Building Hope Newsletter, July 2019

Kristyn Burr, center, with the HomeAid Northern Virginia team at the 2019 Builders & Friends BBQ.

Summer is here, and this year, I’m really feeling it. My daughter finished up her first year of elementary school in June, and I also graduated … from the Leadership Fairfax Institute (LFI)! It was a 10-month long, rigorous experience and one that really reminded me of all the best things about continuing education. Meeting new people who I know will become lifelong friends. Learning about the diverse backgrounds of the organizations and people who were enrolled with me. Working toward common goals with a whole new team of people. Finding the time to fit in and juggle class time and projects outside of my work at HomeAid. Yet the more I’ve reflected on my experience this past year, the more I’ve realized how similar it must be to what I know our supporters and Builder Captains do every time they take on a HomeAid project. They too are suddenly working with a new team of people, outside of their regular responsibilities, who represent different organizations and who may have different ways of doing things. Most of our Builder Captains specialize in new home construction, yet we ask them to renovate very old and outdated buildings. Every project takes time, patience, good humor, and flexibility, which I know is a lot to ask when their plates are already full to overflowing.

So, just as my LFI class and our achievements were celebrated with a really meaningful commencement ceremony, I hope that our supporters, trade partners, and Builder Captains felt that same level of appreciation and recognition at our recent Builders & Friends BBQ. I’ve always been incredibly appreciative of everything they do for HomeAid and for the population we serve, but this year more than ever I think I really felt another layer of appreciation (if that’s possible!). We all tell ourselves to get involved. We know the importance of showing up. It feels so basic, yet so profound, to give something back every day. And our partners have been doing that since our founding 18 years ago! I am impressed, grateful, and inspired. Thank you, everyone. You make showing up feel like an honor.

With Gratitude,

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HomeAid’s pile of brand-new backpacks grows, thanks to a backpack drive and collection by Thompson Greenspon. All backpacks will be distributed to children from local shelters at our 9th Annual Night at the Ballpark.

Support HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 9th Annual Night at the Ballpark, an event for our non-profit friends and the families they serve!

Saturday, July 20, 2019
Potomac Nationals vs. Fayetteville Woodpeckers
Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge, VA
Game time: 6:35 p.m.

Have you decided how YOU are going to help make priceless family memories at HomeAid’s Annual Night at the Ballpark next week? It will be the last time we cheer on the Potomac Nationals before they move their operations to Fredericksburg, so we want to make this summer’s outing our best one yet as we treat families from local shelters to a baseball game!

What can you do?
Sponsor the event: Your donation will help cover game tickets, concession vouchers, and parking passes for all of our guests. In return, you will receive complimentary tickets to the game; signage; recognition; and more, based on sponsorship levels.

Donate a backpack or coordinate a Backpack Drive: Help local kids get ready for school by donating a new backpack, or coordinating a collection drive. Please contact  Cilda Pretorius at HomeAid if you would like to coordinate a drive or just donate on your own. Many thanks to the Custom Builders Council – NVBIA; Thompson Greenspon; Van Metre Homes; and Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh, PC, for your generous donations of backpacks; you are making a huge difference in the lives of our youngest students!

All of our guest families will enjoy one game ticket and one concession voucher per person; one new backpack per child in attendance; one parking voucher per family; the chance to run the bases after the game; and a post-game fireworks show.

We look forward to celebrating this incredible HomeAid tradition with you!

Thank you to our 2019 sponsors to date:

Bowman Consulting

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Winter spurs many volunteers into action, as they worry about the homeless suffering in the cold. But summer can be just as difficult: Here are the top three health dangers those experiencing homelessness may endure throughout the summer:

  • Dehydration. With limited options for shelter from the summer sun and potentially limited access to water, those experiencing homelessness are especially vulnerable to becoming dehydrated, which can be characterized by fatigue, dizziness, and confusion.
  • Respiratory distress. Heat often triggers air pollution in many major cities, which can exacerbate a person’s existing asthma or emphysema. Breathing in all of that polluted air can also raise someone’s risk of developing asthma, cardiovascular disease, and lung cancer, among other health problems.
  • Heat exhaustion and stroke. Being out in the sun for long periods of time can lead to heat exhaustion, whose symptoms include cramps, general weakness, heavy sweating, nausea, and clammy skin. A heat stroke is similar but is considered more serious. It occurs when someone’s body temperature gets above 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
Source: Shelters to Shutters

[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”]The idea behind third-party charity fundraisers is a simple one: an organization plans and hosts a fundraising event on behalf of a charity, and then the charity benefits from the planning efforts and the funds raised. But at HomeAid Northern Virginia, which is no stranger to planning and hosting events, we know that carrying out a successful fundraiser is no simple task—it takes a ton of work! So, it is with extra gratitude that we say thank you to Toll Brothers, which recently chose HomeAid as the sole beneficiary of their June 24 golf tournament and, as a result, raised $60,000+ to support our mission! We are also incredibly grateful to John Darvish, our presenting sponsor, who put in an enormous amount of time and effort to help plan the event. All of the funds will go toward renovating and building homes and programmatic facilities that serve those experiencing homelessness and, in turn, helping rebuild lives.

