Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Donor Spotlight: Martha Knapp

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Nov 16, 2018 @ 05:54 PM

Martha Knapp Donor Spotlight-1

Harwich’s Martha Knapp knows all too well what it’s like to receive support when all seems lost. It happened to her in 1995 when she and her husband Doug lost their three-and-a-half-year-old son Michael to cancer.

“Years ago when my life was in crisis, the people who reached out to help me made all the difference during a very difficult time,” she said.

From those darkest days, Martha was able to move forward, starting a nonprofit, Angel’s Hope, that worked closely with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston Children’s Hospital, and similar organizations, providing assistance to families of children with cancer throughout New England.

Though she has since dissolved the nonprofit, it was able to help more than 900 families in less than a decade. “I learned during that time how important it is to look outside yourself and live a life of service,” she said.

It is that attitude she took when her colleagues from the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS® organized a Cape REALTORS Care team for this year’s Harwich Big Fix. Together, the group raised nearly $3,000 to support HAC’s housing programs; with over $1,300 raised, Martha, a real estate agent with Kinlin Grover, was its top fundraiser.

Several team members also donated their time on the day of the Big Fix in which roughly 340 volunteers made small home repairs for seniors, veterans, and disabled homeowners in Harwich in September.

Though she was unable to attend the Big Fix, Martha understands how a little giving can go a long way. “I think I recognize very clearly that at any time, any of us may need help so I’m always grateful for the opportunity to help somebody else,” Martha said.

Since last month’s Big Fix, she has had a chance to talk to members of the Cape REALTORS Care team. “They all said it was very inspirational and really made them feel like they helped somebody,” she said. “I know some of them are already looking forward to being part of next year’s Big Fix which will be in Barnstable.”

You can include Martha Knapp on that list as well. “I absolutely plan on participating,” she said.

WHY I GIVE

Cape Realtors Care Photo

The Cape Realtors team at this year's Big Fix

Thanks to her involvement with this year’s Big Fix in Harwich, Martha Knapp became more familiar with HAC’s work and the programs the agency offers to those on Cape Cod and the Islands.

As a real estate agent for the past 15 years, she clearly understands the importance of a home in one’s life. “Having a home is such a fundamental, basic need,” she said. “It gives us value and gives us purpose.”

That is why she views HAC’s work – from its first-time homebuyer workshops to its affordable property listings to its Big Fix – as crucial to the region.

While houses are the centerpiece of her job, Martha said, her work ultimately comes down to relationships. “It is a service industry to get to help people achieve their goals,” she said. “Buying and selling a home is a big, emotional transaction for people.”

That is particularly true for first-time homebuyers, something she experienced this month with a couple that was buying their first home on the Cape. She said having agencies like HAC which can support that segment of the population through their first home-buying process is critical. “It is important we have programs in place that can guide them via education and resources,” Martha said.

Beyond that, she noted that HAC plays an important role in addressing the Cape’s housing needs. “The challenge is finding the balance to continue to draw people who are buying the second homes and paying real estate taxes and supporting our businesses and economy, yet still being able to provide affordable housing and year-round jobs for the young people and families to stay here,” she said. 

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Tags: Donor Spotlight, Harwich Big Fix, Harwich, HAC donors, Martha Knapp, Cape Cod & Islands Associaton of Realtors, Barnstable, Barnstable Big Fix

Harwich Big Fix Helps Transform Lives

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Nov 08, 2018 @ 04:18 PM
Cape Associates BFBarbara and Chris Mack join volunteers, which include staff from Cape Associates, who donated their time fixing up the Harwich couple's home. 

Outside Chris and Barbara Mack’s Harwich house, volunteers were busy painting the trim, landscaping the yard, and fixing gutters. Inside, a skilled crew from Cape Associates was installing a new bay window.

As the scene unfolded in front of them, Barbara acknowledged how much this work meant to her. “It is just so overwhelming,” she said. “It makes my heart so happy.”

Individually, the projects done at the Mack’s house, which they have owned since 1998, may have been relatively minor. But combined, they made a huge impact on the couple who repeatedly expressed their gratitude for the kindness of complete strangers.

This is the magic of the Big Fix which started in 2010 in Barnstable as a way to support seniors, veterans and disabled homeowners in one town on Cape Cod. Through the one-day event, volunteers help raise funds for HAC’s programs while conducting the types of small home repairs that can be financially or physically difficult for homeowners like the Macks to do themselves.

