Friends & Neighbors | Housing Families First

Friends & Neighbors

How One Night Makes All the Difference

Housing Families First made history last week in more ways than one. Our annual gala, this year themed “A Night at the Theatre: A Return to the Jazz Age” saw our donors decked out in flapper dresses and pinstripe suits. But, it wasn’t just the 1920s that we were honoring. As the donations came in, we can now list 2017 as a historic year for our organization—we surpassed our fundraising goal by $7,500, making this our most successful fundraising event to date.

"Cab Calloway" (portrayed by Thomas Nowlin) performing "The Hi Di Ho Man" at the Hippodrome.

“Cab Calloway” (portrayed by Thomas Nowlin) performing “Minnie the Moocher” at The Hippodrome.

This annual event is vitally important to Housing Families First, who uses the proceeds to fund programs that provide meals and maintenance in the shelter, weekly bus passes, short-term financial subsidies for families in our rapid re-housing program, and more. Of the $55,000 that we raised, $35,000 will go straight to the individuals we serve, making us one of the most efficiently run programs of our kind.

It was so clear to us after our gala that our donors truly care about Richmond families experiencing homelessness. And they turned out in force to make sure that we could continue our mission. Thanks to them, we’ve been able to move more than 250 families out of homelessness and into permanent housing over the last five years. Those are numbers we can all be proud of, together.

And now, we’re poised to do so much more.

Executive Director Beth Vann-Turnbull weighed in on what this year’s Night at the Theatre meant for the organization and for the greater community.

This is your 3rd annual signature event. How did you come up with the theme? What have you learned along the way?


“A Night at the…” was conceptualized three years ago by a creative group of volunteers, staff, board members, and catering executives. It’s a great theme because it allows us to keep a consistent event while giving us the flexibility to try new things each year. The first annual event was A Night at the Ski Lodge, and the last two galas have been A Night at the Theatre. All of them have been so much fun. We have a dedicated committee of volunteers that drives the success of each year’s event, and we’re
always looking for new members. The community is coming to know that “A Night at the…” is Housing Families First’s signature event, but they don’t know exactly what fun twist may be in store next year. Will it be more Mad Men or disco? Stay tuned to find out!

How many families will the funding support? 

About 200 children and adults will make our emergency shelter their temporary home this year, at a cost of less than $35 per person, per day. More than 250 people (approximately 80 families)—some coming from our emergency shelter and some from other shelters—will move into a safe, permanent home through our Building Neighbors program. The average amount of financial assistance we provide to move a family out of homelessness and connect them with the tools they need to achieve long-term stability is just $4,473. Mostly importantly, 85 percent of the families we house will not return to homelessness more than a year after our assistance ends.

Our signature event provides us with the all-important unrestricted funds necessary to do what truly needs to be done to get families into safe, permanent housing, regardless of the restrictions you come across when you’re working with grants.

What is your annual budget?

Our FY 2017 annual budget is right at $1 million, and the money goes a long way in helping families get off the street and into stable homes. When compared to the expense of other homeless interventions and crisis services, Housing Families First’s programs are truly a cost-effective way to address family homelessness.

DANC0729What specifically does the funding help support?

Our signature event provides us with the all-important unrestricted funds necessary to do what truly needs to be done to get families into safe, permanent housing, regardless of the restrictions you come across when you’re working with grants. We’re truly grateful for the diverse sources of public and private grant funding that we receive. But, by their very nature, many grants don’t cover a variety of expenses—ranging from short-term childcare subsidies so parents can begin work, to operational staffing, to shelter insurance, to bus tickets for clients. These items, while not necessarily funded through grant programs, are critical to operating successful, supportive housing programs.

Without the unrestricted funds provided by our signature event, we would end up with one horrible cake or no cake at all.

A nonprofit blog post once likened piecing together grant funding with a group baking a cake – a cake in which one person would purchase all the eggs but none of the flour or butter, another would purchase half the butter and a quarter of the flour and some oil, another would provide lots of chocolate, and no one wanted to cover the cost of the baker’s time. Without the unrestricted funds provided by our signature event, we would end up with one horrible cake or no cake at all. In other words, we couldn’t operate our highly effective housing programs without the flexible funding our donors provide from events like this one.

What kinds of things do families always need that might surprise families who don’t struggle with homelessness?


