organization his company has long supported in a myriad of ways. Whether they’re buying a full table at our Annual Gala & Auction, attending the Builders & Friends BBQ, or leading a project—in 2016, they built a 5,000 square foot, $650,000 home for Youth For Tomorrow with HomeAid—Toll Brothers has been an important partner. Now, Scott serves on our Board of Directors and continues to advance Toll Brothers’ vision of being one of the most actively philanthropic companies in the region. Read on to find out how they chose HomeAid—and what Scott enjoys most about his role!

Q: How did you get involved initially with HomeAid, and what attracted you to serve and volunteer with the organization? 

A: Our group president at Toll Brothers was looking for volunteers, and I was familiar with HomeAid and what they stood for through our involvement with NVBIA and through homebuilder colleagues. I wanted to be a part of it, so I volunteered to represent Toll. What I’ve really enjoyed is that HomeAid has a much larger purpose than most charitable organizations; the donations go to the people who really need it. And, knowing the caliber of people who serve on the board or as partners of the organization really makes me want to volunteer. I’ve seen first-hand how everyone really go all out, and I am all in when it comes to giving back to society.

My philanthropic philosophy is very much in line with Toll’s. I have been given this leadership opportunity for a reason: to involve our company with community and national charities. We are giving back more now than ever before, and I am grateful for that. I pretty much have full autonomy, to a certain extent, to grow our charitable interaction as far as we can take it.

Q: Why did you decide to step up to a leadership position on the Board? 

A: Being on the board allows me to make more of an impact on the community. As vice president for Toll Brothers, my voice on the board is heard and recognized; Toll is a leader in the homebuilding industry, and people listen to our perspectives. The reverse is true too: Having a say in how Toll can give back and contribute toward assisting others is hugely appealing to me. Together we can make a huge impact in the community, not to mention enjoy the ecstatic satisfaction of giving back. I’ve also really enjoyed meeting and getting to know the other Board members, and it’s extremely rewarding to help others get back on their feet. Just knowing we’ve helped several families through the Catholic Charities project we just finished, for example, is an incredibly rewarding feeling.

Q: What would you tell other prospective Builder Captains about the process and payback of working on a HomeAid project?

A: For me personally, the process is easy, especially when you consider the cause. The payback is watching someone in need get back on their feet and knowing you made a positive impact in their life. For Toll as a company, the payback is similar—we feel the same satisfaction that we made a difference in someone’s life—but it goes beyond that too. There is so much good about being a Builder Captain; for my team, we are setting an example to others that life is not easy and people do get down on their luck … but there are people out there to assist them when they’re in need. This teaches them about team building and how to support others. Going through life without helping others is selfish, and I appreciate that our involvement with HomeAid sets such a good example for our team at Toll Brothers.



Thank You!

Many thanks to M/I Homes for stepping up to lead a new HomeAid project with Pathway Homes, which provides non-time-limited housing and supportive services to adults with serious mental illness and co-occurring disabilities in Northern Virginia. This upcoming renovation project will help serve three men in Fairfax, Va.

Pictured above (from left to right): Maryam Kaymanesh, of Sight & Sound Systems; Kristyn Burr, executive director of HomeAid Northern Virginia; Jenn Keesling, of Van Metre Homes; Lauren Kaymanesh, of Sight & Sound Systems; and Soledad Portilla, of Stanley Martin Homes.

Work Hard, Play Hard

Planning the HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Annual Gala & Auction is no easy feat, and the hardworking Gala Committee decided to combine business and pleasure with an outing to Cirque du Soleil last week, where they picked up ideas for this year’s Gala and simply enjoyed each other’s company with a fun night out on the town!

More Services for More Women

Pictured (left to right) are Richard Clark, Van Metre Homes; Regis Arnold, Van Meter Homes; Mike Sandkuhler, HomeAid Northern Virginia president; Kristyn Burr, HomeAid Northern Virginia executive director; and Brian Davidson, Van Metre Homes.

HomeAid Northern Virginia celebrated Builder Captain Van Metre Homes and 19 trade partners for the completion of the ACTS Women’s Empowerment Center, with an Open House on April 10.The Center houses two programs for women: The “Empowering Women in Transition” residential program for women and families, and the ACTS Rapid Re-Housing Program focused on getting homeless individuals and families into permanent housing, as well as classrooms that will hold classes and trainings for the wider community.

Cold Ice, Warm Hearts

Thank you, Feld Entertainment, for providing 50 free tickets to Disney On Ice at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax. Children and grownups from local shelters are looking forward to a rare night out as they enjoy this year’s “Follow Your Heart” show together. We appreciate your generosity in always remembering that at least 25 percent of the population we serve are children.

