Building Hope Newsletter, March 2018

(Pictured, left to right) Amiee Freeman, Kathryn Kovacs, HANV Board President Mike Sandkuhler, Kristyn Burr, and Cilda Pretorius

In a single week, we’ve completed a renovation project for a new partner, pulled off a brand-new fundraising event at TopGolf – which sold out within days and brought in $30,000 to support our mission – and sent our Annual Report to more than 3,100 supporters. I hope you’ve received yours in the mail already, but if you haven’t, you can read it here … and I hope you will take a few minutes to learn more about our biggest successes in 2017. Among other things, you’ll learn that together, we invested more than $1 million in our communities to support the homeless and at-risk populations and renovated more than 14,000 square feet of space in Alexandria, Fairfax, Springfield and Herndon. You’ll read about some of the things we did that are outside of building and renovating buildings – but that are equally important to improving the lives and self-esteem of at-risk populations. All told, it tells the story of an incredibly active and busy organization: Did you know that HomeAid America collectively completed 20 projects last year – and five of those were from our chapter alone? In this first quarter of 2018, we’ve already invested $125,000 through the three projects we currently have underway. This laser focus on never slowing our efforts to serve the men, women, and children in our region who need our help is what makes my role here so fulfilling. Thank you for being such a critical piece of the puzzle – together, we are changing lives.

In gratitude,

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]HomeAid Northern Virginia’s newest event – GolfAid, a fundraising and business-building event held at TopGolf Loudoun on March 1 – was an enormous success. A sold-out crowd of 170 enjoyed a fun night of golf and camaraderie and raised $30,000 for HomeAid. Hosted by Brian Davidson, Van Metre Homes, and John Buhl, Buhl Electric Co., the event featured three hours of unlimited golf, networking with home builders and trade partners, great food, and an open bar – all in climate-controlled hitting bays.

Congratulations also to Stephanie Marcus, SCG Development, Andy Tuttle, Offix, and Porter Johnson, James Hardie, who won the TopGolf contest and took home prizes of tee time for a foursome at some of the best courses in the area. Congratulations also to Rob Barnard, SCG Development, who won a raffle for a three-month corporate platinum TopGolf membership.

“Last night epitomizes what it means to be part of the HomeAid family,” said Executive Director Kristyn Burr. “Two of our most dedicated Board members took a risk creating a brand-new event, and then 170 supporters immediately made it a sell-out success by showing up and backing what HomeAid stands for. The warmth and fellowship felt last night was palpable. Knowing that so many came out to learn more about HomeAid, support our mission, and build their own business relationships in such a fun venue made it clear that these kinds of out-of-the-box fundraisers have a place in our strategy.”

[image_with_animation image_url=”15563″ alignment=”” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”][divider line_type=”No Line”][image_with_animation image_url=”15564″ alignment=”” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]In their efforts to make LHR’s 4,700-square-foot space a more useful and more fulfilling experience, workers designed a separate lobby for customers and a wide hallway that can better house food items for choice selection, giving families more autonomy over their selections, more privacy while they shop, and more dignity. Plus, this new set-up will generate less food waste as families will be able to choose what they want and will use.

“The process has been a joy from start to finish,” Montgomery added. “Knutson and all of their trade partners have been so professional and so easy to work with. As a non-profit, we would never have dreamed about selecting premium materials like granite, and we certainly would never hire a professional color consultant to help us think through paint options! But with HomeAid and Knutson, all of that became available to us, and it is just a beautiful gift. The generosity will add so much to our client’s daily experience here, and we are so grateful.”

HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain Knutson Companies, and four trade partners have completed a renovation and expansion project for HomeAid’s newest partner,  Loudoun Hunger Relief (LHR) in Leesburg, which distributes three days’ worth of food to an average of 50 to 75 families every day. The organization is planning a celebratory Open House on March 21 to thank the many people who made the project possible, but in the meantime has already opened the space to the public for food distribution.

The overall goal of the project was to renovate and refresh the organization’s public waiting room and turn the food pick-up area into a more grocery store-like atmosphere, but in reality, the project did far more.