Kristyn Burr & Scott Canan

“These kinds of third-party events have become more common,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director and CEO Kristyn Burr. “Over the past year, we’ve been the beneficiary of multiple golf tournaments – in addition to the Toll Brother’s tournament – as well as events such as Van Metre’s Cornhole Challenge and the Law Rocks concert. The result is eye-opening: more than $125,000 has been raised for HomeAid over the past year through third-party events.”

She added, “In addition to the dollars raised – which of course is tremendously important to our ability to carry out our mission – it also means that these organizations are, in a way, helping to expand our capacity by taking on the planning and hosting responsibilities themselves. And, they are helping spread awareness and increase education about our mission and local homelessness to an entirely new group of people. We not only end up with greater funds, but we gain more attention and more supporters from people who we may not be able to reach ourselves. It’s hard to put into words how incredibly beneficial these events are, and we are so grateful to Toll Brothers and to the many other organizations who have selected HomeAid as a beneficiary of their efforts. It’s just an enormous, humbling gift.”

Thank you to all of the staff and volunteers who made this golf tournament such a huge success!

“The decision to hold a charity event and donate all proceeds to HomeAid was an easy one, said Scott Canan, division vice president, production and customer care, Toll Brothers. “As a board member, I’ve witnessed first-hand the struggles that people in need endure on a day-to-day basis. What HomeAid does for so many people across this nation is nothing short of amazing. Toll Brothers instills six important values in all of us: ‘Be the Best,’ ‘Do The Right Thing,’ ‘Take Care of Each Other,’ ‘Delight the Customer,’ ‘Create Value,’ and ‘Honor Our History.’ By applying these values to everyday living, it’s not hard to understand why giving back to the community is so important to us.

“I encourage all Builders to hold events for their local charities,” he added. “By supporting those less fortunate, we are helping to strengthen, empower, and build communities that give back. In time, others will follow, and this act of kindness will spread like wildfire. What a great thing to happen!”

Special thanks to our friends for making this tournament such a success!
Scott Canan, Toll Brothers
Brook Alsdurf, Toll Brothers
Melissa Dorsey, Darvish Companies
John Darvish, Darvish Companies
Melissa Wallace, Toll Brothers

Click here for more information on how YOU and YOUR organization can host an event for HomeAid Northern Virginia!

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Brian Turner (middle) of Atlas Plumbing accepts the 2019 Trade Partner of the Year Award from HomeAid Northern Virginia Board President Gary Chandler and Executive Director and CEO Kristyn Burr.

Hundreds attend annual BBQ for friendship, food, and fun.

Stormy summer weather added a bit of suspense to HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 10th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ, but the show went off without a hitch! The sun won out over a dark forecast, and over 300 partners, supporters, and guests turned out for a fabulously fun evening of friendship with colleagues, light-hearted games of corn hole, raffle prizes, cold beverages, and a delicious dinner of all-you-can-eat BBQ.

We also celebrated our 2019 Trade Partner of the Year – Atlas Plumbing, which has participated on 14 HomeAid projects and provided more than $75,000 in labor and materials. They have also donated $11,000 in sponsorships and other support over the years.

Cornhole, all-you-can-eat BBQ, and endless networking were just a few of the highlights of this year’s Builders & Friends BBQ, which brought more than 300 supporters and guests to the Barn at One Loudoun.

The company, Owner Steve Turner, and staff will be more formally recognized at our 18th Annual Gala & Auction on November 9, but in keeping with our tradition of using the BBQ to recognize the companies who have so generously contributed to HomeAid projects, we’ve made it our tradition to announce our selection for Trade Partner of the Year honors in June.

“The BBQ is, simply put, a very fun event with good people interacting with one another for a noble cause,” said HomeAid President Gary Chandler. “People from many, many companies come together to celebrate in the spirit of giving, and the event gives us – the HomeAid team – the opportunity to express our gratitude to all of the wonderful people who have given so generously to support the cause of supporting those working hard to end homelessness. The BBQ allows HomeAid to formally recognize individuals, as well as companies, for their giving and generosity in a public forum.”