They’re basic items, but they may not be obvious. Families need weekly and round-trip bus tickets (hint: you can buy them at some Walgreen’s locations); $10 gas cards; new shower curtains and rings; cleaning supplies; small buckets and trash cans; new pillows; towels, sheets, pots and pans. And, with up to 20 children living in our emergency shelter, we can’t get enough paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, and large-size diapers. Donations of these items enable us to successfully help families find stability with a very limited budget.

Many grants don’t cover a variety of expenses—ranging from short-term childcare subsidies so parent can begin work, to operational staffing, to shelter insurance, to bus tickets for clients. These items, while not necessarily funded through grant programs, are critical to operating successful, supportive housing programs.

You used to be Hilliard House. Why the name change?

We changed the name of our organization from Hilliard House to Housing Families First to reflect our
growth and the implementation of our new “Housing First” focus in 2012. Our organization still offers safe, supportive shelter for families. But now, we do much more. Quickly stabilizing families in permanent housing is our top priority. The addition of our Building Neighbors rapid re-housing program enables us to do just that. Since moving to the Housing First approach, Housing Families First serves nearly eight times as many families annually than before. That’s a huge jump.

You’ve been with Housing Families First for a few years. What do you think people don’t know about the organization?

The success of our organization is built on the success of the families we serve. I think that many people would be surprised at how much our families are able to achieve with low wages and minimal assistance, and how much our organization is able to do with our small staff and modest budget. Despite the fact that support services for very low-income families—a significant percentage of whom are employed—can be fragmented, the majority are able to leave homelessness in a really quick turnaround of 30 days, with targeted help from the Housing Families First team and our community partners. That’s the Housing First approach in action, and it works!

Despite the fact that support services for very low-income families—a significant percentage of whom are employed—can be fragmented, the majority are able to leave homelessness in a really quick turnaround of 30 days.

I also think that many people would be surprised by how closely we partner with other agencies to address homelessness across the region. Funding and services for people experiencing homelessness are coordinated on behalf of our region by Homeward (where I am proud to serve on the Board of Directors), and most of the homeless services agencies meet together at least monthly to prioritize services for those in need of housing in Richmond.


What is your biggest barrier to getting the funding you need to support your programs?

Besides the barrier of funding restrictions mentioned earlier, one of the biggest barriers to securing funding is our limited name recognition in the broad community. I’ve heard several people say that we are a great organization but are somewhat of a “well-kept secret.” We deliver amazing results in a very cost-effective manner, and we are proud of what we do. Our philosophy is that the more people who know about us, the more funding to support and expand programs will come our way. That’s why we are redoubling our efforts to get our name out into the community through events like this one, our website, the Friends & Neighbors blog, and social media. If you’re reading this, we bet you would be a good fit to be a Housing Families First supporter. And please, do share with your circle of friends. That’s how change happens.

What do you hope to accomplish this year?

Housing Families First has big goals this year, and while there are aggressive, we can absolutely achieve them with community support. We plan to increase the number of households we move into permanent housing by 20 percent in 2017, while increasing the percentage of households that raise their family income while in our programs. Additionally, now that we’ve surpassed 15 years in operations, we have some significant infrastructure and sustainability improvements to make. Our plan is to raise an additional $200,000 over last year’s revenues to meet these important infrastructure needs.

We plan to increase the number of households we move into permanent housing by 20 percent in 2017.

How can people help?

We can’t successfully carry out our mission without strong community support, and we want to be the most galvanizing organization in Richmond! If you’ve been looking for a way to give back to your community, we can’t think of a better way than this one. We urge you to visit our frequently updated website and sign up for our monthly Friends & Neighbors e-newsletter. Share the newsletter with a friend. Come take a tour. Sign up for your family or your community group to volunteer—just one time or on an ongoing basis. Organize a donation drive at your work, congregation, or in your neighborhood. Or, make a monetary gift— every single dollar matters here at Housing Families First—and encourage any friends you have who can do the same.

We’re a tight-knit group here at Housing Families First, and we would love to welcome you into our family.


Survivor: How One Woman’s Dark Past Shines a Light for Others

Terra Jones was a sixth grader the first time she was homeless.

None of her new classmates knew about the abuse she endured from her father, and that when she and her mother left, they had no place to go.