Harwich Big Fix-8Jeanne Roque of Cape Cod 5 hauls trash during the Harwich Big Fix. 

“When you go to the site take a mental note of what it looks like before and what it looks like after,” HAC CEO Alisa Magnotta Galazzi said during the kick-off ceremony at Monomoy Regional High School. “You’re going to see how the power of a community coming together, like-minded people coming together, can transform a life and transform a house.”

This year, roughly 340 volunteers donated a few hours of their time to help 18 homeowners in Harwich at the end of September.

They included people like Ralph Perry, a US Army veteran, who has lived in his home for 32 years. He had nearly two dozen volunteers clearing brush, trimming trees, removing an old swing set, and hauling trash at his house.

“It means a lot. It means an awful lot,” he said. “I can’t believe how many people have come to help.”

Tags: Big Fix, Harwich Big Fix, Harwich, Cape Cod 5, Cape Associates, Alisa Galazzi, veterans, home repair, HAC Volunteers, volunteering, volunteerism, Volunteer Cape Cod

Editorial: The High Cost of Doing Nothing

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Wed, Nov 07, 2018 @ 02:11 PM

 

Housing Study-2 (October 24, 2018)

At Housing Assistance Corporation, we have been on the frontlines of providing affordable housing since 1974. Today, our challenges have never been greater. The shrinking supply of year-round housing is getting worse. It is impacting families, businesses, and municipalities. It is a threat to the health of our economy and the very character of Cape Cod. 

The reasons behind this crisis are simple. Since Cape Cod is a desirable location to live and vacation, non-residents and investors are increasingly buying existing year-round properties and converting them into short-term rentals or keeping them for their own occasional use. The stock of year-round housing is rapidly depleting and therefore, prices are out of reach for Cape Cod residents. 

As the regional housing agency on Cape Cod, we decided to take a step back and analyze the internal and external causes of the region’s housing shortage, its impact and possible solutions. We started with two simple questions — what would happen if we did nothing? What more can we do?

Those questions formed the basis of a white paper, “Housing On Cape Cod: The High Cost of Doing Nothing”, that our agency released last month. 

For this report, we relied on the analysis of numerous sources. We interviewed business and community leaders about the effects of the housing crunch. The research and conversations shaped our thinking and recommended strategies. For example, in addition to developing affordable housing units, Housing Assistance Corporation is now investing in the development of market-rate units that will help alleviate the housing shortage. More year-round housing will change the supply dynamic in the marketplace and add more options for all income groups. 

Additionally, HAC is launching Rent 365, a pilot program that incentivizes homeowners to convert their seasonal or vacation homes into year-round rentals. 

This is a challenging time for our region. Low-income families suffer first and most acutely if we do nothing, but they are not alone. Uniting and finding purposeful strategies that mitigate and eventually solve our housing crisis will be of great benefit to our region. If we keep approaching housing in our region with the same old strategies, we will only continue to feed the worsening and self-perpetuating housing shortage for year-round residents. 

Let’s try some new ideas. 

I welcome your thoughts and your suggestions on how we can meet this challenge together.

Housing on Cape Cod: The High Cost of Doing Nothing

Visit www.capehousing.org to read HAC's new report which identifies new strategies for addressing the region's housing crisis. 

 

Tags: Housing on Cape Cod, Alisa Galazzi, white papers, housing research, rental housing, Rent 365, Editorial, housing crisis

Toy Run Ushers in Holiday Season

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Oct 30, 2018 @ 02:21 PM
small Wetherbee Toy Run Photo-1Joe and Clarissa Wetherbee with HAC Event Coordinator Deanna Bussiere (middle). The Wetherbees are preparing for the 19th Annual Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run on Sunday, November 4. 

On the first Sunday in November, Santa Claus will make his first holiday appearance of the year at HAC’s Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth.

It’s an annual tradition that dates back 30 years with motorcyclists from throughout the region joining Santa in delivering gifts to children in need.

“It’s for the kids,” said Joe Wetherbee, who organizes the event each fall with his wife Clarissa.

In 1999, the ride was renamed the Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run in honor of Joe’s first wife, Christina, an organizer and participant in the event, who died of cancer the following spring.

