Annual Gala & Auction Raises $355,000 for HomeAid

Presidents’ Circle Awards honor Russ Rosenberger, Signature Companies, ACTS

ha-presidentcircleawardsA sold-out crowd topping 450 helped HomeAid Northern Virginia celebrate its 15th anniversary and  Annual Gala & Auction on November 5, raising $355,000 through donations, sponsorships, attendance, and live and silent auctions. The Paddle Challenge, with a matching gift from Doug and Ann Smith, raised $120,000. Intercoastal Mortgage Company served as the presenting sponsor of the event.

its_photo-booth-fun_captionThe enthusiastic supporters and guests  honored HomeAid’s 2016 Presidents’ Circle Award winners, with the Trade Partner of the Year Award presented to Signature Companies and the President’s Award presented to Russ Rosenberger of Madison Homes. HomeAid  presented the Nonprofit Service Provider Project of the Year Award to ACTS , in recognition of a $50,000 kitchen renovation for their “Turning Points” safe house, led by HomeAid and Builder Captain Winchester Homes.

“It was really gratifying to realize—as I watched the video about some of HomeAid’s biggest projects at this year’s Gala—that the award judges recognized that a comparatively small kitchen renovation was as important to our residents as HomeAid’s much larger projects,” said Steve Liga, ACTS’ executive director. “The impact of this renovation was huge for our residents, including their children; it made them feel valued and cared for. These residents have spent far too much of their lives feeling devalued, and it’s no exaggeration to say that this kitchen renovation became part of their healing.”

its_acts-award-acceptance_captionACTS’ “Turning Points” provide the only comprehensive domestic violence intervention program serving Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. In 2015, ACTS’ safe house was a haven for 67 adult survivors of domestic violence and 98 children. The HomeAid renovation updated and expanded the kitchen and addressed the needs of children with the inclusion of study tables and lighting along the perimeter, creating library-like areas for completing homework.

“A renovated kitchen may seem like such a small thing, but having a beautiful and comfortable place to prepare a meal, have a cup of tea, hold a conversation, and even sit with your child to do homework can add some much-needed normalcy to everyday living,” said Paul Bartosch, ACTS former facilities director. “This completed project has helped bring all this into the residents’ lives.”

Congratulations to Signature Companies, Russ Rosenberger, and ACTS!


Help End Homelessness: Lead a HomeAid Project!

Builder Captains needed for three projects throughout Northern Virginia

HomeAid-BuildersLogo-FINAL1HomeAid Northern Virginia is now looking for Builder Captains to lead three upcoming projects, of varying scope and size, for Catholic Charities, Cornerstones, and Homestretch.

The Catholic Charities project will involve the renovation and repair of a 12-unit apartment building in Woodbridge, Va., which the organization operates as part of its homelessness and housing program. The renovation of the property will ensure Catholic Charities’ ability to provide residential care facilities, distribute housing subsidies, and offer wrap-around case management to vulnerable people, giving them the freedom to focus on restoring stability and hope in other areas of their lives.

The Cornerstones property, located in Herndon, Va., needs a bathroom renovation, interior paint, flooring, and new light fixtures and window blinds. The townhome is rented at affordable rates to residents who earn half or less than the area’s median income, and transitional townhome tenants receive supportive services, goal setting, and counseling provided by Cornerstones case managers.

The Homestretch project, a condo renovation in Annandale, will allow the organization to provide safe, anonymous housing to their clients, many of whom enter the Homestretch program as a result of domestic violence, human trafficking, sudden loss of a loved one, unexpected medical calamity, natural disaster, political unrest in a client’s home country, and more.

As with most projects, the Builder Captain will provide project leadership; help organize in-kind donation assistance from trade partners; and leverage their assets, knowledge, and contacts to reduce the cost of the renovation and oversee the project from start to finish. The projects have been pre-screened by HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Board of Directors, and the scope of work and project expectations are well documented.

For more information about any of these three projects, or if you’re interested in serving as a Builder Captain for future projects, please contact Kristyn Burr, HomeAid Northern Virginia program manager, at 571.283.6300. More information is also available online.

“Serving as a Builder Captain is greatly rewarding. It’s a reward for the soul and the spirit, and everyone who works on a project learns that. It gets to the point that it almost feels a little selfish … you get such a great feeling from these projects that you want to do it again and again.”