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Terra Jones

“I was afraid of being separated from my mother if they knew that we were sleeping in the car,” Terra remembers. There were no supportive programs that she knew of back then. Her mother was able to obtain housing, although it was never permanent, and they would be homeless again. Frustrated, her mother began to drink and take drugs to cope. Eventually, she would begin to beat Terra.

I was afraid of being separated from my mother if they knew that we were sleeping in the car.

Terra responded by excelling in school, determined to graduate with high marks. While her home life continued to suffer, Terra still had hope.

“I thought and believed that if I became successful, that she would stop her behavior,” Terra recalls.

Terra told herself that things had to get better.

Someone to Count On
Though she didn’t reveal much about her home life with her friends, Terra sought out mentors. She volunteered at a library in high school where she befriended a librarian, whom Terra affectionately calls “Ms. Mary.”

I was determined to go to school and be successful.

Ms. Mary took an interest in Terra, and over time, they grew to know each other well.

She made sure Terra ate during the day, talked to her and invited her to spend time with her family. Ms. Mary held Terra accountable for her actions and provided guidance along the way. She was a role model who would eventually take Terra in after things took at turn for the worse at home.

“Ms. Mary had a college degree, volunteered in the community and was a very giving and humble person. Her example motivated me to strive for excellence in my personal and professional life.”

During this time, she learned that she could emancipate herself. The requirements at that time were that she had to be 16, work at least 20 hours a week and be able to pay rent, and have a place to live. She proved that she met the requirements, and rented a room from her classmate’s mom. By age 17, her senior year of high school, Terra became her own guardian.

“I was determined to go to school and be successful,” Terra recalls. Ms. Mary’s accomplishments encouraged her to strive for success.

Like the other seniors, she worked with school counselors to stay on deadlines for college and financial aid applications. She was accepted to Virginia Commonwealth University and applied for as many scholarships and awards as she could.

During the application process, she wrote about her story and what she had gone through as a child. Terra won enough scholarships from sharing her experience to almost pay for the first year of school.

God’s Promise to Every Boy and Girl

God’s Promise to Every Boy and Girl

In 1993, Terra donned her cap and gown and graduated with the rest of her class at C D Hylton High School. Her mother and Ms. Mary beamed with pride.

Homeless for the holidays

Terra lived in the dorms while she studied psychology at VCU. She wanted to be a counselor and help people. She even joined a sorority. But Terra’s college experience was different from that of most of her friends. While most looked forward to holiday breaks, none of her friends knew how Terra dreaded the times when the dorms would close.

A holiday for me meant homelessness again.

“A holiday for me meant homelessness again,” says Terra. During breaks she would stay with a family she met through her church.If she was able to save up enough money, she would stay in a motel. Eventually, she reconciled with her mother and felt safe enough to go to her home during the breaks.

When a Woman is Loved Right

She never expected to become a playwright, but when her church was looking for someone to write a play for children, she took it on with the same gusto she’d given to her studies.

She studied playwriting and went on to write several more on a variety of topics. As time went on, she wondered what it would be like to share her own journey. She soon discovered it was precisely what she needed to heal old wounds.

“It ended up helping me more than anyone else,” she says.

Terra wrote seven plays, but it’s “When a Woman is Loved Right” that changed things for her. The play is based on her life – including her tumultuous youth and her college life (where she met her husband) – told through the lens of hope.

“My future is not going to be my past,” she says of the play’s message. ““The goal was to motivate and encourage children just like me.”

Terra felt vulnerable the first time she watched her life story play out on stage. “But then, I started to see the results of so many women and teenagers seeing the story and feeling like they weren’t alone.”

The cast, from left to right: Terra as a child, adult Terra in wedding dress, Terra's mother and Ms.Mary.

The cast, from left to right: Terra as a child, adult Terra in wedding dress, Terra’s mother and Ms.Mary.

Sharing her story was therapeutic, she says. As an adult, “I was able to share it in a way that was healthy,” whereas she couldn’t see what would eventually be a blessing to her in all the madness as it was happening.

The play’s success led to speaking engagements,where children and adults reached out to her who had similar experiences. Terra eventually went on to publish a children’s book (“God’s Promise to Every Boy and Girl”) to encourage kids to have hope no matter their circumstances.

After years of keeping her past a secret, Terra’s story was public and lifting others up. It also empowered her to share this part of her life with her own children.

“[The play] became part of who I was, and it gave them something to be proud of.”
Sorority sisters, other friends from college and her community, and even high school friends, came to see the play. Terra said that a lot of them were taken aback because they didn’t know what she had been through.

