Building Hope Newsletter, January 2019

Executive Director Kristyn Burr at the Acropolis.

I love to travel. I love the newness of it, the break in routine, the different tastes and smells and sights. I always learn, and I always come home feeling like my reset button has gotten a much-needed boost. Over the winter holidays, I traveled to Greece with a friend, and I loved taking in everything its ancient cities have to offer. But I also saw homelessness, just like we see here at home. I saw people sleeping in tents down the hill from the Acropolis. I saw people asking for money on the streets. I saw hunger. And it reminded me that at our root, we’re alike in far more ways than we’re different, and our towns’ and cities’ challenges are remarkably similar, regardless of where in the world we may call home. And while it may have been a sobering realization that homelessness truly is a worldwide problem, it’s also encouraging to realize that we are not alone in our work. In this first issue of the new year, you’ll read about a lot of people making a difference in our own backyard. We have a new president and four new board members, dedicated to committing countless hours to help advance our mission. We have builders and trade partners making life-changing renovations for at-risk citizens. We have organizations collecting everything from diapers to thermals and a company that single-handedly played Santa Claus to 20+ residents of nearby tent encampments with wish lists for warm coats and clothing. Another company has made some of our biggest fundraising events possible through their generous sponsorships and support. It’s a new year. A new opportunity to think about how you can impact someone’s life for the better. I hope you’ll join us in changing our own world!

With Gratitude,

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]Gary Chandler, division president, Virginia, for K Hovnanian Homes, was recently elected the 2019 president of HomeAid Northern Virginia, following two years of service on HomeAid’s Board of Directors and after partnering for eight years with HomeAid as part of K Hovnanian’s Builder Captain team.

Chandler, who has worked for K Hovnanian for 30 years, has served in his current position since 1999 after moving to Virginia from New Jersey. He first became aware of HomeAid and its mission through the involvement of Pete Thompson, longtime HomeAid supporter and Chandler’s group president at the time.

“Pete always talked to me about possibly getting on the board at some point, and given how gratifying I’ve found working with HomeAid to be—through our involvement with shelter projects—the idea always intrigued me,” Chandler explained. “After Pete retired, the Board reached out and asked if I’d be interested in filling his position, and I said I’d love to. It’s a noble cause, and I’ve loved meeting the beneficiaries of Home Aid’s work over the years … the Board is full of really good people who put in the work, and I’ve been honored to serve with them over the last two years.

“Stepping up to this leadership position was an equally easy decision,” he added. “As a Board member, you’re a participant, and this feels like taking an important step toward helping drive results too. This Board works incredibly well together, and they are very effective. This position is a great honor, and I look forward to being able to help even more people in our communities through this role.”

Joining Chandler on the 2019 executive committee are Mike Sandkuhler (Van Metre Homes), immediate past president; Jason McDonough (United Bank), vice president/president-elect; Rick Cole (The Long Companies), treasurer; and John Buhl, Jr. (Buhl Electric), secretary.

Four new Board members will also be joining the team in 2019: Please help us welcome Jon Adler, Mark King, Bruce Rahmani, and Jeff Smith.

Jon Adler, President, DC Capital Operations Dream Finders Homes, LLC

Jon first became very involved with HomeAid when he served as Builder Captain for a HomeAid project in 2005/2006. Working at the time for NVHomes, he and his team renovated a women’s shelter in Arlington. This is Jon’s third stint on HomeAid’s Board; he served two one-year terms starting in 2015. Welcome back!

Mark King, Vice President, Bowman Consulting

Mark, a civil engineer with 34 years of experience in Virginia, joined Gary Bowman in 2011 as a principal and now serves as a vice president. He has taken part in several high profile projects in the region over the years, including the Potomac Mills Mall expansion in 1988; Fredericksburg’s Central Park, a 2.5 million square foot shopping center; the Stafford Regional Airport; and Fed-Ex Field in Landover, MD. We look forward to having Mark–with his wealth of engineering and construction experience–on our board!

Bruce Rahmani, CIE, CMR, Co-Owner and President, Falcon Heating Air Conditioning, Inc.

Bruce and Falcon Heating  Air Conditioning, Inc., have been working with HomeAid for more than a decade, through both small and large projects. As hosts of numerous events and the presenting sponsor of the HomeAid 2018 Gala & Auction, Bruce and his company—located in Loudoun County for the past 30 years—are devoted supporters of HomeAid.

