(Apr. 4 2018) Catherine Read interviews Joe Fay, Executive Director of FACETS, a local nonprofit that touches and improves the lives of thousands of families every year. Founded in 1988 by Linda Wimpey it was orginally known as Fairfax Area Christian Emergency & Transitional Services, Inc, (FACETS). For the past 30 years, and with the help of numerous local faith communities, FACETS has helped some of the most vulnerable in Fairfax County meet their emergency shelter, food and medical needs. By opening doors and helping people gain safe, sustainable and permanent housing, FACETS aims to break the cycle of poverty through educational, life skills and career counseling programs. Fay notes that their multi-disciplinary professional staff manages a comprehensive range of programs, and a volunteer base of several thousand people. As a founding member of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness, FACETS is committed to working collaboratively in a countywide effort to expand safe and affordable housing.
The Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness, run by Dean Klein, is a public-private partnership that leverages the good work being done by local non-profits and aims to have these groups effectively work together to tackle a variety of issues that surround poverty and homelessness. Klein meets monthly with the groups that are affiliated with this network to help coordinate efforts, and the county provides funds to these groups to manage the work being done. In addition to county funds, each of these nonprofits conducts fundraising to support their own work. For every dollar that the county provides, these private groups at least match the funds, which makes this a very effective way to manage the support services needed by so many in our county of over 1.2 million people. Currently, it is estimated that approximately 6% of county residents live below the poverty level, leaving over 300,000 vulnerable county residents.
FACETS runs a wide variety of programming to meet the needs of county residents. Fay spoke passionately about their hot meals program that delivers meals 7 days a week, and two times on Sunday, to three different spots along the Rt. 50 corridor in Fairfax. Volunteers through faith-based partnerships fuel this program, like many under their purview. Fay also talked about their hypothermia programs that they run during the cold winter months. These programs are often operated by a house of worship, whose community agrees to open their doors for the night to provide warmth and food to those on the street. Often times, FACETS will use the vans that are delivering hot meals during the day to pickup people who use the day centers for the homeless and transport them to the hypothermia shelters in the evening. All of this work takes great coordination and many hands to keep the operations running.
In addition to feeding the hungry and providing emergency shelter programs, FACETS works in low-income communities to provide support to families, through after school programming, adult education and career counseling services. These services are aimed to help engage families, provide much needed support so children in these families have a fair shot at success, and offer families the opportunities to become self sufficient.
A key component to the success of FACETS is the extensive volunteer network they have built over the past 30 years. Even though the network is strong and effective, Fay notes that they are always looking to establish new relationships with individuals and organizations. If you are part of a service group or faith organization looking to take on a new project, FACETS is constantly welcoming new members to their network. You can reach them directly to let them know how you can help.
FACETS will be holding their 30th Anniversary Benefit Breakfast on April 19th at the Fairview Park Marriott. There is no cost to attend, as they welcome all who want to who share their vision of a Fairfax County where everyone has a place to call “home”. They are actively looking for table captains, if you are looking to support the organization with a financial contribution. Find more information at www.FACETSCares.org