Building Hope Newsletter, September 2017

Executive Director’s Corner

September marks back-to-school season, and we look forward to a season of new beginnings and fresh starts. As I look at my own calendar for the month, I’m filled with gratitude for the support of so many of you: Thanks to your unwavering commitment to our mission of giving new hope and second chances to at-risk and homeless individuals and families, we’ll be celebrating a ribbon cutting on September 19 at Community Lodgings—our biggest project of the year—where seven families will soon experience what so many of us take for granted: a safe, stable home. Just a few days later, on September 22, I look forward to seeing many of you at Raspberry Falls for our 3rd Annual Golf Tournament. The event is testament to our volunteers; organizing this tournament is an enormous undertaking, and I’m grateful for the passion and effort shared by all who make it possible. We’ve also raised more than $50,000 and counting through the sold-out tournament, ensuring that HomeAid’s mission of building and renovating homes for the homeless can continue. Thank you!

In gratitude,

Filling the Grandstand with Joy

After having to reschedule the 7th Annual Night at the Ballpark once due to intense rain on the original date of July 28, HomeAid held its breath when stormy skies once again threatened the August 18 game. But, the game was happily a go, and HomeAid and Pfitzner Stadium welcomed parents and kids from many local shelters for a Potomac Nationals baseball game followed by fireworks. As has become the tradition, families enjoyed free concessions from the ballpark stands, and kids met the Nationals mascot, Uncle Slam, and ran the bases after the game. Families also enjoyed the stadium’s “Bark in the Park” theme night, which allowed many fans to bring their dogs with them to the park for the game!

“HomeAid’s Night at the Ballpark has grown into such a feel-good event, and we repeatedly hear from our shelter partners what an enormous difference an outing like this can make for their clients,” said Kristyn Burr, HomeAid’s executive director. “It’s hard to quantify how much it means for families who rarely – if ever – get to enjoy a night out together, especially when you consider not having to worry about managing the cost of tickets, concessions, parking, and all the other things that seem to add up for family outings like this. We are so grateful to event sponsors Buhl Electric Co., Van Metre Homes, and Franklin Electric Co., who made this night possible for these families.”

“This is a great opportunity as a whole,” said Simajah Jackson, MSW, assistant director, Fairfax Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Programs, New Hope Housing, Inc. “Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and we were all captivated with the dogs in attendance – it was nice to attend the Bark in the Park game, as we know dogs and other pets also have therapeutic value.”

HomeAid, Miller & Smith Renovate Townhome for Cornerstones and Family of Five

HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain Miller & Smith, and trade partners have completed a $70,000 renovation of a townhome owned by Cornerstones, and a single mom and her four children have already moved in to start their new lives.

“Ranging in age from three to 10, including eight-year-old twins, the kids are squealing with excitement at having their own bedrooms, and the house is in a great school system,” said Tierra Faggins, asset manager for Cornerstones. “This family moved from a shelter, and this is the first long-term stability these children will know. We look forward to working with the mom on her short-term and five-year goals—for herself, her kids, and her finances—so that she can reach self-sufficiency; this house will provide such a solid foundation for her and her kids.”

“This townhome was built in the 1980s,” she added, “and it was in bad shape. As a non-profit, it would have cost what is to us a fortune to repair it, and this partnership with HomeAid and Miller & Smith was an incredible opportunity to make it a beautiful home for another family.”

Miller & Smith and its trade partners gutted much of the interior, ultimately renovating and updating the kitchen and bathrooms; replacing laundry appliances, roof, interior flooring, and exterior walkway and patio; repainting the entire interior; and updating electrical and plumbing systems.

“I love having the opportunity to take something that most wouldn’t want to live in and make it something that anyone would want to live in, no matter their situation,” said Scott Alford, vice president of production for Miller & Smith and the project manager for the renovation. “It feels good to give someone a second chance—as well as the chance to feel proud of where they’re living rather than feeling like ‘this is the best I can do.’ I know we’ve turned the corner when even our subs are saying the end result is nicer than their own homes!”

“There were a lot of surprises behind the walls with this house, he added, “and we won’t ever just Band-Aid over hidden problems. This house is going to be solid for years, and we were proud to have been involved in its renovation – it’s always an honor to work with HomeAid.”

Thank you, Miller & Smith and trade partners, for giving new hope to
a single mom and her four young children!
Bee & H Electric

Builders FirstSource

Commercial Concrete

E.D.S. Flooring

Falcon Heating & Air Conditioning

G&B Insulation & Garage Doors

GE Appliances

Hall Mechanical

JD Landscaping

John Darvish Construction Co.