[divider line_type=”No Line”]”I focused so much of my time on thinking through the physical needs of the space and the logistics of traffic flow,” said LHR Executive Director Jennifer Montgomery, “that I didn’t stop to really think what this renovation has also meant … and that’s simply that it feels good to be in a nice space. It’s a dignified, warm space, and the colors and brightness make you happy the minute you walk in. I simply cannot put into words how exciting this has been—what a gift! It’s so much more than I ever dared to envision!”

“I live in Loudoun County—only about a mile away from Loudoun Hunger Relief, in fact—and when this opportunity to lead a project came up in my own backyard, I knew I wanted to do it,” said Builder Captain Don Knutson of Knutson Companies. “I am a co-founder of HomeAid Northern Virginia, so I’m aware of the level of need in our region, but even I will admit that I didn’t realize the extent of what Loudoun Hunger Relief is doing, serving 11,000 individuals a year. It’s remarkable, and I’m so glad to be a part of it. I’m gratified that our trade partners always go above and beyond to provide the highest quality materials, as well. We’re strong believers in ‘if you’re going to do it, you may as well do it right,’ and for us that means exceeding expectations and providing these non-profits with a level of service and product that they may not be accustomed to. It’s an honor to help.”[image_with_animation image_url=”15886″ alignment=”” animation=”None” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”][divider line_type=”No Line”][image_with_animation image_url=”15887″ alignment=”” animation=”None” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”]

Loudoun County’s child food insecurity rate is 9.5% or approximately 9,660 children. Of these children, 66% are likely ineligible for federal nutrition programs due to income limitations. Nearly 17% of Loudoun’s school children qualify for free and reduced-priced meals.
Sources: Feeding America; Virginia Department of Education, Office of School Nutrition

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]In their efforts to make LHR’s 4,700-square-foot space a more useful and more fulfilling experience, workers designed a separate lobby for customers and a wide hallway that can better house food items for choice selection, giving families more autonomy over their selections, more privacy while they shop, and more dignity. Plus, this new set-up will generate less food waste as families will be able to choose what they want and will use.

“The process has been a joy from start to finish,” Montgomery added. “Knutson and all of their trade partners have been so professional and so easy to work with. As a non-profit, we would never have dreamed about selecting premium materials like granite, and we certainly would never hire a professional color consultant to help us think through paint options! But with HomeAid and Knutson, all of that became available to us, and it is just a beautiful gift. The generosity will add so much to our client’s daily experience here, and we are so grateful.”

Thank you, Knutson Companies and the following trade partners, for giving thousands of men, women, and children in Loudoun County a safe and dignified space to select and pick up much-needed food.

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Eastern Applicators
ISI Flooring
NEKA Granite Marble Quartz
Southern Electrical Services Company

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]Knutson Companies has led several HomeAid projects of varying sizes, and their recent completion of the renovation of Loudoun Hunger Relief was not the biggest project they’ve done. But no matter the size or financial investment needed, Don Knutson and Ollin Toller, construction vice president for Knutson Companies, once again gave the project their all.

“Clients always have a list of ideas and things they need to achieve their goal,” Knutson said. “We, of course, take that into account when we draw up the plans, put together the budget, and assemble the team to handle to the project. Part of that process is always remembering that it’s not enough to just get the project done—you want the end result to be nice, too. Our trade partners always do the best that they can and provide the best quality they have, because they’re all craftsmen who are proud of their work and want to deliver the best for our client. In the case of Loudoun Hunger Relief, we wanted these 11,000 individuals to walk in and say, WOW.”

So when it came time to recruit a paint and drywall company, Knutson turned to long-time partner Rob D’Lugos of Eastern Applicators, who first started working with Knutson when he was with Beazer Homes and has continued to partner with him since he founded Knutson Companies in 2012.