Jeff Smith, Senior Vice President of Operations, christopher consultants

Jeff has been actively involved in HomeAid Northern Virginia through christopher consultants since 2001, attending the inaugural Gala & Auction. christopher provided survey and civil engineering services for HomeAid’s non-profit partners Second Story (formerly Alternative House) and Oklahoma Apartments projects, and the firm has sponsored many events and annually attends the Gala & Auction. Jeff and his colleagues look forward to events such Annual Builders & Friends BBQ, GolfAid and the NVBIA Crawfish Boil. Jeff is pleased to sit on the Board for HomeAid and further christopher’s commitment to the organization.

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It takes a village to complete a HomeAid project! Representatives from Richmond American Homes, Fauquier Family Shelter Services, HomeAid, and trade partner companies plan and prioritize renovations at this Vint Hill apartment unit.

HomeAid Northern Virginia, Richmond American Homes, and 30 trade partners have completed a total renovation of an apartment at Vint Hill, owned by Fauquier Family Services Shelter. The nearly $40,000 project took place on a former Army base featuring 75-year old brick structures; the land and buildings were turned over to the County in the late 1990s, with one set of buildings reserved for transitional housing.

“The buildings are well-constructed, but due to age and skyrocketing maintenance costs, a few units needed far more than our budget could support,” said Danielle Ellis, executive director for Fauquier Family Shelter Services. “We’re very excited that HomeAid and partners could take on this project; it will allow us to serve another entire family, most typically a single mom with children who are 18 or under. Some of our families are simply underemployed and can’t maintain housing costs in this region, or life has hit a rough patch through divorce, illness, or a job loss that landed them in homelessness. Our transitional program gives them the time they need before they’re able to qualify for their own place; we teach them budgeting, debt reduction, and other skills that help get them in a financial place to launch with the discipline to maintain their independence.”

Priorities for the renovation included completely gutted and renewed kitchen and baths; re-surfaced hardwoods throughout; new interior and exterior doors; fresh paint throughout; updated lighting fixtures and door hardware; new window treatments; a new washer and dryer; and maintenance-free exterior landscaping.

“Richmond American Homes is committed to improving the transitional house at Vint Hill with safety, durability, comfort, value, and energy efficiency in mind,” said Diameng Pa, mid-Atlantic vice president of purchasing for Richmond American Homes. “When we first toured the home, we realized that the property had been sitting vacant and needed pretty significant repairs and updates; the kitchen and bathrooms had become grimy from years of use, the stair carpets had to be ripped out and replaced, and the existing hardwood throughout the house needed to be re-surfaced.

“We’re honored and proud to give back to the community through this partnership with HomeAid and the Vint Hill community,” Pa added. “As Builder Captain, we leverage our established network and resources encompassing trade partners, manufacturers, and suppliers to help renovate homes at a fraction of the retail cost, which couldn’t be done without the generosity and commitment to giving back by all those involved. We’re glad to be part of this effort.”

“The whole project is just gorgeous,” added Ellis. “Seeing this old building’s beautiful hardwoods refurbished and the major investment of materials like granite in the kitchen has really showed us once again how completely above and beyond our wish list HomeAid and their partners are willing to go. This is going to be an amazing home for a family who really needs it.”

Annandale Millwork & Allied Systems
Atlantic Building Supply
Bradford White
Builders FirstSource
Colonial Sash & Door, Inc.
Crigger Contracting, Inc.
Delta Faucets
Franklin Electric Co.
Fuentes Construction
General Electric Appliances
Gerber China
Green House Construction
Interior Logic Group
Jackie’s Cleaning

John Darvish Companies
L&W Drywall
Loudoun Stairs
MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc.
Metro Stone Works
Metro Tile
Next Day Blinds
Northern Virginia Plumbing & Mechanical
Precision Drywall
Republic Services
Sherwin Williams
Southland Insulators
Stadler Nurseries
William H. Metcalfe & Sons, Inc.

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]January is Poverty in American Awareness Month; did you know that in 2016, 40.6 million Americans lived in Poverty USA—15.3% of whom were kids? That’s about 1 in every 5 children. 

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Residents at a tent encampment in Woodbridge received much-needed supplies from HomeAid and volunteers.

On a cold, grey weekend last month, HomeAid teamed up with new partner “I thirst, I hunger” (ITIH)—a small non-profit that provides hot meals every Sunday to individuals living in several tent encampments in Woodbridge. While ITIH served meals, we distributed tarps, batteries, hats, gloves, and thermals for residents. Joining in—in a huge way—was Sight and Sound Systems, Inc.: After we asked ITIH if there was anything else we could bring to the encampments, they provided wish lists from 20+ residents who needed a host of items, including winter clothing. Rather than pick a few things from the long list, Sight and Sound staff fulfilled the entire list, with an epic shopping trip that delighted and surprised all of the residents.

