By actualize,

On Tuesday, June 30th at 6:00 p.m. Carpenter’s Shelter will be hosting an Open House. This is a great opportunity for community members and new volunteers to tour the shelter, learn more about our services and meet our new Executive Director, Shannon Steene.

Carpenter’s staff will take visitors on a guided tour of our facility including the kitchen and residential space. Attendees will get to meet some of our clients and hear first-hand about their struggles with homelessness and how Carpenter’s Shelter is helping them on their road to independence.

Children are welcome at this event.

To RSVP or learn more, please email Peyton Plummer or call (703)-548-7500 x204.

  Category: Blog
  Comments: Comments Off on COMMUNITY OPEN HOUSE

DO MORE 24 – 2015

By actualize,

On Thursday, June 4th the United Way of the National Capital Area is hosting Do More 24, a 24-hour online fundraising event that encourages everyone to donate to non-profit organizations in the National Capital Area.

Carpenter’s Shelter is proud to be among the many non-profit organizations participating in Do More 24. This is more than a fundraiser—it’s your chance to advocate for the homeless in the Alexandria area. Carpenter’s has remained dedicated to serving the City of Alexandria and relies heavily on the donations from members of the community in order to continue to provide vital services to the men, women and children who utilize our services.

Please consider making a donation of $24 or more to our giving page on June 4th to support the work we do and the individuals we serve.

  Category: Blog
  Comments: Comments Off on DO MORE 24 – 2015


By actualize,

Please join us for a Cocktails and Canned Goods party on Tuesday, May 19 from 7-9 pm at the home of Carrie and Josh Keene. It will be a fun garden party where you bring canned goods to donate to the Carpenter’s Shelter pantry, which dwindles in the summer, and enjoy a cocktail while mingling with friends. This adults-only event is hosted by the Circle of HOPE, which is one of our membership opportunities to get more involved with the Shelter.

Circle of HOPE members have a unique opportunity to engage with the Shelter by participating in designated projects where they can bring their children to the Shelter. Circle of HOPE families help stuff easter eggs for the resident’s easter egg hunt, prepare the back to school materials for youth residents, and help make Thanksgiving baskets for former clients. It’s a wonderful opportunity to expose your children to philanthropy in our community and give back as a family.

For more information on the Cocktails and Canned Goods party or to RSVP please contact Carrie Keene at For more information on Circle of HOPE, click here.

  Category: Blog
  Comments: Comments Off on COCKTAILS AND CANNED GOODS


By actualize,

April 2, 2015 – Carpenter’s Shelter Board of Directors announced today that Shannon Steene will join Carpenter’s Shelter as its new Executive Director, effective May 5, 2015. Steene brings almost 20 years of experience working with homeless populations.Steene is no stranger to Alexandria, having served as Executive Director of Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services, during which time the organization received the 2013 Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management and the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Nonprofit of the Year.

Kerry Donley, Chair of the Carpenter’s Shelter search committee said, “We had many excellent candidates, but were particularly impressed by Shannon’s proven track record in using innovative ideas to grow and sustain nonprofit organizations.” Just prior to joining Carpenter’s Shelter, Steene served as the Member Engagement Director for Lutheran Services in America, a national organization of over 300 member nonprofits that address some of the country’s most pressing issues.

Carpenter’s Shelter has served homeless and formerly homeless individuals and families for over 25 years. Since its inception, it has grown to become one of the largest servicers for the homeless in Northern Virginia, serving more than 1,000 adults and children annually. Carpenter’s Shelter has long been recognized for its achievements and innovative approaches to addressing the root causes of homelessness. Today it is a national model for effective strategies and programming to prevent and end homelessness.

“Throughout the interview process I was impressed by the many innovative and forward thinking plans the organization has,” said Steene, “I think we’ll be an excellent fit for one another and I look forward to doing even greater things together.”

“We’re delighted to have Shannon on board; his ideas and energy will only add momentum to an already great organization,” said Matt Sheldon, Carpenter’s Shelter Board Chairman.

  Category: Blog


By actualize,

Carpenter’s Shelter has secured race bibs for the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon on October 25, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Join #TeamCarpenters and help us raise funds and awareness to end homelessness in Northern Virginia!

Why run with us?
  • You can conquer your marathon goal and help end homelessness at the same time!
  • We give you the guaranteed race bib and you have until October to fundraise for Carpenter’s Shelterthrough an easy-to-use online system.
  • You’ll receive bi-monthly team emails packed with injury prevention, training and nutrition tips.
  • You have the option of joining an RCAA-certified coach for your weekend long runs.
  • You can stash your stuff at the finish in a designated tent through our one of our partners and enjoy refreshments and post-race massages.