Bryan Guidash of Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh, enjoys a raffle prize win!

Huge thanks also to our many sponsors, to One Loudoun for the beautiful space, to Doug Wall and the Liberty Street Band for providing live entertainment, and to the many volunteers who made it all possible! Together, we raised nearly $70,000 for HomeAid’s mission, and we are truly grateful for the support!

Couldn’t make it this year? Be sure to check out our online photo album of this year’s BBQ!

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]Mental illness affects many in the homeless population, and medication can affect how the human body reacts to heat. Antidepressants, for example, can prevent the body from sweating or prevent the blood flow to the skin from increasing, which puts people at greater risk of overheating.
Source: Thrive DC[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”][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”]Supporting HomeAid and the people we serve doesn’t always mean building and renovating houses, and Women in the Building Industry (WBI) is embracing that fact this month by kicking off a collection drive for summer care essentials, including bottled water, AA and AAA batteries, sunscreen, dry shampoo, protein and granola bars, baby wipes, lip balm, and small-denomination gift cards for food purchases. In August, the group will assemble all donations into waterproof envelope “care kits” and distribute them to the homeless population, much like HomeAid has delivered winter weather essentials to those living in tent cities.

“We have worked with HomeAid and similar organizations several times over the last few years,” explained Jenn Keesling, WBI’s community service chair. “Typically, we have focused with HomeAid on the Welcome Home baskets, which is always successful – and this year’s collection at our April Winery event was no exception! We wanted to try a different approach this summer, and in chatting with Kristyn [Burr], we landed on this idea of collecting items for summer care. It’s a way for us to join together through a common goal and showcase the reality that there are so many different ways to support HomeAid. Even the smallest donation can result in a big impact, and we’re hopeful that these summer kits will really ease the lives of those HomeAid serves who are living in tent encampments and in emergency shelters.”

To participate in WBI’s collection drive – either as an individual or by getting your entire company involved – please contact Jenn Keesling at Van Metre Homes.

WBI, founded in 2015, now has more than 200 members and makes community service a major part of its mission. If you’d like more information about joining WBI and learning more about their committees, including the Community Service Committee, please contact Jenn Keesling.[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”]

Peter Simons

Peter Simons, CEO of HomeAid America, has led the national organization since 2013 after spending 20 years as a homebuilder, the bulk of it with Beazer Homes. His unique perspective – gained through the lenses of 20 different HomeAid chapters throughout the U.S. – and his focus on bringing together national leadership from the chapters, homebuilding industry, and non-profits to share best practices, has helped all HomeAid chapters improve their efforts to reduce and end homelessness in their communities. Below, learn how Peter’s years at HomeAid have helped shape his own perspectives on homelessness, what he’d do to end homelessness if he had the superpower to do so, and what he’s most proud of as he looks back over his tenure.

Q: You came from a homebuilding background; what have learned about homelessness from your tenure at the helm of HomeAid America?

A: Before taking the CEO job at HomeAid America six and a half years ago, I spent 10 years during my homebuilding career on the HomeAid Colorado Board of Directors, so I had a good grasp of the realities of homelessness. In this position, though, I have gotten a much closer and deeper view and appreciation for the complexity and tragedy of homelessness across the country. Meeting so many people—most no different than you or me—facing this devastating situation has been sobering and inspiring at the same time. We have a duty to help these neighbors in need.

Q: What major similarities and differences do you see from your vantage point, in terms of how HomeAid chapters work to reduce homelessness in their communities?

A: It’s very interesting, as while we all share the same mission across the country and use the same basic tools to get our work done, each chapter has its own approach and personality. Homelessness has many facets and faces, and each chapter addressees them based on the regional needs and the local skills, focus, and resources they have. The common thread is the passion that all chapters have to play a role in ending homelessness and how hard they work to make a difference.

Q: During your time with HomeAid America, what are you most proud of?

A: I am very proud that in the past several years, we have seen the organization thrive, growing from 14 to 20 chapters, so that we can spread our good work into more communities. We have also added many national building industry partners (builders and associates) who have helped us raise our profile and leadership, while also providing resources to the chapters by getting involved at the local level. Also, by regaining our financial strength, it has allowed HomeAid America to offer more resources and tools that have given the chapters more support to accomplish their goals. Our chapters have completed more than 200 housing projects over the past six and a half years, which shows how incredibly productive they have been and how many lives they have changed!

Q: If you had superpowers to change one thing affecting homelessness rates, what would you focus on?

