The truth is, we met in a bar. While visiting a local brewery, I ran into representatives from project:HOMES and my High Five radar was going crazy. I got to visit them today and find out about the amazing work that they are doing. Anne McNeal, Director of Fund Development & Compliance Monitoring, provided answers to a few questions. Who knew? I didn't. But I'm better now for having met these fine people. High Five, project:HOMES.
H5RVA: I learned about one tiny project that project:HOMES is doing (providing window units for homes without central airs) and thought that was very cool (literally), but I've since learned that project:HOMES does SO MUCH. Could you sum up the scope of your work for us?
Anne: In a nutshell, project:HOMES improves lives by improving homes so that low-income people and families can continue living safely and independently in a home that is more comfortable and affordable.
We improve the quality of housing and living conditions for people in need in the Richmond region by making critical home repairs and improvements and building high quality, affordable homes. Our mission is “Changing lives and improving neighborhoods, one home at a time.” We help low-income and elderly remain in their homes to comfortably age in place; improve accessibility and safety in the homes of the disabled and help revitalize communities by building energy efficient affordable homes.
Our Weatherization program improves comfort and safety, reduces energy costs and utilizes innovative energy conserving techniques.
Our Rehabilitation program improves home structure and functionality by conducting critical home repairs and improvements.
Our Renew Crew volunteer program tackles smaller home repair projects and builds wheelchair ramps and other accessibility modifications.
Our Revitalization program improves neighborhoods by preserving existing homes and building new ones and setting quality standards for affordable housing for a lifetime.
H5RVA: How is your good work funded?
Anne: Our Renew Crew volunteer program is funded by private donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, churches and civic organizations. Volunteers provide additional value by donating their time and labor. Our Weatherization, Home Rehabilitation, and Revitalization programs are funded by government grants.
H5RVA: In what ways can people volunteer or otherwise support project:HOMES
Anne: Our Renew Crew program has year-round volunteer opportunities, and many of our volunteer groups provide funds to purchase materials for the projects they complete. Volunteers perform simple critical home repairs such as repairing porches and steps, painting and clearing overgrown yards. They also make accessibility modifications for the elderly and disabled, such as installing grab bars and railings and building wheelchair ramps.
H5RVA: What do you wish everyone knew about your work in our community?
Anne: project:HOMES is the only nonprofit organization in the region that can provide nearly every home repair for low-income homeowners. Home repair and rehabilitation improve the home environment AND provide neighborhood stability as residents continue living safely and affordably in their homes and communities. We have improved the homes of more than 12,000 families in our 24 year history, and expect to serve 1,000 households this year.
H5RVA: What are you going to do with this ridiculous High Five hand?
Anne: We are going to accept this great big High Five together as a team, and then display it on our “Wall of Wins” for all to see.
You can find out more about project:HOMES here.