“We work with HomeAid a lot, we’re members of NVBIA, and we work with many of HomeAid’s Builder Captain companies outside of HomeAid,” said D’Lugos. “When Don asked if we’d be willing to take on this project, it was an easy yes; we like helping out and giving back to the community, because personally we just feel like it’s the right thing to do. It takes us a couple of days of manpower and material, but then that translates into years of benefit for our client. We’re glad to help.”

Eastern Applicators, Inc., is a Virginia corporation founded in July 1987 specializing in drywall construction and new construction painting. The company partners with some of the nation’s largest homebuilders and general contractors in the DC/Metro area and recently launched a sister company, Safe & Sound Poured Floors, to do floor underlays.[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”][vc_custom_heading text=”HomeAid Housing Forum Taking Shape:
Make Plans to Attend Today” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23f37d4d” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]

Thursday, April 19, 2018  •  8am – 1pm (breakfast & lunch included)

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A full house at HomeAid’s 2017 Housing Forum brought energy, best practices, and shared strategies to one of several break-out sessions during the half-day program.

Make plans now to attend HomeAid’s Annual Housing Forum, which has become Northern Virginia’s most unique and valuable opportunity to meet and learn from shelter partner colleagues, share best practices, and gather take-aways from community leaders in the field. Scheduled for April 19 at Brookfield Residential’s headquarters, the themed half-day program will feature a keynote speaker, as well as panel discussions and training sessions on a variety of topics.

“HomeAid’s Housing Forum is always an empowering and inspirational event, when we hear firsthand the incredibly important work that our shelter partners are carrying out every day,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 2018 President Mike Sandkuhler. “Having the breadth of experience that each shelter partner represents makes these programs so valuable; it’s a totally unique opportunity for providers in our region to talk about the challenges they face and help each other identify new solutions to common problems.”

Special thanks to the 2018 Housing Forum Committee for all of your hard work in putting this important program together, to Brookfield Residential for the use of its beautiful meeting space, and to the Bank of America Charitable Foundation for its generous $5,000 grant in support of this important program.

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HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Impact Report is a study in numbers—and a reminder that behind every number is a man, woman, or child who may have lost their job, survived domestic violence, missed a meal, or have nowhere to lay their heads or do their homework. Each number represents a company, organization, individual, or small business willing to be part of the solution. Whether we’re renovating a home, giving tickets for a rare night out with family, or providing grocery gift cards and household essentials, our overall mission remains the same: To build new lives for Northern Virginia’s homeless.

In 2017, we served 4 shelter organizations through 5 completed projects, working with 7 Builder Captains and 130 trade partners. We started 4 more projects by year-end. Our efforts meant that 11 adults with mental illness and other disabilities could live in upgraded homes, 56 kids had a safe place to go after school, and 125 individuals living in tent cities received a winter-comfort kit to make their living situation just a little bit better.

But who are these people, partners, and donors who make our work possible? Read their stories. See their faces. And celebrate our successes in HomeAid’s 2017 Impact Report.[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]

Staff from Sight & Sound Systems in Loudoun County, Va., have donated manpower and equipment to numerous HomeAid projects.
Staff from Sight & Sound Systems in Loudoun County, Va., have donated manpower and equipment to numerous HomeAid projects.

Kris Kaymanesh, president of Sight and Sound Systems, founded his company 24 years ago in order to address the electronic needs of those in Loudoun County and beyond. Since then, his wife of 32 years, along with his three children (ages 24-29) have joined him. Together, they help homeowners with technology services, such as home automation and home theater systems. Although Sight & Sound Systems is accustomed to providing sophisticated technology services, what Kaymanesh and his family really enjoy is reaching out to those members in the community whose needs are much more basic. Find out why staff from Sight & Sound Systems generously share their systems expertise with HomeAid and with those who struggle with housing needs every day.

Q:  Can you tell us about your company?

A:  Sight & Sound Systems provides electronic solutions for our clients—not just equipment, but we sit down with clients to discuss their specific electronic needs. Their needs can be as basic as a couple of phone and video jacks, all the way up to internet and remote home security systems. We often create a level of human comfort – putting a little bit of a personal touch in certain situations. We work with Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals and other organizations to bring comfort to injured veterans. Many of them need help with daily functioning; we have situations where a person can push a button on their wheelchair, and their entire kitchen cabinetry can lower for their use.