Interested in joining #TeamCarpenters? Email Peyton Plummer for more information and the registration form.

  Category: Blog
  Comments: Comments Off on 2015 MARINE CORPS MARATHON


By actualize,

Help us raise money for Carpenter’s Shelter on April 22, 2015 as part of Alexandria’s Giving Day, Spring2ACTion! Here’s how you can get involved:

1. Donate! You can schedule a donation in advance that will process on April 22nd or make a donation on the day-of by visiting our fundraising page.

2. Become a Free Agent Fundraiser (FAF) FAFs create their own individual fundraising page for the shelter and invite their friends, family, coworkers, etc. to donate to their page. All fundraisers who raise $500 or more will win 2 tickets to Cook Off. Whether it’s $10 or $100, the gifts can add up and you could be looking at 2 free tickets to Cook-Off on April 26! Follow these steps to become an FAF. The deadline to become a FAF is March 27th.

3. On April 22nd, post on social media and share with your network how you support Carpenter’s Shelter!
Be sure to attend a day-of event around the city as well:
– Visit Sugar Shack to get a free donut on April 22nd with proof of donation (print or email receipt)
– Boutiques Give Back Day – shop at participating Old Town boutiques on April 22nd and a percentage of your purchase will be donated to charity. Remember to mention Carpenter’s Shelter when you check out or hand stores this flyer.
– Visit Holy Cow, Pork Barrel, or Sweet Fire Donnas on April 22nd, mention Carpenter’s Shelter and 0.25 cents of your purchase will go to the Shelter.
– Attend an After-party at Virtue Feed & Grain the night of April 22nd.

To learn more, email Meghan Hendy or click here!

  Category: Blog
  Comments: Comments Off on SPRING2ACTION 2015


By actualize,

On Thursday, March 26th at 6:00 p.m. Carpenter’s Shelter will be hosting an Open House. This is a great opportunity for community members and new volunteers to tour the shelter and learn more about our services. Carpenter’s staff will take visitors on a guided tour of our facility including the kitchen and residential space. Attendees will get to meet some of our clients and hear first-hand about their struggles with homelessness and how Carpenter’s Shelter is helping them on their road to independence. Children are welcome at this event, and refreshments will be provided.

To RSVP or learn more, please email Peyton Plummer or call (703)-548-7500 x204.

  Category: Blog
  Comments: Comments Off on COMMUNITY OPEN HOUSE


By actualize,

We recently spoke with Louise Roseman

When did you get involved with Carpenter’s Shelter?
I joined the CS Education Committee about a decade ago.

What attracted you to the mission?
I believe we have a responsibility to help people who didn’t start life with the advantages that many of us have and too often take for granted. In remarks to Princeton graduates in 2013, Ben Bernanke articulated what drew me to Carpenter’s Shelter far better than I could have. He said that those who are the luckiest –in their health and genetic endowment; in terms of family support, encouragement, and income; in their educational and career opportunities; and in so many other ways difficult to enumerate – also have the greatest responsibility to work hard, to contribute to the betterment of the world, and to share their luck with others. I greatly admire what Carpenter’s Shelter does – it gives the tools to its clients, who typically didn’t start life with the advantages I had, to break the cycle of homelessness and become self-sufficient.

What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not serving on the board of Carpenter’s Shelter?
Relax; entertain; cook (I’m just now learning!)

What sets Carpenter’s Shelter apart from other organizations?
Staff who are truly dedicated to the organization’s mission (I’m sure CS isn’t unique in this regard, but it makes its very inspiring to those who are involved with the organization)

What one phrase would you use to describe Carpenter’s Shelter?
Helping others help themselves

Share one of your favorite Carpenter’s Shelter memories/moment?
Talking to several of our scholarship recipients, who used their scholarships to get degrees or certificates that enabled them to have a career, not just a job.

  Category: Blog


By actualize,

On Friday, February 13th, Carpenter’s Circle of Hope is getting together for a bowling party to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Circle of Hope is a giving circle where members commit to an annual contribution of $250 and have the unique opportunity to engage in service days and volunteer activities with their families and children. Families will be bringing valentines and cookies to the party to be given to residents at the shelter on Valentine’s Day.

Circle of Hope is dedicated to putting an end to homelessness in Northern Virginia and giving homeless families the chance to celebrate holidays even during their times of crisis. If you’re interested in learning more about Circle of Hope or joining, please click here or email co-chair Carrie Keene.

  Category: Blog
  Comments: Comments Off on CIRCLE OF HOPE: BOWLING & VALENTINES


By actualize,

We realize that there is a stigma attached to the word homeless. Many people often associate that word with being unreliable, irresponsible, and not trustworthy. At Carpenter’s Shelter, we provide a structured environment with a variety of tools available to our residents in order for them to be successful after they move out of the shelter.