Save the Date

NVBIA Parade of Homes – May 5-6, 2018
NVBIA Scramble Golf Tournament – May 21, 2018, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., River Creek Club, Leesburg, VA
9th Annual Builders and Friends BBQ – June 21, 2018, The Barn at One Loudoun
8th Annual Night at the Ballpark – August 3, 2018, Potomac Nationals Pfitzner Stadium, for families living in local shelters.
4th Annual Golf Tournament – September 21, 2018, Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club
17th Annual HomeAid Northern Virginia Gala & Auction – November 10, 2018, Lansdowne Resort & Spa

Building Hope Newsletter, March 2018

By | Building Hope, In the News, News

Executive Director's Corner

(Pictured, left to right) Amiee Freeman, Kathryn Kovacs, HANV Board President Mike Sandkuhler, Kristyn Burr, and Cilda Pretorius

In a single week, we’ve completed a renovation project for a new partner, pulled off a brand-new fundraising event at TopGolf – which sold out within days and brought in $30,000 to support our mission – and sent our Annual Report to more than 3,100 supporters. I hope you’ve received yours in the mail already, but if you haven’t, you can read it here … and I hope you will take a few minutes to learn more about our biggest successes in 2017. Among other things, you’ll learn that together, we invested more than $1 million in our communities to support the homeless and at-risk populations and renovated more than 14,000 square feet of space in Alexandria, Fairfax, Springfield and Herndon. You’ll read about some of the things we did that are outside of building and renovating buildings – but that are equally important to improving the lives and self-esteem of at-risk populations. All told, it tells the story of an incredibly active and busy organization: Did you know that HomeAid America collectively completed 20 projects last year – and five of those were from our chapter alone? In this first quarter of 2018, we’ve already invested $125,000 through the three projects we currently have underway. This laser focus on never slowing our efforts to serve the men, women, and children in our region who need our help is what makes my role here so fulfilling. Thank you for being such a critical piece of the puzzle – together, we are changing lives.

In gratitude,

In the Spotlight

Inaugural GolfAid Event Sold-Out Success

HomeAid Northern Virginia’s newest event – GolfAid, a fundraising and business-building event held at TopGolf Loudoun on March 1 – was an enormous success. A sold-out crowd of 170 enjoyed a fun night of golf and camaraderie and raised $30,000 for HomeAid. Hosted by Brian Davidson, Van Metre Homes, and John Buhl, Buhl Electric Co., the event featured three hours of unlimited golf, networking with home builders and trade partners, great food, and an open bar – all in climate-controlled hitting bays.

Congratulations also to Stephanie Marcus, SCG Development, Andy Tuttle, Offix, and Porter Johnson, James Hardie, who won the TopGolf contest and took home prizes of tee time for a foursome at some of the best courses in the area. Congratulations also to Rob Barnard, SCG Development, who won a raffle for a three-month corporate platinum TopGolf membership.

“Last night epitomizes what it means to be part of the HomeAid family,” said Executive Director Kristyn Burr. “Two of our most dedicated Board members took a risk creating a brand-new event, and then 170 supporters immediately made it a sell-out success by showing up and backing what HomeAid stands for. The warmth and fellowship felt last night was palpable. Knowing that so many came out to learn more about HomeAid, support our mission, and build their own business relationships in such a fun venue made it clear that these kinds of out-of-the-box fundraisers have a place in our strategy.”

TopGolf Contest Winners (left to right): Brian Davidson, GolfAid Host; John Buhl, GolfAid Host; Stephanie Marcus, SCG Development; Andy Tuttle, Offix; Porter Johnson; James Hardie; and Kristyn Burr.
Raffle Winner Rob Barnard, SCG Development with Kristyn Burr.

In Your Neighborhood

Knutson Companies, HomeAid Celebrate Opening of Expanded Food Distribution Center

In their efforts to make LHR’s 4,700-square-foot space a more useful and more fulfilling experience, workers designed a separate lobby for customers and a wide hallway that can better house food items for choice selection, giving families more autonomy over their selections, more privacy while they shop, and more dignity. Plus, this new set-up will generate less food waste as families will be able to choose what they want and will use.

“The process has been a joy from start to finish,” Montgomery added. “Knutson and all of their trade partners have been so professional and so easy to work with. As a non-profit, we would never have dreamed about selecting premium materials like granite, and we certainly would never hire a professional color consultant to help us think through paint options! But with HomeAid and Knutson, all of that became available to us, and it is just a beautiful gift. The generosity will add so much to our client’s daily experience here, and we are so grateful.”

HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain Knutson Companies, and four trade partners have completed a renovation and expansion project for HomeAid’s newest partner,  Loudoun Hunger Relief (LHR) in Leesburg, which distributes three days’ worth of food to an average of 50 to 75 families every day. The organization is planning a celebratory Open House on March 21 to thank the many people who made the project possible, but in the meantime has already opened the space to the public for food distribution.

The overall goal of the project was to renovate and refresh the organization’s public waiting room and turn the food pick-up area into a more grocery store-like atmosphere, but in reality, the project did far more.

“I focused so much of my time on thinking through the physical needs of the space and the logistics of traffic flow,” said LHR Executive Director Jennifer Montgomery, “that I didn’t stop to really think what this renovation has also meant … and that’s simply that it feels good to be in a nice space. It’s a dignified, warm space, and the colors and brightness make you happy the minute you walk in. I simply cannot put into words how exciting this has been—what a gift! It’s so much more than I ever dared to envision!”

“I live in Loudoun County—only about a mile away from Loudoun Hunger Relief, in fact—and when this opportunity to lead a project came up in my own backyard, I knew I wanted to do it,” said Builder Captain Don Knutson of Knutson Companies. “I am a co-founder of HomeAid Northern Virginia, so I’m aware of the level of need in our region, but even I will admit that I didn’t realize the extent of what Loudoun Hunger Relief is doing, serving 11,000 individuals a year. It’s remarkable, and I’m so glad to be a part of it. I’m gratified that our trade partners always go above and beyond to provide the highest quality materials, as well. We’re strong believers in ‘if you’re going to do it, you may as well do it right,’ and for us that means exceeding expectations and providing these non-profits with a level of service and product that they may not be accustomed to. It’s an honor to help.”

