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By: Kendall Jones on September 5th, 2018

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AEC Cares Gears up for projectHouston to Renovate Santa Maria Hostel

ConstructConnect News | Community Outreach

A month from today, more than 100 volunteers will gather together to renovate and refurbish the Santa Maria Hostel’s Jacquelyn House in Houston, Texas. The women’s substance abuse treatment center was chosen for projectHouston, AEC Cares’ eighth annual blitz build, to provide a much-needed makeover to one of their facilities.

AEC Cares is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, founded in 2011, and actively supported by ConstructConnect, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Hanley Wood. Each year, with the help of sponsors and volunteers in the AEC industry, AEC Cares holds a one-day blitz build for a deserving organization that supports their local community. The Houston Chapter of the AIA played a crucial role in the planning and preparation of this year’s build.

The Santa Maria Hostel is the largest multi-site residential and outpatient treatment center in Texas and has been serving the community since the 1950s. They provide a wide range of treatment programs and recovery services as part of their mission to “empower women and their families to lead healthy, productive and self-fulfilling lives.” Last year alone, Santa Maria provided services to 4,640 women and children.

In addition to providing residential treatment and supportive housing for women and their kids, the Jacquelyn House is also home to the Veteran Initiative Empowering Women’s Stability, Skills and Self-Determination (VIEWS) program.

The Build

The one-day blitz build at Santa Maria’s Jacquelyn House will help to create a warmer and more peaceful space for recovering women and their families. Renovations for projectHouston will include painting walls, installing new floors, replacing lighting and providing new furniture in the dining room and two group counseling rooms at Jacquelyn House.

The outdoor green space will see existing furniture replaced with new picnic tables, outdoor tables and chairs. Volunteers will also build modular planters and plant a small garden. The playground area will be landscaped with mulch and plants, and new playground equipment and a shade sail will be installed.

“We’re looking forward to rolling up our sleeves with local architects, engineers, GC’s, product manufacturers and other volunteers to renovate the Santa Maria Hostel in Houston. Together, we’ll help to give these ladies and their children a brighter, more attractive environment in which to build a better life,” said Laura Marlow, ConstructConnect VP of Strategic Partnerships and AEC Cares Executive Director.

Behind the Scenes

In the months leading up to one-day blitz build, there’s a massive amount of planning and preparation taking place behind the scenes. Everything from selecting a project and assembling a design team to fundraising, procuring building materials and coordinating volunteers has to be completed before any work can begin.

AEC Cares’ annual blitz build wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and hard work of the design team who provided countless hours of pro bono work to make projectHouston a reality. This year’s design team includes members from:

  • amoARCH
  • D.E. Harvey Builders
  • Kirksey Architecture
  • LKB Architecture
  • Powers Brown Architecture
  • Rivers Barden Architects
  • TerraLab Landscape Architects, LLC

AEC Cares also wouldn’t be possible without the critical contributions, both monetary and material, from our wonderful sponsors, including many who have supported the annual blitz build for years. Sponsors for projectHouston include:

  • Andersen Corporation
  • Assemble Systems
  • Design Intelligence
  • Formica
  • Kawneer
  • Mohawk Flooring
  • USG
  • The Vinyl Institute
  • Wells & Kimich
  • YKK AP

Special Thanks to On Center Software and an Anonymous donor who both contributed $10,000 to help fund projectHouston.

About AEC Cares

AEC Cares started back in 2011 when ConstructConnect, the AIA and Hanley Wood teamed up to rebuild five homes in New Orleans destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Past projects include:

  • projectDC (2012) – revitalized the training center at Sasha Bruce YouthWorks
  • projectDenver (2013) – renovated the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless’ Beacon Place shelter
  • projectChicago (2014) – transformed a former school annex for use as the Metropolitan Family Service’s Early Learning and Wellness Center
  • projectAtlanta (2015) – renovated the Covenant House Georgia which serves homeless and at-risk youth
  • projectPhiladelphia (2016) – revitalized several rooms at the Philadelphia Athletic Recreation Center
  • projectOrlando (2017) - upgraded several areas in the women’s center at the Coalition for the Homeless

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, donating materials or volunteering for projectHouston, please visit the AEC Cares website.

About Kendall Jones

Kendall Jones is the Editor in Chief at ConstructConnect. He has been writing about the construction industry for years, covering a wide range of topics from safety and technology to industry news and operating insights.