Building Hope Newsletter, June 2017

Are You Ready for HomeAid Builders and Friends’ BBQ?

Thursday, June 22, 2017
4:00 to 7:00 p.m.
The Barn at One Loudoun
20405 Savin Hill Drive
Ashburn, VA 20147
Wheelbarrow with beer at BBQJust three more weeks until HomeAid’s 8th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ – have you registered yet? It’s the summer’s best opportunity for connecting with Northern Virginia’s top homebuilder executives, decision makers, and trade partners—and each $40 registration includes all-you-can-eat BBQ from Red, Hot & Blue; an open beer and wine bar from Old Ox Brewery, Crooked Run Brewery, and Potomac Point Winery; a chance at raffle prizes; and cornhole games. Colleen Shumaker of Paul Davis Restoration will be providing deejay services, and volunteers from Cox Communications and the NVBIA Associates Committee will ensure that the event runs smoothly for all of our guests.

HomeAid will also announce the 2017 Trade Partner of the Year at the BBQ to recognize a trade partner that exemplifies what it means to be dedicated, driven, and committed to helping our local community by using its expertise to improve housing facilities for the most vulnerable among us.

Register today by downloading our registration form, and we will look forward to seeing you on June 22! Have questions? Contact Cilda Pretorius at 703.953.3525!

It’s a Wrap! HomeAid, K. Hovnanian Homes Complete Two Projects for Brain Foundation

KHovnanian logoHomeAid Northern Virginia and Builder Captain
K. Hovnanian Homes have completed two projects for The Brain Foundation, an organization based in Fairfax that provides affordable housing for those suffering from serious brain diseases, such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorders, who are homeless or vulnerable to becoming homeless.The first project, a $44,000 investment, was a townhome where four men live, which now boasts an updated kitchen, new windows, additional storage space, renovated bathrooms, and new flooring throughout. New basement flooring, in fact, was installed as a surprise and makes a significant difference for the home’s basement-level bedrooms!The second home, occupied by four women, has new and much safer exterior stairs, an updated kitchen, and an entirely repainted interior, representing a $34,500 investment. During renovation, a serious black mold issue was also discovered and abated, ensuring a much healthier space for all who live there.

Thank you, K. Hovnanian Homes and the following trade partners, for providing eight men and women with welcoming, safe, and stable homes!

Advanced Flooring & Design
Alliance Structural Engineers
Aristokraft Inc.
Ayalas Carpentry Inc.
B&K Distributors Inc.
BMC/Stock Building Supply
Builders First Source
Capital Mechanical
CC Carpentry
Choice Stairways
Construction Applicators
Darvish Interiors
Dominion Electric Supply Co.
GE Appliance
Green Landscaping, Inc.
Industrial Disposal Services, Inc.
J&J Ironworks
John Darvish
Construction Co., Inc.
JSC Concrete Construction Inc.
K & M Masonry
LMO, Inc. Professional Carpentry
McCrea Heating & AC
SC Companies, Inc.
Southern Electric
Virginia Cleaning and
Punchout, Inc.
Virginia Marble & Granite
For every home that HomeAid and Builder Captains collaborate on, all of the trade partners are critical to the success of the project. And oftentimes, a trade partner seems to rise even higher, either because it so happens that their expertise is most needed on the project or they just seem to constantly go above and beyond.

For the two projects recently completed for The Brain Foundation by HomeAid and K. Hovnanian, trade partner Construction Applicators did just that.

“Drywall touches every component of the home, and as renovations happen, unanticipated and excessive repairs are oftentimes needed, so Construction Applicators were in on a lot of the planning for both projects,” said Paul Huff, director of homeowner services for K. Hovnanian Homes, who led both renovation projects and coordinated internal staff as well as the trades to plan, budget, and perform the work.

“Once the projects were underway, they showed up early, stayed late, and came on the weekends to keep to the schedule. Their team unfailingly showed up with the attitude of ‘what do we need to do to make this happen, on time and above expectations?’ They were proactive on making additional repairs as they came across them, and when they were done, they repainted the entire house, which is what made the biggest impression in the end.”

“Sometimes, when people are doing things at a very low cost or as volunteers, you sometimes get the feeling that they don’t go all the way, but that’s sure not the case for HomeAid projects, and Construction Applicators epitomized it with their attitude and approach. Even one of the owners, Chris Shedeck, regularly came to check on and work at both houses, making sure everything was perfect.”

“HomeAid is a great cause, these projects give us the opportunity to work with other great builders and trade partners, and it’s nice to give back,” Shedeck said. “We’ve worked on several HomeAid projects and will be starting soon on another in Alexandria. We’ve volunteered with the Wounded Warrior Project, as well. HomeAid is a really nice organization to work with, and it’s so satisfying to see how these projects come together. There’s a lot of reward in seeing the before and after, and knowing what an improvement it will be for the people who will live in these renovated homes.”