Clients are encouraged to participate in our Life Skill classes and the Ready to Rent program, both of which teach them about money management and basic renting practices. We are dedicated to spending time educating our clients about the importance of being a good roommate, paying their rent on the first of each month, and being an excellent tenant. In our 6 week Ready to Rent program, we walk each client through the renting process, making sure to create a budget and help them find an apartment they can afford. For some of our clients, the rental process can be a challenge, with previous evictions or past debts standing in their way. At Carpenter’s Shelter, we work with each of our clients to pay down past debts.

Formerly homeless individuals have a greater chance of returning to the streets within the first year of living outside of the shelter. Upon moving out, residents enter our Community Case Management program, in which we will continue to provide support through a variety of outlets for a minimum of one year. At the shelter, we will always be there for our clients in their times of need, especially after they have moved out on their own. Not only are we there to support our clients, we are also there for the landlords that rent to them. We want to continue to facilitate excellent renter and tenant relationships in order to help our clients achieve sustainable independence.

  Category: Blog
  Comments: Comments Off on READY TO RENT


By actualize,

We recently spoke with Isaac Bell, our Operations Manager about his time at Carpenter’s Shelter.

What are your job responsibilities?
I am tasked with a variety of responsibilities, with an even more varied range. I often tell people I am a Jack of all trades and skilled in none. I wear many hats, from IT to keeping our building to code. I see myself as the platform that allows and creates an environment for our employees to do their work.

When did you get involved with Carpenter’s Shelter? What attracted you to the mission?
I originally became attracted to the Carpenter’s Shelter when I realized the work that was being done behind these brick walls. Living in the area, I had passed the Carpenter’s Shelter countless times, and not known what was happening here. Now that I have been a part of it for some time, it’s hard to talk to somebody, or meet someone, who has not had some touch to the Carpenter’s Shelter.

What sets Carpenter’s Shelter apart from other organizations?
The fact that we have enough volunteers to fill eight full time positions. Also the amount of money that is fundraised that actually goes towards programs is pretty phenomenal.

What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not working at Carpenter’s Shelter?
I love to cook, fish, and work on my reef aquarium. I wrench on different things around my apartment as well. With a wedding coming up, I get all sorts of “work” outside of work, so I stay pretty busy.

What aspects of your job at Carpenter’s Shelter do you find most rewarding?
It’s nice to know that there is great work being done here. I do not have what I feel is a personal touch to the social services aspect, but I still feel that staff and management give me a voice on that side of things.

In your opinion, what is the most important work that this organization does?
To actually provide a foundation for the people that come through our doors is the most important aspect. There is a service that we, or a partner provides, to every need. That’s amazing to me. If you can’t get a job because you don’t have a résumé, not a problem, our Education Coordinator has a class for that. You’re not familiar with real estate, not a problem, we have a Housing Coordinator who can help you develop a plan for housing. Even after you leave our doors, we have a great support network. I don’t know of any other place that does what happens here.

  Category: Blog
  Comments: Comments Off on STAFF SPOTLIGHT: ISAAC BELL


By actualize,

Now that the holiday season is over, it’s time to sift through your pile of gifts. Every year we get presents that we absolutely love, and those that we might be able to do without. Along the way, you’ve probably collected some gift cards that you know you probably won’t use. Instead of letting them collect dust in your junk drawer, re-gift them to the clients at Carpenter’s Shelter!

Gift cards are an invaluable resource for us at the shelter. They allow us to buy gifts for the residential children on their birthdays, toiletries for our linen closet, work boots for clients with new jobs, or car seats for new mothers. Gift cards to places such as Target, Walmart, major department stores, and grocery stores allow us to meet the needs of our clients year round.

If you have gift cards you would like to donate, you can drop them off at the shelter, or mail them to
Attn: Meghan Hendy
930 N. Henry St.
Alexandria, VA 22314

Thank you for thinking of us, and Happy New Year!

  Category: Blog
  Comments: Comments Off on GIFT CARD RE-GIFT


By actualize,

This blog post was originally published on the Faithful Traveler Blog.

I am blessed that from a young age, giving back to the community has always been instilled in me. It’s a gift that my mother gave me from a young age. I can remember cooking meals for spouses whose husbands were deployed when our family was stationed in California, or volunteering at the American Red Cross office at the age of twelve when stationed in Washington state. These acts have stuck with me long after the physical acts.

I think that is why now as an adult, I continue the act of giving back to the community with such a passion and dedication. It gives me a sense of meaning, and the men and women I work besides give me more than I think I give them.

