Building a Way Out of Homelessness

Filed in Home Building, Membership, NAHB Cares by on November 2, 2015 1 Comment
home aid board

The HomeAid Houston board of directors is one big happy family at its annual retreat, and throughout the year.

Anyone who spends time around home builders knows that builders — and remodelers, and the contractors and suppliers who work with them — are among the most generous people on the planet.

So when you combine the power of a large Texas HBA and a well-run charity, you get results like those of the Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA) and its charitable partner, HomeAid Houston, which builds and remodels shelters and other buildings that serve the area’s homeless population.

Together, these volunteers have completed 36 projects, built or remodeled nearly 180,000 square feet of space, added 561 shelter beds and served 22,124 men, women and children. When you add that all up, it comes out to more than a million nights of sleep since 2003, when HomeAid was launched.

“Isn’t that amazing?” said Bette Moser, who has served as HomeAid Houston’s executive director since 2005. “We are a small staff, but I think we are really able to multiply our efforts because we have a very, very effective board of directors with a lot of GHBA members.”

HomeAid is careful and deliberate about the work it takes on, said board president Greg Tomlinson, also an active GHBA member. Each potential rehab project is thoroughly researched before the organization commits any resources. “We fully vet the [program], we make sure their financial house is in order,” he said.

Once approved, HomeAid recruits a GHBA builder captain for each project. The captain reaches out to his network of suppliers, vendors and associates to see who can donate services or materials to keep the costs down.

HomeAid has two major projects ongoing at any given time and also completes several small renovation projects a year, but its partnership with GHBA ensures that members are always aware of its work. “GHBA is very kind and generous with its advertising space” in member publications, Tomlinson said.

“It’s also very generous with its time, allowing the charity to invite shelter clients to member meetings so they can tell their stories — and how HomeAid’s work made their lives better. You take for granted the situation you are in. You have food on the table. When you hear these stories, you realize that not everybody is in that situation,” he said.

“We explain the why,” to volunteers and donors, and that is critical to HomeAid’s success, Moser said. “The GHBA membership understands what homelessness is, and who is affected by it. It goes beyond the guy standing on a corner with a shopping cart. We are taking care of homeless mothers, homeless teens, veterans. It has touched these members’ hearts, and they know this is a serious issue.”

“HomeAid Houston gives GHBA a great avenue to do the things we want to do on a much larger scale than just one individual,” and members can see the difference that their gifts make, Tomlinson said. “The city of Houston has done an excellent job of reducing the homeless population in Houston and we have a part in that. When you can bring hope to those who are hopeless, you can change generations, and you have made the world a better place for the most people that you can. That’s what GHBA and HomeAid can do.”

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  1. Marcus Hill says:

    It’s great to see that companies and charities like Greater Houston Builders Association and HomeAid Houston are doing so much good. Hats off to them and thanks for sharing this article.

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