Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays; the focus on giving back and showing gratitude are, to me, the path to a life well lived. I strive in my personal and professional life to prioritize these goals every day, and this month – especially as we approach Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, starting November 13 – I find myself focusing on the lives we are changing thanks to your willingness to give back. Every time you make a donation, you add to our reserve of unrestricted funding, allowing us the flexibility to spend in ways that enhance our building or renovation projects. Most recently, that has meant purchasing playground equipment for a nonprofit that offers after-school and summer camp programs for at-risk kids. We’ve been able to purchase fire-rated bunk beds for emergency shelters serving the chronically homeless allowing them to expand their capacity. And, the biggest of all: Filling the financial gaps in construction projects so that the non-profit beneficiary can reroute precious funding to programs and client needs rather than having to use it for capital improvement projects.
We are soon launching our Annual Giving campaign, and we need your help to maintain our vision of every family, adult, and child living in a safe and durable place while receiving the care and services they need to heal. I hope you’ll consider making a special year-end contribution that allows us to show our nonprofit partners that their work matters – and that the lives of all whom they serve matter too.
We are able to accomplish all these things and continue to grow our mission year after year because of your generosity and for that I’m truly grateful.
HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captains Van Metre Homes and Toll Brothers, and 23 trade partners have started a long-anticipated buildout project at Sibert House, a dedicated eight-apartment property owned by PathForward. The house, dedicated in October 2020, provides housing for chronically homeless individuals and veterans with significant needs and barriers to housing. The buildout will include a common room where residents can gather; an office for the onsite life skills coach, where staff can offer supportive programs and services to help residents stay in housing; and laundry facilities. The project will complement an outdoor pergola previously built by HomeAid’s partners, which has been a source of great comfort and respite to the residents at Sibert House.
With approaching winter weather, rising rates of food insecurity, and the ongoing impact of COVID, a stable home environment has never been so important. This project will directly support individuals who face significant barriers to government support and housing, including lack of rental history, poor credit history or lack of established credit, legal issues, criminal backgrounds, poor health or chronic medical conditions, mental illness, substance use disorder, and little to no income. The new programming space will allow consistent access to learning life skills, acquiring equitable healthcare, and applying for benefits like Medicare and Medicaid, SNAP and WIC, among others.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year, further supporting PathForward and the people they serve. Since PathForward’s initial supportive housing program began in 2007, they have successfully helped 400 people get into an apartment of his or her own, and 96 percent remain in housing five years after placement with the ongoing support that case managers provide.
HomeAid’s Turnover Program, implemented in 2018, was designed to help nonprofits quickly prepare housing units (typically townhomes and condos) that need new flooring and fresh paint so that new families can move in with minimal delay. By replacing carpet with more durable and easy-to-clean luxury vinyl planking (LVP), the program also ensures long-term savings for HomeAid partners and dignified, healthy spaces for the clients they serve.
We’ve since completed almost a dozen turnover projects, including replacing the flooring for a townhome owned by New Hope Housing’s First Apartments Program, which provides scattered site apartments, drop-in visits to support the stability of residents, and referrals to needed services in the community for previously chronically homeless adults. Residents pay just 30 percent of their income in rent.
Our most recent turnover project expanded our scope of work from simply turning over housing units to include a men’s shelter and annex building owned by ACTS. The shelter and annex building – where ACTS provides programs and services including case management meetings – were closed due to COVID-19 and other issues, and our turnover project played a major role in revitalizing both properties to allow their reopening.
Turnovers are fully funded by HomeAid, with an average value of $10,000 per project.
November 15-22 is National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, with food insecurity affecting more than 54 million Americans in 2020. 18 million children are experiencing food insecurity and, as a result, are more likely to repeat a grade in elementary school, experience developmental impairments, and have more social and behavioral problems, according to Feeding America, a nonprofit that addresses hunger in the U.S.
November represents for many the start of the holiday season, full of family meals, travel, gifts, and – often – excess. But for hundreds of thousands of Americans, shelter and food insecurity are their reality no matter the month, and November instead represents the start of cold weather and greater hardship.
