It's Back to School Time!
For many children, heading back to school is a time of excitement and anticipation. When your family is homeless, there can also be a mix of anxiety and distress. With the help of our supporters and case management staff, Carpenter’s Shelter aims to make this transition as smooth as possible.
The children at our shelter and those who have recently moved to permanent housing received brand new, colorful backpacks full of school supplies that were donated by two generous groups – Wyndham Destinations and Northern Virginia Ruff Ryders. Case management staff made sure the children had transportation to school since busing from the shelter was not immediately available. As always, our staff worked with the school district to ensure that children were able to stay in the school they were attending before their family entered the shelter. We hope this year is safe and happy for the children we serve!
A Home at Last
Robert Jenkins* is an uncle, brother, Army veteran, and life-long Alexandrian. He has also struggled with homelessness for over 15 years. His struggles began when his girlfriend passed away and he was forced to leave her apartment. Unable to work because of a medical condition, he moved from place to place, sometimes living on the street, many times receiving help from Carpenter’s Shelter. He frequented David’s Place day shelter, the Winter Shelter during cold, winter months, and Carpenter’s Emergency Shelter.
Mr. Jenkins is considered “chronically homeless” – although we prefer to describe him as a man who needed a stable home. We were thrilled to be able to provide him that opportunity in December 2020 when our new Permanent Supportive Housing program began. As part of the New Heights Redevelopment of our property on North Henry Street, we secured ten Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) units for men and women like Mr. Sanders who have struggled with homelessness for many years. The units are one-room efficiencies with a galley kitchen, living area, space for a bed, and separate bathroom. They are comfortable, safe and most importantly, permanent. The program includes support from our PSH Case Manager who meets weekly with residents.
“Mr. Jenkins is a perfect tenant,” reports his Case Manager Michael Shields. “He has followed through on everything he needs to in working toward his goals.” They have worked together on obtaining documents (birth certificate, ID, and Social Security card) required for Mr. Jenkins to access Veterans Administration benefits. Mr. Jenkins' is also working towards taking care of his health and reconnecting with family, goals which have become possible now that he has a permanent home.
“I love living at The Bloom!” says Mr. Jenkins. “The best part is I get to see my family more. When I was homeless, my nephew and brother didn’t know where to find me. But now that I have an apartment, they come to visit and check in on me. Carpenter’s has done a marvelous job with the Permanent Supportive Housing units.”
*Name changed for privacy.
Featuring our award-winning Board of Directors
Today's Guest: Jennifer Yocham Poersch
Jennifer Yocham Poersch is a Partner at HLP&R Advocacy in Washington, DC. She joined the Board in 2019 and currently serves as Chair of the Development Committee.
What brought you to Carpenter's Shelter?
Since I volunteered at our local soup kitchen in high school, I have taken an interest in helping the most vulnerable in the community. When my two daughters were young, I wanted to do something in Alexandria that would show them how important it is to help and support others less fortunate than us. My good friend and fellow board member, Meghan Hendy, has been involved in Carpenter's Shelter for many years so I reached out to her and asked how I could help. I started out on the Development Committee and then later joined the board. Being a part of the Carpenter's Shelter community is incredibly rewarding and I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity. I guess you can say the rest is history. :)
What are you most proud of?
I am really proud of what we as a board have done to educate and promote Carpenter’s Shelter in our communities. Our capital campaign was a huge success and now as you drive through Old Town you can see the beautiful new shelter and affordable housing units on North Henry Street. It makes me smile from ear to ear every time I drive by!
Carpenter's Shelter is a proud member of the United Way and an approved charity in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). Donating through a regular payroll deduction allows your annual gift to be distributed througout the year, making a lasting impact on Carpenter's Shelter. Every contribution helps us change the lives of those most in need. Every year, the CFC campaign raises millions, and every donor and every dollar makes a difference.
Through your workplace campaign, donations can be made to Carpenter's Shelter as a one-time gift of a specified amount, or you can donate through a pledged amount withheld from your paycheck (a painless way to do it!). CFC is a program for federal employees through the United Way that serves to promote and support nonprofit organizations though a program that is "employee focused, cost-efficient, and effective in providing all federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all." It is the largest annual workplace charity campaign. The campaign season runs from September 1st - December 15th, and pledges made during this time support organizations across the world that provide health and human service benefits.
Here are three tips to begin contributing today:
- Choose Carpenter's Shelter! Our CFC number is 87293
- Complete the pledge form
- When you submit your pledge, keep a copy for tax purposes
Donations given through the CFC campaign are tax deductible. To start, go to the donor pledging site to see what local charities you can give to or contact your local CFC Outreach Coordinator for the CFC Charity List. To learn more about the history of the CFC campaign go here
, for common FAQ's go here
. Not a federal employee? Participating in the United Way is just as simple. Find out more about the United Way see the different ways you can give
. Don't forget, our United Way number is 8228
September 15th: Yom Kippur
September 21th: Volunteer Orientation! Please join Community Relations Manager, Jamila Smith on Zoom for our monthly volunteer orientation. If you would like to attend, please register by clicking here.
Save the Date!
Save the Date for our annual Octoberfest Online Auction! Featuring gift certificates to local resturants, trips to the best wineries and breweries, gifts for our furry friends, and much more! The Octoberfest Online Auction will take place from October 8th - 22nd.
Start your holiday shopping early while raising money for Carpenter's Shelter! If you are interested in donating an auction item please contact Sienna Brown
, Development Associate. Check the October e-News for the auction link.
Circle of Hope
Interested in volunteering with your children to make a difference for those experiencing homelessness? Join Circle of Hope for monthly activities for families committed to the mission of Carpenter's Shelter. Activities include assembling first aid kits, clothing and supply collections, creating Thanksgiving centerpieces, laundry soap making, and a speaker series. To join, contact Co-Chairs Suzy Booma at SuzyBooma@gmail.com or Carrie Keene at email@example.com.
The Del Ray United Methodist Church Vacation Bible School was busy this summer making colorful centerpieces for our Community Room tables and collecting $400 in gifts cards with decorated envelopes for our residents to use for basic needs. Thank you so much for your generosity and thoughtfulness!
Welcome Our New Staff!
Please welcome Alyssa Nelso
n, our new Americorps VISTA! Alyssa graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. She is currently pursuing a Master of Public Policy at George Mason. Alyssa will be the Volunteer and Data Coordinator at Carpenter's. We are very excited to have Alyssa on board!
Please welcome Lisa Floryancic, our new Housing Locator! Lisa previously worked for the National School Board Association and the National Women's History Museum. Two years ago, she became a realtor with Long & Foster, a position she continues while working part-time as a Housing Locator. Lisa has been a supporter of Carpenter's Shelter for many years and is very excited to join the staff!
Additional ways to support residents in their path to permanent housing
- New undergarments like socks, t-shirts, and underwear for all genders in various sizes (Small to 3XL)
- New self-inflating twin air mattresses which are given to residents when they move into permanent housing
- Individual cereal and oatmeal
- Individual snacks (chips, cookies, bars, etc.)
- Bottled water