Building Hope – March 2015

In the Spotlight

Safehouse for Domestic Violence Survivors Gets New, Expanded Kitchen

ACTS Kitchen 2
Residents of the ACTS Turning Points Domestic Violence Program can now gather
for meals and family time in this greatly enlarged and updated kitchen.
HomeAid, Winchester Homes and 14 trade partners (link to jump page) have completed a $49,000 project for the ACTS Turning Points Domestic Violence Program, transforming a small, inefficient kitchen into an expanded gathering place for resident families to share meals together, complete homework, and gather as a community. Winchester_Horizontal_NoTag_RGB
Brian Phebus, director of production for Winchester, said the project started out as an effort to update a kitchen, but ultimately became far more. “We thought about how residents were using the space,” he explained, “and then asked how we could make it better. The eating area was small and underutilized, there wasn’t enough space for storage or food preparation, and an adjacent powder room was far bigger than necessary for the current residents. In talking with ACTS staff, we wanted to make the kitchen a bigger, more relaxed gathering place that families could use for a variety of purposes.” 
Winchester and trade partners ultimately gutted the kitchen; remodeled the powder room and moved a wall to enlarge the kitchen; built a dining bar to double the seating that a traditional table would have offered; added cabinets and storage; expanded counter space; and installed all new flooring, countertops, cabinetry, and appliances. 
Dotty Larson, ACTS’ program director, said the project has boosted the morale of the residents, all of whom have fled domestic violence situations and will live in the home for an average of 45 days. “The kitchen was seriously outdated and worn,” she said, “and this project has done a world of good. Many of our families don’t have relatives in the area, and they’ve come here to be safe … so it’s a huge boost for them to see members of the community doing something for them, and realize that there are people who care about them. A lot of our residents, especially the kids, needed this reminder that people are looking out for them and that they care.”  
Thanks to Builder Captain Winchester Homes and to all of the following trade partners for completing the ACTS project!

Annandale Millwork
Augustine Plumbing
Barger & Associates
Granite Source
HD Supply Interior Solutions
Heritage Contracting

Hizer Home Improvement
Industrial Disposal Services
L.H. Mechanical
Master Brand Cabinets
MJ Exterior
Paz Cleaning Company



Hizer Home Improvement

For Winchester Homes’ Director of Production Brian Phebus, the ACTS project was the sixth or seventh HomeAid project he has led as Builder Captain. It’s always a rewarding experience, he said, but working on homes and shelters for the homeless is also just part of the company’s culture. “We make it our business to give back to the communities in which we do business,” he explained.

So when it came time to find trade partners who would be willing to join in their effort, Phebus turned to Hizer Home Improvement, a small-but-growing company that Winchester began partnering with last year. “They donated all of their time to do all of the demo and tear out, and then they came back in again to replace flooring, move windows, install siding and trim, and work with us to improve the flow of the kitchen,” he said. “And most importantly, they did it all without hesitation.”

Philip Hizer, president of the remodeling company he founded in 2003, had worked with Habitat for Humanity before and agreed to work on the HomeAid project the moment Brian asked him. “I also feel a responsibility to give back to our community, and when Brian asked me to help, it was a no-brainer to say ‘yes.’ I’m already looking forward to working on another one.”

Based in Winchester, Hizer Home Improvements specializes in kitchens, basements, bathrooms, and decks, for homes and businesses. For more information, contact Philip Hizer at 540.664.5178.


In Your Neighborhood

Get Involved Today: Builder Captains Needed!

HomeAid has an immediate need for Builder Captains for projects in Alexandria, Manassas, and Reston, and after launching a major new campaign in January to recruit new and experienced Builder Captains, there’s no better time to get involved!

Details of the projects range in scope and offer a wide variety of opportunities for homebuilders and trade partners, including:

  • Alexandria:
    • kitchen remodel and overall renovation of an older home
    • conversion of four bedrooms to eight micro-units to provide shelter for an under-served population
  • Manassas: renovate bathroom and make aesthetic updates throughout
  • Reston: overall renovation of an older home.

