Building Hope Newsletter, August 2020

If you’re anything like me, one of the most profound – and perhaps obvious – impacts of COVID on my personal life has been a far emptier calendar. It started with the cancellation of so many moments that help set the rhythm of our lives – school, spring break plans, travel, dinners out with friends, book club, and of course disrupted work meetings and events. More recently, so many of us have stopped making plans altogether, and our empty calendars are stark reminders of all that we have lost as humans who thrive on connections.

At HomeAid Northern Virginia, those connections and reasons for gathering have never felt so important – or so complicated by our new normal. Our entire mission is founded on helping others regain their footing, and while we know it’s more important than ever, the ‘typical’ ways of supporting and guiding have been dramatically changed not only by today’s realities, but the fact that none of us really know what our short-term futures hold.

It’s with this mindset that our BBQ felt like a gift in so many ways; to finally be with people again, and to be able to laugh and interject and converse without the awkwardness of virtual conference calls! And the financial support is truly life-giving; with 17 projects in the pipeline this year, and with fundraising efforts hobbled by canceled third party events and canceled or reimagined HomeAid events, your support means the difference between taking on more or having to turn projects down.

It’s for these same reasons that I am feeling so excited for our Housing Forum this year; while the decision to go fully virtual was difficult and, I’ll admit, felt frustrating and disappointing in the moment, I’ve quickly realized how important it is to bring our topics of self care to a wider audience. Being able to welcome an unlimited number of participants – including those from other HomeAid chapters – is a gift. As I look back over these last several months and know that we’re nowhere near the end of this chapter, I find myself feeling honored to be surrounded by people who are so eager to assess the environment, take stock, and adapt.

“A willingness and ability to embrace both the quick-changing reality/implications with a steadfast belief that the organization’s people can and will adapt and prevail.”

With Gratitude,

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Steve Bruce (middle) of Exceptional Choices accepts the 2020 Trade Partner of the Year Award from HomeAid Northern Virginia Board President Jason McDonough (far right) and Executive Director and CEO Kristyn Burr.

If we had to give our 11th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ a new theme for 2020, we’d call it “when love shows up.” Midway through a year that has been full of heartbreak and unforeseen challenges, around 200 supporters brought their love and enthusiasm to a desperately needed evening of socially distanced fun and friendship with colleagues while enjoying boxed BBQ meals, an open bar with craft beer & seasonal cocktails, live music, and fun raffle prizes!

We also announced and recognized our 2020 Trade Partner of the Year: Exceptional Choices, a flooring and design company that has worked with us since 2012 and has participated in 15 HomeAid projects, and has invested nearly $150,000 to our mission through sponsorships and project donations.

The company and staff will be more formally recognized at our Virtual 19th Annual Gala & Auction on November 14, but in keeping with our tradition of using the BBQ to recognize the companies who have so generously contributed to HomeAid projects, we’ve made it our tradition to announce our selection for Trade Partner of the Year honors at the BBQ.

“HomeAid Northern Virginia’s BBQ is always one of our best networking events, with its spirit so focused on the sense of community within our industry,” said HomeAid President Jason McDonough. “But this year, it took on a whole additional meaning, as all of us are grappling with changes and limitations that we’ve never faced before, during a health and economic crisis. Nonprofits need us now more than ever, not just in terms of monetary support, but also in the form of humans helping humans … and this year’s BBQ really celebrated that. Coming together renewed all of our spirits, and it felt especially gratifying to extend our thanks to all who have continued to show up and donate their time, labor, and materials so that projects can be completed during a pandemic. This year’s BBQ really illustrated what it means to be part of the HomeAid family.”

Enormous thanks to our many sponsors, to One Loudoun for the beautiful space, to Liberty Street for providing live entertainment, and to the many volunteers who made it all possible! Together, we raised just over $40,000 for HomeAid’s mission, and we are grateful for the support!

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

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And special thanks to BBQ Chef Sponsor, Washington Lanehart Electric Co.

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]One in three women is victimized by domestic violence at some point in her life, and one out of every four women who are the victims of domestic violence attempt suicide.
Source:[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captains, trade partners, and our non-profit partners are days away from celebrating the completion of two projects, as we work to put the final touches on both The Closet in Herndon and the Winchester Rescue Mission in Winchester!

Rolling doors being installed on the covered donation center at The Closet

At The Closet of Greater Herndon, a non-profit thrift shop in the heart of historic downtown Herndon, HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain Richmond American Homes, and 23 trade partners built a 550-square-foot addition on the back of the structure, providing protection from the elements for workers and donations alike. Just over 55 percent of the $100,160 project was covered through donations of labor, time, materials, and expertise.