HomeAid Northern Virginia works to not only build and renovate day shelters like Carpenter’s Shelter and Christ House where people can get a warm shower, do laundry and use the phone/mailing address but we also assist the community by providing individuals with items such as socks, gloves, blankets and gift cards. These types of items truly make a difference in the day to day lives of the chronically homeless.
Lauren Kinard is a lot of things to a lot of people: President of First Excel Title, HomeAid Northern Virginia and NVBIA Board member, Washington Business Journal Top 40 Under 40 honoree, wife, and mom. To us, she’s also one of our top diaper drive donors, consistently supporting our annual diaper drive and helping us reach our goal year after year. What drives this tireless woman? Read on to find out!
Q: What inspired you to get involved with HomeAid and serve on its Board?
A: A few years ago, when I was asked to join the Board, my husband and I had been supporting HomeAid Northern Virginia for nearly a decade. I was honored to be nominated and selected. Giving back to the community has always been extremely important to me and my family. Joining the HomeAid Board has been a great way to align with an amazing group of individuals with the same goal to make an impact on people’s lives in a meaningful way.
Q: You’ve been a big part of our successful diaper drives. What’s the key to making a drive successful?
A: My staff and I love the annual diaper and wipe drive. There are a lot of individuals who want to do something for the greater good and, sometimes, making it easy and accessible to contribute is key. HomeAid does a great job of this through its Amazon Wish List and having Diaper Drive boxes we can place in our office. We have a lot of clients come through, and when they see we are hosting a drive, I am amazed at how many come back or go online to contribute. Also, my staff is amazing! Many of us have children, so we know how vital diapers and wipes are, and they come together to contribute.
Q: Let’s talk a little about your career … what’s a typical day? How does your involvement with NVBIA and HomeAid tie in to your professional life?
A: As anyone would tell you in the title industry, there are no typical days. However, I embrace a challenge. I face them every day in my position, which has allowed me to grow and evolve to be the best me for my family, friends, staff, clients, and community.
Being involved in NVBIA and HANV has allowed me to grow, learn, and connect with industry leaders. I have been a member of NVBIA for years, but this year, I was selected as a board member and served on the Executive Committee. That opportunity has exposed me to different areas of the industry that I might not have known about previously. I am always eager to learn – joining NVBIA and HANV have really taught me a lot over the years.
Experiencing homelessness could take up to 30 years off your life; people experiencing chronic homelessness have an average life expectancy of 50 years of age, compared to the average life expectancy of 78. Causes can include greater likelihood of illness, mental health and/or substance abuse, and being victims of violence.
Playing with PurposeA warm round of applause for the Van Metre Foundation, for once again naming HomeAid Northern Virginia as a benefactor of the 2021 Van Metre Cornhole Challenge, which raised an astonishing $100,000 to support three local organizations. Thank you for always supporting our mission and working alongside us to create safe and durable spaces for nonprofits serving those in need.
Thank you to NVBIA, for your support and donation of $3,500 which was presented at the Great American Living Awards (GALA) on October 14. We appreciate you!
The check was presented by NVBIA CEO, Debbie Rosenstein (far left) and Melissa Wallace with Toll Brothers (middle) to HomeAid’s Executive Director & CEO, Kristyn Burr (far right).
Shop and Support HomeAid
For the month of November, each time a reusable $2.50 Community Bag is purchased at the Giant Food stores located at 13330 Franklin Farm Road and at 2425 Centreville Road in Herndon, $1 will be donated to HomeAid Northern Virginia (unless otherwise directed by the customer through the Giving Tag). This is a great way to raise awareness, support the environment, and fundraise for our cause – especially important during Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month. Please help us spread the word by letting everyone you know in the Herndon area that now is the time to purchase reusable Community Bags!
Builders for Babies
Our annual diaper and wipes drive is in full swing! Help us reach our goal of 50,000 diapers and 50,000 wipes by organizing a drive; shopping our Amazon wishlist; scheduling a time to drop off donations at our office at 3684 Centerview Drive, Suite 110B Chantilly, VA 20151; or printing and sharing our flyer.
Nonprofits in Need: All donations collected will be distributed to HomeAid Northern Virginia’s nonprofit partners that focus on alleviating poverty and ending homelessness, many of whom serve single moms and their babies. If you would like to be included in our distribution, please contact GeorgeAnne Harter at 703.953.3529.