Building Hope Newsletter, December 2020

Our winter holidays are here, looking as wildly different as our entire year became, but I hope that in the process of “exorcising” the challenges and hardships of 2020, we can also look back and take away all that we’ve learned about ourselves, our families, and our communities. I know that some of our readers experienced tragic loss, others battled illness, and others emerged healthy and safe. With those varying viewpoints, I know it’s incredibly difficult to broad-brush “silver linings,” but I do hope that at the very least, we can all recognize and appreciate our extraordinary resilience in living through this pandemic of historical proportions, and celebrate our super-human ability to show grace to ourselves and others, be flexible, and find hope in even the darkest of days.

From my position at HomeAid Northern Virginia, I want to personally thank all of you, for your support during this full and challenging year. So many stepped up in place of others who couldn’t, while others were able to continue steadfastly. Voids were quickly filled, and new opportunities quickly gained. It was a year that repeatedly reminded me that the homebuilding industry and this community has, without question, the biggest heart. And it’s in that vein that, if you are looking to give back during these very different holidays, be sure to check out Making It Count in this issue, where you’ll be directed to a list of our partner non-profits and can learn exactly what they need most. In the announcements, you’ll see a link to direct-ship diapers, wipes, and other essentials to the HomeAid office so that we can help our community’s tiniest humans. No matter what you do, be well, treat yourself kindly, and Happy Holidays.

With Gratitude,

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HomeAid Pivots with Online Event, Raises $250,000+, and Honors Winchester Rescue Mission, Exceptional Choices, and Richard Cole

[divider line_type=”No Line”][image_with_animation image_url=”22810″ alignment=”” animation=”Fade In” img_link_target=”_blank” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%” img_link=”″%5D%5Bimage_with_animation image_url=”22812″ alignment=”” animation=”Fade In” img_link_target=”_blank” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%” img_link=”″%5D%5Bimage_with_animation image_url=”22807″ alignment=”” animation=”Fade In” img_link_target=”_blank” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%” img_link=”″%5DIt’s been an exceptionally challenging year, but HomeAid Northern Virginia made the best of it with its 19th Annual “MASKarade – Coming Together While Apart”, a virtual Gala & Auction on November 14 that successfully raised more than $250,000 to support HomeAid’s mission of renovating homeless shelters and supportive housing facilities. Doug and Ann Smith generously donated a match for HomeAid’s traditional “Paddle Challenge” fundraiser, and dozens of participants were able to bid on a huge array of silent and live auction items. While we hope next year’s Gala will look a lot more like what we’re accustomed to, the 2020 event still provided us the opportunity to shine a light on what is ultimately most important: the 150 projects we’ve completed since our founding, and the tens of thousands of lives we’ve impacted!!

We also presented our 2020 Presidents’ Circle Awards, our most prestigious honor, to the following organizations and individuals for their work in advancing HomeAid’s mission of building new lives for those experiencing homelessness:

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Brandan Thomas gratefully accepts the Nonprofit Service Provider Project of the Year Award on behalf of the Winchester Rescue Mission.
Nonprofit Service Provider Project of the Year Award: Winchester Rescue Mission

The Winchester Rescue Mission provides safe and secure housing for 33 individuals, serves 50 to 80 people with its nightly dinner, and provides additional support to vulnerable members of its community through its food pantry and other programs. Housed in a 1930s building in Frederick County, the non-profit was in dire need of several upgrades, spurring HomeAid, Builder Captain Dan Ryan Builders – Northern Virginia Division, and nine trade partners to jump in for a significant transformation. Highlights of the project included upgrades to three bathrooms; painting; and installing luxury vinyl planking throughout the entire facility, custom built lockable storage, custom shelving and tv wall units, new blinds, a security system, and a custom shed that allowed for an additional housing unit. All-new firehouse-rated bunkbeds were also donated for the Mission’s residents by HomeAid Northern Virginia. The $100,000 project – 100 percent of which was donated – also marked HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 150th project, which was celebrated in this video detailing the impact of the project.[divider line_type=”Small Line” line_thickness=”3″ divider_color=”default”]

Steve Bruce (center) accepts the 2020 Trade Partner of the Year Award from Jason McDonough and Kristyn Burr of HomeAid Northern Virginia.
Trade Partner of the Year Award: Exceptional Choices