Q:  How did you become involved with HomeAid Northern Virginia?

A:  We became involved because of our strong relationship with Van Metre Homes. By nature, I am one who likes to be involved in charitable projects; aside from HomeAid, we have done projects for Wounded Warrior and Operation Finally Home, among others. I have always felt that it’s good to do a healthy business, but it is equally important to be involved in the community and to contribute to those who are less fortunate.

We have been doing projects with HomeAid for seven or eight years now. We contribute where we can. During one of the more recent projects, we were asked to provide some surveillance cameras and some safety-related electronics for people who were living in a shelter for domestic violence survivors. We have done other similar projects.

Q:  Can you talk about the SevaTruck event?

A: SevaTruck serves food periodically to people living in the tent city in Woodbridge, and our involvement in this was a joint effort between our company and the staff: We announced that we would like to participate, and all of our employees donated what they could. Then we took those funds and put them toward blankets, gloves, socks, food bars, and similar items. So, our staff really gets credit for that. We all enjoyed it.

Q:  Can you say which is your favorite HomeAid project that you have been involved in?

A:  Actually, no. That’s why there are so many colors in the rainbow. Each has its own beauty. To us, it’s a matter of making a difference and participating as much as possible. Obviously, there are time and financial limitations at times, but we always like to contribute. Then, if it has been started, we don’t pick which one is our favorite. But I really don’t have one—each is important in its own way.

Q: What is it about HomeAid that keeps your company so dedicated to its mission?

A: I am originally from Iran. In the old world, many people use proverbs to explain their decisions, actions and so on. We have an old proverb that says, “The lantern that can provide light for your home is not needed to be taken to the church or mosque.” What the proverb means is that if you have something you can do to help your immediate surroundings, it is more important to implement it there rather than ship it out to other areas.

There are a lot of good charities out there.  However, we have many people right in our own backyards who have had a tough time in life. So, it just makes sense to us to help out those in our immediate surroundings. HomeAid is right at our back door, and the issue of homelessness does not just affect one group of people. It has different tentacles that touch many lives, and we are proud to help our community in this way.

Q:  Will you be working on any HomeAid projects in the near future?

A:  Sight & Sound Systems has a showroom where we have two nicely decorated home theaters. We told HomeAid that we could provide our showroom theaters for those who don’t normally get to go out and have some fun; we would like to help those struggling with homelessness to see a movie, enjoy dinner and some popcorn. It may not put money in their pockets, but if it puts a smile on their face, it is still good: Our first Lunch and Movie event will be scheduled this Spring with HomeAid Shelter Partners. We will play a movie and provide some food and beverage in the hopes of giving them a fun afternoon out and a happy family memory. We plan to continue to help HomeAid do great work looking out for those who are in need.


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It’s a Wrap!

Steve Liga, executive director, ACTS; Kristyn Burr, executive director, HomeAid Northern Virginia; Richard Clark,construction manager, Van Metre Homes; Kathryn Kovacs, program manager, HomeAid Northern Virginia; and Lula Kelly, director of housing services, ACTS (left to right), celebrate the completion of the ACTS’ Women’s Empowerment Center renovation.

HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain Van Metre Homes, 19 trade partners, and ACTS celebrated the opening of the newly renovated and expanded ACTS’ Women’s Empowerment Center. Thank you to all who worked on this important, $80,000+ project—because of your generosity, ACTS can now deliver diverse training and comprehensive case management to a broader population of women and families in Prince William County, while also housing a live-in residential coordinator to serve ACTS’ residents.