~ Jerry Berman, area president, M/I Homes, seven-time Builder Captain.


Help HomeAid Meet its 2017 Mission with YOUR Year-End Donation

Mother and daughter cheek to cheek

We’ve had a lot to be grateful for in 2016, as we celebrated our 15th anniversary, invested more than $1 million into our Northern Virginia communities, and completed 10 projects that directly impacted the lives of 1,859 men, women and children who needed what so many of us take for granted—a home.

But as the year draws to a close and we begin to plan for next year, it’s important to recognize the very real challenges of continuing our work: We receive no government funding to fulfill our mission and therefore depend on the generosity of individuals, companies and foundations for their generous donations.

Help us TODAY with your year-end donation of $100, $200, $500, $1,000 or more, and make a difference in the lives of the more than 5,000 homeless men, women, and children living in Northern Virginia. Remember, no one plans to be homeless. They simply find that one day, they are, perhaps because of an unexpected job loss, physical or mental disability, bad credit, low wages, divorce, or domestic violence.

Your donation will also make an enormous difference to HomeAid’s service provider partners.

Steve Liga, CEO of ACTS Domestic Violence Services and recipient of HomeAid’s 2016 Nonprofit Service Provider Project of the Year Award, pointed out that projects funded by HomeAid donations can open more doors and inspire even greater opportunity: “The long-term benefits of HomeAid renovation projects are many. For example, grants for capital improvements are rare. Service grants, such as those that would help fund the Safe House, rarely allow capital expenditures. But after our grant monitor from the Department of Criminal Justice Services saw the impact that the HomeAid- and Builder Captain Winchester Homes-led kitchen renovation had on the lives of our clients, she was much more open to allowing grant funds for improvements throughout the house. Our new kitchen led to other renovations and upgrades, such as new furniture, a retractable awning for the back deck, and plans for an addition to expand services—all with the support of grants that would have been difficult, if not impossible, to get without the initial investment by HomeAid and its partners.”

Donate today, and find out even more ways to help in 2017!


HomeAid Northern Virginia Partners with SevaTruck to Provide Hot Food, Winter Essentials

hh_backpack-delivery_captionIn honor of National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month in November, HomeAid Northern Virginia partnered with SevaTruck—a licensed food truck operated by the SevaTruck Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing hunger in our communities—to provide hot meals and deliver backpacks filled with winter essentials to those in need. The two organizations focused their efforts at a “Tent City” in Woodbridge, Va., where hundreds of people live year-round.

“Our event with HomeAid Northern Virginia at the Prince William County Winter Shelter was one of the more enlightening and eye-opening experiences I have had with SevaTruck,” said Carol Barbosa, program manager for the SevaTruck Foundation. “There are so many people in our area who want to work, and who want to contribute to society, but who are faced with obstacle after obstacle. These people have a dignity we all should strive for, and it was a privilege to assist them in any way we could.”

Serving the community at Tent Cities can be difficult, primarily because many of its residents work full-time and are therefore not there during the day: According to data released in 2013 by the Council of Governments, in fact, 60 percent of the homeless population in Prince William County work. Still, volunteers were able to deliver 75 backpacks stuffed with hats, socks, protein bars, water bottles, and blankets to the Tent City, leaving them outside tents to be discovered when workers came home for the evening. And, about 55 people took advantage of the hot, vegetarian burritos and chips and salsa meals that were served fresh from the food truck.

hh_three-year-tent-city-residentA news crew from DCW50 helped spread awareness of the challenges of living in a Tent City, with same-day coverage of the HomeAid-SevaTruck partnership.

On any given day, nearly 30,000 residents in Prince William County are food insecure; that is, they don’t have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Adding in food-insecure residents of Fairfax, Loudoun, and Arlington Counties brings that figure to nearly 126,000 people.

For information about future HomeAid/SevaTruck events—or to volunteer at an event—contact Kristyn Burr, HomeAid Northern Virginia program manager, at 571.283.6300.


