It started as a simple way for homebuilders to give back to the community and generate some positive PR. Instead of writing a check, the they would build homes for the homeless.

The program gelled into a permanent charity; building and renovating 54 homeless shelters and creating 1,100 new beds across Orange County, California over the past 27 years. Eventually, the housing program served as the blueprint for a national organization.

HomeAid America now has chapters in 17 cities and contributed to the renovation or construction of 410 shelters worth more than $200 million. About 225,000 homeless people have spent at least one night in a HomeAid shelter, said Peter Simons, a former Beazer Homes division president and chief executive of Newport Beach-based HomeAid America. “Pretty much all the nationals have built a HomeAid project,” Simons said, referring to big builders. “It’s pretty much a builder charity.”

The organization allows homebuilders and remodelers an opportunity to do what they do best (build and renovate homes) to help make a difference in the lives of the temporarily homeless.

The Puget Sound chapter joined the HomeAid mission in December 2014 and is making a notable impact on homelessness in our region. Prior to joining HomeAid, we were affiliated with the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties as a nonprofit called the Care Foundation. That organization disbanded. Because our board’s vision and mission are the same, in late 2014 we joined HomeAid America to become HomeAid Puget Sound. At this point, we have built 14 family housing projects, offering over 63,000 bed nights, representing more than $10 million of in-kind contributions of labor and materials from the building industry to serve the region’s homeless.

To learn more about HomeAid America’s national efforts or see what HomeAid Puget Sound and other chapters across the country are doing, please visit www.homeaid.org.