“I wasn’t moping,” she says of herself as a teenager. “I didn’t show signs of depression or despair.” Her peers in school knew her as someone who had an active school life – Terra was in the student government association, played sports, and was in the choir.

Terra at the 2015 "A Night at the Theatre" fundraiser for Housing Families First.

Terra at the 2015 “A Night at the Theatre” fundraiser for Housing Families First.

“I stayed busy so I didn’t have to stay focused on the things that were broken in my personal life,” she explains.

I’ve always felt led to give back because I felt that so much was given to me.

Her friends expressed shock to hear her real story, but told her they were proud of her courage to tell it.

“I felt like it would be wrong for me to not share the story of how you can overcome,” she says.

A life of faith and purpose

Terra raised 4 children with the values Ms. Mary instilled in her so many years ago. “My life’s journey is a living testament of how even in the face of uncertainty that my hope and faith would lead me to an expected end with purpose and peace,” Terra said. “That is what I want my children always take with them.”

Terra has 22 years experience in the financial industry where she continues to seek opportunities to help others struggling with homelessness. She’s given several financial literacy workshops at Housing Families First and serves on the organization’s board.

“I’ve always felt led to give back because I felt that so much was given to me,” she says. “I am grateful to have a career that allows me to serve in the community and promote financial literacy.”

Taking your Lessons from Bumps in the Road

There are turning points in every life, and Alesha can trace everything back to these. Some, she knows now she could have controlled and some she couldn’t. But all of them were crucial moments that she’s found a way to learn from, no matter how difficult the lesson.

At 16, Alesha left her Chesterfield home, where she lived with her mother, stepfather, and younger brothers. She’d spent her childhood growing up too fast—suffering physical and sexual abuse, navigating addict parents, and taking care of her baby brothers. “It was a rough life,” she repeats quietly when she thinks back. “A rough life.”

God never puts anything on you that you can’t handle.

She was pregnant, scared, and determined to get out of a place she could no longer stand to be in. But with no one to talk to or trust, it was difficult to know where to go. Now at 27, Alesha can look back and see that it was the lack of a support system in her life that kept her drifting for so long. A decade of moving in and out of often dangerous living situations, more pregnancies, the struggle to feed her and her children, left her with a desperation to have her own place.

Trying to swim upstream

There was a moment when her life seemed to be changing course, although it wasn’t in the direction she’d hoped. Alesha was able to secure a place for herself and her children in Hillside Court, a public housing complex on Richmond’s South Side. It seemed like a godsend at first—more space, privacy, and a chance to get on her feet while she tried to find a job.

But those old vulnerabilities crept in, and with no one to help guide her, the young mother of four succumbed to a lifestyle of substance abuse. She found escape everywhere, waiting for her around every corner, and before she knew it she found herself resembling the kind of parent she had tried to hard to run from.

I wouldn’t wish having children being taken away on my own worst enemy.

When Child Protective Services (CPS) caught on, Alesha’s children were taken from her and put into safer homes for the time being. The depression that set in after this was crippling, but the sensation of hitting rock bottom did a surprising thing—it motivated her to start climbing.

There was a new baby on the way, and she knew that the first order of business was to make sure she distanced herself from Hillside Court. Alesha fled, leaving most of her things behind. “I knew that if I couldn’t find anywhere to go that CPS would take my newborn, and…no. That wasn’t happening.”

Increasingly, she’d been relying on her mental health counselor for guidance, clinging to the one person who seemed like she was on Alesha’s side. The counselor recommended Hilliard House, where Alesha started for the first time in her life to feel like she had stable ground underneath her. With a room of her own, childcare options, help with transportation and job searches, she felt herself being boosted to her next step: getting a steady job, which would lead to a place of her own.

Solid footing and a new perspective

Just a few months later, and the whole world has changed for Alesha and her cheerful, laid-back little baby.

The two live together in a two-bedroom apartment. It’s a quiet community, and her whole voice changes when she talks about it. She describes the floorplan with pride, pointing out that now that she has full kitchen, she’s going to learn how to cook.

Alesha’s growing skill with food is being cultivated at her new job, a center that provides daycare and recreation. She started at the welcome desk and then picked up some more hours in the kitchen, where she learned how to bake cookies and cakes. Soon, she was taking a lot of pride in the sweets she was helping to create for the children and families that came to the center.