The run begins at Eagles Hall in Buzzards Bay with roughly 200 motorcyclists bringing new unwrapped toys that will go to children staying in one of HAC’s four family shelters that includes Angel House in Hyannis, the Village at Cataumet in Bourne, and Scattered Sites in Hyannis.

They make the trek to Carriage House where they are greeted by HAC staff and families in shelter.

“It’s a great yearly event that kicks off the holiday season,” said Paula Mallard, program director at the Village at Cataumet. “The toys and money that get donated help provide Christmas for our clients and makes the holiday season a little happier for a lot of our children.”

Clarissa said the event serves as a reminder of the need that exists in the community. “It’s not their fault they are in these shelters,” she said. “It could happen to anybody… It could happen to the richest person in the world; their children or they themselves could end up in a shelter.”

That is why the toy run, which also raises funds for HAC’s housing programs, is so important. “What we do brings a lot of joy at Christmas time,” Joe said.

HOGS Flyer for HACbeat article 10-18

Tags: Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run, Carriage House, Clarissa Wetherbee, Joe Wetherbee, holiday giving, Falmouth, Santa Claus, Paula Mallard, Christmas

Celebrating the Completion of High Meadow Townhomes

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Oct 30, 2018 @ 01:51 PM
High Meadow-1-1Melissa Harris and her two children, Isaiah and Arianna, help cut the ribbon to mark the completion of High Meadow Townhomes which HAC developed with POAH in Bourne. The Harris family are one of 44 families who will soon call High Meadow home. 

Since 2012, Melissa Harris has lived in a two-bedroom apartment at the Residences at Canal Bluffs in Bourne, where she is raising her two children all while balancing a job at Cape Cod Healthcare and studying for her nursing degree.

Next month, her family will move into a more spacious three-bedroom apartment at nearby High Meadow Townhomes. “I don’t think there’s anybody more excited today than us because we have been in a two-bedroom,” Melissa said during a ribbon cutting earlier this month to celebrate the completion of the project which will add 44 mixed-income housing units to the Upper Cape community. “We’re so excited and so incredibly thankful that you all took the time to design such beautiful homes.”

HAC CEO Alisa Magnotta Galazzi said Melissa is, “an example how safe, affordable housing is the foundation from which dreams and hope grow… Melissa is an example of our mission in action and really, truly, the reason we are all here and the reason this works.”

High Meadow Townhomes represents the third and final phase of a project that has brought 117 mixed-income apartments to a 19-acre parcel located off MacArthur Boulevard.

High Meadow-9HAC CEO Alisa Magnotta Galazzi talks about how having a safe, affordable home serves as the foundation from which hope and dreams can flourish. 

Originally slated for use as an office building for a tech startup, it was purchased by businessman William Zammer of Mashpee who eventually sold it to HAC to develop as rental housing.

HAC partnered with Preservation Of Affordable Housing (POAH) on the project which started with 28 affordable apartments at the Residences at Canal Bluffs, completed in 2009, and followed by 45 individual, family, and senior affordable apartments at Clay Pond Cove, completed in 2012.

The final apartments are significant because of the impact they will have on the 44 families that will move into them in November. “These 44 townhouses and 117 homes and residences that are here for people will be a success story that will drive not only a more successful Bourne community, but something we need on Cape Cod as well,” said Congressman William R. Keating, one of several public officials to attend the ceremony.

State Senator Vinny deMacedo echoed the Congressman’s comments, saying that, “there is nothing more important than being able to provide someone with a roof over their head and a safe and a warm place to go that is affordable.”

High Meadow-25

Tags: High Meadow Townhomes, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Housing Development, affordable housing, Preservation Of Affordable Housing, Aaron Gornstein, Alisa Galazzi, POAH, Bill Keating, Canal Bluffs, rental housing, year round rentals

Support HAC Through AmazonSmile

Posted by HAC Staff on Tue, Oct 30, 2018 @ 12:50 PM

amazon_logo-resized-600

From today through Friday, November 2, you can enhance your support of Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC) by shopping online at AmazonSmile

That's because Amazon's sister site is increasing the amount it donates to charities like HAC in celebration of AmazonSmile reaching a major milestone - over $100 million raised to support charitable organizations around the world. Typically, AmazonSmile donates .5 of each eligible purchase to the charity of your choice, but this week it is increasing that amount to 5 percent. 

With the holiday season approaching, you can purchase gifts for a loved one, all while supporting HAC's mission to ensure all on Cape Cod and the Islands have access to safe, secure, decent housing.