A: The answer to that is twofold for me. At the basic level, I still hear too many times from the general public that “homeless people just want to be homeless” or are just “too lazy or irresponsible.” That really boils my blood after meeting all the hard-working folks who have to fight homelessness and often just need a hand up to overcome it. That perception has to change. The second is that recently, with so many cities facing States of Emergency in homelessness, they throw money around (or just promise to) without coming up with collaborative and effective ways to really address the issue. The answer must include the private sector, especially the building industry, being involved in the process to reach a multi-faceted strategy that works.

Q: Do you have any thoughts to share about HomeAid Northern Virginia?

A: Northern Virginia is truly one of our exemplary chapters, taking all the approaches HomeAid has to solving homelessness—housing, community outreach, and awareness—to another level! The number of projects taken on, along with outreach activities—including the incredible Housing Forum—are truly impressive. HomeAid Northern Virginia is making a huge difference in its community and setting an example for all HomeAid chapters to follow. Thank you so much for all you do![divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]

It’s a common misconception that cold exposure is the deadliest weather the homeless face; dehydration during the summer is actually a bigger cause of death.
Source: Thrive DC

[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”]Blessing of the Christ House

On June 28, Executive Director and CEO Kristyn Burr was invited to Catholic Charities’ Christ House, where Bishop Burbidge toured the recently renovated, 200-year-old building, thanked HomeAid for spearheading the $83,000 renovation project, and blessed the new renovations. HomeAid, along with Builder Captain K. Hovnanian and 28 trade partners, finished the renovation this spring, focusing their efforts on updating transitional housing units for 14 men, expanding and improving a food pantry, freshening office and meeting space, and renovating a kitchen that has proudly served dinner every night since 1974. Following a prayer service, Bishop Burbidge and Burr then joined parishioners from St. Louis Parish and Blessed Sacrament to serve the evening meal to homeless men, women, and young children.

Happy Anniversary!

HomeAid America is 30! The nonprofit organization was first founded in 1989 as a program of the Building Industry Association of Orange County, which wanted to find a singular cause upon which its local builders and partners could focus their philanthropic efforts to make a significant difference in their communities. Since then, HomeAid America has housed more than 335,000 people and has grown to include 19 chapters (and counting!) in 13 states. In 30 years, the organization has completed 560 projects (including 136 in Northern Virginia) using the donated labor, time, materials, and expertise of professional builders and trade partners. Congratulations on #30, and here’s to many more!

Thank You

Our summer interns, Jad and Sami, delivered 28 handmade blankets donated to Shelter House last month, which will provide the gift of cozy comfort to survivors of domestic violence. The blankets were made and donated by the student artists of the National Art Honor Society, Riverside High School, and student artists of the Junior National Art Honor Society, Belmont Ridge Middle School, in Leesburg. Thank you, students!


Executive Director and CEO Kristyn Burr graduated from the prestigious Leadership Fairfax Institute (LFI) in June; the 10-month program provides a forum for representatives of the business, nonprofit, and public sectors to strengthen themselves as professionals and community leaders. Congrats, Kristyn!

Save the Date

9th Annual Night at the Ballpark – Saturday, July 20, 2019, 5:30 p.m., Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge, VA (For staff, individuals and families of our non-profit partners.)

NVBIA Crab Fest – Thursday August, 22, 2019, 3:30 p.m., The Farm Brewery at Broad Run (Collecting diapers for HomeAid Northern Virginia Builders for Babies Initiative!)

K Hovnanian Golf Tournament – Friday, September 13, 2019, Westfields Golf Course, Clifton, VA  (All proceeds benefit HomeAid Northern Virginia!)

5th Annual HomeAid Golf Tournament – Friday, September 20, 2019, 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club, Leesburg, VA

NVBIA Oyster Roast – Thursday, September 26, 2019, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., 1801 Potomac Shores Parkway, Dumfries, VA (Collecting diapers for HomeAid Northern Virginia Builders for Babies Initiative!)

NVBIA Great American Living Awards (GALA) – Thursday, October 10, 2019, 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Hilton McLean Tysons Corner, McLean, VA

NVBIA Food Truck Festival – Wednesday, October 23, 2019, 3:00 p.m., Ferguson Enterprises, Chantilly, VA

HomeAid Northern Virginia 18th Annual Gala & Auction – Saturday, November 9, 2019, 6:30 p.m., Lansdowne Resort and Spa, Leesburg, VA

In this newsletter:
Executive Director & CEO Corner
One More Week ’til Game Time!
Toll Brothers Charity Golf Tournament Yields $60,000 for HomeAid
Atlas Plumbing Named HomeAid Trade Partner of the Year
Women in Building Industry Kicks Off Summer Care Collection Drive
Finding a Common Thread to End Homelessness