Making other children happy has a lot to do with her next goal, giving her children her best self again.

“I wouldn’t wish having children being taken away on my own worst enemy,” Alesha says firmly. “But God never puts anything on you that you can’t handle. And maybe it was a good thing, maybe I needed to take this time to get myself together and find myself again, so that I can be the best mom that I can.”

She counts down the days until she’s eligible to bring her children back into her home, and she runs down the list of each child’s personalities. It’s only a couple of months away, and she can’t wait until they see their new apartment. “I want them to grow up and have the life that I never had. I want them to have strong lives and be the best they can be,” she affirms.

Her main objective for her kids is to make sure they have the support they need to always have a place they can call home. “I want to teach them to know that when you see someone homeless, that could be you. Whether you’re rich or poor, things can change in the blink of an eye. I don’t want that to happen to them.”

I want them to grow up and have the life that I never had.

Alesha’s a believer in people, now, and the importance of having others to ask for advice, to connect you to resources, and to just listen to you when you need someone to talk to. She wants to be that person for her kids, and she’s going to do whatever it takes to see that they have a mother, a home, and the stability she never did.

When they come to their own crossroads in their lives, Alesha plans to be there to help them all through.

A Mother and Son Put Homelessness in the Rearview

After her husband left, Tanya* struggled to pay the bills on her own. Eventually, she and her 12-year-old son moved in with her mother. She had a new job working with Medicaid, and her outspoken and outgoing son returned to a football camp out of state for the summer. While he was gone, Tanya and her mother had an argument and Tanya had no choice but to leave. She had nowhere to go, and found herself living out of her car. Her son was unaware of what his mom was going through.

Tanya shared what was happening with her cousin, who asked why she wasn’t staying in a shelter. She didn’t realize that was an option for someone in her situation. Her cousin gave her the number to Commonwealth Catholic Charities, which was within walking distance of her job. Shortly thereafter, she found herself going through the intake process for placement into a shelter, but there was no space available at the time.

A case manager from Housing Families First contacted her the next Monday, and by Tuesday, after spending two weeks in her car, Tanya was in the shelter.

“When you think of a shelter, you think it would be like the worst experience ever. I actually had a great time there,” Tanya says. It was nothing like she’d imagined or the grim place with cots shown on TV shows. It was the opposite. She had her own room, there were freshly made meals, and she soon met other people (and even reconnected with some she already knew from her neighborhood growing up). “It was very welcoming.”

When you think of a shelter, you think it would be like the worst experience ever. I actually had a great time there.

Originally, Tanya had been told that going from the shelter to her own residence would take up to two months; but it was only eight days before she was able to move into a townhouse in the same school district her son’s school was in. She had furniture and other items from her last home in storage, so she didn’t need assistance with furnishing the new place.

By the time her son was home from camp, Tanya was moving in. She couldn’t bring herself to tell him what had happened to her while he was away, but he was happy that he could return to the same school and liked the new place.

Four months in, and Tanya is approaching the date where she’ll be paying full rent by herself. At first, Housing Families First provided financial assistance, but now the bills are manageable for Tanya.

“I love my place,” she’s eager to say.

Tanya still hears from her case manager with Housing Families First every week—the weekly check-in helps everyone stay on the same page about what Tanya needs, most recently to let her know that she was eligible to get a basket of food for Thanksgiving. She’s grateful for the case manager for keeping in touch. Tanya considers herself someone who is motivated to accomplish the things she wants to do, but she is good at reaching out when she needs to. The case manager has been sending work opportunities on a daily basis and even set up an interview after Tanya mentioned she’s interested in a second job.

I love my place.

Recently, Tanya and her son drove by the shelter, and she used the experience to talk to him about where she had been that summer. He was surprised and asked to go inside and see what it was like, but Tanya decided to not to show him that day. Instead, she continues to focus on what’s next for her and her son.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the families we serve.

Join the Story: Introducing Friends & Neighbors

When tragedy strikes, most of us can rest assured that someone somewhere is baking a casserole. Friends gather to find out how they can intervene. Go Fund Me pages are launched. Flowers are sent. All to show the grieving that we care.

On a larger scale, in times of crisis, cities often band together in solidarity. We tell ourselves that we are at our best during these times, when we can depend on each other to get through a difficult period.

After all, that’s what friends and neighbors are for, isn’t it? We all benefit when we invest in each other.