This last weekend, I volunteered with a group called Help-Portrait. The concept is simple, what if for one day, photographers, make-up artists, and hairstylists gave their services away to those who would normally not have access to these items. How would this simple act change the world? For the last four years, our little volunteer group has been going to the Carpenter’s Shelter in Old Town, Alexandria. The response has been overwhelming. I’ve watched children grow from infants to little people, interacted with mother’s who each year remember my face and give me a hug and blessing as if I’m a member of their family. It’s these interactions that keep me coming back

At the same time, the volunteers who work this one day are amazing, their talent, dedication, patience, and giving nature are a joy to be around and keep me going through out the day. Most of the time, I don’t know these people until I meet them the day of. But at the end of the day, we are planning our next adventure together.

It might be a small act of giving one day a year to help these families, but the love, smiles and kind words are ones that I carry with me throughout the year.

  Category: Blog
  Comments: Comments Off on GUEST BLOG: A GIVING HEART


By actualize,

Interning at Carpenter’s Shelter can be described in one word: rewarding. As the Communication and Design Intern, I have been with the shelter since June. I came to Carpenter’s just after graduating with my B.A in Communication from the University of Wyoming, and on a whim I decided to pack up and move to the DMV area in the hopes of better career opportunities.

I stumbled upon the Communications and Design Internship posting through Idealist and thought this position would be perfect for my transition to the professional world. On my first day at the shelter, I remember my expectations being blown away as I walked through the door. As someone who had not been exposed to a large amount of poverty, I envisioned the shelter as being something you would stereotypically see on TV; not the clean, welcoming, and professional environment I came upon.

Having had several internships in college, I expected to run errands, get coffee, and perform tasks that the staff didn’t have time to do. However, that was not the case. At Carpenter’s Shelter, interns are treated like staff members and given a variety of responsibilities, all of which not only help the shelter but also give them valuable experience and connections necessary to be successful in the professional world.

Since being at Carpenter’s Shelter I have had a plethora of experiences that not only helped me professionally, but also personally. I was given the opportunity to attend the Discovery Creating Change Conference, work on the development of Young Philanthropists, our newest giving circle, and develop an array of original content that I have since been able to add to my portfolio to present during interviews.

I have also grown a lot personally since being with the shelter. Working at a homeless shelter, you are exposed to some extreme stories of sadness, abuse, and poverty, all of which will make anyone take a step back and evaluate all that they have. I remember one client in particular telling me her story and sharing some very personal details about her struggles with homelessness. That moment awakened my desire to continue working in the non-profit sector and ignited my passion for helping others.

This is more than just an internship. It’s the opportunity to develop your skills, build your network of connections, and contribute to social change.

For more information, please click here. All interested applicants are encouraged to send a thoughtful cover letter and resume to Courtney Bishop.

  Category: Blog


By actualize,

The holiday season is often the busiest time of the year at Carpenter’s Shelter. During the winter months, we serve Alexandria’s chronically homeless population with David’s Place and our Winter Shelter, we provide non-perishable items to our Community Case Managed Clients, and we are launching Young Philanthropists, our newest giving circle. As a 24 hour emergency shelter, we rely heavily on the generosity of community members, whether that be through donations or hours volunteered.

All the ways you can give:

Come to our special events:

    • Scottish Christmas Walk Parade in Old Town Alexandria – December 2nd, 2023
    • Del Ray Holiday Tree and Menorah Lighting – December 4th, 2023
    • (Bring Toiletries for Carpenter’s Shelter to the Del Ray Holiday Tree and Menorah Lighting!)
    • Community Open House – TBD
    • Barnes and Noble Gift Wrap – TBD

Alternative Giving

    • Give the gift of charity this holiday season and make a donation in a loved one’s name in lieu of a gift.

Help us in the kitchen

    • Volunteer to serve lunch or dinner to our clients
    • Donate non-perishable items to our pantry in the months of November and December
    • Bake a casserole for us to serve during lunch and dinner in the event the weather prevents meal volunteers from arriving
    • Donate frozen items such as meat or vegetables

Holiday Giving

    • Mention Carpenter’s Shelter’s mission during your holiday party to your family and friends
    • Donate gift bags and wrapping paper
    • Donate supplies to make gingerbread houses and holiday centerpieces

Social Media

    • Stay connected to us by following us on Twitter and Facebook, and joining our conversation on homelessness



  • Volunteer to gift wrap at Barnes and Noble
  • Commit to volunteering 50 hours 
  • Recruit your friends, family, and coworkers for a service day

For any and all volunteer or donation inquiries, please contact Demi Henry.

  Category: Blog
  Comments: Comments Off on ALL THE WAYS YOU CAN GIVE