Johnson Drywall


McCormick Paints

Metcalfe Heating & Air Conditioning

Next Day Blinds


SBS Siding Co.

Signature Companies

Stadler Nurseries

TAC Ceramic Tile Co.

Titan Erosion Control


Commercial Concrete

You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation, and when it came time for Builder Captain Miller & Smith to replace the flooring in a circa 1970s townhome for Cornerstones, they knew just who to call first: Commercial Concrete.

“The flooring inside the house had layers and layers of hardwood and tile, all atop a concrete floor, and after we removed all of the old flooring, Commercial Concrete came in to grind and prep the concrete surface so that it was in perfect shape for new flooring throughout,” said Scott Alford, vice president of production for Miller & Smith and the project manager for the renovation. “There’s no point in putting good on top of bad, and this is a trade partner who always does it right.”

The company also re-poured the front walkway and backyard patio, ensuring that the entry was smooth and safe for residents and guests, and that the family of five living in the home will have outdoor space to enjoy together.

“We’ve worked on three or four HomeAid projects,” said Robert McLaughlin, owner of Commercial Concrete. “I’ve been in business for 28 years, and as a business owner in the community, I feel strongly that you have to give back to the community. I do a lot of volunteer work—with local fire departments and a lot of one-on-one situations with families who need help with sick children. Over the years, I’ve built out spaces for kids’ special needs and even additions onto houses to help; it’s important to me. I also work with the Loudoun County Public School system, ranging from building a labyrinth for kids to a memorial for a school principal who passed away. I love going a little further and a little deeper to help people, so working on a project like this with Miller & Smith and HomeAid is a natural fit. I’m glad to be able to help.”

Founded in 1989, Commercial Concrete can handle everything from a backyard patio to a multi-million-dollar construction job, including residential and commercial real estate, land development, and roadways, curbs and gutters. For more information, please call Robert McLaughlin at 703.503.7800.


Looking Ahead: HomeAid’s 16th Annual Gala & Auction Coming Soon! Are You Ready?

November 4, 2017 • 6:30 p.m. • Lansdowne Resort & SpaLeesburg, VA

sponsor button

gala logoThe future happens fast, so be ready for it! HomeAid’s Tomorrow is Today future-themed 16th Annual Gala & Auction will be here before you know it, and as our largest fundraiser of the year, you won’t want to miss it! We’re moving to a bigger and better location—at the beautiful Lansdowne Resort & Spa in Leesburg, Va.—and we’ll kick things off in a whole new way with a time-tunnel entry. Learn about the history of HomeAid as you walk the tunnel toward our always-popular cocktail reception, which will feature a giant, double-scaffold open bar with our signature drink (The Blue Atlantic), shrimp bar, and a techno DJ. Enjoy hot and cold hors d’ouvres while checking out our exceptional silent and live auction items.

We’ll celebrate three Presidents’ Circle award winners, enjoy a the three-course dinner, and add a twist to our live auction, which will of course include an auctioneer-led paddle challenge, which last year raised $120,000 for HomeAid.

But we have a lot to do before the big night, so be sure to register today for yourself or for an entire table of 10! Put your company’s name in lights through a sponsorship, and help make this year’s auction the best yet with your donation!

This year’s dress code will be futuristic formal. We look forward to seeing you there!

Making it Count

What Can You Do TODAY to Help?

A single mom with four children just moved from a shelter into a townhome this week, and the family is ready to start their new lives! Please help them make their house a home through your donation of new:

  • Queen sheet set and comforter for mom
  • Four twin sheet sets and comforters for kids (three girls, one boy, ages 3-10)
  • Everyday silverware and dinnerware
  • Set of eight bath towels
  • Grocery gift cards of any size

Thank you, Builder Captain Miller & Smith and trade partners for all your work on this project for Cornerstones!

HomeAid and CarrHomes also recently renovated a home owned by Pathway Homes, and now the three women living there are ready to enjoy the beautiful fall weather on their new patio—but first, they need patio furniture! Can you please help us furnish it with a table and umbrella—or donate a gift card to a home improvement store? Thank you!

For help coordinating your Welcome Home donation, please contact Kristyn Burr at HomeAid.