But what happens if you’re alone? What if there are no friends or neighbors checking in to see how they can help? What if your options have run out and you and your children have nowhere to go?

You might not know it, but somewhere in your daily routine is a family who is experiencing homelessness. It might be the woman working overtime at the grocery check-out. It might be the student in your child’s class who is failing because he’s hungry.

The signs just aren’t always obvious as someone panhandling or sleeping on a park bench. The images that come to mind when we think about homelessness are often misleading. We think they are different from us somehow. And all too often we discount them because we don’t see them.

You’ve got more in common than you know.

Most of the adults referred to us are parents who, like you, are devoted to their children.

Contrary to popular belief, most are employed and work around the clock at low-paying jobs to support their families. But making ends meet is tough when 30% of your income is spent on rent, which is the case for almost half of all Richmond renters. Even if you could afford the rent, finding a landlord willing to rent to someone who has experienced homelessness is next to impossible.

As a result, hundreds of Richmond children find themselves sleeping at emergency shelters, or living out of cars, motels and other temporary spaces. They struggle in school and suffer from mental and physical health challenges. Many drop out before graduation, perpetuating the cycle and stigma of homelessness.

Richmonders just like you need their friends and neighbors to help them get through. But, it’s easy to turn away from what we cannot see. That’s why, starting this month, we will bring you stories spotlighting Richmond Friends & Neighbors impacted by homelessness. You’ll meet families who have experienced homelessness first-hand and members of the community who dedicate their nights and weekends to find permanent housing and the support families need to thrive.

We invite you to read their stories and share them so that others will learn more about family homelessness. Our friends and neighbors are counting on you. Will you join their story?

A Night at the Theatre Supports Housing Families First

A Night at the Theatre, a signature fundraiser held at the Altria Theater on February 25th, gave over 150 guests the chance to hang out with Hollywood icons and help Housing Families First move families out of homelessness. Many thanks to our sponsors for making the event a success!

NACE Richmond
Richmond Magazine
Virginia Community Development Corporation
Ipanema Café
General Cigar Company, Inc.
United Healthcare
CSC Leasing Company
Data Illuminated, LLC
Kanady & Quinn, P.C.
Spotts Fain
ThompsonMcMullan P.C.
Wawa Foundation
Virginia Community Capital
Minuteman Press of Ashland

$50,000 Campaign A Success

We wanted to share our sincere thanks to everyone who has supported our recent fundraising campaign for our Hilliard House shelter. Because of the support of our donors, volunteers and a few well-received media stories, we’re pleased to report that we’ve reached our goal! We are overjoyed at the response of our community of supporters to be able to raise the much-needed funds in such a short time.

As many of you know, these funds were needed to meet a short-term funding gap due to our shift in focus from transitional housing to emergency shelter that has happened over the course of the past two years. While we were quick to make the shift to a model that is more sustainable and successful for those we help, public funding sources were a bit delayed. Now, thanks to your support, we are in a strong financial position to continue to supply 25% of all family shelter beds in the greater Richmond area now and in the future.

To all our long-time supporters who made a generous gift, thank you so much for your continued generosity. And, to all our new donors who contributed for the first time, thank you and welcome to the family.

Melissa Anderson
Kipanna Antiques
Erin Monica Baker
Mary Blevins
Tambatha Bowser
Demetra Brewer
Sarah Brockwell
Julia Brownell
John Burton
Nancy Campbell
Juan Chua
Vernon and Judy Colbert
Tracy Coogle
Richie Cumbea
Richard Cunningham
Towanda Darden of EYPC
Melissa Dart
James Deady
Tawana Demery
Robert Dessimoz
Josephine Diggs
Cynthia Evans
Bob and Deborah Farlow
Theresa Finnegan
Sherry Fox
Mary Garrahan
Eden Glenn
Bridgett Goodwin Hurley
Lori Gregory
Dennis Haynes
Martha Hebert
Terri Hedgepeth
Kristen Heiderstadt
Stephanie Hill
Mark Hilldrup
Sarah Holland
Deborah Howard
Chris Howell
Bingquan Hu
Dianne and Richard Humprheys
Eddie and Terri Iguina
Terra Jones
Wanda Joseph
Amanda Karpowich
Aminah Knight
Lisa Kremlin
Ina Lammers
Donald and Debbie LaVecchia
Deborah Mangolas
T. Alan Minor
Melissa Murphy
Jessica Nicholson
Amanda Noe
Laurie Noe
Erin Osborne
Candace Osdene
Mark Pace
Adam Pandel
Dominick and Chris Pastore
Suzi Richardson
Elizabeth Ringas
Paul Robb
Mildred Sauer
Mary Catherine and Gary Savage
Teri Scott
Ruth Sechler
Sherry Sink
Paul and Nancy Springman
Jackie Stevens
Mr. and Mrs. Donald S. Stewart
Alwakco Sumler of EYPC
Paula Titus
Tracey van Marcke
Dianne Vann
Beth Vann-Turnbull
James Williams
Mary Williams
Donna Wilson
Helen B. Wilson
Carl Woodson
Cindy Wray
L. J. Yankowsky
Mary Ann Yankowsky