HomeAid’s trade partners are those in the home building industry who play meaningful roles in HANV’s construction projects by donating materials, time, labor and expertise – backed by a spirit of always being willing to step up and pitch in to serve those in our local communities. Since 2012, Exceptional Choices has participated on 14 projects and donated over $100,000 in labor and materials — plus an additional $30,000 in sponsorships and other support. The custom flooring company has also shared their expertise on projects big and small, from group homes and townhomes to program spaces and multi-unit buildings. Most recently, the company invested nearly $30,000 in one of HomeAid’s recent completions.[divider line_type=”Small Line” line_thickness=”3″ divider_color=”default”]

Richard Cole (center) accepts the 2020 Presidents’ Award from Jason McDonough and Kristyn Burr of HomeAid Northern Virginia.
Presidents’ Award: Richard Cole

The Presidents’ Award recognizes an individual or a company that has shown exceptional dedication to the goal of ending homelessness with service to HomeAid Northern Virginia, and 2020 honors were awarded to Richard Cole, who for 15 years served on the HomeAid Northern Virginia Board of Directors. He served as president in 2006 and in all other years served as Treasurer. “Rick is the ‘behind the scenes’ keeper of our financial stability,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia 2020 President Jason McDonough in presenting the award.  “As our programs and our territories have expanded, so has our annual budget, and in that 15 years, our financial needs have grown dramatically. More staff, new ways of fundraising, investing in projects and the success of our organization as a whole is largely due to the incredible sustainability that we have been able to maintain. Rick has played a key role in that respect. We have always been able to count on Rick to step up when needed – even through the unexpected. The backbone of an organization is what keeps us going; often those outside of the spotlight go unrecognized.  We are so grateful for Rick’s commitment to HomeAid and his dedication to our mission.  We hope this award serves as a small token of our immense gratitude.”

Intercoastal Mortgage, LLC, served as the presenting sponsor of the event, with more than 70 additional event sponsors joining in.
Thank you to all for making this year’s event the success that it was!

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More Photos and Videos Online!
Missed this year’s event? All but the live auction were recorded, so be sure to check it out online!

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]By the end of October, 9.9 million Americans were not up-to-date on their rent or mortgage payments and had little to no confidence that their household could pay next month’s rent or mortgage on time.
Source: U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey[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”]

Pre-pandemic, seniors in Alexandria gathered daily for morning programs and a hot lunch at St. Martin de Porres Senior Center, first built as a church camp in the 1950s.

Catholic Charities’ St. Martin de Porres Senior Center is housed in what was once a Lutheran church camp in the 1950s and has, for the last 45 years, served Alexandria City’s underserved, elderly, and retired community through regular programming that includes morning activities, a hot lunch, and an afternoon activity before seniors head home at 1:30 p.m. Until COVID, the center served up to 55 people a day; now closed due to the pandemic, volunteers have turned things around to provide a sort of “senior center on wheels” by delivering programming ideas and lunches to those who need it in the community.

The temporarily vacated building has – on a plus side – offered the perfect opportunity for HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captains Northfield Construction & Development and Trinity Group Construction, and trade partners to kick off the next renovation project. Beginning in early January 2021, workers will give the building a major refresh, including upgrading and modernizing bathrooms, replacing accordion “walls” with permanent walls, installing storage and shelving, relocating office space for efficiencies, updating the electrical, repainting, and replacing lighting fixtures. Outside, workers will update storage sheds and build a ramp for better access.

“We first met with HomeAid and their team last fall,” said Anne Coyne, program director for the senior center, “and I was so excited when Kristyn [Burr] reached out to us to get this project going. Our seniors are feeling so isolated, and having an updated and fresh ‘new’ building to look forward to is so exciting. We can’t wait to get everyone back together again when we can, and knowing that it will be in a brighter, more modern space is such a gift. It’s in desperate need of upgrades, and many of the changes that workers are making will help reduce noise, which will make it easier for our seniors to focus and feel less stressed. Thank you, HomeAid, Northfield, and Trinity Group!”[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]The U.S. has a shortage of 7 million affordable rental homes available to low-income renters.
Source: National Low-Income Housing Coalition[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”]We’re a month shy of celebrating our 20th year, but we still have plenty to celebrate: In 2020, we completed our 150th project! Every one of our projects supports those working to end homelessness and represents an $18+ million we’ve invested in our community; $12 million in donations of labor, time, materials, and expertise; and 167,000 lives we’ve changed for the better.

