Connecting with Kerrie Wilson: Leading Cornerstones in Creating Thriving Communities

Published on
10/02/2023
Image of host Bryan Hill, county executive of Fairfax County, with Kerrie Wilson, CEO of the nonprofit Cornerstones and its affiliate, Cornerstones Housing Corporation.

 

On the October episode of the “Connect with County Leaders” podcast, host Bryan Hill, county executive of Fairfax County, spoke with Kerrie Wilson, CEO of the nonprofit Cornerstones and its affiliate, Cornerstones Housing Corporation. The two discussed the organization’s work to provide affordable housing and support services to local residents.

Wilson has led Cornerstones since 2001. She highlighted the organization’s origins in 1970, when it was founded to address the need for affordable housing in Reston’s original master plan.

“Cornerstones was founded, and that master plan really speaks to the principles of … affordable housing and recreation. What are the opportunities to live, work, and serve in that community? And that’s how we started; as an advocate for housing,” Wilson said.
 

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Over the decades, Cornerstones expanded to offer additional services like operating a food pantry and shelter. Wilson emphasized the importance of not just housing but “what are those other things that every family needs to thrive?”

The county, together with state and federal funding sources, have dedicated over $94 million towards affordable housing initiatives, which Wilson said allows Cornerstones to pursue ambitious goals like their recent partnership to build housing on unused county land for unhoused individuals.

“We’re partnering with Fairfax County on a strip of land that was unbuildable, but we’re gonna build 33 homes for people who right now are unhoused living on the street,” she noted. “And, you know, I can’t wait till we cut the ribbon on that and welcome those folks.”

The conversation also touched on food insecurity, youth services, and strengthening partnerships between nonprofits, government, and the community to better serve residents.

Hill commended Wilson’s long career and Cornerstones’ role as a “pillar of this community.” Wilson in turn emphasized the need for all parties to collaborate and plan strategically for the county’s future housing and service needs.

“I think the most important thing is [that] we have to be more brave. You know, we have to call out each other, call each other in. Sometimes things aren’t going as well as you would want. Sometimes we see problems. Let's be honest about that, and let's say, ‘what is it going to take to have Fairfax County continue to be this great community,’” she stated.

CORNERSTONES

Since 1970, Cornerstones has worked purposefully to strengthen our community and help families living in crisis rebuild their self-sufficiency, resiliency, and hope. Cornerstones is a nonprofit organization that promotes self-sufficiency by providing support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, quality childcare, and other human services. 

Cornerstones has been helping neighbors in need overcome tough economic times in an already high cost-of-living region. The service area of Cornerstones has grown to include most of northwestern Fairfax County.

Learn more about Cornerstones at www.cornerstonesva.org

"COVID reminded us. Sometimes you just have to take a step back, sit down and talk to one another. Get outside those procurement things and just brainstorm. What do we all know and how can we solve this together. And include the community in that." -Kerrie Wilson

 

CONNECT WITH THE COUNTY LEADERS PODCAST

The “Connect with County Leaders” podcast is a monthly opportunity to meet and connect with Fairfax County leaders, to learn about the latest county news and information, and hear more on specific programs and services in Fairfax County.

Listen of watch past episodes of “Connect with County Leaders” on SoundCloud and YouTube. For other Fairfax County podcasts, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/podcasts, and for additional audio content, tune in to Fairfax County Government Radio at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/radio.
 

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