Organizations and Businesses

Anonymous Gift through The Community Foundation
Corporate Furniture Services of VA
Creative Blends Fragrance
Dominion Power Matching Program
Fairmount Christian Church
Henrico County
McGeorge Toyota
St. Bridget Catholic Church
TowneBank Employees – Richmond Area Branches
TowneBank Foundation Matching Program
Virginia Credit Union Matching Program

Photos From Our Open House

“A Night at the Theatre” Celebrates the Golden Age of Hollywood, Supports Local Families Experiencing Homelessness

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RICHMOND, Va. ­ Cary Grant slept in alleyways. Harry Houdini panhandled. Debbie Reynolds lived out of her car. Sylvester Stallone slept in a bus station. Halle Berry sought refuge at a shelter.

Homelessness has many faces. A few have become household names, but far more are ordinary families struggling to find a safe place to live right here in Richmond. On any given night, more than 100 children are sleeping in area homeless shelters. Others live in motels, out of cars, or doubled up with relatives or friends.

Richmonders can help families experiencing homelessness by attending “A Night at the Theatre: Celebrating the Golden Age of Hollywood,” at Altria Theater from 7­-10pm on February 25, 2016. Proceeds will benefit Housing Families First, formerly Hilliard House.

“A Night at the Theatre” is an Oscar pre­party not to be missed. Guests will walk the red carpet and hobnob with stars of stage and screen from the late 1920s to the early 1960s. The event, presented by Richmond Magazine and NACE Richmond, includes a variety of live music, an impressive silent auction and a sneak preview of the organization’s first­ever commercial. Old Hollywood­inspired dress is strongly encouraged.

Full price tickets are $100, but a limited number of tickets can currently be purchased at the earlybird rate of $75 at

“It may seem early to be talking about the Oscars, but homelessness persists all year round,” Housing Families First’s executive director, Beth Vann­Turnbull said. “The money we raise will create the stability families need to thrive.”

Housing Families First rebranded last year to reflect its mission to find permanent housing first and then continue to work with community partners to keep families stably housed.

Poor work histories, prior evictions, bad credit, mental health concerns, and felony backgrounds often prevent families from meeting housing requirements. Housing Families First helps parents secure manage finances, develop healthy coping skills and address past trauma.

“Thanks to the support of our donors and sponsors, we have been able to move more than 225 parents and children out of homelessness and into permanent housing this year,” Vann­Turnbull said. “We’re counting on this event to help us raise enough to help more families in 2016.”

In addition to support from Richmond Magazine and NACE Richmond, sponsors include Virginia Community Development Corporation, BB&T, CSC Leasing, ThompsonMcMullan P.C., Virginia Housing Development Authority and Photoelectric.

To buy tickets to “A Night at the Theatre: Celebrating the Golden Age of Hollywood,” or for more information about Housing Families First, visit

Housing Families First on CBS6’s “Virginia This Morning”

Beth Vann-Turnbull, Executive Director at Housing Families First, and Jacqueline Patterson visited the studio to talk about the upcoming “A Night At The Ski Lodge” Fundraiser.

Housing Families First, previously known at Hilliard House, works to provide families experiencing homelessness the tools to achieve housing stability.

Jacqueline had experienced homelessness firsthand, and was able to successfully complete the program through Housing Families First and is now stable and in housing.

Housing Families First is hosting their “A Night At The Ski Lodge” Fundraiser on Thursday, January 22nd from 7pm to 10pm at The Boathouse at Sunday Park, located at 4602 Millridge Parkway in Midlothian.