|15-Year History Brings New Opportunities for Shelter Partners, Residents|
Since 2001, HomeAid Northern Virginia and its partners have invested $13.6 million in our communities, $7.7 million of which was donated. Those donations, in turn, have enabled our shelter partners 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.
It’s the kind of savings that are making a powerful difference: In 2015, for example, Cornerstones rolled out what is now their signature housing program, “H.O.U.S.E. – Housing OpportUnities Strengthen Everyone,” thanks to savings resulting from multiple HomeAid projects.
“The resident incentive program allows enrolled households the ability to receive monetary incentives—which we put into trust savings accounts—for good housekeeping, timely rent payments, completing financial education trainings, and other milestone achievements,” Nicole de Lima Morris, senior asset manager for Cornerstones, said. “Enrollees see financial mentors and attend financial classes every month, too.”
Before enrolling in Cornerstones’ H.O.U.S.E. program, many households were paying 50 percent or more of their income on housing costs, leaving little or nothing for basic needs such as childcare, transportation, and health-related expenses. Today, there are more than two-dozen people enrolled in the program, with rapidly growing trust savings accounts. One recent graduate of the program was able to use her savings as a down payment on a new home.
A second program, also made possible by savings resulting from HomeAid projects, is 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,” Morris added. “These programs facilitate life-changing achievements, and they build community. Our residents are spread out geographically, but these programs bring them together and encourage them to support each other and build on each other’s successes. Programs like these may be less visible byproducts of the investment that HomeAid and their supporters make every time they accept a project, but for us, it’s a game-changing reality.”
|Three HomeAid Projects Now Underway|
Christopher Companies, Knutson Companies, Madison Homes step forward to lead projects
Three HomeAid Northern Virginia projects are simultaneously underway with shelter partner Community Residences and Builder Captain Madison Homes; Pathway Homes and Builder Captain Christopher Companies; and Women Giving Back (WGB) and Builder Captain Knutson Companies. The combined projects will immediately impact hundreds of formerly homeless and at-risk individuals and families while building on HomeAid’s legacy of leveraging the skills, expertise, and labor of the homebuilding community for the greater good.
In fact, the impact of HomeAid projects can often be felt well before the demolition phase even begins: According to Anna Smith, director of development at Pathway Homes, the four women living in a townhome slated for a kitchen and bath renovation are already feeling empowered by the generosity of Christopher Companies and Mike Sandkuhler, project manager.
“We may focus on safety; maintenance and repair costs; and efficiency and utility costs for this old, outdated kitchen from the 1970s,” Smith said, “but for our residents, this renovation is about self-esteem. When Mike came for a walk-through, he asked our residents what they needed, what they liked, what they thought of a raised ceiling. They were stunned that their opinion mattered. Being asked for input gave them such pride of ownership, and being involved in the decision-making that will make their home beautiful was priceless. Their self-esteem completely surpasses the practicality piece of this project.”
For Builder Captains and their employees, HomeAid projects often also become about far more than the project itself: “Our employees specifically ask us to let them know when another HomeAid project is coming up, so they can have the opportunity to contribute,” said Mark Westmoreland, vice president at Madison Homes, “and that’s how we view HomeAid projects—as opportunities. We’re glad to renovate an older home for Community Residences, but it’s so much more than that for us. We’re giving back, but we’re also engaging and involving our team in an incredible experience. We all get back far more than what we give.”
Looking forward, the impact of any project always lasts well beyond the ribbon cutting. At the WGB Store, Knutson Homes will finish an adjoining 7,064 square feet of space, essentially doubling the size of the WGB Store and allowing for a larger retail area; more storage capacity; a playroom for children while mothers shop; and administrative offices.
“Our bigger space,” said WGB Volunteer and Board Member Patricia Leader, “will allow us to enlist more volunteers to assist clients, engage more businesses for clothing drives, and house more clothing items to distribute. As a result, we’ll ultimately serve 50 percent more people—an estimated 3,000 homeless women and 6,000 children annually—in a calm and respectable setting. We’ll also explore expansion of Store hours and the feasibility of opening on additional days each month.”
Thank you to all of our Builder Captains and trade partners taking part in these three important projects. Stay tuned for progress reports on these projects—and more—in the coming months of Building Hope!
|Join the Builders’ Circle of Excellence|
Builder Captains Needed for Seven New Projects in 2016
In 2001, Beazer Homes was HomeAid Northern Virginia’s first Builder Captain, renovating Alternative House and giving countless teens a safe haven. At the time, Alternative House’s Executive Director Judith Dittman recognized that it would have been far cheaper to level the house and start over. Instead, Beazer worked in stages so that the shelter could remain open and ensure that kids in crisis always had somewhere to go.
It’s a precedent that 42 additional Builder Captains—who have completed more than 100 projects with HomeAid—have taken to heart every time they’ve accepted a project: Fulfilling HomeAid’s mission is about far more than the bricks and mortar it takes to build a home. Instead, it’s about giving a second chance and renewed self-esteem to those who need it most. It means putting professional homebuilders’ skills and expertise to work, rather than relying on unskilled volunteers. And it’s about leveraging relationships with subcontractors, suppliers, and manufacturers to bring in-kind donations of labor and materials to complete the project, thus minimizing costs for the shelter organization.
