Homebuilder makes homeless community its focus of service

Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. practices its philanthropy not by writing checks, but through what the company does best: building homes.

The homebuilder’s Landover office has teamed up with HomeAid Northern Virginia for four major projects that serve the homeless. The result has been about $1.08 million worth of labor and materials, nearly 90 percent of it donated, for renovation and construction of more than 10,000 square feet of shelters and facilities.

“We do this without writing big corporate checks,” said Landover Group President Peter Thompson, who is responsible for the company’s operations in six states and the District. “We do this by using the time of our employees and the contributions of time and pricing of our trade partners to bring real and significant value.”

The most recent HomeAid project, dedicated Sept. 6, is a 4,000-square-foot expansion of Northern Virginia Family Service’s emergency shelter in Manassas. That expansion, which increases the shelter’s capacity by 50 percent, is among the largest ever for 11-year-old HomeAid.

The project includes 32 new resident beds, new common areas, larger administrative spaces, flooring, interior paint, playroom cabinets and an outside play area. More than half of the project’s $950,000 cost was donated by Hovnanian and its 29 trade partners.

Hovnanian is managing the construction of the facility, working with architects and engineers, negotiating with trade partners to find cost savings, and building it in a timely fashion. The troubled economy didn’t spare Hovnanian, which suffered significant budget and employee reductions, but Thompson, who serves as a board member of HomeAid, spared some time and dollars for the cause.

Hovnanian also has donated about $50,350 and 486 pounds of food to charities in Maryland and Virginia, including the Wounded in Action Family Foundation, Good Shepherd Alliance and Susan G. Komen Foundation.

“Our company believes strongly in giving back to communities where we do business,” Thompson said. “We’re very proud to be a small part of what the nonprofits do.”

Hovnanian Enterprises Inc.

Location: Headquarters in Red Bank, N.J., corporate offices in Landover and Chantilly
What it does: Homebuilder
Leadership: Ara K. Hovnanian, chairman, president and CEO; Peter Thompson, Landover Group president
Employees: 313 locally, 1,500 total
Community work: Donated nearly $940,000 worth of labor and materials to building projects for HomeAid Northern Virginia, a nonprofit that serves the homeless. Hovnanian has had an executive on HomeAid’s board for the past five years.
Website: www.khov.com
What is a Jefferson Award? A national nonprofit program that was formed 40 years ago to create a Nobel Prize for public service and now recognizes companies that build community service into their corporate culture. The Washington Business Journal will select and feature local nominees monthly and submit its 2012-13 finalist for the national awards gala in June. The deadline for the next round of applications is in December. Businesses can apply at https://www.jeffersonawards.org/nominate/local/WashingtonBusinessJournal.