An upgraded and expanded space welcomes the 50 to 75 families who stop in for groceries every day at Loudoun Hunger Relief.

Did You Know?

Loudoun County’s child food insecurity rate is 9.5% or approximately 9,660 children. Of these children, 66% are likely ineligible for federal nutrition programs due to income limitations. Nearly 17% of Loudoun’s school children qualify for free and reduced-priced meals.

In their efforts to make LHR’s 4,700-square-foot space a more useful and more fulfilling experience, workers designed a separate lobby for customers and a wide hallway that can better house food items for choice selection, giving families more autonomy over their selections, more privacy while they shop, and more dignity. Plus, this new set-up will generate less food waste as families will be able to choose what they want and will use.

“The process has been a joy from start to finish,” Montgomery added. “Knutson and all of their trade partners have been so professional and so easy to work with. As a non-profit, we would never have dreamed about selecting premium materials like granite, and we certainly would never hire a professional color consultant to help us think through paint options! But with HomeAid and Knutson, all of that became available to us, and it is just a beautiful gift. The generosity will add so much to our client’s daily experience here, and we are so grateful.”

Thank you, Knutson Companies and the following trade partners, for giving thousands of men, women, and children in Loudoun County a safe and dignified space to select and pick up much-needed food.

Eastern Applicators
ISI Flooring
NEKA Granite Marble Quartz
Southern Electrical Services Company

Trade Partner Spotlight

Knutson Companies has led several HomeAid projects of varying sizes, and their recent completion of the renovation of Loudoun Hunger Relief was not the biggest project they’ve done. But no matter the size or financial investment needed, Don Knutson and Ollin Toller, construction vice president for Knutson Companies, once again gave the project their all.

“Clients always have a list of ideas and things they need to achieve their goal,” Knutson said. “We, of course, take that into account when we draw up the plans, put together the budget, and assemble the team to handle to the project. Part of that process is always remembering that it’s not enough to just get the project done—you want the end result to be nice, too. Our trade partners always do the best that they can and provide the best quality they have, because they’re all craftsmen who are proud of their work and want to deliver the best for our client. In the case of Loudoun Hunger Relief, we wanted these 11,000 individuals to walk in and say, WOW.”

So when it came time to recruit a paint and drywall company, Knutson turned to long-time partner Rob D’Lugos of Eastern Applicators, who first started working with Knutson when he was with Beazer Homes and has continued to partner with him since he founded Knutson Companies in 2012.

“We work with HomeAid a lot, we’re members of NVBIA, and we work with many of HomeAid’s Builder Captain companies outside of HomeAid,” said D’Lugos. “When Don asked if we’d be willing to take on this project, it was an easy yes; we like helping out and giving back to the community, because personally we just feel like it’s the right thing to do. It takes us a couple of days of manpower and material, but then that translates into years of benefit for our client. We’re glad to help.”

Eastern Applicators, Inc., is a Virginia corporation founded in July 1987 specializing in drywall construction and new construction painting. The company partners with some of the nation’s largest homebuilders and general contractors in the DC/Metro area and recently launched a sister company, Safe & Sound Poured Floors, to do floor underlays.

In Your Community

HomeAid Housing Forum Taking Shape:
Make Plans to Attend Today

Thursday, April 19, 2018  •  8am – 1pm (breakfast & lunch included)

Register Now!

A full house at HomeAid’s 2017 Housing Forum brought energy, best practices, and shared strategies to one of several break-out sessions during the half-day program.

Make plans now to attend HomeAid’s Annual Housing Forum, which has become Northern Virginia’s most unique and valuable opportunity to meet and learn from shelter partner colleagues, share best practices, and gather take-aways from community leaders in the field. Scheduled for April 19 at Brookfield Residential’s headquarters, the themed half-day program will feature a keynote speaker, as well as panel discussions and training sessions on a variety of topics.

“HomeAid’s Housing Forum is always an empowering and inspirational event, when we hear firsthand the incredibly important work that our shelter partners are carrying out every day,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 2018 President Mike Sandkuhler. “Having the breadth of experience that each shelter partner represents makes these programs so valuable; it’s a totally unique opportunity for providers in our region to talk about the challenges they face and help each other identify new solutions to common problems.”

Special thanks to the 2018 Housing Forum Committee for all of your hard work in putting this important program together, to Brookfield Residential for the use of its beautiful meeting space, and to the Bank of America Charitable Foundation for its generous $5,000 grant in support of this important program.

Making It Count

HomeAid 2017 Impact: The Faces Behind the Numbers

HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Impact Report is a study in numbers—and a reminder that behind every number is a man, woman, or child who may have lost their job, survived domestic violence, missed a meal, or have nowhere to lay their heads or do their homework. Each number represents a company, organization, individual, or small business willing to be part of the solution. Whether we’re renovating a home, giving tickets for a rare night out with family, or providing grocery gift cards and household essentials, our overall mission remains the same: To build new lives for Northern Virginia’s homeless.

In 2017, we served 4 shelter organizations through 5 completed projects, working with 7 Builder Captains and 130 trade partners. We started 4 more projects by year-end. Our efforts meant that 11 adults with mental illness and other disabilities could live in upgraded homes, 56 kids had a safe place to go after school, and 125 individuals living in tent cities received a winter-comfort kit to make their living situation just a little bit better.

