40 years ago, I moved to the Bay Area from Buffalo, New York seeking better career opportunities. I landed a job at a home building company and for the next 3 decades worked for home builders in executive leadership roles in sales and marketing. My experiences in creating and marketing fabulous places to live gave me a great perspective in understanding how important home is.
10 years ago, I was invited to serve on the board of HomeAid Northern California. 4 years into my role, I accepted the job of Executive Director of HomeAid Northern California. I have had the opportunity to meet and get to know so many generous and thoughtful people who want to help those in need.
In the Bay Area over the past 5 years, we have added over 373,000 new jobs and only 58,000 housing units and California homes cost 2½ times the U.S. average. For decades, we have not built enough housing for the people who want to live in the Bay Area, which forces housing and rent prices up and forces low income residents to choose between paying rent and feeding their family. When low income residents do not have a safety net, they can become homeless because of an unfortunate circumstance like job loss or medical costs. We must provide housing and shelter for all in the Bay Area, which includes those less fortunate and those traumatized by addiction, homelessness, and mental health challenges.
In recent years, while homelessness has reported epidemic levels, funds to support shelters have been dramatically reduced with the demise of redevelopment agencies, lack of state/federal funding and donors who have been giving less. This has created the perfect storm to organizations caring for the homeless, whose budgets are being squeezed, making funding for new shelter construction or renovation nearly impossible while the numbers of homeless are outpacing the current space to house them.
To make matters worse, we also have a major trade shortage issue in the Bay Area, which pushes housing costs to the point where projects do not “pencil out” meaning they do not get built. Our partner service providers are struggling to raise the money necessary to care for their clients and rarely have enough funding for capital improvements or even maintenance of their shelters.
HomeAid is one solution which brings the experience of the home building industry to donate labor and materials to lower the capital costs of shelter and housing construction. Eighteen years ago, the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area formed HomeAid Northern California to develop housing for those who were homeless. HomeAid Northern California has completed 42 shelter projects with $20 million of real estate serving over 8,000 homeless and provided $9 million in donations to these projects.
The HomeAid model accomplishes its mission through a unique business model that, at its core, is a synergistic partnership with local community organizations. HomeAid identifies homeless service providers in need of a new facility or renovation of an existing facility with a strong client success rate and the means to support the project.
HomeAid's greatest leadership strength is its depth of knowledge and experience. HomeAid Northern California is led by a powerful and dedicated 28 member board of directors, carefully crafted to include principals of home building companies including KB Homes, Signature Homes, Brookfield Residential, Lennar, Pulte Homes, XL Construction, Trumark Homes, Shea Homes, William Lyon Homes, Century Communities and SummerHill Homes.
HomeAid is uniquely positioned as the solution to homeless service provider's construction needs as no other organization provides this service and no other organization possesses the depth of experience and construction industry partnership that HomeAid delivers to these projects.