“The weekend was incredibly rewarding,” said HomeAid Executive Director Kristyn Burr. “There were so many moments of being reminded what a big difference even the ‘smallest’ things can make; most of us don’t give a second thought to having easy access to batteries, for example, but for these residents, a battery to run a CD player means the gift of music. A simple tarp can protect them and their belongings from the relentless rain and cold this region has been experiencing. And while we would all soon be in our warm cars heading back to our decorated-for-the-holidays homes, we couldn’t provide that same level of comfort to them. There’s still so much more work to do.”

“The week leading up to the event was equally rewarding,” Burr added, “but in a different way. Receiving ITIH’s wish list for residents felt critically important but also overwhelming … so to have a partner like Sight and Sound step up with their generous offer was just another reminder of our partners’ enormous hearts. It’s humbling to see their generosity at work every day.”

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Members of HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Board of Directors gathered at NVBIA and HomeAid headquarters before heading out to deliver hundreds of donated diapers to shelter organizations.

It’s not every day that HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Board of Directors gets to don Santa hats and reindeer antlers, but on the morning of December 17, the cheerful crew met up at HomeAid headquarters to pick up more than 200 boxes of diapers that supporters had collected over previous weeks for our first “Builders for Babies” event. All of the donated diapers were delivered to 14 emergency shelters and other housing and non-profit organizations, which will then distribute them to those in need.

“This was a great way to really engage our board in a different way,” explained HomeAid Executive Director Kristyn Burr. “Our meetings and Board-driven efforts often have to focus on projects at hand, fundraising, and thinking of new ways to expand our reach … and it means that our Board members don’t always get the one-on-one time with the people we’re working so hard to serve. This was such a heartwarming way to get out there and provide something that’s so critically important to the health and comfort of our youngest citizens.”

The cost of disposable diapers can be as high as $70-80 per month, per baby (nearly $1,000 per year!)—a huge expense for families already struggling to get by. We were so glad to be able to support mothers in need and to offset costs that shelters and non-profits would otherwise need to cover. Thank you to our Board Members for delivering these much-needed diapers all over Northern Virginia—from Alexandria to Dumfries to Leesburg!

Special thanks to the organizations that organized diaper collection drives: Intercoastal Mortgage CompanyNVBIA – Northern Virginia Building Industry Association Custom Builders Council, and Buhl Electric Company. We couldn’t have done it without you!

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In Virginia, nearly 900,000 residents were living in poverty in 2016—roughly 10% of the total state population.

Source: Poverty USA

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HomeAid Northern Virginia’s supporters come in all forms, but one of our biggest and most consistent supporters has been Intercoastal Mortgage Company—in addition to being a two-time Presenting Sponsor of our Annual Gala & Auction, the company has helped out in a myriad of ways over the last several years, most recently choosing HomeAid as the recipient for the third year in a row of a holiday collection drive for cold weather essentials. Meet Tom Pyne, president and COO, to find out why his company has made HomeAid a preferred partner.

Q: How did you learn about HomeAid, and what attracted Intercoastal’s “eye”?

A: This business is driven by personal and professional relationships, and it would be tough to know Brian Davidson at Van Metre Homes without learning about HomeAid! He’s a longtime champion of the organization and very good at spreading awareness and education about its mission. To us, working with HomeAid felt like such a natural fit—we love the fact that we’re able to give back to the community in the same way we make our living—through housing. It just feels right that while we have had a very successful business providing housing finance to the community, we can give back in the same way and help people who really need it.

Q: How have your employees responded?

A: They love the direct involvement with the community and the fact that we not only can help build and renovate housing facilities through our involvement with HomeAid, but we also help fund HomeAid’s operation and provide support in other grassroots ways. Our sponsorships are all about helping fund the events and make them the best they can be, which helps lead to greater success for the organization as a whole. The other types of support—helping collect diapers or blankets and thermals at our holiday party, for example—really allow everyone to pitch in and make a difference in ways that can feel really meaningful. If one of our employees has a baby or toddler at home, it’s even that much easier to empathize with someone who doesn’t have easy access to a pack of diapers. We really like that HomeAid has so many different ways for people and organizations to get involved and give.

 Q: If you were in a networking situation and asked about why you choose to give, what would you say?