But who are these people, partners, and donors who make our work possible? Read their stories. See their faces. And celebrate our successes in HomeAid’s 2017 Impact Report.

Supporter Spotlight

Sight & Sound Systems Provides Electronics, Security, and a Little Bit of Fun

Staff from Sight & Sound Systems in Loudoun County, Va., have donated manpower and equipment to numerous HomeAid projects.

Staff from Sight & Sound Systems in Loudoun County, Va., have donated manpower and equipment to numerous HomeAid projects.

Kris Kaymanesh, president of Sight and Sound Systems, founded his company 24 years ago in order to address the electronic needs of those in Loudoun County and beyond. Since then, his wife of 32 years, along with his three children (ages 24-29) have joined him. Together, they help homeowners with technology services, such as home automation and home theater systems. Although Sight & Sound Systems is accustomed to providing sophisticated technology services, what Kaymanesh and his family really enjoy is reaching out to those members in the community whose needs are much more basic. Find out why staff from Sight & Sound Systems generously share their systems expertise with HomeAid and with those who struggle with housing needs every day.

Q:  Can you tell us about your company?

A:  Sight & Sound Systems provides electronic solutions for our clients—not just equipment, but we sit down with clients to discuss their specific electronic needs. Their needs can be as basic as a couple of phone and video jacks, all the way up to internet and remote home security systems. We often create a level of human comfort – putting a little bit of a personal touch in certain situations. We work with Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals and other organizations to bring comfort to injured veterans. Many of them need help with daily functioning; we have situations where a person can push a button on their wheelchair, and their entire kitchen cabinetry can lower for their use.

Q:  How did you become involved with HomeAid Northern Virginia?

A:  We became involved because of our strong relationship with Van Metre Homes. By nature, I am one who likes to be involved in charitable projects; aside from HomeAid, we have done projects for Wounded Warrior and Operation Finally Home, among others. I have always felt that it’s good to do a healthy business, but it is equally important to be involved in the community and to contribute to those who are less fortunate.

We have been doing projects with HomeAid for seven or eight years now. We contribute where we can. During one of the more recent projects, we were asked to provide some surveillance cameras and some safety-related electronics for people who were living in a shelter for domestic violence survivors. We have done other similar projects.

Q:  Can you talk about the SevaTruck event?

A: SevaTruck serves food periodically to people living in the tent city in Woodbridge, and our involvement in this was a joint effort between our company and the staff: We announced that we would like to participate, and all of our employees donated what they could. Then we took those funds and put them toward blankets, gloves, socks, food bars, and similar items. So, our staff really gets credit for that. We all enjoyed it.

Q:  Can you say which is your favorite HomeAid project that you have been involved in?

A:  Actually, no. That’s why there are so many colors in the rainbow. Each has its own beauty. To us, it’s a matter of making a difference and participating as much as possible. Obviously, there are time and financial limitations at times, but we always like to contribute. Then, if it has been started, we don’t pick which one is our favorite. But I really don’t have one—each is important in its own way.

Q: What is it about HomeAid that keeps your company so dedicated to its mission?

A: I am originally from Iran. In the old world, many people use proverbs to explain their decisions, actions and so on. We have an old proverb that says, “The lantern that can provide light for your home is not needed to be taken to the church or mosque.” What the proverb means is that if you have something you can do to help your immediate surroundings, it is more important to implement it there rather than ship it out to other areas.

There are a lot of good charities out there.  However, we have many people right in our own backyards who have had a tough time in life. So, it just makes sense to us to help out those in our immediate surroundings. HomeAid is right at our back door, and the issue of homelessness does not just affect one group of people. It has different tentacles that touch many lives, and we are proud to help our community in this way.

Q:  Will you be working on any HomeAid projects in the near future?

A:  Sight & Sound Systems has a showroom where we have two nicely decorated home theaters. We told HomeAid that we could provide our showroom theaters for those who don’t normally get to go out and have some fun; we would like to help those struggling with homelessness to see a movie, enjoy dinner and some popcorn. It may not put money in their pockets, but if it puts a smile on their face, it is still good: Our first Lunch and Movie event will be scheduled this Spring with HomeAid Shelter Partners. We will play a movie and provide some food and beverage in the hopes of giving them a fun afternoon out and a happy family memory. We plan to continue to help HomeAid do great work looking out for those who are in need.



It’s a Wrap!

Steve Liga, executive director, ACTS; Kristyn Burr, executive director, HomeAid Northern Virginia; Richard Clark,construction manager, Van Metre Homes; Kathryn Kovacs, program manager, HomeAid Northern Virginia; and Lula Kelly, director of housing services, ACTS (left to right), celebrate the completion of the ACTS’ Women’s Empowerment Center renovation.

HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain Van Metre Homes, 19 trade partners, and ACTS celebrated the opening of the newly renovated and expanded ACTS’ Women’s Empowerment Center. Thank you to all who worked on this important, $80,000+ project—because of your generosity, ACTS can now deliver diverse training and comprehensive case management to a broader population of women and families in Prince William County, while also housing a live-in residential coordinator to serve ACTS’ residents.


Zabiullah Nekzad, HomeAid events coordinating intern, is a new graduate from Training Futures, a workforce development program of Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS)! Zabi worked with us as part of Training Futures’ three-week intern program, and we’re grateful for the work and energy that he brought to our office. We wish him all the very best as he takes the next step in his career!


