Bill Euille knows a thing or two about affordable housing and community service in Alexandria. The city’s longest-serving mayor to (2003 – 2016) grew up in affordable housing in Old Town with his brother, sister, and mother Doris.
Despite raising three children as a single parent, Doris always found time to volunteer, and took Bill along. That instilled in him a desire for civic engagement, including establishing the Euille Foundation from 1984-2010 to address affordable housing, education, youth outreach, recreation programs, senior services, and other needs.
Many of those needs parallel those of Community Lodgings, whose mission is to lift families from homelessness and instability to independence and self-sufficiency through affordable and transitional housing, and youth education programs.
Euille recognized the parallel, saying, “One organization that certainly touches many of those areas is Community Lodgings. I have an affinity for organizations like Community Lodgings in terms of what they do in programs, outreach and services to a very needed part of the community in Alexandria.”
He especially liked Community Lodgings’ after school program, and has volunteered with the children. It is important for kids to be in a learning environment after the school day ends, he believes.
Community Lodgings’ multi-pronged approach to helping families live independently dovetailed with Euille’s “One Alexandria” theme when he served as the city’s mayor. “One Alexandria” strove to unite all ethnicities, socio-economic classes, businesses, faith-based organizations, schools and nonprofits. “Community Lodgings is a very strong advocacy organization that helps us sustain our goals and meet the realities that we as a city strive for,” he said. “An organization like Community Lodgings touches all of those aspects. It was the one organization that I could profile and cite as an example.
“It’s remarkable to see the number of people who have directly benefitted from the services [Community Lodgings] provides, whether it’s an individual or a family. It has helped the families to start all over again. And that is so important,” he added.
Not all organizations can sustain for 30 years, and Euille credits Community Lodgings’ longevity to the “vast need, and being successful at what it does. It has a broad base of community support from business, politicians, community, other nonprofits.
“The services and programs that it provides touches on all cylinders,” he continued. “You go to Community Lodgings and it is all-encompassing.”
But, Euille cautioned that “the programs can’t continue to exist without strong financial backing.” Donors, new and current, need to continue to supporting Community Lodgings in order for these programs to continue serving Alexandria’s most vulnerable residents.