Building Hope – February 2016

In the Spotlight
15 Years, 100 Projects, 95,000 Lives Changed

Alt HouseHomeAid Northern Virginia is celebrating its 15th Anniversary this year, a milestone that we’re incredibly proud of: In that relatively short period of time, we’ve completed more than 100 projects, and we’ve grown from serving 2,000 people our first year of operation to today’s cumulative total of 95,000 people served, nearly half of whom are children.

We’ve formed unshakeable public-private partnerships that have put major projects – including whole-home renovations, additions, and new builds – within reach for our shelter partners; given families unforgettable nights out through our popular Night at the Ballpark outings; and collected gift cards and household essentials to make move-in day that much easier. Together, we’ve invested more than $13.5 million in our communities, at a cost of just over $6 million, ensuring that our shelter partners could put more than half of the total investment back into financial services, job skills training, and other programs that help people put the pieces of their lives back together. 

Doorways

In 2008, at a dedication of an $885,000 project for the Good Shepherd Alliance, Former Virginia State Delegate Thomas Davis Rust encapsulated so much of what HomeAid stood for then and continues to stand for today, when he said, “The Center of Hope is a physical structure, yes … but it represents hope, it represents faith, it represents love, and, yes, it represents one person reaching out and caring for another person, and that’s what this is about.”

Barry Schwartz, a Life Director and Past President who has served on HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Board of Directors since its inception, shared a similar outlook on HomeAid’s mission when he said, “I was drawn to HomeAid, because for many of us in the homebuilding industry who are charitable, the idea of building a home instead of writing a check struck me as magical. In the 15 years since we were founded, HomeAid’s effect has been contagious: We’ve completed a staggering number of projects because of the breadth of contribution from hundreds of trade partners and builders, at all levels of every organization, who keep coming together for the greater good. A side benefit is that HomeAid has brought us together in a cohesive and collegial way, with overwhelming participation by an industry that by nature has to be competitive.”

YFT 2“One of the things I’m most proud of,” he added, “is our growth in credibility. When HomeAid was first founded, it seemed that what we were promising was too good to be true. Shelter providers couldn’t believe that we were really going to save them hundreds of thousands of dollars, without a catch. Fast forward to today, and we’re known as the organization that keeps its promises and often exceeds expectations. HomeAid’s success and synergy is a result of our partners and our working Board. We don’t delegate and write checks; we step up and take on projects ourselves. It’s a philosophy that hasn’t changed since our founding.”

 

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In Your Neighborhood
Lead a Project, Change a Life

HomeAid-BuildersLogo-FINALHomeAid Northern Virginia has nearly a dozen projects in the pipeline this year and is currently looking for Builder Captains for projects in Annandale, Alexandria, Springfield, and Woodbridge. The scope of work for the four projects ranges from a kitchen renovation to more extensive interior and exterior updates and renovations.

Accepting the challenge of leading a HomeAid project and giving new hope to the homeless is a decision that Builder Captains unequivocally say is one of the best decisions they have ever made.

“The rewards are great,” said Jerry Berman, area president for M/I Homes, which has served as a Builder Captain for five HomeAid projects. “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.”

“My experience as a Builder Captain with HomeAid was one of the most rewarding of my life,” added Richard Kieler, vice president of commercial and land construction for Kettler, which served as Builder Captain for the first time in 2015. “Knowing that our work was helping others who are trying to make a better way for themselves made this project special. An unexpected benefit was the great camaraderie with the volunteers from our office who came out to help on the project. These were people I had never met before, but whom I now see and talk to on a regular basis due completely to working together on the HomeAid project.”

Take the first step toward one of the most satisfying projects you’ll ever work on: Learn more today and call us at 571.283.6320.

HomeAid Northern Virginia changes lives with every completed project—for both the formerly homeless and for the volunteers who work on a project. Join our growing list of prestigious Builder Captains in our Builders’ Circle of Excellence!