Since 1996, Training Futures has trained more than 2,200 people from diverse backgrounds and experience and, within six months of graduation, 72% of trainees secure full-time employment in an office environment.
Source: Northern Virginia Family Services
HomeAid’s Event Manager Cilda Pretorius and Zabiullah Nekzad, Training Futures graduate and HomeAid Northern Virginia intern.

Breaking News

On February 28, The Washington Post reported that the men and women living in the “tent city” off Telegraph Road in Prince William County must vacate by March 1 or risk being cited for trespassing. Many of the tent city residents have lived there as long as 15 years, and we, along with SevaTruck, visited the tent city twice to help deliver food and winter supplies to those in need. We will continue to follow this issue as we pursue our mission of helping the homeless and at-risk populations in Northern Virginia.

HomeAid Visits Elected Officials in Richmond

Thank you to Senator Dave Marsden, Senator Barbara Favola, Senator Adam Ebbin, Senator Jeremy McPike, the office of Senator Dick Saslaw and to Delegate Tim Hugo, who met with HomeAid Executive Director Kristyn Burr, HomeAid Board Chair Mike Sandkuhler, and Board Member Brian Davidson on February 15. We are so grateful for your time and your interest in ending homelessness in our region.

And, a huge thank you to Andrew Clark of HBAV for making the day possible!

Pictured: Brian Davidson; Andrew Clark, vice president of government relations, Home Builders Association of Virginia; Mike Sandkuhler; Senator Adam Ebbin; and Kristyn Burr (left to right).

Catholic Charities Project Kicks Off

HomeAid and Builder Captain Toll Brothers kicked off an estimated $100,000 project for Catholic Charities, with 70% of the funds needed for this project being donated by HomeAid and supporters. This project will renovate and update a 14-unit apartment building for at-risk families. With some families living in the building during the two-month renovation process, we will demo and work on three units at a time until completed.


Amiee Freeman has joined our staff as HomeAid’s programs and communications specialist. Previously the communications specialist for DAI, Amiee comes to us with a great deal of experience in branding; writing, editing, designing and creating publications; social media promotions; and planning and promoting conferences and events. She holds a Master’s in public policy in environmental policy from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Franklin and Marshall College. Please join us in welcoming Amiee — she will be an enormous asset to our communications and events efforts!

Final Salute Renovation Back on Track

HomeAid, Builder Captain Winchester Homes, and dozens of trade partners are moving full steam ahead on the $550,000 renovation of Final Salute’s residence in Fairfax County where, upon completion, 10 female veterans and their children will live. Women veterans are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population according to Final Salute, and more than 60% of programs serving veterans don’t take in women, or don’t take in women with children, or have age limits on veterans’ children. We are proud to work with Final Salute and look forward to providing not only stability but also a beautiful and safe place to call home for some of our nation’s veterans!

ISO Conference Room Furniture

empty conference table and office chairs

HomeAid is spiffing up our headquarters, and now it’s time to take a hard look at our furnishings … and our conference room needs help! We would welcome the donation of a new or lightly used 12-foot conference table and 10-12 chairs for our meeting space, where we meet with prospective supporters and service providers, and where we hold our staff meetings. It gets a lot of use, and it’s time that we give our own space a little bit of reno love. Please contact Kristyn Burr if you’d like to help.

Save the Date

NVBIA’s Meet the Builder – March 15, 2018, Waterford Fair Oaks 
Annual Housing Forum 
– April 19, 2018, Brookfield Residential, Fairfax, VA 22020; This event is geared towards those who work in the field.
NVBIA Crawfish Boil
– April 26, 2018, 3:30-7:00 p.m., Wetland Studies and Solutions
NVBIA Parade of Homes
 – May 5-6, 2018
NVBIA Scramble Golf Tournament – May 21, 2018, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., River Creek Club, Leesburg, VA
9th Annual Builders and Friends BBQ – June 21, 2018, The Barn at One Loudoun
8th Annual Night at the Ballpark – August 3, 2018, Potomac Nationals Pfitzner Stadium, for families living in local shelters.
4th Annual Golf Tournament – September 21, 2018, Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club
17th Annual HomeAid Northern Virginia Gala & Auction – November 10, 2018, Lansdowne Resort & Spa

Building Hope Newsletter, February 2018

By | Building Hope, In the News, News

Executive Director's Corner

Kristyn Burr

It’s hard to think of a better way to start off a new year than with a new partner or a new event, and this year, we’re doing both. Just this week, we kicked off a renovation project for a brand-new partner—Loudoun Hunger Relief (LHR)—which is doing incredible work in our region’s fastest growing and richest county. It’s so easy to forget that struggle is all around us—and in Loudoun County, there are segments of the population who are homeless, housebound, or barely getting by. LHR serves food and support to every population, and they go the extra mile for their clients, whether it’s encouraging the homeless to get to a shelter for further services or providing breakfast and snacks to food-insecure students when they’re not in school. Then, in March, we’ll be trying out a brand-new fundraising and networking event at TopGolf Loudoun, with two of our most dedicated Board members being the inspiration behind the idea and co-hosts of the event. We have a lot of dedicated golfers in our support network, and I’m excited to try out a venue where weather won’t matter and where we can easily gather everyone under one roof for sport, friendship, and refreshments. Whether you’ve always wanted to try out golf or are an experienced player, I hope you’ll join us as we continue to toast a year that is shaping up to be one full of new support, new energy, and new collaborations.

