Note: This article was originally published on Give To Get’s Non-Profit Partners Spotlight. Please view the original article here.
Homes 4 Families, which is based near our Los Angeles office, was founded in 2008 to meet the need for affordable housing and effective, no-cost services that equip veteran families to move up the economic ladder thanks to assistance from CalVet loans, other City, Corporate, and Foundation donors, and especially donations from private individuals.
Military Families who want to move into the Palmdale Veteran Enriched Neighborhood®, a program which has helped close to 400 low-income military family members achieve their dreams of affordable homeownership, requires an application process. Those whose applications are approved are also required to complete 500 hours of “sweat equity,” during which they assist in building their – or other – homes in the community and participate in the organization’s many wrap-around services. This helps applicants develop pride in the community. Services include employment assistance, mental health programs, and educational opportunities.
In the past, Give To Get has brought groups of employee volunteers to Homes 4 Families’ Palmdale Veteran Enriched Neighborhood® to build homes, assist in the common garden, or update the playground.
Although the Coronavirus crisis has impacted the organization and its volunteer programs, Homes 4 Families has been able to pivot and continue providing high-level care to the veterans they serve, many of whom were impacted by layoffs at the start of the pandemic and may have experienced heightened symptoms from pre-existing mental health issues like PTSD, including hypervigilance and depression.
Among the most notable new programs, Homes 4 Families CEO Donna Deutchman has called attention to several innovative solutions:
- Hosting phone / video conference support groups to assist those with PTSD who can no longer attend in-person group meetings
- Creating and distributing lists of resources like food banks, educational options for children, and medical resources
- Increasing efforts to raise funds to ensure that those living in the neighborhood who lost their jobs will be able to keep their home, purchase food, and more.
Although new programs have been launched, the pandemic has had long-term financial implications on Homes 4 Families. The cancellation of Team Builds, employee service days during which individuals complete building projects in the communities for a fee; other events; and media campaigns has led to an estimated $1 million loss in revenue. Additionally, the crisis has pushed back the delivery of new homes for veteran families.
Homes 4 Families, however, has created several ways for those who give back to do so in the coming months:
- In September, the organization will hold its 12th annual Women’s Empowerment Build (WE BUILD) Week event, which takes place Sept. 12-18. Each event, which is limited to 50 people or less to ensure that social distancing guidelines are followed, will allow female and male volunteers to build or improve homes in the Palmdale Veteran Enriched Neighborhood®. Get more information and register here.
- On October 2, Homes 4 Families is hosting its first Virtual Veteran Art Show and Auction. The event, which is free to attend, will include a dynamic evening exploring the power of art and raising funds to build the homes and lives of those who live in the veteran community. The artwork that will be displayed is a small sampling of that created by veterans and military families in Homes 4 Families trauma-informed art program, “My Trauma Informed Military Enrichment Program.” You can register for the show or help sponsor the event here.
- Between now and the end of the year, Homes 4 Families is encouraging individuals to participate in a 5K, 10K, or a full marathon. In addition to supporting veterans and their families, runners will be able to boost their immune systems through exercise! To learn more about how the program works including how to register, track your mileage, and earn your finisher’s swag, visit the website.
If you’d like to learn more about Give To Get’s employee volunteer programs, including our At-Home Volunteer Program, please visit their website at givetoget.com.