Building Hope Newsletter, February 2017

Make Dreams Come True with a 2017 Donation

No one plans to be homeless. But with an unexpected job loss, physical or mental disability, bad credit, low wages, divorce, or domestic violence, the need for housing is a reality for more than 5,000 people in Northern Virginia. That’s 5,000 men, women and children who don’t know where they will get ready for work or school, prepare a meal, do their homework, safeguard their belongings, or sleep at night.

For 15 years, HomeAid Northern Virginia has dedicated itself to working with local shelters that provide the programs and services that individuals and families need to get back on their feet and on the road to self-sufficiency. But we receive NO government funding to fulfill our mission; instead, we must depend on the donations of individuals, companies and foundations to fulfill our mission of ending homelessness in Northern Virginia and providing individuals and families with a safe, stable place to live.

In 2016, we invested more than $1 million into our Northern Virginia community and directly impacted the lives of 1,859 men, women, and children. We raised $870,000 through efforts such as grant writing, auctions, sponsorships and donations, while our partners did their part to change lives and give new hope to the homeless through $688,000 in in-kind donations.

In 2017, we are committed to doing it all again, with a goal of 10 more projects. But we’ll need your help to change lives with a tax-deductible gift, which will help move families off the street, out of the woods, and from sleeping in their cars to a home that gives them hope for their future.

Your investment will also help shelter providers: Donations make it possible for shelters to redirect precious funding into financial services, job skills training, and other programs that help people plan for successful futures, rather than having to spend it on costly home maintenance and repair.

Cornerstones, for example, has rolled out two programs thanks to savings resulting from HomeAid projects—their signature housing program, “H.O.U.S.E. – Housing OpportUnities Strengthen Everyone,” and a series of free workshops for residents of Cornerstones’ housing, with topics including housekeeping, basic home maintenance, moving to self-sufficiency, and being a good neighbor.

“Seeing individuals and families living in beautiful, renovated spaces thanks to HomeAid and its partners, and benefitting from two new programs we were able to fund because of HomeAid cost savings, is huge,” said Nicole de Lima Morris, senior asset manager for Cornerstones. “Programs like these facilitate life-changing achievements, and they build community … they may be less visible byproducts of the investment that HomeAid and their supporters make every time they accept a project or make a donation, but for us, it’s a game-changing reality.”

Our willingness to invest in properties even inspires others to invest: “Grants for capital improvements are rare, and service grants, such as those that would help fund our Safe House, rarely allow capital expenditures,” explained Steve Liga, CEO of ACTS Domestic Violence Services. “But after our grant monitor from the Department of Criminal Justice Services saw the impact that the HomeAid 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!

HA17 Annual Report coverRead our 2016 Impact Report, celebrating 15 years of building what matters most.

Trade Partners Play Key Role in HomeAid’s Success

HomeAid Northern Virginia’s success is built on the strength of our partnerships, and just as we rely on Builder Captains to lead our many projects, we also rely on the expertise and commitment of the hundreds of Trade Partners who work together to complete our projects, whether by installing plumbing and carpets or donating furniture and appliances. In 2016, 113 trade partners invested $523,000 in the seven projects we completed, sending a strong message to nearly 2,000 people that others care about them and want to see them succeed.

Heading into 2017, we will again be looking to expand our partnerships with additional Trade Partners. The payback is enormous; we have been told repeatedly that working on a HomeAid project is the epitome of getting back more than you give.

Juston Sizemore, 2017 HomeAid Board member and market manager for Builders FirstSource—which has participated in more than a dozen HomeAid projects and was named its 2015 Trade Partner of the Year—first became hooked on working with HomeAid after realizing that HomeAid doesn’t just help people in their current situation; its efforts can really change a person’s entire future.

“This area is diverse, with urban and rural areas within 30 miles of each other, but our proximity to D.C. and Baltimore allows opportunity,” he said. “Yet in this same area, there are folks in such a great state of need. Many times, not even by their own actions, some people find themselves in a bad living situation. It’s heartening to see that HomeAid’s work can make such an impact. And who is better qualified to facilitate this than a builder or trade partner? Being able to play a small role this way is one of the most rewarding things that I can do, professionally and personally.”

John Lombardozzi, president and owner of Signature Companies—HomeAid’s 2016 Trade Partner of the Year honoree and a 10-time participant in HomeAid projects—feels similarly, adding, “Lending our expertise and resources to these projects is good for the community, our company, and our employees. It’s an opportunity to collaborate with local nonprofit housing and homeless organizations to help make a positive and lasting impact on our community and on people’s lives … there is no greater responsibility to assist and serve those who are in need.”