In Gratitude,

In the Spotlight

Play Golf (and Stay Warm!), Network with Top Home Builders and Trade Partners

Old Man Winter may not be out of here yet, but that doesn’t mean that golfers have to stay home—especially on March 1, when HomeAid’s Brian Davidson, Van Metre Homes, and John Buhl, Buhl Electric Co., will host GolfAid, a fundraiser for HomeAid, at the popular TopGolf Loudoun complex. The golfers’ mecca, which features climate-controlled hitting bays, full-service restaurant and bars, and private event space, will welcome HomeAid supporters for three hours (4:00-7:00 p.m.) of unlimited golf, networking with home builders and trade partners, great food, and a full bar. Registration is $250 per person, with a large portion of every registration going to support HomeAid Northern Virginia.

“John and I are big golfers, and since we already have the HomeAid Golf Tournament, we wanted to do something different,” explained Davidson. “John had attended another event at TopGolf and saw that it had so much to offer … it’s equally attractive to beginner through expert golfers, and because we’re not all spread out on a course, networking with the entire group—instead of just your foursome—is so much easier. We’ll have more time to really talk about and raise awareness of HomeAid’s mission, and with a heated venue, it won’t matter what the weather is doing. It’s also a simpler event to organize for our first time out—we hope it’ll be a unique way to gather HomeAid supporters together during an otherwise ‘off’ month while still offering the fun of golf, food, and drinks.”

Mid-way through the evening, John and Brian will challenge golfers to a top golf contest, with the top three golfers taking home bragging rights and tee time for a foursome at some of the best courses in the area. A raffle for a three-month corporate platinum TopGolf membership will be available, as well.

For more information, contact Cilda Pretorius at 703-953-3525.


The average golf course hosts 50 events per year, and the average golf fundraising event raises $5,000 after expenses, generating more than $4 billion for charity in the U.S. every year.

In Your Neighborhood

HomeAid, Van Metre and ACTS Prepare New Space for Women’s Empowerment Center

HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain Van Metre Homes, and 19 trade partners are nearing the completion of a $60,000 renovation project for ACTS’ Women’s Empowerment Center, which will allow the organization the capacity to serve a broader population of women and families in the Prince William County community.

The project involved turning a 2,452 square-foot basement into classrooms and offices, where women will now receive diverse training provided by ACTS and community partners, as well as comprehensive case management. Upstairs, first-floor office space was converted to a suite for a 24-hour, live-in residential coordinator.

Thank you, Van Metre Homes and the following trade partners, for giving women the gift of greater economic independence and self-sufficiency.

Alliance Contracting Group LLC
Atlas Plumbing LLC
B&K Distributors, Inc.
Buhl Electric Company, Inc.
Builders Floor Service
Color World Paint & Drywall
Falcon Heating & Air Conditioning
G&G Carpentry
KT Enterprises

Miller & Associates
N&B Paving
Railing Systems
Scot Engineering
Sight and Sound Systems, Inc.
Stonewall Concrete
Van Metre B.A.S.E

Velasquez Contracting is a Company to Count On

Velasquez Contractors Inc., or VCI as the company is best known, is one of the biggest framing companies in the area, and a long-time partner for Van Metre Homes. So when it was time for Builder Captain Van Metre to build its team for the ACTS’ Women’s Empowerment Center renovation, Mike Sandkuhler, the company’s vice president of building operations, knew exactly who to turn to: VCI Owner Sammy Velasquez.

“Sammy’s company does all of our new-build work, and he’s a great man,” Sandkuhler said. “He and his company have been strong partners with Van Metre for years, and they’ve been continual supporters of HomeAid. They’ve worked on many, many projects for HomeAid, and I was pleased to see them step forward for this project, too.”

“We like to give back to the community, and we like working with HomeAid,” Velasquez said. “We did all the carpentry and framing work for the ACTS project, just as we did the framing for HomeAid’s Youth For Tomorrow project in 2017. We like being able to help in any way we can.”

VCI, based in Chantilly, Va., was founded 29 years ago. For more information, call Sammy Velasquez at 703-929-2130.

In Your Community

Alexandria City Honored with 2018 Audrey Nelson Community Development Award for HomeAid-Renovated Community Lodgings

Sheryl Kenny (Arlington, TX), NCDA Treasurer; Dale Cook (Palm Springs, CA), NCDA Secretary; Vicki Watson, NCDA Executive Director; Kristyn Burr, HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director; Cindy Metcalf, City of Alexandria, Office of Housing; Eric Keeler, City of Alexandria, Office of Housing; Patrick Sullivan (New Bedford, MA), NCDA President; Lynn Thomas, Community Lodgings Executive Director; and George Mensah (Miami, FL), NCDA Vice-President (left to right) accept the National Community Development Association’s (NCDA) prestigious Audrey Nelson Community Development Award for their support of the substantial rehabilitation of Community Lodgings.

The City of Alexandria’s Office of Housing was honored on Friday, January 25, with the National Community Development Association’s (NCDA) prestigious Audrey Nelson Community Development Award for its support of the substantial rehabilitation of the Community Lodgings (CLI) property in Alexandria. The renovation of the six-unit apartment building, including the reconfiguration of space to create a seventh two-bedroom unit, was led by HomeAid Northern Virginia and Builder Captains Brookfield ResidentialEvergreene CompaniesM/I Homes, and Richmond American Homes.