Arcadia Communities
Arlington Designer Homes
Augustine Homes
Beazer Homes
BOWA Builders
The Bozzuto Group
Brookfield Homes
Brothers Construction
CarrHomes
The Christopher Companies
Custom Builder Council
Craftmark Homes
Creekstone Communities
Drees Homes
EYA
Home Design Elements
John Darvish Construction
KETTLER
K.Hovnanian Homes
Knutson Companies
Lincoln Property Company
Lennar Homes

Madison Homes
M/I Homes
Michael Harris Homes
Mike Garcia Construction
Miller & Smith
NV Homes
Old Europe Construction
Patowmack Associates
Pulte Homes
Remodelers Council of NVBIA
Richmond American
Robinson & Thayer
Ryland Homes
Sagatov Associates
Schwartz Enterprises
Stanley Martin Homes
SugarOak Corporation
Toll Brothers
Van Metre Homes
VM Home Solutions
Winchester Homes

 

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In Your Community
HomeAid Plans Annual Housing Forum
HF
April 7, 2016
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Brookfield Residential
3501 Jermantown Road
Fairfax, VA 22030

Make plans now to attend HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Annual Housing Forum—the region’s most unique and valuable opportunity to meet and learn from shelter partner colleagues, share best practices, and gather take-away strategies from community leaders in the field.

This year’s Forum keynote speaker will focus on veteran homelessness, after Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia is the first state to “meet the federal definition of effectively ending homelessness among military veterans.”

The panel—which will feature speakers from every jurisdiction in Northern Virginia—will cover rapid rehousing issues, particularly the challenge of keeping families who are in the program housed long-term.

Roundtable discussions will flow from both of these topics, and attendees will be asked to bring printed information and materials about their organizations to help others learn more about each group’s breadth of services.

Programming will be designed for professionals from organizations, government agencies, and others working in housing and homelessness across Northern Virginia.

Register today, and find out why attendees at the 2015 Housing Forum, when asked for feedback on their experience, said, “The speakers did a great job and provided valuable examples of intentional and successful collaborative efforts … This was an excellent networking opportunity, and I appreciated the focus on a theme that was applicable across agency type and regional in nature … The collaborative nature of this forum was incredible … The venue was excellent, as was the openness that truly gave each person the opportunity to share and ask questions.”

Housing Forum Agenda

Breakfast & Registration: 8:00 – 8:30 a.m.

Program:  8:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon

    • Presentation: Ending Veteran Homelessness, with Q&A to follow
    • Panel discussion: Keeping Rapidly Re-housed Families Housed: Challenges and Successes
    • Break
    • Roundtable discussions

Networking lunch: 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.

 

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Helping-Hands
Help Make a House a Home

HH Logo - no taglineSupporting the mission of HomeAid Northern Virginia is not limited to those who work for a builder or trade partner company: Volunteer opportunities are also available through our Helping Hands program, which provides household essentials, groceries, and gift cards to individuals and families moving into recently completed HomeAid projects. Donations also help shelters redirect critically important funding toward programs rather than having to spend it on household items. 

Getting involved is easy, with two options from which to choose:

Fill the Fridge: Coordinate a gift card drive for specific projects that HomeAid Northern Virginia and partners complete, which will empower people moving into those homes to purchase exactly what their family needs most from grocery stores, especially healthy perishables. We are looking for volunteers year-round, because we all know that Thanksgiving isn’t the only time people need help. Food and gift card drives are especially well suited for offices, youth sports teams, and school and church groups.

Welcome Home Baskets: Moving into a new home is always stressful, and it can be expensive, with everyday must-haves including cookware, bed linens, towels, shower curtains, and dishes. Through our Welcome Home program, HomeAid staff pairs volunteers with a nearly completed project, and we supply a wish list of what is needed for that particular home. We request that all donated items be brand new and unused.

In many cases, HomeAid Northern Virginia can provide groups the opportunity to tour the home or facility when the project is complete, take photographs of their donation, and deliver their Fill the Fridge collection or Welcome Home Baskets in person. Alternatively, HomeAid staff can schedule pick-up of collections. For more information, and to find out how you can help in 2016, please email info@homeaidncr.org or call 571.283.6320.

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Supporter Spotlight
Steve Alloy Views Community Service as Personal, Organizational Responsibility

AlloySteve Alloy, president of Stanley Martin Homes and HomeAid Northern Virginia’s co-founder and 15-year board member, talks about how his involvement with a teen emergency shelter 15 years ago led to the creation of HomeAid Northern Virginia. Find out how his thought of, “Hey, I know a guy who can fix that,” led to the creation of the organization that it is today and how HomeAid Northern Virginia projects have taken on a life of their own at Stanley Martin Homes.