To help frame our impact, we developed a video highlighting some of our key accomplishments. Peel back the layers with us, and remember just a few of the ways we’ve helped:

  • A $20,000+ project at Loudoun Hunger Relief was as much about compassion and dignity than it was about better layout, as we turned a food pantry into a welcoming, grocery store-like atmosphere where clients could select foods with autonomy.
  • We’ve provided game-changing space for kids to study and play, with playhouses and playground equipment designed for our youngest citizens. We’ve created study areas where kids can do their homework, get help from a tutor, or apply for a job.
  • An $83,000 renovation and upgrade at Catholic Charities’ Christ House in Old Town Alexandria breathed new life into a building that dates to 1810 … and in the process ensured the continuation of a nightly soup kitchen that has served dinner EVERY NIGHT since 1974. It meant that 14 men living in the transitional housing program could continue to work toward financial independence and self-sufficiency. And, it means that food pantry volunteers could continue to serve hundreds of people weekly.
  • An $800,000 home on the main campus of Youth for Tomorrow now provides safe and secure housing for up to 36 girls per year – including pregnant teens, young mothers, homeless and runaway youth, and survivors of sex trafficking. It means that when the FBI calls and asks, ‘We arrested a sex trafficker last night, and we have the [survivor]. We know you’re the only facility in Virginia that will take a girl like this; do you have room for one more?’ … Youth for Tomorrow can say, ‘Yes.’”
  • Our very first project completely remodeled the interior of Alternative House’s Emergency Shelter for Teenagers – doubling the square footage of the house and adding a basement to store needed supplies. The result was the gift of space for teens in crisis, with two young people per room instead of four youth in each small bedroom. Thirteen years later, we renovated three bathrooms, allowing Alternative House to put precious funds toward supporting and lifting up teens during some of the hardest moments of their lives.

We’ve changed lives for veterans, formerly incarcerated individuals, chronically homeless, children, and those battling mental illness and addictions. Men and women who lost their way of life due to job loss, illness, or divorce. Survivors of domestic violence. No matter their story, we help them all find a way forward.

Celebrate with us by joining our effort: Get involved. Follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn. Check out our project photos and videos on Flickr and YouTube. And, share with your friends and family to raise awareness about this often invisible issue. We can’t wait to celebrate 20 years of changing lives with you in 2021!

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]In Fairfax County, an estimated 56,350 people are food insecure. With the average meal cost at $3.75, that means an annual food budget shortfall of $36,081,000.
Source: Feeding America[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”][image_with_animation alignment=”” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”]

Homelessness is rarely a choice, and it could happen to any of us as a result of any of the most common realities of life, such as job loss, depression, addiction, or divorce. It’s with that philosophy that HomeAid Northern Virginia works to give a helping hand to all who need it, restore hope through second chances, and support our shelter and non-profit partners who make so much of our work possible.

With cold weather arriving, the holidays’ just around the corner, and an ongoing pandemic making this year’s winter season more complicated than ever – how, for example, will hypothermia shelters safely operate given COVID protocols? – now is our moment to help a neighbor in need. There’s no end to the ways you can give; and it all starts by taking the first step. In big ways and small, you can make a difference, and we hope this centralized compilation of needs will help get you started!

Check out our list of HomeAid Shelter Partners to find a worthy organization in your neighborhood to help this time of year.[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”]

Jason McDonough

Jason McDonough, executive vice president and director of Commercial Real Estate Lending for John Marshall Bank, has wrapped up what was surely the strangest year on record to serve as president of HomeAid Northern Virginia. Still, the year brought with it some major accomplishments, heartwarming realizations, and another level of service McDonough has brought to HomeAid since he was first introduced to HomeAid in 2011, when he was working as a loan officer at Cardinal Bank specializing in homebuilder finance. In the years since, he served six years on HomeAid’s Board of Directors, volunteered for several event committees, and was among the Board members who co-founded HomeAid’s Annual Golf Tournament in 2015.

Q: What did you learn from your experience leading HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Board in 2020?

A: Without question, the biggest takeaway is how resilient the HomeAid Northern Virginia staff, Board, and homebuilding industry is as a whole. In March, when everything just stopped and a sense of panic pervaded, we couldn’t help but wonder how we would be able to find a path forward, continue to do projects, and sustain our mission. At the same time, we saw shelters and non-profits come to us saying they needed help, as stress and anxiety were increasing, domestic violence cases were increasing, schools were shutting down, and everything felt incredibly stressful. But rather than get overwhelmed, Executive Director and CEO Kristyn Burr stood up and resolved to march forward. The Board stood with her and said the same. We emerged with a resiliency that was incredible to see; we rescheduled and reformatted some of our events, but we still had them … we held our BBQ, pushed our Housing Forum online, carried forward with our Golf Tournament, and rewrote the script for our Gala & Auction. By coming together, we continued our mission to help those in our community who needed it more than ever.

