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Going Casual for a Cause

Nearly 10,000 people and 130-plus organizations participate in Jeans Day 2012 to help end homelessness.

Participants in Jeans Day 2012 who attended the ceremony held at the government center.

Participants in Jeans Day 2012 who attended the ceremony held at the government center. Photo by Deb Cobb.

Nearly 10,000 residents representing 130 businesses, Fairfax County agencies, schools and organizations pulled on their favorite jeans Friday, Dec. 14 for the second annual Jeans Day—a powerful community initiative that aims to “Put the ZIP on Homelessness” through building awareness and fundraising.

“This is a fun way to dress, but a serious challenge for our community,” said Sharon Bulova, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors during the Jeans Day 2012 ceremony held at the government center.

Bulova noted the county’s longstanding commitment to the issue by establishing the Office to Prevent and End Homeless (OPEH) in 2008. OPEH supports the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness which engages nonprofits, businesses, faith-based communities and county agencies in its efforts to implement the 10-year plan, which focuses on rapid re-housing and prevention by increasing the availability of permanent affordable housing.

“It’s not okay to have people living in tents or in their cars. . . . We have it within our power to end homelessness as we know it in Fairfax County, and Jeans Day is just one of many great ways we are doing just that,” Bulova said.

The day of community give-back was facilitated by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce (Fairfax Chamber), Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness, The Connection Newspapers and Apple Federal Credit Union. Participating organizations allowed employees or members to wear jeans to work Friday in exchange for a $5 contribution to the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent & End Homelessness.

Facts about Homelessness in Fairfax County

On Jan. 25, 2012, there were 1,534 people who were literally homeless in the Fairfax-Falls Church Community. Six hundred and ninety-seven of them were single individuals and 837 were people in families.

During the past year, the number of people who were homeless in the Fairfax-Falls Church Community declined by one percent (15 people) from the number counted in January 2011. Persons in families decreased by 5.2 percent (46 people) compared to 2011. The number of single adults increased by 4.5 percent (30 adults) compared to 2011.

The majority of the homeless are families and many work full time:

Close to 60 percent of homeless persons are in families.

More than 75 percent of children in homeless families are under the age of 11.

Nearly 60 percent of adults in homeless families work.

Lack of affordable housing is the main cause of homelessness.

Monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,134.

A family must earn $22.25 an hour to afford a one-bedroom apartment.

Eighty-two percent of homeless families earn less than $14.24 an hour.

More information about homelessness in Fairfax County, and the partnership to end it, is available at http://www.fairfa...

“Jeans Day is an especially vibrant example of the meaningful impact we make when businesses, non-profits and government come together to raise awareness about an important issue and take action to help prevent it,” said Fairfax Chamber President and CEO Jim Corcoran. “The chamber and business community are proud to be a part of this powerful initiative."

Corcoran, who typically wears business suits as president of the Fairfax Chamber, said he went into a detailed explanation earlier that morning about his casual attire when he was speaking to a group of high-powered business executives. “The reason I went into such detail was to save my job,” he joked. “Please, don’t anyone suggest wearing a skirt next year.”

“By God, if we have to wear a skirt next year, we’ll call it a kilt,” joked Michael L. O’Reilly, Chairman of the Governing Board of Fairfax-Falls Church Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness. O’Reilly told the crowd that the Fairfax community is especially passionate and committed to the cause of ending homelessness. “For there to be one family, one child who is homeless is simply unacceptable.”

Dean Klein, the executive director of OPEH, said he was energized by the success of this year’s effort. “We have heard so much goodwill and positive feedback about our effort this year. The number of participants really is amazing and we are so pleased we have been able to increase our reach and impact this year. We have had such amazing collaborations from each sector of our community, including business, nonprofit, government, schools, faith and individuals.”

About the sponsors:

The Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce (Fairfax Chamber), the Voice of Business in Northern Virginia™, represents more than 625 member companies with nearly 500,000 employees throughout the region. Since 1925, the chamber has been working to build a strong business community by providing unparalleled access to business development and thought leadership opportunities; professional development and mentoring; business advocacy and strategic community partnerships. Learn more at www.fairfaxchambe.... See more Jeans Day 2012 photos at the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce flickr page: http://www.flickr...

In 2008, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors established a 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness and the Office to Prevent and End homelessness (OPEH) to manage, coordinate and monitor day-to-day implementation of the community’s plan. A governing board governs the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness and, along with OPEH, engages community partners from nonprofits, businesses, the faith-based community, and county agencies in its efforts to implement the 10-year plan. More information is available at www.fairfaxcounty...

The Connection Newspapers’ award-winning group of 15 weekly newspapers and online sites in Northern Virginia reaches more than 170,000 home and business readers every week. Last year, The Connection won the Virginia Press Association Award for Journalistic Integrity and Community Service for coverage of homelessness. The Connection provides targeted marketing tailored to individual business objectives, including print, web and social media. Visit www.ConnectionNew.... Free digital subscriptions are available at www.connectionnew...