Hands-on for HomeAid

Scott Alford has lost count of how many HomeAid projects he has overseen during his 19 years with Miller & Smith. As vice president of production, he estimates that it’s close to one each year, but he never loses sight of the fact that HomeAid projects are an integral part of his company’s culture and an important part of his company’s community outreach.

“We’re always looking forward to the next HomeAid project,” Alford says, “and I hope that other builders who have not had the opportunity to work with HomeAid will consider giving it a try.”

Q:  As vice president of production, you play a very direct role in every job. What do you enjoy most about working on HomeAid projects?

A:  I try to be very involved. We usually try to assign a superintendent to each project when we can, but that doesn’t always work out. So, I help coordinate, communicate with the vendors and ask them to participate, and sometimes clean up onsite. I do whatever needs to be done to make sure the project is completed on time.

The best part is being able to give back to the community and to the shelters or providers that have a need. It is satisfying to take a house that is older or hasn’t been taken care of as well as it should, and transform it into a home that someone can be proud to live in. It makes us feel good to hear a vendor say, “It’s nicer than my house,” and to give the shelters a product that will last at least 10 years or so. It’s not a temporary fix; we always try to go above and beyond what is required for our projects and deliver a product that will fulfill their needs for a long time.

Q:  What types of jobs have you done for HomeAid?

A:  We’ve been involved in a wide variety of renovations. For example, the Cornerstones project we [recently completed] is a transitional housing shelter in Herndon, which means that somebody will be placed there when it’s ready, and they will be allowed to stay until they get back on their feet. They will receive job and money management training so that they can become self-sufficient.

[The townhouse] was built in the 1970s, and we did the flooring, the kitchen, the paint, the drywall, the plumbing, the bathrooms, the roof, and redid the exterior. Basically, we did a complete renovation so it will last them another five or 10 years before they will have to spend any money or do anything to it at all. It is a great feeling; all of us—myself, our organization, our vendors—all enjoy being able to do this sort of a job.

Q:  Do you have any favorite HomeAid projects?

A:  We did one in Loudoun County that had six apartments. Miller & Smith and Winchester Homes did the project jointly, going in and gutting the apartments and doing a thorough renovation. We had an interior decorator working on the project with us, so when we were finished, the space was redesigned, redecorated, and much more useable. The property was very nice and provided homes for multiple clients.

There was another condominium project that we did where we renovated it and then were able to decorate it with some very nice model home furniture. We were there when the home was presented to the mom, and she was just overwhelmed. It was beautiful—decorated by a professional decorator—and the mom was in tears. She just kept saying how much of a difference this home would make in her life, how special it was, and how it would give her a whole new beginning in life.

Q:  How does that feeling compare to working on the new homes that Miller & Smith typically produces?

A: Building houses for people—giving them their dream homes—is incredibly satisfying too. We always go above and beyond what is required in anything that we build. But to be able to do something for somebody in need—building a home for somebody who might otherwise not have a place to live, who may otherwise have to live in their car or on the street—that’s definitely satisfying. Nothing compares to that.

Also, the staff really enjoys working on HomeAid projects when they have a chance. We have done some projects where we built a playground and some outdoor spaces, and we made it a company day where the whole company could participate. They landscaped and sodded, put together playground equipment, built a deck, and painted. They really enjoy those company-wide events. Both Co-Founder Gordon Smith and President and CEO Doug Smith have made philanthropy part of our company’s culture. It’s just something that we do.

Q: Will Miller & Smith continue to be involved with HomeAid projects in the future?

A: Absolutely. It is so worthwhile to take the time to do whatever we can to give back and help out. I would also hope that more and more builders will get involved who are not already. If they take the time to do whatever they can to give back, they won’t regret it. I think sometimes people may be reluctant because they worry about time or money. There are a million reasons why you can’t do it. But HomeAid has projects for everybody. Whether you want to spend a day or a month doing something, or whether you want to spend $500 or hundreds of thousands of dollars, there are plenty of things that need to be done. I think sometimes HomeAid has to turn down projects or applications from shelters because they don’t have somebody to take on the project. I would encourage all builders, even if it’s not in the near future, to put their name out there to HomeAid and say they’re willing to do something at some point. At the end of the day, they’ll be glad that they did.

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Filling the Grandstand with Joy, HomeAid, Miller & Smith Renovate Townhome for Cornerstones and Family of Five, Trade Partner Spotlight: Commercial Concrete, Looking Ahead: HomeAid’s 16th Annual Gala & Auction Coming Soon! Are You Ready?, What Can You Do TODAY to Help?, Hands-on for HomeAid