Q: What was the most surprising aspect of your year of service?

A: Our ability to fundraise despite the pandemic, which was a direct result of the compassion of those on our Board and in our industry. The Winchester Rescue Project is a perfect example; you can’t do that size of a project at zero cost to the applicant without an immense amount of graciousness and support from the Builder Captain, trade partners, and other community partners. It was just an overwhelming spirit from the construction industry that made so much possible; the housing market fared relatively well in the pandemic, and across the board I saw individuals continuing to give back, whether through donations of finance, time, labor, or materials. We kept projects on track, the Golf Tournament was the most successful in our history, and the Gala was a big success. The year brought out our very best in generosity and a can-do spirit.

Q: If someone was thinking about accepting a position on HomeAid’s Board of Directors, what would you tell them?

A: Ironically, I just had a Zoom call with a potential Board member yesterday. I encouraged them to look at all the good that HomeAid is doing in the community; this pandemic has really spotlighted how many people need a hand up through our help and support. There are children at home instead of school, people out of work, stress levels rising, and still a certain level of uncertainty regarding the days ahead for many. We’re only starting to understand how a pandemic can affect people and our emotions, actions, and behavior … even with stimulus money, people are losing their jobs, and homelessness will surely rise. Next year will be our 20th year, and in January we’ll see HomeAid Northern Virginia’s annual report. When you see what we’ve done – and how much more there will be to do – and look at all the good we’ve done through our projects and outreach, HomeAid’s impact in our community is astonishing.

Q: What would you like to see HomeAid do in the future?

A: At my first Board meeting in January, I focused on expansion, looking for new opportunities and new partnerships. And while the pandemic made that overall goal a difficult one to achieve this year, I’m still hopeful that we can build on our success through new and bigger adventures in the future. If that means purchasing land and building a ground-up development, or entering into a joint partnership or exploring new ways to partner with local municipalities.  We have a strong foundation from which to expand, and I hope we can explore our options going forward.  The future is very bright.[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]

Thank You
Continued thanks to the following companies for coordinating a diaper drive as part of our Builders for Babies initiative: SN Mortgage Company, Bowman Consulting Group, Ltd., Buhl Electric Company, Inc., Toll Brothers, Hinz Consulting, First Excel Title, LLC, and Legacy Contractors Group, Inc. It’s a constant need for the mothers we help support, and the provision of diapers and wipes alleviates what is otherwise an enormous annual expense of $1,000 per baby. Want to help? Join in the program by visiting our online wish list!

Gear Up for GolfAid
Registration is now open for HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 4th Annual GolfAid – a fundraising and business-building event that will be held at TopGolf Loudoun on March 4, 2021. This event features three hours of unlimited golf & networking with home builders, trade partners & industry leaders in climate-controlled hitting bays. Register today, before it sells out!
*In-person events pending Virginia State COVID-safety guidelines.

Shop for a Cause
Supporting HomeAid can be as easy as shopping at your local Giant Grocery Store. Simply pick up a $2.50 reusable Community Bag at the Giant Food located at 2551 John Milton Drive, Herndon, VA in December, and we will receive a $1 donation for every bag sold![divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]

The HomeAid Northern Virginia office will be closed the week of December 28 in observance of the winter holidays. 

4th Annual GolfAid Fundraiser – Thursday, March 4, 2021, TopGolf Loudoun, Ashburn, VA

2021 Annual Housing Forum – Thursday, May 13, 2021, Location: TBD

12th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ – Thursday, June 17, 2021, Location: TBD

7th Annual HomeAid Golf Tournament – Friday, September 17, 2021, Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club, Leesburg, VA

20th Annual HomeAid Gala & Auction – Saturday, November 13, 2021, Lansdown Resort & Spa, Leesburg, VA

In-person events pending Virginia State COVID-safety guidelines.

In this newsletter:
Executive Director & CEO Corner
I See Your 19th Annual Gala & Auction and Raise You a Pandemic!
HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captains Northfield Construction & Development, and Trinity Group Construction Kick Off Project at Senior Center
HomeAid by the Numbers
Making a Difference, One Donation at a Time
Learning, Growing, and Looking Forward from a Pandemic