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F.C.’s Case Design ‘Cares’ Program Helps Homeless

Local Company Gives Homestretch Kitchens a Facelift

Five homeless families living in a Falls Church Homestretch transitional housing facility on Rt. 29 received some much-needed kitchen facelifts earlier this month thanks to Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.’s “Case Cares” initiative.925casegroup

 

Local Company Gives Homestretch Kitchens a Facelift

Five homeless families living in a Falls Church Homestretch transitional housing facility on Rt. 29 received some much-needed kitchen facelifts earlier this month thanks to Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.’s “Case Cares” initiative.

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FALLS CHURCH FAMILIES who received kitchen makeovers were all smiles, while hanging out with Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. team members. (Photo: Courtesy Christopher Fay)

The company’s ongoing charitable project was established in 2007 to give back to neighboring communities within the D.C. metro region, and has since established partnerships with the American Red Cross, Hands on DC, Habitat for Humanity and the American Diabetes Association, to name a few.

Case Design President Bruce Case said the relationship between his team and the non-profit Homestretch has been especially relevant, given the opportunity to put his workers’ carpentry skills to use for a worthwhile cause.

“It aligned with what we’re interested in where we could provide skilled craftsmen. It’s what we do as a remodeling company, and as far as the reason for choosing Falls Church, it was a way to give back to a community that’s given to us,” said Case.

Case Design’s Falls Church branch is one of two Northern Virginia locations, the other being Chantilly, and there is also a neighboring office in Bethesda.

An ideal match for the Case program, Homestretch, which is based in Falls Church on S. Washington Street, gives homeless families in Fairfax County the tools they need to become self-sufficient – one of those being their own apartment. Tenants are encouraged to cook their own food and make a temporary home for themselves until they graduate the program.

With limited funding, kitchen remodeling is considered a luxury for Homestretch, which survives for the most part on donations. All the furniture and appliances within its 60-70 housing units have made their way there through charitable contributions. Not to mention, with only two maintenance men working nonstop to the homes, interior makeovers are beyond their capability.

“These guys are already working a fair amount, and the time and money it would cost to remodel isn’t available. That’s why this has been such a fantastic gift for Case Design to do what they’ve done,” said Christopher Fay, executive director of Homestretch.

It was out with the old and in with the new as 20 Case Design team members spent a recent Saturday tearing out and replacing the five neediest apartment units’ cabinets and counter tops, many of which had considerable wear and tear from the high traffic of turnover tenants. One resident, a single mother of three, was shocked when she arrived home to a brand-new kitchen.

“[They did] a wonderful job. When I was called and told my kitchen would be worked on, I figured they’d just be doing the outside of my cabinets, but I was completely surprised when I got home and it was a whole new kitchen,” said 34-year-old Mervat Alwan, who’s lived in the apartment for a year.

She also noted that as a mother who’s constantly cleaning up after her children and cooking in the kitchen, it meant a lot for her.

Though Bruce Case himself wasn’t present for the remodel, he said he “heard it was pretty emotional” from his team members who were on site that day, many of whom invited their kids and friends along to help out. Quite the eager observers, families receiving the remodel weren’t the only ones touched by the team effort.

“It’s mainly volunteer time from our team and our employees really do have a great time doing this. They get pumped up about it so they even bring people with them,” said Case, who added that so many volunteers showed up for the Homestretch project that not all of them were able to squeeze into the small-sized kitchens to help out.

Adding a personal touch to the renovation, volunteers took it upon themselves to clean out all the kitchen appliances as well. Fay was impressed by the added effort, though perhaps it was Alwan who took the most notice.

“Everything has been cleaned and there wasn’t any dirt or bugs left behind,” said Alwan, who originally expected to come home to a bit of a construction site. “You couldn’t even tell they had been there if it wasn’t for the new kitchen.”

Since most donors prefer direct service, such as buying backpacks for school children, Fay said larger projects are often left up to the non-profit to finance. Fay said he hopes more for-profit companies will adopt Homestretch, giving the charitable organization access to “tremendous cost savings.”

“We have about 90-100 families and a constant turnover, which means we’re always making repairs and having to replace carpeting,” said Fay.

Estimates concluded Case Design’s pro-bono work would have cost Homestretch somewhere in the $30,000 range. Noting how well the remodel went, Case said that he and Homestretch are happy and in discussions regarding future projects.

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