Winchester Rescue Mission

At the Winchester Rescue Mission, HomeAid, Builder Captain Dan Ryan Builders, and three trade partners donated nearly 100 percent of the $70,000 renovation project, where they installed new flooring throughout the 4,500 square-foot building, repainted the entire interior, and replaced bathroom flooring and tiling throughout. The team added lockable storage shelving and an outdoor shed, as well as low-voltage wiring to improve a security system.[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]Over 50 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75 percent. Yet, depression is among the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses: Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression respond positively to treatment, and almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.
Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]Presenting LIVE
Thursday, September 3, 2020
10 a.m. (EST)
Available Forever Online


HomeAid Northern Virginia’s FREE Housing Forum, Addressing the Mental Health Crisis, will be presented virtually this year, out of an abundance of caution and to ensure that as many people as possible can take advantage of this enormously important topic of learning to deal with stress and trauma. Formerly capped at 100 people because of social distancing requirements and room capacity, we are now able to open this event to an unlimited number of people, including members from other HomeAid chapters and HomeAid America! This topic has never felt more relevant, and we are thrilled to have found a platform that will bring our speaker experts to you – safely and without limitations.

Kevin Hines

While delivery of the workshop has changed, the focus will not: speakers will share their experiences and expertise on suicide prevention, trauma-informed care, mental health and wellness, mindfulness, and overall self-care for providers who work with clients experiencing homelessness.

Our two lead speakers – Kevin Hines and Gina White – will speak from personal experience: Hines, author of Cracked Not Broken, Surviving and Thriving After A Suicide Attempt and award-winning documentary filmmaker of Suicide: The Ripple Effect, attempted to take his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. When he became one of the one percent to survive, he decided to bring his story of hope, healing, and recovery around the world, teaching people of all ages the art of wellness and the ability to survive pain with true resilience.

Gina White

White, a mind-body practitioner, is the daughter of two first responders, who saw first-hand the challenges they faced daily. Now a mindfulness educator, researcher, and founder of Mindful Junkie, she teaches first responders how to manage reactions, notice impulses, and work through emotions – in the moment, and when they go home.

“HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Housing Forum has become our most important program for bringing those who work in the homelessness field together, to share best practices, learn from each other and from thought leaders, and gain strength from hearing the stories and successes of their colleagues,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director and CEO Kristyn Burr. “This year, I’m grateful that we’ll be able to bring our program to a much wider audience – particularly to all of our fellow HomeAid chapters nationwide, and to HomeAid America. Being able to record and preserve the program will also be a huge benefit. Living and working during this pandemic has changed so many lives and introduced so many new challenges; it’s a gift that we will be able to share these life-giving and life-lifting strategies and insights for self-care with all who need them.”

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]Eighty three percent of U.S. workers suffer from work-related stress, and stress causes around one million workers to miss work every day. Depression leads to $51 billion in costs due to absenteeism and $26 billion in treatment costs, while work-related stress causes 120,000 deaths and results in $190 billion in healthcare costs yearly.
Source: American Institute of Stress[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]Presented by Darvish Companies

Golf is one of the easiest sports to enjoy while social distancing, and we at HomeAid Northern Virginia are looking forward to hosting our 6th Annual Golf Tournament on Friday, September 18, at Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club in Leesburg. Golfers will enjoy boxed breakfast and lunch, 11th hole vodka bar, custom tee-gift, and great raffle prizes and networking, all while raising critically important funds to support our mission of ending homelessness in Northern Virginia.

We look forward to welcoming you at our Golf Tournament to help celebrate and build support for all that we do. Please know that in partnership with our venue, we are making protocol and procedure adjustments to keep all players safe, including but not limited to: Face coverings required while inside the Clubhouse, boxed meals, sanitizers provided in every golf cart, and social distancing where applicable.

Registration and sponsorships are now open, and we encourage you to secure your foursome today! This golf tournament always fills fast!We all know how difficult this year has been, but thanks to many generous donors over the last few weeks, our ‘HomeAid150Campaign‘ is already a big success. But, we know that we can do even more to help celebrate the completion of 150 projects since our founding: By donating just $1 for every project we have completed, you can support our mission of building new lives for those experiencing homelessness in Virginia. Even better, our entire Board of Directors is offering a dollar-for-dollar matching gift, up to $25,000!