Every donation HAC receives through AmazonSmile adds up, helping strengthen HAC's programs and services. It's a perfect opportunity to enhance your giving at a time when our clients need it the most. 

To support HAC, simply go to www.smile.amazon.com, enter your Amazon account info as you normally would, and designate Housing Assistance Corp. as your charity of choice. 

Tags: AmazonSmile, holiday giving, holiday shopping, charitable giving

Finding Hope at Angel House

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Oct 17, 2018 @ 06:51 AM
Beth Client-1Angel House Facility Director Lin Rohr (left) listens as Beth shares her story of what led her to the shelter and how it has helped her turn her life around. 

Last summer, when Beth had nowhere to turn, she entered HAC’s Angel House shelter. “I was scared,” she said. “I was hopeless. I felt worthless.”

More than a year later, those feelings are gone, replaced with something she has not felt since she was a teenager. “Being at Angel House, I have gotten my hope back,” she said.

Beth shared her story with four family members of the late Barton Tomlinson, a longtime HAC donor who had an affinity for the shelter which supports mothers like Beth, who are battling addiction, and their children.

When she arrived at Angel House last August, the mother of five admitted, “I was completely broken,” attributing that to her struggles with substance abuse.

At Angel House, those struggles have essentially ended as Beth celebrated two milestones this past year - her 40th birthday in May and being sober for one full year as of last month. “It’s the first year I can say I’ve been sober since I was 15,” she said.

Slowly, she has made progress thanks to the supportive, caring environment she has found at Angel House. Here she has been able to put her life back together, becoming the mother she always wanted to be, all while becoming comfortable with who she is.

“The shift came when I decided that my kids deserved a life,” she said. “And when I finally decided I deserved a life.”

As she nears her Angel House graduation, Beth is taking even more steps to rebuilding her life. She has a job. She will be moving to a transitional apartment at Angel House. She has reconnected with family members that she had previously pushed away. And most importantly, “I feel at peace today,” she said. “I don’t think it’s anything I’ve ever felt before in my life.”

None of this would be possible, she said, if it weren’t for those like Barton Tomlinson who understand the importance of supporting the shelter. “Angel House helped save my life,” she said. “And it helped give my children a mother who is there.”

Support Angel House

Tags: Angel House, Barton Tomlinson, Lin Rohr, Family Shelter, homelessness, hope

Donor Spotlight: Barton Tomlinson

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Oct 16, 2018 @ 06:33 PM
Barton Family-2Those attending the Barton Tomlinson Clinical & Group Space dedication included Angel House Facility Director Lin Rohr (from left), HAC CEO Alisa Magnotta Galazzi, Jim and Betty Ryan, Rob and Kim Nichols, and Cassi Danzl, HAC's Director of Family and Individuals Services. 

Although Barton Tomlinson passed away last November, his legacy will continue to live on at HAC’s Angel House shelter.

There, a small plaque bearing his name proudly hangs on the wall, reading “Barton Tomlinson Clinical & Group Space.” In this room, facility director Lin Rohr said, is where the healing takes place.

That healing is something that was so important to Mr. Tomlinson and his wife Mary, who died in 2008. The couple were longtime donors of HAC, focusing their giving on the Hyannis shelter which serves mothers overcoming addiction and their children.

Barton Plaque

At the end of August on Mary’s birthday, that giving was celebrated during a naming ceremony to celebrate the impact Mr. Tomlinson has had on Angel House. In attendance were Barton’s daughter Betty and her husband Jim Ryan of Osterville, as well as Barton’s cousin Rob and his wife Kim Nichols of Hyannis.

“I was struck by his quiet resolve to always do the right thing,” said HAC CEO Alisa Magnotta Galazzi of Mr. Tomlinson. He was committed to stabilizing families, she said, “and giving these children here a second chance. It was the next generation that he was really invested in.”

In order for clients at the shelter to overcome the trauma of homelessness and addiction, Rohr said, they need the support of the community. “It is only possible through the generosity of people like Bart,” she said.

“This place meant a lot to him,” Betty said after she took part in the ceremony and a tour of Angel House. “He really felt for the mothers and the children here and wanted them to get on the right path.”