Bill Gilligan Reflects on Working with HomeAid and the End of a Long and Satisfying Career

ss_bill-gilligan-head-shot_captionQ&A Graphic_cropped2 - with borderBill Gilligan, regional president for Toll Brothers, is retiring after 40 years in the building industry. He’s looking forward to more downtime when he and his wife relocate to a lakeside community in South Carolina next year. In addition to his two daughters and seven grandchildren, Bill has fond memories of a rewarding career in the home building industry. He’s proud of the many communities he’s had a hand in launching, and especially proud of what he and Toll Brothers have been able to do for HomeAid Northern Virginia and the community it serves.

Q: How long have you been involved with HomeAid?

A: Toll Brothers has been working with HomeAid for about 10 years now. After assisting other Builder Captains on smaller projects, Toll Brothers took on its first project as a Builder Captain for the Good Shepherd Alliance (GSA). We took an old roofing company warehouse and converted it into a 3,000-sq. ft. retail store on the main level, with administrative offices upstairs. The building, called the GSA’s Center of Hope, is located in the center of old Ashburn, right next to the fire station.

The GSA’s Center of Hope accepts donations of clothing, furniture, housewares, and other goods to provide to the homeless and those in need. The store also sells these goods to raise money to support their mission of providing shelter for the homeless, as well as assisting women who are survivors of domestic violence and their children. The project turned out to be quite a challenge, as we encountered numerous surprises. It seemed like each time we opened an unexposed portion of the structure, we discovered a condition we had not anticipated, requiring us to have to adapt to design and engineering changes on the fly. Because we build new vs. remodeling, we’re accustomed to building from scratch, following a set of plans. When you’re remodeling, you learn to expect the unexpected and adapt to do what’s necessary to make the building structurally sound and conform to building codes. Despite all the surprises, completion of the GSA’s Center of Hope was very satisfying. Sometimes with these projects, in the early stages you get that, ‘Oh no, what did we get ourselves into?’ feeling.  But after you get through it and look back, you realize how much it meant to Good Shepherd and how proud the team was of what they had accomplished. It felt good to help Good Shepherd provide assistance to so many more people as a result of the creativity, hard work, and dedication of Toll employees and our trade partners.

Q: This year, Toll Brothers served as Builder Captain for a very special HomeAid project …

A: Yes, we worked with HomeAid and Youth For Tomorrow (YFT). That project was special because YFT is providing a much-needed service for the community that government and other organizations are not equipped to address. We greatly appreciate that the YFT staff is extremely organized and professional, and obviously very committed to the cause. This dedication to serve children in need is a reflection of their founder, former Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs, whose caring for others permeates the organization. And, of course, working with HomeAid through the planning and execution was wonderful. It makes a big difference having HomeAid assist in coordinating among the Builder Captain, Trade Partners, and the charitable organization. Christy Zeitz and the HomeAid Board have continued to improve on the level of support they provide. They have this process down to a science, which makes it easier to say, ‘Yes!’ when asked to volunteer for the next project.

The YFT project was a little more straightforward than our previous HomeAid endeavors. Instead of a renovation, where you are dealing with surprises as you open things up, this project was more along the lines of what we do every day, which is build a new house from the ground up. Granted, it was larger (at over 5,000 sq. ft.) than our typical Toll Brothers home, with more bedrooms (7), bathrooms (7), and kitchens (2), than we we’re accustomed to building, due to the home housing 14 to 16 girls, who will occupy the main house, plus an attached apartment to accommodate a “house parent,” who will be responsible for the daily care and safety of the 11- to 17-year-old girls. There’s also an area for girls with young babies to have their own private space, rather than being in the main house with the other girls.

The project took about four months to complete, but was not without its challenges, including: The County’s decision that this house was going to be built under the commercial building code instead of the residential code, which had been applicable for previous YFT homes built on the property; no electric service available, which meant that we had to add a transformer; the water service connection was missing; and it required removal of the subsurface rock in the area of the home. The total retail cost of the home was approximately $824,000 and, with the generous participation of our trade partners, we saved YFT a total of $521,000, or about 63 percent of the cost.

Q:  What else have you done with HomeAid?

A:  Toll Brothers served as Builder Captain for another project several years ago, where we worked with HomeAid and Women Giving Back (WGB) to manage another warehouse conversion into a store. The WGB Store accepts donations of clothing in good condition and makes them available at no cost for women in need, allowing them to dress appropriately, whether they’re going on job interviews or going to work every day. Within just a few weeks, that empty warehouse was transformed into a fully stocked store, with racks and shelves filled with good-quality clothing, and shortly thereafter there were women streaming in to try on and take home clothing that will help change their lives.