Construction Applicators is a regional construction-drywall-paint contractor, founded more than 20 years ago. Focusing primarily on drywall hanging, finishing and painting, the company prioritizes performance and quality. For more information, please call 703.378.3330.

Capital Mechanical LLC, a longtime partner of K. Hovnanian Homes, also works with many other builders in the HomeAid Northern Virginia family. So when it came time to find a trade partner who specializes in plumbing for the two Brain Foundation projects, K. Hovnanian and Paul Huff, director of homeowner services, reached out to Capital Mechanical and Chris Settle, their service manager.

“Chris and his two colleagues poured their hearts and souls into these projects, pulling permits, having to make on-the-fly adaptations to some 20-year old plumbing issues they came across during their work, and scheduling their work with an eye on moving everything forward so that we could finish as quickly as possible,” Huff said. “Chris is the service manager, and they’re a big player in the Northern Virginia homebuilding industry. But every time I call him, I feel like I’m calling the owner of a small company. They’re always a pleasure to work with.”

Capital Mechanical has worked on many HomeAid projects over their 14 years in business, focusing this time on all the plumbing and plumbing fixtures for both houses owned by The Brain Foundation.

“It’s such a good cause,” said Settle. “We handle a lot of K. Hovnanian’s new builds, so when they asked us to do these two projects, it was an easy ‘yes.’ We donated everything, and we always enjoy the process. It feels great to help out a partner like K. Hovnanian and HomeAid.”

Founded in 2003, Capital Mechanical LLC is based in Dulles, Va., delivering residential plumbing solutions to Home Builders throughout NOVA, Richmond, DC and West VA. Owners Craig Simounet and Chris Carspecken share 60 years of combined industry and management experience, with the overarching goal of attracting, maintaining, and exceeding the expectations of customers.

HomeAid, Training Futures Help Launch Careers

An internship at HomeAid Northern Virginia is an opportunity to work for a small but incredibly busy non-profit, and with internships available in a wide range of interests—communications, event planning, fundraising, marketing, shelter programming, and volunteer coordination—young professionals can gain valuable real-world experience.

In May, HomeAid welcomed three interns, Sajad Sharifi, Jena Mundy, and Adam Darif, events, communications, and marketing interns, respectively.

Sajad is enrolled in NVFS’ Training Futures program, a nationally recognized workforce development program that provides training for living-wage professional office careers.

“Training Futures’ goal is to train people for entry-level administrative and office-support job functions,” said Christine Miller, training coordinator at Training Futures. “We teach technical skills, including MS Office, and customer service, professional business skills, and professional writing and oral communications skills. What really stands out about our program is our focus on soft skills—we work closely with trainees to help them understand the attitudes and behaviors necessary for success in a corporate environment. Training is delivered in a simulated office environment for the first 15 weeks before trainees like Sajad move on to internships with partner companies and non-profits. Those internships allow them the chance to demonstrate their skills, build their resume, gather professional references, and learn American office culture first-hand.”

Sajad’s journey to HomeAid is an interesting one. Born in a small village on the hillside of Hindu Kush Mountain in northern Afghanistan, he grew up in a place without basic necessities, clinics, or roads. His family had to walk for seven days to buy basic supplies, and he walked five miles every day to get to attend elementary school in another village. He later moved to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, in the pursuit of a better education and to learn English.

In 2012, while taking business classes at a private college, he landed a job in a transportation company that had a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense, responsible for transferring army cargos from one state to another throughout the country.

His next stop was Germany—to escape his home country’s unemployment, violence, and social anxiety—where he studied German and worked as a volunteer translator for Persian refugees who needed help with tasks such as going to the doctor and filling out applications. A U.S. immigration visa brought him to the States, where he settled in Virginia and began the arduous process of looking for work.

“I didn’t know how to drive, and I didn’t know about job market expectations. I found a job at a food company in Dulles Airport, but without a car, I was paying 80 percent of my income every day for transit,” he said. “I feel lucky to have found Training Futures, where I’ve been learning office skills. The public speaking club is especially useful for me, because it has helped me learn more about giving presentations and thinking on my feet.”

Once Training Future interns complete their internship, they spend the next four weeks focusing on the job search, including writing resumes, applications, and cover letters; improving their interview skills; and attending career fairs. Training Futures typically has 40 to 50 trainees for each six-month program, with 70 percent of graduates securing full-time employment in an office environment within six months of graduation. If you are interested in hosting a Training Futures intern, please contact Beth Lavin at NVFS at 571.748.2868.

“It’s been a joy hosting Sajad at HomeAid, and we are grateful for all the work he has completed for us during his tenure,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director Kristyn Burr. “We wish him our very best!”