The $1,059,411 project addressed the critical need to preserve the City’s stock of affordable housing, particularly for underserved families in Alexandria, many of whom have fled domestic violence or are chronically homeless, and was a collaborative effort between CLI, the City of Alexandria Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) funds from HUD, HomeAid of Northern Virginia, BB&T, the four Builder Captains, and a network of HomeAid trade partners.

“The project not only contributes to preserving affordable housing in the City, but it provides an opportunity for underserved families to live comfortably and independently,” Lynn Thomas, CLI’s executive director, wrote in the award nomination. “It gives these families stability, so they can be empowered to become self-sufficient. For residents at Community Lodgings, self-sufficiency means they can access transportation, amenities, and supportive social services, which all make a positive and meaningful impact on their lives. Additionally, every homeless person who lives in these units in turn reduces strain on other parts of social-services system, from hospital emergency rooms to homeless shelters.”

The prestigious award is named after Audrey Nelson, the first Deputy Executive Secretary of NCDA. Nelson grew up in an inner-city Chicago neighborhood, which was a target area for the local Model Cities Program. Very involved in her neighborhood and driven to serve low-income people, she died at the age of 29 due to cancer.

HomeAid was proud to join CLI and the City of Alexandria at the awards ceremony to share in the excitement of having such a worthy project recognized – congratulations to all of our partners!

Making It Count

New Partner Spotlight: Loudoun Hunger Relief

HomeAid’s newest partner—Loudoun Hunger Relief (LHR) in Leesburg—will soon be working with Builder Captain Knutson Companies to renovate and refresh the organization’s public waiting room and turn the food pick-up area into a more grocery store-like atmosphere.

But who is this new partner, and how is it that LHR—located in the country’s richest county—last year distributed 1.2 million pounds of food to more than 11,000 people—including groceries to seniors and the disabled, and breakfast and snacks to food-insecure students?

LHR’s story is really a story about what happens when a community grows exponentially quickly: Before 1991, Loudoun County was mostly rural with a small population. Church-based food pantries could handle need, but as the County started to grow, it became increasingly difficult to find food-on-call. A woman who worked for the County’s government social services department wanted to help, forming a non-profit supported by faith-based organizations, where food could be available more regularly and where volunteers would have a consistent way to get food to those who needed it. Fast forward to today, and Loudoun’s population has quadrupled, and that non-profit – LHR – is now a $3.2 million organization with 10 staff members and 340 volunteers, who last year worked 12,000 hours. This year alone, they’ve already served 472 individuals, averaging between 50 to 75 families a day, six days a week, with enough groceries to feed a household of four three meals and snacks for three days.

“Our portions are generous, and although much of the food is pre-packed, we have copious bakery products that individuals can ‘shop,’ and we are always working to get more fresh produce to put out,” said Jennifer Montgomery, executive director at LHR. “Homeless individuals can come in every day for food, and anyone can come for bread every day. Otherwise, we serve each family up to two times per month.

“The reality is, it’s really expensive to live here. The United Way put out a study that showed that in order to live in Loudoun as a family of four with daycare needs, a family needs to earn $94,000 a year—and that means living paycheck to paycheck with zero savings,” she added. “That’s the crux of the problem, and it’s reflected in the fact that our surveys show that 70 percent of those we serve are working, while 11 percent are seniors. These aren’t people ‘living off the government’ … you just can’t live in this county without a job, and the people we serve are your neighbors and your kids’ classmates. They’re families working hard and trying to make ends meet, spending the majority of their funds on housing and transit, without much left over and no safety net. While we will serve families twice a month, the majority only come once a month, showing us how fine a line many are living on … they need us as a BandAid gap between paychecks, so there may only be a few days a month they need help, and I’m glad we’re here to help them bridge that gap.”

The HomeAid-led renovation will mean big changes for the organization, and staff and volunteers are excited to see it come to fruition.

“One of our biggest challenges is that at 4,700 square feet, we’re small for the number of people we serve,” Montgomery added. “We really love putting things out for choice—everything from bread to sweets, vegetables to deli items—but the way we’re set up, it means that people waiting in line can see those in front of them shopping and perhaps taking some of the things they really hoped for. It causes so much anxiety and unhappiness, and it steals so much dignity from people who are working so hard to provide for their families. This project will keep the lobby separate and allow a hallway that will house the items for choice selection, which will give families more autonomy over their selections, more privacy while they shop, and more dignity and less waste as they can choose what they want and will use.”

“An Eagle Scout is making slanted market tables for us, and we’ll have a three-door refrigerator. We’ll be able to check people in and allow them to privately select what they want, pick up their pre-packaged items, and exit out another side. We’ll have more space for restocking, and the whole experience will feel more dignified and streamlined. We are super excited and so grateful … when [Don Knutson] asked us what kind of granite we wanted, I was just overwhelmed – I couldn’t believe we’d get granite! He admonished us to stop thinking like a non-profit, and I’m just so excited for what this will mean for our clients. We work so hard to make this a welcoming and fulfilling experience, and this renovation will really advance that goal.”


Loudoun County, the wealthiest in the country, boasts a median income of $122,238 and a poverty rate of 4%. But in one census tract near Leesburg, 20 percent of children live in poverty, and just more than half of residents have a high school diploma.

Supporter Spotlight

Photographer Bob Narod’s Generosity is Picture Perfect

Bob Narod (middle) and his son, Brendan, and daughter-in-law, Melody Rush, have volunteered their company’s photography services at more than 75 HomeAid events.