About seven years ago, we found ourselves in a position to donate a substantial number of appliances to benefit HomeAid. When we changed our appliance manufacturers, we replaced all of the appliances in our model homes and Design Studios, which were in perfectly good condition as most hadn’t ever been used, meaning they still had substantial value. HomeAid coordinated with ReStore to sell those appliances to raise money, which help fund other HomeAid projects. We’ve changed appliance manufacturers twice over the years, donating about 150 appliances the first time and more than 100 appliances the second time.

Q: What is the highlight of your time with HomeAid?

A: The Youth For Tomorrow home. I’m most proud of this one because it’s so fresh in my mind. I can still see the smiling faces of the young girls who will have a place to call home as a result of our work and our trade partners. It’s so rewarding that we were able to help not only the children who will initially occupy the home, but also to know that there will be many who will follow in the coming years. We did our small part to help YFT continue to provide a safe haven and education for children who have nowhere else to go. And it fits perfectly with HomeAid’s mission and vision.

HomeAid engages the building community and its trade partners, offering the opportunity for builders to donate their management expertise and trade partners to donate their resources, and leveraging them both to provide the facilities and services for those in need within the community. The HomeAid project model can deliver savings of anywhere between 40 and 70 percent of the retail cost because, as builders, we bring our construction management expertise and solicit the generosity of our trade partners. Those trade partners, in term, agree to perform labor and provide materials at reduced cost, and in some cases, at no cost. It’s really HomeAid’s ability to leverage available resources that does the most good.

HomeAid is a truly dedicated group of people from the home building industry who are trying to make a difference. They’re 100 percent committed to the causes they choose to support, and they have the organizational experience needed to facilitate getting a project off the ground, from design and budgeting to construction and turnover to the charitable organization. As a result, they are able to get more builders to step up to participate in HomeAid’s projects.

Q: What would you say to other builders who may be considering volunteering for HomeAid?

A: The easiest first step is to volunteer to assist an experienced Builder Captain on a project. That way, you’ll get an understanding of the types of things you’d be responsible for and how the program works, before serving as Builder Captain on your own project. Once you’ve been through that first project, you’ll have a better perspective on what’s involved. It’s very easy to get comfortable with the program after working with HomeAid, because they have it all figured out from a builder perspective.

Participating in a project for the needy, getting involved, and exhibiting good corporate citizenship is important. It’s great to see that many home builders just like Toll Brothers feel it’s a civic duty to become part of the community that we are building homes in. And the recognition the builders receive from the community is good for the company and good for its employees.

Q: How long have you been in the building industry?

A: I’m coming up on 40 years. I started in 1976 and will be retiring in January 2017. It’s the only type of work I have done in my career. I love the excitement and challenge of its many facets, from finding land for a new residential community and getting a subdivision plan design approved, to building roads and utilities and ultimately marketing, selling and constructing the homes. And then, watching it all come together as we create a new community where strangers become best friends. It’s also interesting to look back at the communities we’ve had a hand in building, knowing there’s a piece of us in each of them. It’s very satisfying work. Whenever I’m in an area where I built homes years ago, I drive through and remember all the challenges we overcame and the people I worked with there. I had the opportunity to work for several different builders before I joined Toll Brothers, but I’ve been with Toll Brothers for almost 24 years now. As a part of the great group of people at Toll Brothers, and as a representative of the building industry, it’s easy to be proud of what we all have accomplished.

Q: What do you look forward to in retirement?

A: Having complete control of my time and my schedule, with no urgent deadlines looming. My wife and I are planning to live on a lake in western South Carolina. If all goes according to plan, we’ll be settling in there sometime in 2017. I plan to play a lot more golf, spend time on the water, travel, and learn how to relax. I haven’t played enough golf or spent enough time with family and friends over the years, so I have some catching up to do.

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Annual Gala & Auction Raises $355,000 for HomeAid, Help End Homelessness: Lead a HomeAid Project!, Help HomeAid Meet its 2017 Mission with YOUR Year-End Donation, HomeAid Northern Virginia Partners with SevaTruck to Provide Hot Food, Winter Essentials, Bill Gilligan Reflects on Working with HomeAid and the End of a Long and Satisfying Career