Welcome HomeAid Summer Interns

Jena Mundy, communications intern, has come to HomeAid from Radford University, College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, where she is a senior majoring in communications with a concentration in public relations.

Jena had been looking for an internship to complete requirements for her degree and chose HomeAid because of its focus on volunteerism.

“I have always enjoyed volunteer work, working with a non-profit in the Roanoke area where I am from,” she said, “so I knew an organization like HomeAid would be a wonderful fit. I love that every aspect of the organization involves working together to give back to communities; that’s something I wasn’t able to find anywhere else, and I knew that this internship would help me develop professional skills and allow me to make a great impact on others.”

Jena looks forward to applying her experience at HomeAid and gaining a more hands-on approach while learning more about the technical and detail-oriented approaches to event planning, communication and networking in the professional business world. In the future, she plans to attend graduate school to earn a Master’s degree in communication, with a concentration on public relations, before seeking work at a corporate agency or doing in-house work for a non-profit.

Adam Darif, marketing intern, is a senior at Freedom High School and will be graduating on June 11. He will attend George Mason University in the fall to study marketing.

“I was interested in working for HomeAid because I wanted to be part of an organization that is so focused on giving back to the community, and this internship allows me the opportunity to also gain first-hand experience learning how marketing works for a non-profit,” he explained. “I hope to learn and gain new, practical knowledge about marketing, and learn how to improve my networking skills. I’m also interested in learning more about branding and how to convey a brand to an audience who is unfamiliar with an organization.”

Adam one day hopes to work as a marketing manager for an automobile company, with Mercedes or McLaren being dream jobs, before eventually becoming the chief marketing officer of the company.

Making it Count

Support Local Kids by Supporting HomeAid’s Backpack Drive

According to an annual “Backpack Index” compiled by Huntington Bank, back-to-school supplies cost between $659 and $1,498 for elementary through high school students for the 2016-2017 school year. It’s an investment that many cannot make, and starting this month, HomeAid Northern Virginia is launching its annual Backpack Drive to encourage companies to collect new backpacks for children living at local homeless shelters who otherwise would not have one for the upcoming school year.

The backpacks will be distributed at HomeAid’s Annual Night at the Ballpark on July 28, when families from local shelters are invited to enjoy a FREE night out at the Potomac Nationals baseball field!

Getting involved is easy:

  1. Contact HomeAid to let us know that your organization would like to participate in the backpack drive.
  2. Share/print the Backpack Drive Flyer and add your company details to help spark interest in participation at your organization. (Contact Cilda Pretorius at HomeAid if you require an editable version of the flyer.)
  3. Drop off your collected backpacks (or schedule a pick-up!) during the first two weeks of July.

Be part of the solution: Help close the gap for families and remove the sense of embarrassment a child can feel if they don’t have what their peers have. Give the gift of a new backpack, and spark a child’s joy in the start of a fresh new school year!

Staging Homes and Improving Lives

Local business owners Young and Trish Kim have devoted countless hours and generous financial contributions to HomeAid Northern Virginia. The owners-founders of Staged Interior met more than 30 years ago in Korea; Trish as a teacher, and Young, a student in an English as a Second Language class.

“I married my teacher,” Young smiled.

Years later, their careers as decorator and information technology (IT) professional eventually dovetailed into a successful home staging business. Fortunately for HomeAid, the Kims are also very generous philanthropists. Staged Interior completely furnished and decorated one of HomeAid’s largest projects in 2016, Youth For Tomorrow, and have committed to doing the same for HomeAid’s Community Lodgings project in Alexandria. Young and Trish have also pledged additional support to future HomeAid projects. Find out more about what motivates the owners of Staged Interior and why they’re so committed to HomeAid’s mission!

Q:  How did you get into the staging business?

Young: Trish was a decorator in 2006 when we started this business, and she had been for almost 20 years. I was in IT and was burned out. When I walked away from my IT career, it was during a time when everybody was flipping houses. So, I became a Realtor®, and we began flipping houses. We were trying to figure out how to marry real estate and decorating, and we heard from a former colleague about staging. We had no idea what that was in a real estate sense, but we quickly learned. We liked what we heard, and so we started small: We stored and used items from our house for staging, and we used rental furniture in the beginning until we got to the point where we could purchase our own furniture. Now we stage everything from $200,000 one-bedroom condos to multi-million dollar estates. We do it all.

Trish: We got in on the tail end of flipping houses. It was really lucrative for only a short time. Two weeks after we learned about the concept of staging, we knew we wanted to do it. That’s when I became an Accredited Staging Master (ASP). At the time, the only ASP education program available was in California, so I went there for training. We’ve been staging ever since. At the time, it was brand new here in Virginia, so there was an educational curve. We educated Realtors and sellers about how valuable it is, which took some time.

Q:  What is the most rewarding part of your line of work?

