Building Hope Newsletter, May 2017


HomeAid and Builders Consortium to Kick Off $650K Project for Community Lodgings

MIHomes logo

On May 9, HomeAid and a consortium made up of Builder Captains Brookfield Residential, The Evergreene Companies, M/I Homes, and Richmond American Homes will kick off the renovation of a six- (soon to be seven-) unit apartment building owned by Community Lodgings.

The estimated $650,000 project, expected to take four months, will increase capacity – by converting space on the ground floor – by one unit and will include the complete renovation of the apartments and a family learning center and kitchen area for residents. A new meeting space that will be open to the community and other agencies will also be created, and the HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems will be upgraded.

“This project will provide desperately needed housing for low-income families,” said Lynn Thomas, executive director of Community Lodgings. “Affordable housing, as we all know, is a much-needed resource, and these units will provide families who were previously homeless with permanent supportive housing, along with case management support.”

Marie Musella, chair of Community Lodgings’ Board of Directors, added, “We are pleased to be working again with HomeAid and this consortium of Builder Captains. We had a terrific experience working with HomeAid and its many partners in 2012, and we’re especially grateful that this renovation project was selected: It will help our families live in safe, refreshed homes, which will help give them the confidence they need to work toward living independently and self-sufficiently.”

The Builders Consortium is being led by Greg Poulson, construction manager for Madison Homes, and will allow all four Builder Captains to leverage the power of their unique vendor partnerships, as well as divide the large project amongst several homebuilder companies to help make it more manageable.

Madison Homes has led many HomeAid projects, and Russ Rosenberger, president, has made giving back to the community an integral part of the company’s culture.

“It’s impossible to quantify exactly how enormously this renovation will impact the families who will live in these apartments,” said Rosenberger. “But we know that having an updated, welcoming, safe, and clean home provides the foundation that the homeless need to plan for their futures, and we are honored to help lead this project.”

Additional funding for the project is being provided by BB&T Bank, the City of Alexandria, and the Virginia Housing Development Authority.


HomeAid, CarrHomes Project Gives the Gift of the Outdoors to Pathway Homes’ Residents

HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain CarrHomes, and several trade partners will soon begin renovating a kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room at a single family home owned by Pathway Homes, which provides non-time-limited housing and supportive services to adults with serious mental illness and other co-occurring disabilities in Northern Virginia.

“The three women who live here would be at extremely high risk for homelessness were it not for the support they receive through organizations like ours,” said Anna Smith, director of development for Pathways. “We’re also very excited that CarrHomes and its partners are planning to reconfigure space to improve the flow of the home and add patio and deck space, providing therapeutic space for the women to more easily enjoy the outdoors.”

The project is expected to take approximately two weeks to complete, with CarrHomes and trade partners scheduling their work around the residents, who will remain in the home throughout the renovation.

Tim Schiesl, customer service manager for CarrHomes, says that the company has been doing philanthropic work in the community for as long as he can remember and generally tries to complete at least one HomeAid project every year.

“We strive to give back to the community in different ways year-round, whether it’s a renovation project or ‘adopting’ a family over the holidays. We try to do as much as we can, and our trade partners do the same, usually donating all of the work or doing it at cost. It always feels good to help people in need, and we’re looking forward to getting this project wrapped up.”


Start the BBQ Season with HomeAid!

Thursday, June 22, 2017
4:00 to 7:00 p.m.The Barn at One Loudoun
20405 Savin Hill Drive
Ashburn, VA 20147
Temperatures are rising, and summer will be here before you know itmake plans today to attend our 8th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ – the summer’s best opportunity for connecting with Northern Virginia’s top homebuilder executives, decision makers, and trade partners! Each $40 registration includes all-you-can-eat BBQ, an open beer and wine bar, a chance at raffle prizes, and cornhole games.

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.

“The BBQ is a great opportunity for HomeAid to thank all of our great building partners who make the real difference,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia President Jerry Berman. “I look forward to seeing our Trade Partners and Builders, who really care about our mission and enjoy good food, a good time, and the chance to catch up with those they may not get to see as often as they’d like.”

Thank you to our BBQ sponsors — your support helps us continue the fight against homelessness and has helped ensure our 16 years of success!

 Making it Count

HomeAid and SevaTruck Welcome Service Providers and Clients to Bill Mehr Drop-In Center for the Homeless

Staff and volunteers from HomeAid Northern Virginia and SevaTruck, a licensed food truck dedicated to reducing hunger in our communities, joined together in April to support the opening of the Bill Mehr Drop-in Center for the Homeless in Woodbridge. The drop-in center—which provides services as varied as dental and medical care, mental health therapy, employment referrals, and food and shower facilities—was recently renovated, and HomeAid and SevaTruck teamed up to help celebrate its reopening and welcome homeless service providers, teachers, and their clients to the center. HomeAid distributed care kits with towels and toiletries, while SevaTruck served up delicious veggie burgers to many of the 80-plus people in attendance.

“The SevaTruck Foundation was honored to recently partner with HomeAid and the Bill Mehr Drop-In Center,” said Carol Barbosa Jeliazkov, Sevatruck program coordinator. “Witnessing firsthand the incredible work they do for people in need was an experience our organization will never forget. Their effort in not just providing temporary relief to their clients but also providing them with services that can make a long-term impact is truly inspiring. We look forward to partnering with the center and with HomeAid Northern Virginia many more times in the future and making the present and future a little bit brighter for members of the community in Prince William County.”

Last November, HomeAid Northern Virginia and SevaTruck provided winter essentials and hot meals to the homeless at a “Tent City” in Woodbridge, Va., where hundreds of people live year-round.