The decision to contribute toward a HomeAid project extends beyond personal fulfillment, too. Builder Captains and Trade Partners alike frequently point to the stronger relationships within the industry as a result of working together on a philanthropic shelter project, with Eric Ferreira, vice president of construction for M/I Homes, saying, “Working on a HomeAid project brings us all closer together, and during a recent HomeAid project, I was reminded how long I’ve known and worked with Luis Vasquez, now the owner of Best Painting. We met more than 15 years ago, and I have watched him grow his company as we’ve built our own relationship over the years.

“We work with trade partners on construction sites every day,” he added, “but you see a different side of them when we work on these projects together. I learn about their families, their hobbies and their lives. It’s one of my favorite things about working as a Builder Captain, and I’m grateful for these opportunities to get to know people like Luis in a new and different light.”

“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,” said Barry Schwartz, a life director and past president who has served on HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Board of Directors since its inception. “The idea of building a home instead of writing a check is magical, and in the years since HomeAid was founded, a side benefit [of our success] 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.”

For more information about serving as a Trade Partner, contact HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director Christy Zeitz.

Did You Know 1

Make Plans to Attend HomeAid’s 2017 Housing Forum:

Complex Needs and Promising Solutions: Interventions for Housing and Homeless Service Providers

Thursday, March 30, 2017
Registration: 8:00 a.m.
(Registration is Free but Required!)

Program: 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.,
followed by a networking lunch
Brookfield Residential
3201 Jermantown Road,
Fairfax, VA 22030

Planning for HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Annual Housing Forum is well underway, with speakers being lined up to ensure that 2017 will deliver on the Forum’s reputation as 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 program will center around youth homelessness, new trends and ideas for combating homelessness, barriers to success, landlord relations, partnership opportunities, and gaps in resources for existing needs. As always, programming will be designed for professionals from organizations, government agencies, and others working in housing and homelessness across Northern Virginia.

Small group discussions will flow from the day’s 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.

Register today, and find out why attendees overwhelmingly rate HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Housing Forum as valuable and empowering, praising speakers for “providing valuable examples of intentional and successful collaborative efforts” and calling the environment an “excellent networking opportunity, with themes that are applicable across agency type and regional in nature.”

Did You Know 2
Making it Count

Donate Time, Clothing to Women Giving Back

Whether it’s your New Year’s Resolution to give back to the community, or you just want to clean out some overloaded closets, Women Giving Back (WGB) makes it easy to do both. The nonprofit organization provides free clothing and accessories to women and children from local homeless shelters through its retail store in Sterling, and they are now accepting clothing donations and seeking individuals and groups of volunteers to help sort donated clothing.

Seasonal clothing donations are preferred, and because WGB’s mission is focused on helping the transitionally homeless enter the workplace and fit in at school, clothing in excellent condition are urgently needed. Right now, WGB has a particular need for boys clothing (sizes toddler through teen)! To make it easier on volunteers, bring clothes on firm plastic hangers, sorted by size.

Volunteers are needed to sort clothing at the Store, and serve as personal shoppers for the women who come through the door the second Saturday of each month.

If you are interested in getting even more involved, volunteers are encouraged to serve on one of WGB’s many committees and help plan WGB’s biggest fundraising event—Cinco de Mayo—or spread the word about WGB’s work through its community outreach committee.

In the 10 years since WGB was founded, the organization has distributed more than 300,000 items of clothing to more than 23,000 women and 15,300 children from 100+ shelters in Northern Virginia. The Store is open on the second Saturday of each month from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. at 20 Export Drive, Sterling, VA. For more information, please contact Women Giving Back at or call 703.554.9386.

Did You Know 3

Davidson Continues to Serve with Creative Leadership and Tireless Fundraising

When it comes to fundraising, Brian Davidson is not afraid to ask and not afraid to hear “no.”  That’s why Brian—HomeAid Board member, past president and current chair of the Shelter Care Committee—is one of the organization’s most tenacious fundraisers. With the support of Van Metre Homes, his company of 28 years and where he currently serves as group president, he has helped raise more than $200,000 for HomeAid. In addition, Brian just began his term as 2017 NVBIA president. His dedication to the mission of both organizations is unwavering.

Q:  How did you first learn about HomeAid Northern Virginia?