Trish: For me, it’s knowing that I’ve helped somebody move on with their lives. For instance, I recently staged a house for a woman who had lost her husband. She had been in that house, where they both had lived, for a long time, and she was extremely sad. It was a difficult time for her. We helped her home look newer and more marketable, yet she was still able to feel comfortable in it after it was staged and while it was on the market. It was rewarding to help her move on to the next step in her life. I feel like we help sellers transition in their lives from one place to another. And, it’s very rewarding to know that they sold their house for top dollar, as quickly as possible, and could move on with their lives.

Young: We love seeing responses from sellers and Realtors. After we stage, they walk in ‘oooing and aahing’ about how great their houses look. Some of them never realized that their houses could look so good. The listing shines and gets sold quickly. The Realtor’s business and reputation grows. Some Realtors have been with us from the beginning, and it is very rewarding.

Q:  What is most challenging about the staging business?

Trish: For me, it’s trying to find just the right thing for a particular house. Also, the energy that it takes to keep this business going is amazing. We are all usually exhausted and running on empty. Sometimes we will get a call saying that a Realtor has to list a house right away, and can we come now? We try to make timelines for our Realtors because they’re our bread and butter. But they do understand our load; they’re very kind and flexible.

Young: I agree; trying to keep up with the demand is challenging. It involves working the calendar to make sure we are meeting a Realtor’s timeline. We see photos of the house, we do a consultation, we stage, and then after house is sold, we de-stage. The timing is challenging. We have 16 wonderful team members and have completed 110 stagings so far this year. We do an average of 5.8 stagings per week.

Q:  How did you choose HomeAid as a charity?

Young: Last year, we joined NVBIA, and we learned about HomeAid because of its relationship with that organization. We were impressed by HomeAid’s reputation, history, and quality of the builder teams they put together. Because we are professionals, we enjoy working with professionals of all kinds and at all levels. They do their part, they know their stuff, and we wanted to be part of that and contribute our expertise. The Board at HomeAid is made up of top-notch people representing top-notch builders in the area. We enjoy being part of that team.

Trish: We also became familiar with HomeAid through last year’s project, Youth For Tomorrow. We were familiar with that organization through our church, and we wanted to help that particular ministry. Once we got involved with HomeAid, we found that there are so many nice people working there. They’re just lovely. But mostly, we feel that we have been so blessed by our business—we are just overwhelmed by it sometimes. So, we feel that we need to give back for that.

Q:  Are you currently working on a HomeAid project?

Young: Yes, we will be furnishing and accessorizing this year’s Community Lodgings project in Alexandria. There are four builders working on it, and it will be similar to any other project for us. We do this day in and day out. We are honored to be doing the Community Lodgings project for HomeAid.

Trish: It is just a shell right now, but we had a chance to go through it. We’ve never done this kind of shelter before, and I am excited about that. They have completely gutted it, so it will help me visualize our contribution when we can get in there after they put the walls up. We have already started stashing stuff away, including a whole room full of art and accessories that we know we will be donating. I think we’ll have to wait to choose the furniture until after we see it. It is a lot of fun.

Q:  How much do you estimate Staged Interior will be donating?

Young: Last year’s Youth For Tomorrow project was a 5,000-sqare foot facility with seven bedrooms. We estimated our retail and labor costs at around $85,000. This year’s Community Lodgings project is seven apartment units with different bedroom combinations, but we’re anticipating 15 to 20 bedrooms, seven living rooms, seven dining rooms, seven kitchens, etc. It will be bigger than last year’s project. I am guessing it will be in the high-five or low-six figures.

Q:  How do you feel about being a part of HomeAid’s mission?

Trish: There are a lot of people who are marginalized in this area, because it is expensive to live here. With this area’s cost of living, it’s no wonder that people have a hard time finding housing that they can afford. I cannot think of anything scarier than being somewhere where you don’t have a place to go, no matter how big or small. I like being a part of helping people find a place to call home, where they can rest and recoup. The shelter providers with whom HomeAid works counsel children and adults, and help them find positions, careers, and do well in school and life.  So, it’s not just the real estate we are contributing to—it’s the lives of those families that will be enhanced. It’s amazing to be a part of that.

Young: In this area, it takes a lot of resources to run these charity organizations. HomeAid comes in by putting these teams together and providing the materials and services that are needed for projects. HomeAid helps these local charities in terms of financial resources, allowing them to outfit houses or facilities so that the charities can use resources where they are most needed.

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Are You Ready for HomeAid Builders and Friends’ BBQ?, It’s a Wrap! HomeAid, K. Hovnanian Homes Complete Two Projects for Brain Foundation, Trade Partner Spotlight: Construction Applicators and Capital Mechanical LLC, HomeAid, Training Futures Help Launch Careers, Support Local Kids by Supporting HomeAid’s Backpack Drive, Staging Homes and Improving Lives