Tags: Angel House, Barton Tomlinson, Family Shelter, Donor Spotlight, HAC donors, Alisa Galazzi, Lin Rohr

A Recipe for Housing Success

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Oct 12, 2018 @ 04:23 PM
DSC_6679In accepting his fourth straight Quahog Challenge trophy, Ron Winner (right) of The Shepley Stuffers took time to acknowledge the work HAC does to provide safe, affordable housing to those on Cape Cod and the Islands throughout the year. 

Since 2015, HAC volunteer Ron Winner has cooked up the perfect recipe that has garnered him the victory in the Amateur Division of the agency’s annual Cape Cod Quahog Challenge.

After Winner and his team, The Shepley Stuffers, took home the amateur title for the fourth year in a row in August, he acknowledged the underlying reason for the event – it raises funds to support HAC’s housing programs on Cape Cod and the Islands. “We just want to thank Housing Assistance Corporation for all the great work they do all year long,” Winner said in accepting the trophy. “They’re a fabulous organization that does so many great things for Cape Cod. I don’t know where we’d be without them.”

Sesuit Harbor Café of Dennis, a newcomer to the competition, took home top honors in the professional division. When co-host Matt Pitta of Cape Cod Broadcasting asked chef Peter Liimatainen the secret ingredient in his prize-winning stuffies, he replied, “TLC.”

DSC_6715Sesuit Harbor Cafe chef Peter Liimatainen proudly holds up his first place trophy from this summer's Quahog Challenge. 

A total of eight competitors took part in this year’s challenge held at Trader Ed’s in Hyannis. The waterfront restaurant was joined by Fresh Ketch in Hyannis, which took home the second place trophy, and the Baha Brothers’ Sandbar Grill in Taunton, which came in third. Also competing were Cape Tip Seafood Market of Truro, Sea Dog Brew Pub of South Yarmouth, and Chad Lohr of Project Buddha Belly.

“It definitely has been a beautiful day,” co-host Cathy Summers of Cape Country 104 said at the conclusion of the event. “Hopefully, we have just raised a ton of money for a great organization that does great work locally on Cape Cod.”

Quahog-2-1Chefs Jeff Briggs (left) and Bobby Rand of Baha Brothers' Sandbar Grill of Taunton which placed third in this summer's stuffed quahog competition. 

Tags: Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, Quahog Challenge, Quahog, Ron Winner, Matt Pitta, Cape Cod Broadcasting, Trader Ed's, Hyannis, fundraiser, Fundraising, HAC Events

Municipal Peer Groups Discuss Accessory Dwelling Units

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Oct 12, 2018 @ 03:46 PM
Mid Cape Peer Group (July 2018)Stefanie Coxe (third from right) discusses Accessory Dwelling Unit bylaws during the Mid-Cape Municipal Peer Group meeting this summer. 

Modifying each town’s Accessory Dwelling Unit bylaw is not a panacea for Cape Cod’s housing issues, but it can help.

That was the message Stefanie Coxe, a consultant for Smarter Cape Cod, a coalition of community groups, had for town officials from the Mid-Cape and the Upper Cape taking part in HAC’s latest Municipal Peer Group sessions held separately at the Cape Cod Community Media Center in Dennis in July and the Mashpee Public Library in September.

Held quarterly, the sessions are tied to HAC’s Cape Housing Institute which is intended to support municipalities in finding ways to boost the development of affordable housing that is needed on Cape Cod.

DSC_5291

Stefanie Coxe led two of our most recent Municipal Peer Group meetings, one on the Mid-Cape in July, and another on the Upper Cape in September. 

One way to address the region’s housing needs without developing more land, Coxe said, is for towns to modify their Accessory Dwelling Unit bylaw. It is “one tool to start to ameliorate the shortage of 1- and 2-bedroom units” without adding more housing, Coxe said. “We’re talking about repurposing existing bedrooms.”

By updating these bylaws, Coxe said, towns can add more year-round rentals which are in short supply on the Cape.

While she stressed it will not solve the Cape’s rental housing shortage, it will help. “We’ve been talking about the problem for so long,” she said. “Now is the time for action.”

To learn more about HAC’s Cape Housing Institute or Municipal Peer Group sessions, visit www.CapeHousingInstitute.org.

Tags: Cape Housing Institute, Municipal Peer Groups, Accessory Dwelling Units, ADUs, Accessory Dwelling Unit bylaw, Stefanie Coxe, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Housing Development, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, affordable housing