state farm

Henrico insurance agent donates $10,000 to Housing Families First

Insurance agent Tracy Portillo (left) presents a check for $10,000 to Housing Families First Executive Director Beth Vann-Turnbull. (Katie Castellani for the Henrico Citizen)

For years, local State Farm agent Tracy Portillo has worked to show what a ‘Good Neighbor’ looks like.

Now Portillo can share more than a cup of sugar as one of 100 State Farm agents nationwide, and one of two from Virginia, selected by the company to designate $10,000 to any charity of their choice, in recognition of their community engagement efforts.

For Portillo, it was a no-brainer to donate the money to Housing Families First after several years of working with the organization. Portillo held a formal ceremony to present the funds, along with a tour showingcasing recent renovations of the Hillard House shelter in Eastern Henrico, June 29.

“These past four years I’ve been involved with Housing Families First have been a true labor of love,” Portillo said. “After several smaller projects led me here, my heart felt at home here.”

While the drywall is still exposed and drills echo throughout the halls, Portillo’s impact upon HFF is still clear. Even during the tour Portillo asked, “How can we help as business owners and community members?”

Portillo’s donation will be used to help fund improvements at the Hillard House, including a new public entrance; a ’boutique’ (featuring donated goods) that families staying at the Hillard House can purchase; and a new handicapped-accessible bed and bathroom. Renovations at the Hillard House are expected to be completed by mid-October.

The shelter was established in 2001 and is the largest short-term emergency shelter for families in the region, providing housing for more than 600 children and adults in 2021.

Along with the Hillard House, HFF in 2012 launched Building Neighbors, a rapid-rehousing program that assists families facing

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