 A: This community has been very good to us, entrusting Intercoastal to be part of what is oftentimes one of the biggest decisions people will make in their lifetime: where they want to raise their family and how they will acquire the property. It’s very personal. So being able to give back to the community we serve in a similar way—whether it is through housing, hospice or children’s programs—allows us to live up to our responsibility and to one of our core values, which is, ‘To whom much is given, from him much is expected.’

Q: What are you most proud of when you look at the company you lead?

A: We just want to do our part. My hope is that we would not have to differentiate ourselves as a company, but instead lead by example so that other companies can see what good can be done by the private sector and do their part. I am very proud that my people sincerely care, and as I was reminded during services surrounding George H.W. Bush’s recent death, his ‘1000 points of light speech’ really can be drilled down to the fact that great organizations like HomeAid all once started as an idea!

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Affordable housing is increasingly scarce: Virginians who rent are spending more of their income on housing than during the 2000s housing bubble and, although household incomes in Virginia have been increasing since the end of the recession, the median rent in Virginia has risen three times as quickly as income over the past 10 years. Virginians who earn between $35,000 and $75,000 are also spending more than the HUD recommended limit of 30 percent of their income on rent, reaching 41 percent in 2017, nearly double pre-recession levels.

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GolfAid: HomeAid’s First Event of 2019!

Our first event of the year is coming fast – register today for our 2nd Annual GolfAid fundraiser, on Thursday, March 7, 2019, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. at TopGolf Loudoun, 20356 Commonwealth Center Drive, Ashburn VA 20147.

The event will feature three hours of unlimited golf, networking with home builders and trade partners, great food and an open bar – all in climate-controlled hitting bays. It sold out in record time last year, so don’t delay! Questions? Contact Cilda Pretorius at or 703.953.3525.

 A Lunch with a Surprise!

Executive Director Kristyn Burr joined Lynn Davis, director of operations for Gabriel Homes, Inc., for lunch and enjoyed more than just the time to catch up, when Lynn presented HomeAid with an award of appreciation for a project that HomeAid completed last year for the organization with Builder Captain Brookfield Residential. What a sweet surprise—thank you, Lynn!

Representing HomeAid

Kristyn Burr wears many hats at HomeAid Northern Virginia, whether she’s helping deliver essentials to those who need it most, planning a renovation with a Builder Captain, helping to raise money to fund our mission, or teaching yoga to incarcerated men in Northern Virginia. And starting this month, she’s beginning a new, two-year term on the HomeAid America Board of Directors Advisory Council. Congratulations, Kristyn!

A shout out to Jenn Keesling—our Gala Auction Chair—who was recently elected as the Community Services Representative for NVBIA’s Women in the Building Industry (WBI) Council. Congrats!

Thank You!

Socks are the #1 most-requested clothing item at homeless shelters. Driven to help solve this problem, sock company Bombas was founded to support the homeless community, and to bring awareness to an under-publicized problem in the United States. In December, they donated 1,000 pairs of socks to HomeAid Northern Virginia, which were delivered to men and women living in tent encampments in Woodbridge and to our local non-profit partners to distribute to those who need them. Thank you!

We’re Hiring!

Do you know a great communications and programs whiz looking for a part-time gig with HomeAid? Key priorities will include assisting with the production and layout of this very newsletter, maintaining our website, coordinating social media, assisting with marketing materials, and helping administer programs and events. Find out more here!

Celebrate Your Birthday with HomeAid!

We bet you’ve noticed: Friends asking friends to donate to a favorite charity in honor of their birthday. Have you wondered how they did it, and have you been itching to try it yourself? Make this the year you give it a try by sharing your commitment to HomeAid with friends and family. It’s easy—just follow the instructions on Facebook Fundraisers, and HomeAid will receive all donations automatically, with no extra steps needed from you. Thank you (and happy birthday)!

Save the Date

NVBIA 2019 President’s Ball – Saturday, January 26, 2019, Hilton McLean Tysons Corner

NAHB International Builders’ Show – February 19-21, 2019, Las Vegas, NV
HomeAid American Annual Meeting, February 20, 2019

2nd Annual GolfAid Fundraiser – March 7, 2019, 3:00 – 6:00 p.m., TopGolf Loudoun 

10th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ – June 20, 2019, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., The Barn at One Loudoun, Ashburn, VA

2019 Annual Housing Forum – Thursday, May 2, 2019, Brookfield Residential, Fairfax, VA

HomeAid Norther Virginia 19th Annual Gala & Auction – Saturday, November 9, 2019, 6:30 – 10:30 p.m., Lansdowne Resort and Spa, Leesburg, VA