Many thanks to Prince William County Department of Social Services and the Cooperative Council of Ministries – CCoM for sponsoring the event and bringing everyone together to learn more about services offered at the center and in the community. And, thank you, Staybridge Suites Chantilly/Dulles, for donating toiletries for our care kits!

Make a Difference for a Young Student: Coordinate a Backpack Drive!

Almost half of the homeless population that HomeAid serves are children, and this summer, we will once again host a Backpack Drive with the goal of giving a backpack to every child who attends our Night at the Ballpark event on July 28.

If you are interested in helping children from local shelters start their school year with a new backpack, please consider participating in our backpack drive in June through mid-July! HomeAid volunteers will pick up donated backpacks and distribute them at the baseball game—all you need to do is coordinate the collection effort at your office, church, school, or other organization. Please contact Kristyn Burr for more information, and thank you!


Keynote Speaker for Annual Housing Forum Shares History of Involvement in the Campaign to End Homelessness

Samantha Batko, director of the Homelessness Research Institute – National Alliance to End Homelessness, addressed a group of housing and homeless service providers at HomeAid’s 2017 Housing Forum this spring. Her presentation highlighted some encouraging statistics in the campaign to end homelessness, noting that homelessness dropped by 14 percent nationwide between 2010 and 2016, which meant 90,000 fewer homeless individuals on a given night. Still, Batko stressed that while the numbers are encouraging, challenges remain.

Q:  During this year’s Housing Forum, you presented an informative look at the rate of homelessness over the past 10 years. What challenges remain in the struggle to end homelessness?

A:  The primary challenge that exists in ending homelessness is the continuing and, in a lot of places, worsening affordable housing crisis. Deficits of affordable, available units – particularly for extremely low-income households – continue to put people at-risk of and push households into homelessness. This also makes it difficult to re-house individuals and families once they become homeless.

Other challenges include gaps in resources to support people in housing, including rental assistance (both permanent and time-limited options), sufficient mainstream and community-based income supports, affordable child care options to support employability, sustainable funding sources for services in supportive housing environments, and sufficient community-based services to enable households to stabilize in housing without ongoing support of the homeless service system.

Q:  Is there anything in particular about the current climate that gives you either encouragement or concern in the fight to end homelessness?

A:  I have reasons for both encouragement and concern. On the encouragement front, communities have proven we can end homelessness, with several communities and a couple of states having ended veteran homelessness, and at least one community having ended chronic homelessness. And, lots of communities have seen a significant reduction in the number of people who are homeless on a given night. It seems as though we have figured out what works, and places are starting to get those interventions aligned and targeted to the correct people.

My primary area of concern right now is the federal budget outlook for discretionary spending and the possible threat of entitlement reforms. The new Administration’s proposed budget would drastically cut non-defense, discretionary spending, which would—even if it did not directly cut homeless assistance resources—necessitate cuts to other programs that would likely leave more people vulnerable to homelessness. Similarly, entitlement reform, particularly if the large housing subsidy programs were targeted for block granting, would likely leave fewer people with subsidies over time and thus leave more people vulnerable to homelessness.

Q: How did you become interested in the issue of homelessness? What has reaffirmed that what you are doing is important?

A:  As a child, my mom included me in a number of the volunteer opportunities she took on, one of which was providing dinners at Carpenter’s Shelter in Alexandria. As an adult, I fell into homelessness policy unexpectedly while looking for a policy job where I felt I could make a difference in people’s lives. I’ve been at the Alliance for 11 years, and my boss, Nan Roman, the president and CEO of the Alliance, has been an inspiration to me, as she is singularly mission-focused and helps keep our movement centered.

But, more so, I think it is the people I have met as I’ve traveled to different places in the country over the [past 11 years]. Some of them have really stuck with me: One was a woman I met in Nebraska about six years ago. She and her two teenage sons were escaping a horribly violent situation, and she was able to get into a permanent supportive housing program. A decade ago, that permanent supportive housing program might not have existed for her. If not for all the hard work done in this field for so long—such as by those using research to change federal policy and by those doing local planning and program development—that program might not have existed for her and her boys. I kept in touch with her for several years, exchanging letters.  She stayed in the program, was healthy and much happier, and one of her sons went off to college on a sports scholarship. That experience, and others, has really affirmed how important the work I am privileged to be a part of is.

Q:  Why do you think the work of HomeAid’s partners is so important and makes a difference to the homeless community?

A:  This area is my home. I may work in D.C. and work in federal policy, but I grew up here and my children are growing up here now. I feel strongly that we all have a responsibility to improve the lives of all of our neighbors. Supporting HomeAid and the local providers of services here does that. I strongly believe that federal aid is a key component of supporting our most vulnerable neighbors, but without the dedicated people who put in the face-to-face work day in and day out, the federal resources would be useless.

If you attended the Housing Forum and haven’t yet had the opportunity to complete the post-event survey, we’d love to hear your feedback so that we can make next year’s Housing Forum even better. Thank you!

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HomeAid and Builders Consortium to Kick Off $650K Project for Community Lodgings, HomeAid, CarrHomes Project Gives the Gift of the Outdoors to Pathway Homes’ Residents, Start the BBQ Season with HomeAid!, HomeAid and SevaTruck Welcome Service Providers and Clients to Bill Mehr Drop-In Center for the Homeless, Make a Difference for a Young Student: Coordinate a Backpack Drive!, Keynote Speaker for Annual Housing Forum Shares History of Involvement in the Campaign to End Homelessness