Today, HomeAid is looking for Builder Captains for projects in Annandale, Alexandria, Lorton, Springfield, Triangle, Warrenton, and Woodbridge, with the scope of work ranging from a single kitchen renovation to more extensive interior and exterior renovations.
“Working with HomeAid is incredibly rewarding,” said Skip Causey, division president of Builder Captain Drees Homes. “It’s easy to find trade partners willing to do the work; it’s a priceless team-building experience for staff, who always want to get involved in a way that brings even more meaning to their work; and it gives us all such a good feeling, knowing we’ve helped a family with young kids or an individual at-risk get back on their feet.”
Make 2016 the year you accept one of the most satisfying projects you’ll ever work on: Learn more today and call us at 571.283.6320.
Thank you to the following Builders’ Circle of Excellence members for your many contributions!
Michael Harris Homes
Mike Garcia Construction
Miller & Smith
Old Europe Construction
Remodelers Council of NVBIA
Robinson & Thayer
Stanley Martin Homes
Van Metre Homes
VM Home Solutions
|Kitchen, Bath Essentials Needed for Two HomeAid Projects|
HomeAid Northern Virginia is looking for volunteers to collect new, unused kitchen and bath essentials for two projects: Pathway Homes and Community Residences. The collection effort, part of our “Welcome Home Baskets” program, will ensure that residents will have what they need as they move into renovated and beautiful homes, and will help shelters redirect critically important funding toward programs. It’s also a great way to involve members of office, school, church, or sports groups who want to support HomeAid’s mission.
Supply wish lists for both projects include:
Pathways Homes, home to four women:
|Community Residences, home to eight individuals:
In both cases, HomeAid Northern Virginia can arrange for interested individuals and/or groups to deliver the Welcome Home Baskets in person, or someone from HomeAid can schedule pick-up of collections. Please email Kristyn Burr or call 571.283.6300 if you would like to coordinate a collection for either or both of these projects.
|NVFS’s Stephanie Berkowitz Shares Her Thoughts on the Power of Partnerships|
Stephanie Berkowitz, HomeAid Northern Virginia Board Member and President & CEO of Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS), is chairing HomeAid’s Housing Forum committee for the third time. Find out what drives her commitment to homelessness issues, and why she is looking forward to the upcoming Forum.
Q: How would you describe the relationship between NVFS and HomeAid?
A: At NVFS, we’ve had the benefit of working with HomeAid for many years. NVFS owns 17 affordable housing properties in the region, and thanks to HomeAid’s partnership and the generosity and expertise of so many different Builder Captains over the years—including Stanley Martin Homes, Kettler Group, Beazer Homes, Miller & Smith, and Drees Homes—we’ve been able to maintain these properties and make much-needed structural and cosmetic upgrades. For the families who live in these homes, the pride and dignity they feel when they see that the community cares about their well-being is palpable.
With HomeAid’s support and K. Hovnanian Homes as our Builder Captain in 2012, NVFS was also able to expand our 60-bed shelter on our SERVE campus into a 92-bed shelter, and thereby begin to address the growing trend of larger families needing emergency shelter. Each night, more than half of the people in our shelter are children. For the short time they are at SERVE, they feel proud, safe, and secure. Our job is to help these families find a permanent place to call home, but in the meantime, SERVE becomes their home. The builders and trade partners who contribute their time, talents, and resources are unsung heroes, bringing a sense of pride to individuals and families who are experiencing a crisis.
Q: What is your connection to HomeAid, and what are the plans for this year’s Housing Forum?
A: I have served on HomeAid’s Board for the past two years, and this will be the third time I’ve chaired the Annual Housing Forum.
Each Housing Forum has built on the momentum of prior years, and it’s now known as one of the region’s most unique ways to gather housing and homeless service providers to discuss best practices, share practical experiences, exchange ideas, and learn from experts in our community. The nationally endorsed “rapid rehousing” model is one critical element of making homelessness brief, rare, and non-recurring, so this year, we will focus on partnerships and strategies that support a successful rapid rehousing system in our community. We are looking forward to bringing together our government and nonprofit service providers for a robust, cross-jurisdictional conversation.
Q: What are your thoughts about the importance of community service?
A: When all aspects of the community work together, we can leverage each other’s strengths, which has an exponential impact on the community. There are so many ways to serve—through volunteerism, financial and in-kind support, and individual and corporate engagement–and they’re all critical to the success of nonprofit organizations like HomeAid and NVFS. The HomeAid model links the strengths of the homebuilding industry—constructing and renovating homes—with the needs of the nonprofit service providers to ensure safe, affordable homes for individuals and families in need. It’s a win-win.
Q: What are your hopes for the future of HomeAid?
A: HomeAid is uniquely positioned to bring together nonprofit service providers and the building industry. The model is innovative; it builds on and leverages the strengths of two critical industries–homebuilding and human services. My hope is that we can continue to generate these synergies, which will, in turn, continue to strengthen the community. HomeAid’s model ensures that, by leveraging the expertise and resources of our homebuilding partners to sustain our stock of homes and shelters, nonprofits can maximize their resources and, hopefully, continue to grow their stock.
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READ: 15-Year History Brings New Opportunities for Shelter Partners, Residents, Three HomeAid Projects Now Underway, Join the Builders’ Circle of Excellence, Kitchen, Bath Essentials Needed for Two HomeAid Projects, NVFS’ Stephanie Berkowitz Shares Her Thoughts on the Power of Partnerships