Everyone strives to make a positive impact, whether it be helping a family member, friend, or neighbor in need or serving the community. In the residential building industry, builders, developers, and manufacturers strive especially to make an impact on the communities in which they build and operate.
For this year’s giving season, nonprofit HomeAid and Zonda have partnered to create a virtual event called Impact, where leaders that represent the largest home builders from across the nation speak to how the industry is responding to this year’s most critical challenges. All proceeds from the event help HomeAid America provide resources and housing to families facing homelessness.
Ahead of the event, BUILDER spoke with Stacy Greer, director of national marketing and communications at HomeAid, to learn more about the nonprofit, how they partner with builders to develop housing for people experiencing or at risk for homelessness, and why companies should prioritize this corporate social responsibility.
Register here for the event and read on for Greer's answers.
BUILDER: For those who don’t know, tell us a little about the history of HomeAid and what the nonprofit strives for.
Greer: Founded in 1989, HomeAid develops, builds, and preserves a variety of housing, including emergency, interim, transitional, permanent supportive, and affordable housing through its 19 affiliates in 13 states. In addition, this includes resource/navigation centers that provide support services to those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. HomeAid partners with hundreds of nonprofit organizations nationwide that provide the housing and support services that help residents move toward self-sufficiency, such as education and job skills training, financial counseling, physical and emotional support, and much more.
Currently, HomeAid has 98 new projects under development adding 1,390 beds. HomeAid has completed over 1,000 housing and outreach projects with a value of more than $288 million. HomeAid has added over 13,500 beds that have served over 484,000 previously homeless individuals.
BUILDER: Why did HomeAid recently rebrand? What changed, and what’s in store for the future?
Greer: We recognize the ever-changing environment and challenges that are continuing to rise with the homelessness crisis, and we felt it was time to take a look at how we can position ourselves to be a source of strength and expertise so we can respond collectively to the needs of those experiencing at risk of homelessness.
The goal of the rebrand was to freshen HomeAid’s identity and opt for a design that is unique, aesthetically enriched, and represents HomeAid's rich history and proven track record. The rebrand brings a new approach to visual communication in printed and digital content with a new color palette, typography, wordmark, and icon.
The lowercase aspect of the logo creates balance. The bold, strong typography ensures legibility. The color palette is modern, strong, and timeless. The colors also pay close homage and resemblance to some of HomeAid's past logo colors. There is symmetry within the full wordmark due to the "h" and "d" stems at opposite ends of the logo creating a metaphorical roof covering the entire logo which also pays homage to our legacy logos.
BUILDER: How do large and small home building companies participate within the nonprofit? What is their role?
Greer: HomeAid, through its affiliates across the country, partners with many top local and national builders to renovate and build housing. Builder Captains provide the leadership and direction to complete a project envisioned by the nonprofit service provider organization or government partner of HomeAid. Builder Captains rally the support of their subcontractors and trade partners, suppliers, and manufacturers to bring in-kind donations of labor and materials to complete the project, thus minimizing the costs for HomeAid’s partners. All the savings provided by the Builder Captain and its team allows the organization to redirect those funds into services their clients desperately need.
HomeAid’s trade partners are the backbone of our accomplishments. Each HomeAid project relies on the generosity, expertise, and commitment of many companies who work together to complete each project. From installing plumbing and carpets to donating furniture and appliances, we could not be successful without their valuable contributions.
BUILDER: How do companies become Builder Captains?
Greer: The first stage in a HomeAid development is the project selection, which consists of identifying a prospective project by partnering with a qualified service provider, completing the application process, adopting the project, and recruiting a Builder Captain.
The second stage is project development, which consists of forming the project development team, completing the project design, researching and securing all entitlements, permitting, recruiting trade partners, exploring the financial viability of the project, and coordinating the project through to completion.
Recruiting a Builder Captain is the single most important task the HomeAid project selection committee and the HomeAid affiliate will undertake in the project development process. The importance of Builder Captains in the HomeAid project development program cannot be overstated. Without a committed Builder Captain, the program cannot succeed. When approaching a builder, consideration is given to proximity to the construction project, the size and available staffing of the company, the ability to garner in-kind donations from their trade partners, and their interest in the service provider’s client population.
BUILDER: What are the benefits to getting involved with HomeAid?
Greer: When HomeAid was founded in 1989, it initially had a threefold purpose:
- As a vehicle through which members of the building industry could give back to the communities in which they operate by doing what they do best—building housing;
- As a way to contribute to the well-being of their neighbors, the members of their own communities who need assistance that are experiencing homelessness or are “at risk” of homelessness; and
- As a means of creating sustained positive recognition for the local building community.
Over the last 30-plus years, it has grown to be much more. Everyone involved is playing a vital role in creating safe and dignified housing, ultimately by valuing the fact that every individual has worth and human dignity. As a result of our collaboration together, we are achieving what is not possible alone in helping people experiencing or at risk of homelessness build new lives through construction, community engagement, and education.
BUILDER: Why should builders, associates, and suppliers prioritize corporate social responsibility (CSR)?
Greer: There's little doubt that CSR programs should exist in every business. Corporate social responsibility initiatives can be a powerful marketing tool, helping a company position itself favorably in the eyes of consumers, investors, and regulators. CSR initiatives can also improve employee engagement and satisfaction—key measures that drive retention. Such initiatives can even attract potential employees who carry strong personal convictions that match those of the organization.
Corporations can leverage corporate volunteerism by encouraging their employees to volunteer. Many companies allocate hours to go toward volunteering during the workday, and many more encourage involvement by offering volunteer grants to the nonprofit organizations where their employees volunteer.
This kind of socially responsible program is a win-win for everyone involved. Employees are seen volunteering and donating their time to important causes in the community, and nonprofits are receiving free time and volunteer work, which is essential for the success of so many organizations. Not to mention the reputation the business can build as they support local missions.