Q: As one of the two co-founders of HomeAid Northern Virginia, can you explain how the organization was conceived?

A: When I joined the board of Alternative House, Northern Virginia’s only emergency homeless shelter for teens, the place was in disrepair because all of the money was going into programs for the kids. I thought, ‘This is crazy; I know a bunch of guys who can make this place feel more like a real home,’ so I tried to organize a builder effort to renovate the teen shelter. At the same time, Don Knutson, who was [then] the local president of Beazer Homes, heard from the chairman of Beazer Homes, who also served on the HomeAid America national board. He said they would love to start a chapter on the east coast, and he asked if we thought it would work in the Washington area. Don contacted me, and we said, ‘We should renovate this shelter and make it the launching point for HomeAid Northern Virginia.’ 

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At that time, I was on the executive committee of NVBIA, and I noticed that different NVBIA chapters were all doing their own thing with respect to charitable giving. If we could get everybody to work together and pull in the same direction, we could take all the great work that was being done and give it a much more pronounced impact: People would be better able to see how much our industry gives back to our local communities.

[Don and I] asked the NVBIA board to improve our industry’s approach to charitable giving. The board voted overwhelmingly to launch it, and HomeAid Northern Virginia was born.

Q: What drives your commitment to community service?

A: There’s a responsibility to do it. I think that all communities need to be supported not only by the residents, the religious organizations, and the civic organizations in those communities, but also by the businesses that operate in those communities. While government can help, it’s the people in the community who need to take the lead in improving  things. Our industry revitalizes neighborhoods, creates new communities, and builds roads and places for new schools and such, but there’s more to it. We also have to do our part to help make this a thriving area for everyone.

Q: To what do you attribute HomeAid Northern Virginia’s success?

A: When I first tried to lead the effort to rebuild the teen emergency shelter, I discovered it was an enormous undertaking. But when we adopted the HomeAid model, what we discovered was that they had figured out how to do this sort of project exceptionally well. HomeAid is so powerful because the model is fabulous. There are three pieces of it—HomeAid Northern Virginia; the Builder Captains and trade partners; and the service providers—and each gives in the most effective way possible without big demands for cash. It is really easy for builders to donate project management and leadership, and the best way for an electrician or plumber to give is by donating labor and materials for electrical and plumbing work. When everyone donates what is easiest for them and what they are best at doing, amazing work can be done. Lastly, well-managed civic organizations are fantastic at providing services to people struggling with homelessness and affordable housing issues. HomeAid doesn’t try to perform the services but instead brings those civic organizations together with a builder and a group of trade partners to make it all happen.

Q: How does your staff at Stanley Martin Homes feel about HomeAid?

A: Our organization has completely adopted it. Early on, people jumped in to volunteer and work on projects, but there was not enough work for everybody who wanted to get involved. So, our team organized committees. Now, we have people competing to be on the project team for each new project, while the rest of our organization jumps in to help in any way possible, such as by finding donated furniture, delivering it, and helping turn the newly renovated residences into homes, with everything from plates and dishes and supplies.  

Our team is really driven to work in this way, and HomeAid almost has a life of its own. I think for our third or fourth project, the team came to me after they had spoken with [HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director] Christy Eaton directly, and they said, ‘There’s this project that needs a Builder Captain, we’d like to do it, and we’ve got it all organized. Is it okay if we do another one?’ It really demonstrates how the people at Stanley Martin have embraced HomeAid and the work that it does.

Q:  What are your hopes for the future of HomeAid?

A: HomeAid has momentum. It has become well known in the social services field locally. It has tremendous builder and Trade Partner support. It’s getting increasing financial support, which is helpful. And because it does so much good work, I just want to see it continue to perform at this high level. There’s a material difference in the quality of apartments and group homes and shelters that house people in our region today than were here before HomeAid Northern Virginia was founded. It’s night and day. It’s made a material difference in the quality of life for people who are confronting a variety of challenges.”

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READ:  HomeAid Northern Virginia Celebrates 15th Anniversary, Lead a Project, HomeAid Plans Annual Housing Forum, Help Make a House a Home, Supporter Spotlight: Meet Steve Alloy