While Builder Captains help fulfill HomeAid’s mission of building and renovating facilities for the homeless, leading a project also improves employee morale; gives homebuilders the opportunity to give back to the community; and results in increased marketing and public relations coverage.

To find out how you can help, contact Christy Eaton at 571.283.6320.



At the Store

Don’t Miss WGB’s Biggest Fundraiser – Register for Cinco de Mayo Today!

Logo   Get your fiesta on and make plans to attend Women Giving Back’s (WGB) biggest fundraiser of the year! Guests at WGB’s 6th Annual Cinco de Mayo, on May 7 from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. at The Store, at 20 Export Drive in Sterling, Va., will be the first to hear WGB Founder Terri Stagi make a very exciting new announcement about the organization, enjoy wine and tequila tasting, south of the border treats, and, for the first time, a live band under the big tent.
Proceeds from the event help to fund WGB operations for the entire year, ensuring that thousands of women and children in crisis can get a new start as they shop for free clothing and accessories at WGB’s Store.
Sponsorships, ranging from $100 to $10,000, are going well and organizers expect a record crowd, but it’s never too late to make a difference! Help us break last year’s record of $70,000 raised by registering today for just $65 per ticket, signing on as a sponsor, and/or donating an item for our Silent Auction. No matter how you choose to help, you’ll help change a life.
cinco 2014


In Your Community

Picture Your Life Debuts

HomeAid’s Picture Your Life project, a series of photographs that clients living in local shelters and homeless facilities took in the fall of 2014, received a warm reception when it debuted to the public for the first time during a media event and Open House hosted by Women Giving Back in late January. The exhibition caught the eye of a reporter at the Washington Post, who ran “Exhibition calls attention to the ‘human side’ of homelessness” in February, bringing region-wide attention to the photographic display that serves to showcase the similarities we all share in our daily lives, even as many struggle every day to find stable housing. Picture Your Life was presented again at the Northern Virginia Building Industry Associations President’s Ball.
As part of the Picture Your Life project, HomeAid also encouraged residents of local agencies and shelters to complete a questionnaire, which gave them the opportunity to talk about what makes them happy, what they’re afraid of, their biggest challenge, and where they see themselves in five years.  picture story - playground_0315_cropped_400
The response, while heart-breaking in some ways, was also inspirational, with respondents freely sharing their dreams and aspirations for the future. When considering their five-year plan, many described careers that require higher education, such as nursing. “I want to run my own successful business,” said one respondent, while another vowed, “No matter what, I know I can make it.” While nearly all admitted that they’re afraid of failure, their focus on and hope for the future shone through: “I am a survivor of many things—rape, molestation, abuse—but I’m getting married in November, I’m working on my Master’s degree, and I am in leadership training at church. I couldn’t be happier.” 
The images will be used as a traveling display in government buildings and other locations across Northern Virginia, Christy Eaton, executive director of HomeAid Northern Virginia, told the Washington Post. The goal of the project, she said, is “to help raise awareness about who is homeless, and the human side of people struggling to get their feet under them.” 
“What’s clear to us with this project is that these people are very relatable to everyone else,” she added. “It shows that even though you are suffering through hardships, you have many of the same aspirations as everyone else—regardless of your circumstances and resources.” 




Cecilia Viara, a 2014 graduate of Georgia Southern University with a degree in public relations, has joined HomeAid’s staff as our communications intern. cecilia

Viara chose HomeAid Northern Virginia to pursue her desire to help those less fortunate, and has already found in her short time at HomeAid that “there is more to homelessness than meets the eye.”

Cecilia Viara
“While my experience here will help me build more hands-on knowledge in the communications field and sharpen my public relations skills,” she added, “I am also grateful knowing that my work here can make a difference in improving people’s lives, as well as their situations. It’s going to be an exciting challenge to learn every aspect of what it means to work for a non-profit, and learn how each department works together.”
HomeAid Northern Virginia has regular openings for interns in a variety of positions. Job descriptions can be found online. To apply, send a cover letter and resume to

 Safehouse Gets New Kitchen, Builder Captains Needed!, Cinco de Mayo, Picture Your Life, New Intern