Thank you to those who have already donated, and for those considering it, please help us extend our impact into the future and complete another 150 projects; invest $18 million more in building better communities; donate another $11 million in labor, time, materials, and expertise; and impact 167,000 more lives for the better![divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”No Line”]

Roy Van Houten

Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. (WSSI) has been a longtime supporter of HomeAid Northern Virginia, with leadership and staff regularly showing their support through sponsorships and volunteer hours – especially at our annual Builders & Friends BBQ, when they turn out in force to help us set up and break down the event. Roy Van Houten, director of compliance and energy, has become the face of WSSI for so many of us at HomeAid Northern Virginia, and we are grateful for all of his support. Read on to learn a little bit more about how he found us and why he and his team keep coming back!

Q: How did you originally find out about HomeAid, and what inspired you to get involved and give so generously through sponsorships?

A: I originally heard of HomeAid and the amazing work they do through conversations with several folks with whom I work in the Northern Virginia building industry. Over the past several years, [CEO and Executive Director] Kristyn Burr’s passion for furthering HomeAid’s mission has attracted additional involvement from WSSI and WSSI staff.

Q: You and your team are a constant at so many events, helping set up and tear down the BBQ, for example. What inspires you and your team to put the time in?

A: Since the early 1990s, WSSI has had deep roots within the Northern Virginia building industry. Over that time period, we have developed meaningful relationships, which have had a positive impact on the building industry, local community, and the environment. HomeAid directly aligns with our core set of values, thus it is a group that we love to support on many levels. The HomeAid staff are top-notch! I have volunteered with many groups over the years, and I would have to say they are also the most fun to work with. Any group that can make setting up and cleaning up a BBQ in the 100-degree heat an enjoyable experience is doing something right!

Q: What has most surprised you in learning about homelessness in Northern Virginia?

A: When you drive through Northern Virginia and see all of the beautifully planned communities that our industry has built, it is hard to imagine that there are people in this affluent area who don’t have safe places to sleep at night. HomeAid has done an amazing job at bringing the issues front and center and developing partnerships that can help bring the financial and technical support together to get things done.

Q: What do you love most about your career?

A: The people with whom I work. Over the past 20 years, I have made some amazing friends within the Northern Virginia building industry.[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]Dine and Make a Difference
Feel like getting out for brunch (outside seating available!) this weekend? Be sure to head to the Lost Rhino Brewing Company in Ashburn on Sunday, August 16, anytime between 11am and 5pm. The restaurant has partnered with HomeAid with all-day specials offered at the Tap Room, with 10% of the day’s proceeds benefiting HomeAid Northern Virginia!

Thank You 
A hat tip to the Dumfries, VA, Walmart (#3588), which recently awarded a $1,000 Community Grant to HomeAid Northern Virginia. We are so grateful for this important show of support for our mission!

ISO Summer and Fall Interns 
Do you know someone looking for real-word experience with a busy office? Please send them HomeAid’s way: We are looking for summer and fall interns in our marketing, events, and shelter program departments. Because we’re a small office, our internships mean that students do the real, boots-on-the-ground work. This isn’t a filing and photocopying internship! Remote work options available. Find out more – and apply – on our website.

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]Brunch with BenefitsNEW DATE: Sunday, August 16, Lost Rhino Brewing Company, Ashburn, VA (10% of proceeds go to benefit HomeAid Northern Virginia!)

Housing Forum Webinar NEW DATE: Thursday, September 3, (This VIRTUAL event is geared towards those who work in the field. FREE with registration. Registration is now open!)

K. Hovnanian Trade Partner Council Golf Tournament – Friday, September 11, Westfield Golf Club, Clifton, VA (All proceeds to benefit HomeAid Northern Virginia!)

6th Annual Golf Tournament – Friday, September 18, Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club, Leesbury, VA (Registration and Sponsorships Now Open!)

SN Mortgage Benefit Trap Shoot **CANCELLED**

Women in Building Industry Spring Networking NEW DATE: Thursday, October 15, Paradise Springs Winery, Clifton, VA (Collecting home essential items for HomeAid’s Helping Hands program.)

19th Annual Gala & Auction – Saturday, November 14, Lansdowne Resort & Spa, Leesburg, VA

In this newsletter:
Executive Director & CEO Corner
Exceptional Choices Named HomeAid Trade Partner of the Year at 2020 Builders & Friends BBQ
HomeAid Closes In On Completion of Two Projects
2020 Housing Forum Going Virtual – NO LIMIT on Capacity!
Secure Your Foursome for HomeAid’s 2020 Golf Tourney
HomeAid150 Campaign Continues
Making Friends and Having Fun While Supporting HomeAid