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St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Residences receive needed updates

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Twelve units at the St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Residences in Woodbridge had a recent makeover thanks to diocesan Catholic Charities, HomeAid Northern Virginia and homebuilder Toll Brothers and its partners. The $96,000 builder cost renovations took three months to complete. Improvements also were made to the children’s activity center, which included new flooring and a refrigerator.

Improvements to the residences included updated bathrooms, drywall repair, new flooring and updated kitchens with granite countertops widened to allow for an eating space for families.

HomeAid Northern Virginia organized and led the project, convening homebuilders with nonprofits such as Catholic Charities to renovate housing facilities, according to Shelley Ducker, communications consultant for HomeAid.

“The structural renovations and cosmetic improvements make the St. Margaret’s residence more welcoming, comfortable, safe and ‘homey’ for the women and children who are gaining security and stability through the transitional housing program,” said Kristyn Burr, executive director of HomeAid Northern Virginia. “With HomeAid Northern Virginia, Toll Brothers and our construction trade partners covering more than 70 percent of the total renovation costs, Catholic Charities can stretch its budget and focus on supportive programs and services rather than building expenses.”

Currently six of the units are occupied. The residents stayed at a hotel for two weeks during the renovations. Their furniture was stored on-site thanks to Toll Brothers providing a storage container.

Staged Interior provided new furniture from its Chantilly warehouse for the six vacant apartments.

“For our families who have not had an easy time of it, maybe living in emergency housing, they got to come home to these fresh units that just look stunning,” said Veronica Roth, transitional housing program director.

Roth said it was hard to say how many other things were done above and beyond the scope of the required work. “If doors were broken, they were replaced. If they saw it, they handled it,” she said. “It was like having magic around.”

St. Margaret of Cortona was dedicated by Bishop Paul S. Loverde in 2009. Since the project began, 66 families, including 151 children, have lived there.

Applicants must demonstrate that they currently are residing at a shelter or safe house; be a family consisting of one or both parents with children; have proof of a bank account or the ability to bank; undergo a background check and be clear of any sexual or violent crimes; have or be willing to get a General Education Degree (GED); work a full-time job and be able to show proof of employment; and be clear of any substance abuse or in counseling to eliminate it.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018