Zabiullah Nekzad, HomeAid events coordinating intern, is a new graduate from Training Futures, a workforce development program of Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS)! Zabi worked with us as part of Training Futures’ three-week intern program, and we’re grateful for the work and energy that he brought to our office. We wish him all the very best as he takes the next step in his career![divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_custom_heading text=”Did
Know?” font_container=”tag:h1|text_align:right|color:%232e7051″]

Since 1996, Training Futures has trained more than 2,200 people from diverse backgrounds and experience and, within six months of graduation, 72% of trainees secure full-time employment in an office environment.
Source: Northern Virginia Family Services

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Breaking News

On February 28, The Washington Post reported that the men and women living in the “tent city” off Telegraph Road in Prince William County must vacate by March 1 or risk being cited for trespassing. Many of the tent city residents have lived there as long as 15 years, and we, along with SevaTruck, visited the tent city twice to help deliver food and winter supplies to those in need. We will continue to follow this issue as we pursue our mission of helping the homeless and at-risk populations in Northern Virginia.

HomeAid Visits Elected Officials in Richmond

Thank you to Senator Dave Marsden, Senator Barbara Favola, Senator Adam Ebbin, Senator Jeremy McPike, the office of Senator Dick Saslaw and to Delegate Tim Hugo, who met with HomeAid Executive Director Kristyn Burr, HomeAid Board Chair Mike Sandkuhler, and Board Member Brian Davidson on February 15. We are so grateful for your time and your interest in ending homelessness in our region.

And, a huge thank you to Andrew Clark of HBAV for making the day possible![image_with_animation image_url=”14686″ alignment=”” animation=”None” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”]

Catholic Charities Project Kicks Off

HomeAid and Builder Captain Toll Brothers kicked off an estimated $100,000 project for Catholic Charities, with 70% of the funds needed for this project being donated by HomeAid and supporters. This project will renovate and update a 14-unit apartment building for at-risk families. With some families living in the building during the two-month renovation process, we will demo and work on three units at a time until completed.


Amiee Freeman has joined our staff as HomeAid’s programs and communications specialist. Previously the communications specialist for DAI, Amiee comes to us with a great deal of experience in branding; writing, editing, designing and creating publications; social media promotions; and planning and promoting conferences and events. She holds a Master’s in public policy in environmental policy from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Franklin and Marshall College. Please join us in welcoming Amiee — she will be an enormous asset to our communications and events efforts!

Final Salute Renovation Back on Track

HomeAid, Builder Captain Winchester Homes, and dozens of trade partners are moving full steam ahead on the $550,000 renovation of Final Salute’s residence in Fairfax County where, upon completion, 10 female veterans and their children will live. Women veterans are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population according to Final Salute, and more than 60% of programs serving veterans don’t take in women, or don’t take in women with children, or have age limits on veterans’ children. We are proud to work with Final Salute and look forward to providing not only stability but also a beautiful and safe place to call home for some of our nation’s veterans!

ISO Conference Room Furniture

HomeAid is spiffing up our headquarters, and now it’s time to take a hard look at our furnishings … and our conference room needs help! We would welcome the donation of a new or lightly used 12-foot conference table and 10-12 chairs for our meeting space, where we meet with prospective supporters and service providers, and where we hold our staff meetings. It gets a lot of use, and it’s time that we give our own space a little bit of reno love. Please contact Kristyn Burr if you’d like to help.

Save the Date

NVBIA’s Meet the Builder – March 15, 2018, Waterford Fair Oaks 
Annual Housing Forum 
– April 19, 2018, Brookfield Residential, Fairfax, VA 22020; This event is geared towards those who work in the field.
NVBIA Crawfish Boil
– April 26, 2018, 3:30-7:00 p.m., Wetland Studies and Solutions
NVBIA Parade of Homes
 – May 5-6, 2018
NVBIA Scramble Golf Tournament – May 21, 2018, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., River Creek Club, Leesburg, VA
9th Annual Builders and Friends BBQ – June 21, 2018, The Barn at One Loudoun
8th Annual Night at the Ballpark – August 3, 2018, Potomac Nationals Pfitzner Stadium, for families living in local shelters.
4th Annual Golf Tournament – September 21, 2018, Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club
17th Annual HomeAid Northern Virginia Gala & Auction – November 10, 2018, Lansdowne Resort & Spa