(left to right) Marie Muscella, Community Lodgings Board Chair; Russ Rosenberger, Past-President, HomeAid Northern Virginia; Wendell Chambliss, Executive Director, Freddie Mac Foundation; Bill Euille, Mayor, City of Alexandria; Lewis Birnbaum, Division President, Pulte Homes; Del Pepper, Councilwoman, City of Alexandria;and Bonnie Baxley, Executive Director, Community Lodgings
HomeAid Northern Virginia knows a thing or two about collaboration. Founded in 2001 by members of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association, the organization has completed 86 projects by leveraging resources of the homebuilding community to conduct major renovations to properties that house the homeless.
Through its dynamic partnerships, HomeAid helps to significantly reduce construction costs to service providers, which allow for the redirection of dollars back into programs and services for homeless families and individuals. In addition to its commitment to the brick and mortar of the affordable housing community, HomeAid also operates Women Giving Back. Started in 2007, Women Giving Back is a program that has provided more than 50,000 items of clothing to women and children living in shelters throughout Northern Virginia.
In February of 2013, HomeAid and Pulte Homes, a HomeAid Builder Captain, celebrated the completion of one of the biggest renovation projects in HomeAid’s 13-year history: Community Lodgings, a ten-unit affordable apartment community for homeless families.
Pulte and its 33 trade partners (electricians, plumbers, etc.) completed a total interior demolition and rehabilitation of the property, reconfiguring it into a living space that would better serve and accommodate local homeless families than that of the original building.
“It’s an absolutely gorgeous space,” said Bonnie Baxley, the executive director of Community Lodgings. “Even more importantly, it adds another dimension in terms of how we monitor families and provide for them. This raises the bar, and anytime you raise the bar, it inspires people to do better.”
The construction process proved to be a true collaborative experience, especially among the building community. With the support of trade partners donating far more than originally anticipated and additional trade partners joining in, the renovation came in under budget and on schedule.
“With a building of this size and age, it’s hard to know what we might find,” said John Goodwin, resource planning manager, Pulte Homes. “But there were no big surprises, and everyone just threw themselves into the project. The team worked well together and was able to overcome obstacles quickly and efficiently.”
One of the major issues that HomeAid works to overcome is the cost of housing – even affordable housing – for the working homeless. With its HAND membership, the group is able to tap into information and resources that allows them to be responsive to the changing needs of the Northern Virginia community. HAND provides an important pipeline of information that influences HomeAid policy and programming decisions.
“Our HAND membership allows us to put forth a more coordinated and well-informed effort to comeback homelessness.” – HomeAid Northern Virginia
HAND is pleased to spotlight HomeAid Northern Virginia, which certainly contributes to our organization’s COLLABORATION, INNOVATION and TRANSFORMATION for the metropolitan area!