Through a lifelong partnership with anyone touched by education, Apple Federal Credit Union has been helping members achieve their dreams by offering competitive financial solutions, with dedicated personal service, since 1956 in Fairfax County. Apple has 21 branch locations in NOVA (more than any other Credit Union), access to 53,000-plus ATMs nationwide and offers a full suite of mobile solutions. Apple ranks in the Top 100 Credit Unions nationally in terms of asset size.

“In Fairfax County, it’s easy to forget that there are homeless families here, homeless children in the schools, and that many people who are homeless here are actually working, but don’t make nearly enough money to afford housing,” said The Connection Publisher Mary Kimm. “The Connection is committed to raising awareness of homelessness and the need to provide permanent shelter, and to recognizing the good works of individuals and businesses in Northern Virginia.”

Participating businesses, non-profits, civic organizations, and Fairfax County government offices and agencies include:

Alliance Bank

Apple Federal Credit Union

Asian American Chamber

BalletNova Center

BB&T

Brain Injury Services, Inc.

Burdette Smith & Bish LLC

Centreville Eye Care Center

City of Fairfax Regional Library

Congregation Olam Tikvah

Connection Newspapers

CPS Professional Services

Cultural Care Au Pair

Dominion Virginia Power (Springfield)

DSS, Office of Special Education Instruction, Assessment and ESY

E&G Group

Ernst & Young

FACETS

Fairfax Church of Christ

Fairfax County Attorneys Office

Fairfax County Chairman's Office

Fairfax County Department of Administration for Human Services

Fairfax County Department of Code Compliance

Fairfax County Department of Family Services

Fairfax County Department of Information Technology

Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood & Community Services

Fairfax County Department of Planning & Zoning

Fairfax County Department of Purchasing

Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration

Fairfax County Dept of Housing

Fairfax County DPWES Land Acquisition Division

Fairfax County DSWCR

Fairfax County Family Services

Fairfax County Government DAHS

Fairfax County Government Department of Human Resources

Fairfax County Government

Fairfax County Health Department

Fairfax County Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court

Fairfax County Office of County Executive

Fairfax County Office of Elections

Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management

Fairfax County Office of Braddock District Supervisor, John C. Cook

Fairfax County Office of Dranesville Supervisor, John W. Foust

Fairfax County Office of Hunter Mill District Supervisor, Catherine Hudgins

Fairfax County Office for Women Domestic & Sexual Violence Services

Fairfax County Office of Public Private Partnerships

Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness

Fairfax County Police Department

Fairfax County Retirement Administration Agency

Fairfax CSB

Fairfax Presbyterian Church

Fairfax Villa

Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board

Falls Church Housing and Human Services

FCPL Pohick Regional Library

Fairfax County Public Schools

FCPS After-School Program

FCPS Fairview Elementary

FCPS Fine Arts Office

FCPS Hayfield

FCPS Homeless Liaison

FCPS IT Service Desk

FCPS Parent Resource Center

FCPS Transportation Offices

FCPS Westbriar Elementary

FCPS Westgate Elementary

FCPS Due Process and Eligibility

FFXCO, Dept. of Tax Administration

First Christian Church, Falls Church

First Virginia Community Bank

FXCO Dept. Purchasing

Good Shepherd Housing & Family Services

Graham Road Elementary

Griffin-Owens and Associates

Group Z, Inc.

GSA

GSHFS

Helios HR

Hidden Creek CC

Hilltop Cleaners

Holland & Knight LLP

Homewood Suites Dulles South

Information Technology

IT Solutions, LLC

Keller Williams Realty Reston/Herndon

Kositzka, Wicks & Company

Lambros Goldsmiths

Law Office of Margaret A. O'Reilly, PC

Leadership Fairfax

Louise Archer Elementary School

M&T Bank

Marshall High School

McGuireWoods LLP

Nativity School

Northern Virginia Family Service

Northern Virginia Mediation Service

Office of Braddock District Supervisor, John C. Cook

Office of Senator Mark R. Warner

Office of the County Attorney

Office of the Fairfax County Executive

Office to Prevent and End Homelessness

Our Daily Bread, Inc.

Parent Resource Center

Pathway Homes

Professor Miners Class GCH 411

PRS, Inc.

Queenb Creative, LLC

RE/MAX Executives

Reston Association

Rotary Club of Centreville & Chantilly

Rotary Club of Falls Church

Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church

Shelter House, Inc.

Springfield Beauty Academy

Springfield Estates Elementary School

St. Katherine Paideia Preschool

St. Mary Orthodox Church

Steve Gladis Leadership Partners

Study Group of Northern VA Women CPAs

Symphony Financial

The Arc of Northern Virginia

The FCPS Parent Resource Center

The ILEX Group

The O'Reilly Law Firm

TRAINING SOLUTIONS, Inc.

TRAK Services

Tysons Corner Center

UUCF

Virginia Commerce Bank

Virginia Cooperative Extension

Vy Nails llc.

Westwood College

Willow House Jewelry by Sara Blaine

Workhouse Arts Center

WSP Environment & Energy