A:  I have been on the HomeAid Board for five years. I was at a builder’s show, where our company, Van Metre, was being presented with the Hearthstone Humanitarian Award for our charitable work. HomeAid Board Member Terri Stagi was there with us, and she kind of whispered in my ear, “You guys need to get involved with HomeAid.” So, I got on the Board. Two years later, I was board president, and the rest is history.

Q:  What is it about HomeAid that continues to motivate you?

A:  I have always contributed to charities, but when you get involved and actually see the people who you are serving, it is pretty powerful … and by serving as a Builder Captain, I was able to do that. During my first year on the Board, then as board president, and now as chair of the Shelter Care Committee, I have been able to see a lot of shelters and the people whose lives we impact. I still contribute, of course, but it is great to see the people whose lives you affect.

It is also great to be involved in the community that we serve. The builders and companies that aren’t socially conscious aren’t going to survive. We do well by contributing to things that are important within the community, and homelessness is something that can affect nearly anybody. In our affluent area, it is not what you think of when you think of homelessness. There are a lot of people out there who are one paycheck away from losing their homes, and there are others who are out on the streets but who have jobs. It’s a pretty powerful thing when you see that. It’s close to home I guess is the best way to put it.

Q:  What is the Shelter Care Committee’s role?

A:  We work with shelters to submit an application, and then we go out and take a look at the project and figure out if it is something that serves our mission. Then, we make a determination of whether it is something we are going to do. We bring it to the Board, and the Board either approves it or not. If it is approved, we look for a Builder Captain. The more projects we can do, the better we can fulfill our mission of taking on these projects.

Q:  Is Van Metre doing a HomeAid project at this time?

A:  Yes, we are the Builder Captain for ACTS Women’s Empowerment Center. We’re working on architectural plans for that right now, and we will probably begin the build-out in March or April.  It is going to be a great new space for them, which will offer programs and direct services to clients and members of the community.

Q:  You seem to enjoy fundraising.

A:  I do, and I have gotten pretty good at it. My company does a charitable five-mile run, which we have been doing each year for 24 years. People can always tell me no, but I still make a lot of phone calls and continue to reach out to my peers as well as people with whom I do business.  As I said, I’m not afraid to ask for it.

Van Metre also does a Cornhole Challenge, which we have done for four years. For the past three years, proceeds from the event have benefitted HomeAid. HomeAid is now the event’s number-one charity. Last year, proceeds from the Cornhole Challenge totaled $55,000, and the Van Metre Companies Foundation contributed $25,000, bringing the total raised for HomeAid to $80,000.

Q:  Do you have a favorite HomeAid project?

A:  We have only done three projects as a builder. But in terms of impact, when we partnered with the Seva [food] Truck at the hypothermia shelter, that was a very impactful thing. Then, a HomeAid staff member, Kristyn Burr, organized a trip to the tent city in Prince William County, [where hundreds of people live in tents in the woods.] That was an eye opener. The immediate impact could be seen as soon as we started handing out blankets and hot food. It was humbling to see the need and fulfilling to be able to do our part in making a difference.

Q:  It sounds like you did some work to restructure the HomeAid Board. What were your ideas?

A:  I think it’s important to have as many builders on our Board as possible. Serving as the immediate past president also made me the Governance Committee chair, so I was able to work to attract three more builders to the Board: Jack Gallagher of Richmond American Homes, Jarod Blaney of Pulte Homes, and Gary Chandler of K. Hovnanian Homes, as well as Warren Ralston of W.C. Ralston Architects. All of the new Board members are key, and it’s important to have them on the Board because builders are typically the members who step up for projects.

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

A:  We can only do a certain number of projects per year because we have a certain number of builders, but I would also like to see us do more things with our money to support the projects as well as the shelters we serve, whether it’s buying needed housing items for clients moving into a unit after living on the street, or similar outreach events like we did with SevaTruck. That is the only way we are going to continue to increase our footprint and our impact on the communities in which we all live and work. In order to fulfill HomeAid’s mission, we, as an organization, have to continuously seek out ways to support our shelter partners, who have limited funds and staff. We also have to look for opportunities to help any who are affected by homelessness.

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Make Dreams Come True with a 2017 Donation, Trade Partners Play Key Role in HomeAid’s Success, Complex Needs and Promising Solutions: Interventions for Housing and Homeless Service Providers, Donate Time, Clothing to Women Give Back,Davidson Continues to Serve with Creative Leadership and Tireless Fundraising