As I reflect on the achievements of 2017 and look with anticipation for the opportunities to advance our mission in 2018: providing families with decent and affordable housing solutions, I remind myself that progress is not always linear.  We will have some ups and downs.

From fiscal year 2009 through 2013, our affiliate served 125 families through construction of new homes, rehabilitation of vacant properties, and repair of owner- occupied homed homes.  We continuously checked in with our strategic plan developed in 2014 to assure that we stayed on track.   For the period of FY 2014 through FY 2017, we served 149 families in the Metro Maryland area.  Internationally, we served 59 families through our Tithe program.  We are now in the last year of our five-year strategic plan and we are optimistic about adding an additional 40 families who will benefit from our work.

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Our ReStores are approaching nearly $2 million in annual revenue.  In addition to that, the ReStores, located in Rockville and Silver Spring divert over 1,500 tons of material from the area landfill when they accept items for resale in the ReStores.  Another good use of our ReStore trucks occurs with our partnerships with big box retailers.  In most cases, some large retails donate items to ReStore because of limited space or policies that prevent them for selling returned items.  Furniture or household items are sold at a discount in one of our ReStores.  Food or perishable items are dropped off at a shelter.

All of this good work requires orchestration and dedication.  We are fortunate to have a dedicated Board of Directors that provides governance and strategic oversight.  We have an amazing staff that that assures that the plans are activated.  Our work is particularly focused on housing solutions for working families, seniors, and veterans.   We all understand the goal: not a “hand out” but a “hand up.”

And, like most not-for-profit organizations, we rely heavily on volunteers. Volunteers inspire us because they show up every day without the expectation of anything other than to help us in our mission.  And “help us” they do.  We host nearly 5,000 unique volunteers every year.  They come to us from area businesses, from faith groups, and from fraternal organizations.  Volunteers are eager to join us in our work, because they care deeply about members of our community who need safe and decent affordable housing.

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Like everyone, we have many challenges to the success of our work.  And yet, I am confident that with the support of individuals like you, we will continue to stay true to our mission:

Build strength, stability, and self-reliance through provision of shelter.  

 Wishing you great joy and good health in 2018…