In 1995, Bob Narod was at a NVBIA meeting, discussing the budget for an upcoming NVBIA event. “When the photography issue came up, I thought I could help out by offering our services at no charge for the event,” he said. Nearly 23 years later, Bob is still volunteering his company’s photography services not just for NVBIA, but for HomeAid Northern Virginia as well.

Bob’s company, Bob Narod, Photography, LLC, which includes his son, Brendan, and daughter-in-law, Melody, is a perfect example of the many generous volunteers that HomeAid is lucky enough to rely on, as HomeAid simply could not reach so many in need of housing without volunteers like Bob and his family.

Q:  What was the first HomeAid event that you worked on?

A:  The 2003 Gala and Auction—it had a theme of “Catch a Falling Star,” and I remember that the fundraising event featured famous actress impersonator, Shannon Benton, as Marilyn Monroe. It was a lot of fun, with many great subjects to photograph, and it gave me a wonderful feeling being able to contribute to such a great cause.

Q:  You have been very loyal and generous to HomeAid over the years; what keeps you so committed?

A:  We really enjoy working for HomeAid. The cause is so important, and we love seeing the results and the gratitude felt by the people who benefit from the completed projects. We have photographed so many HomeAid events and projects – at least 75 or more – including ground breakings, ribbon cuttings, dedications, construction and completion of projects, barbeques, golf tournaments, auctions, and more.  They have each been special in their own way, and it gives us pride to work on these projects for HomeAid.

Q:  What are some of your favorites?

A:  A couple of them stand out: The Carpenter’s Shelter opening and the Youth for Tomorrow events were very touching. The Gala and Auctions, of course, are always fun. Really, I enjoy them all, and I am always so impressed by the generosity of the attendees. We especially enjoy the Golf Tournament; the participants are always happy to be taking time off of work to golf, network, and ‘talk a little trash’ with their friends at this event. It is a great atmosphere and one that we are always delighted to be involved with.

Q:  It must be very rewarding to work for a family company; can you talk about how you got into the photography business?

A:  I began my photography career in 1971 after spending two years in the Army as a clinical lab instructor. While in graduate school, I was introduced to an established commercial photographer, and I eventually became his associate. Many years later, my son, Patrick, married Melody and brought her home from Tennessee. She needed a job, and I needed an assistant, and now we’ve been together for almost a decade. My youngest son, Brendan, is also a full-time photographer and image processor for us. He is not seen as often as Melody or myself, but his role is just as important. It is very rewarding to work with my family, and it is especially meaningful to work with an organization like HomeAid, which does so much for the community and for those in need of housing. We plan on photographing HomeAid events long into the future – we consider them part of our family.



Zabiullah Nekzad has joined HomeAid’s staff as our events coordinating intern. He 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.

“Before I came to the U.S., I worked for DynCorp International as an interpreter/translator in the Ministry of the Interior for eight years, translating between the U.S. Army and Afghanistan Police personnel, plus translating reports from around the country. Through my work with the U.S. Army, I was offered an opportunity to come to the U.S. and in September 2014, I received my Visa and came with my family to Virginia.”

“Since then, I have worked as a cashier, delivery driver, and volunteer, before a friend enrolled in Training Futures encouraged me to apply for the next cycle,” he added. “Through Training Futures, I’ve been able to improve my computer skills, and I will earn my certificates in PowerPoint, Word and Excel by the time I graduate. I’ve learned a great deal about record management, customer service, business communication, and public speaking, and I’ve performed several presentations and have attended workshops like time management, business chemistry, and conflict resolution. I feel well prepared to work in any position, and working at HomeAid has been a big opportunity for me as I learn how to work on different projects and improve relationship building and office skills. I hope to eventually work full-time in an administrative support role in Northern Virginia.”

Call for Spring Interns

Our summer internship program is filling fast, but we still have positions open for the spring; if you know a student looking for meaningful work experience, please send them our way! An internship with HomeAid can launch a career, and we have opportunities in a variety of positions. To apply, send a cover letter and resume to

NVBIA President’s Ball

HomeAid Northern Virginia represents at the NVBIA Presidents’ Ball! First row, left to right: Sal Migliore, Brian Guidash, Brian Davidson, Kristyn Burr, Russ Rosenberger, Debbie Rosenstein, and John Buhl, Jr. Second row, left to right: Mike Sandkuhler, Jerry Berman, Jarod Blaney, and David Gill.

Thank You

Thank you, Bank of America, for sponsoring our Annual Housing Forum—your support will go a long way in helping us share best practices and support a unique networking experience with our shelter providers throughout Northern Virginia!

Thank You

A round of applause to 11 local Wal-Mart stores for your generous $7,500 in grant donations; all of the funds will go toward supporting our mission of building homes—and new lives—for Northern Virginia’s homeless men, women, and children.

Save the Date

GolfAid for HomeAid – March 1, 2018, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. TopGolf Loudoun

Annual Housing Forum – April 19, 2018, Venue TBD. This event is geared towards those who work in the field; more information will be available soon.

NVBIA Parade of Homes – May 5-6

NVBIA Crawfish Boil – April 26, 3:30 – 7:00 p.m. Wetland Studies and Solutions

9th Annual Builders and Friends BBQ – June 21, The Barn at One Loudoun

8th Annual Night at the Ballpark – August 3, Potomac Nationals Pfitzner Stadium, for families living in local shelters

4th Annual Golf Tournament  – September 21, 2018 Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club