Executive Director's Corner
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 the Spotlight
Annual Point-in-Time Count Reveals: Homelessness on a Decline in Metro DC
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 report, Homelessness 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
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.
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!
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.
John Darvish Construction Company
L & L Carpet Company
R & F Metals, Inc.
Reyes General Cleaning
SmartCom Home Technologies, Inc.
T & A Contractors, Inc.
Titan Erosion Control
In Your Community
Staged Interior Named HomeAid Trade Partner of the Year
Hundreds attend annual BBQ for friendship, food, and fun!
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.
“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!
Making It Count
Make a Family’s Day: Support HomeAid’s 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).
Chip Devine of Brookfield Residential Believes Putting People First is Job One
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!
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!
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 Feast – August 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