Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Chris Kazarian

Recent Posts

Compete in HAC's Quahog Challenge

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jun 14, 2018 @ 11:58 AM

 

run-doug-1

 

For the fourth straight year, HAC is searching for the best stuffed quahog on all of Cape Cod.

If you're a chef or a restaurant owner who thinks you have the perfect stuffie recipe, then contact HAC Event Coordinator Deanna Bussiere at dbussiere@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 270 to compete in this year's Quahog Challenge.

The competition takes place on Sunday, August 5, 1-4 pm, at Trader Ed's in Hyannis. Tickets are $30 per person ($35 at the door) and $5 per person for those 10 and under. Click this link to purchase tickets.

Funds raised will go to benefit HAC's housing programs on Cape Cod and the Islands.

Tags: Deanna Bussiere, fundraiser, Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, HAC Events, Quahog, Quahog Challenge, Hyannis, Trader Ed's

Items Needed for HAC Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jun 08, 2018 @ 04:04 PM

 

HAC Items Needed (June 2018)

In a few short weeks, HAC will move 5 formerly chronically homeless adults into a home in Hyannis. We are currently in need of a variety of small home furnishings for the house, including: 

  • A kitchen table with 6 chairs 
  • 5 XL twin bed frames
  • 5 XL twin mattresses (new)
  • 5 dressers
  • 5 small night stands
  • 1 leather/vinyl couch
  • 1 TV stand
  • 1 area rug
  • 1 microwave

We ask that these donated items either be new or gently used. 

Those able to donate should contact HAC Director of Community Relations Laura Reckford at either lreckford@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 273. 

NOTE: This post has been updated (6/11/18 at 11:30 am) with items still needed in bold. All other items have already been donated. 

Tags: Homeless on Cape Cod, Homeless, homelessness, homeless shelters, donations, HAC donors, Hyannis

State Backs FORWARD at the Rock

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jun 08, 2018 @ 11:29 AM
FORWARD-1Attending last month's ceremony were HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi (center) as well as several HAC staff, FORWARD President Kathy Ohman (left of Galazzi), and DHCD Undersecretary Janelle Chan (right). 

Last month, the state gave FORWARD at the Rock, an eight-unit development that will be built in Dennis for adults on the autism spectrum, a financial shot in the arm, bringing the project one step closer to reality.

“This is the way government is supposed to work: local government working with state government to better the lives of our citizens. This is a textbook example,” said State Representative Tim Whelan during a ceremony at the future site of the Dennis development. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Undersecretary Janelle Chan announced $8 million in funding to support the creation or preservation of almost 100 units of supportive housing throughout Massachusetts, including $1 million for FORWARD at the Rock.

HAC is a consultant on the project and has been lending its support and expertise to FORWARD (Friends Or Relatives With Autism And Related Disabilities) since 2014. That is when Kathy Ohman, president of FORWARD, sought out HAC founder and former CEO Rick Presbrey’s assistance with the housing project.

At the ceremony, Ohman praised HAC for its help since that time. Both Housing Development Director Sandy Horvitz and Assistant Director of Housing Development David Quinn supported FORWARD in writing the grant for the $1 million in state and federal funding it received last month.

To view additional projects in HAC's housing development pipeline, click this link

Tags: Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, FORWARD at the Rock, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Kathy Ohman, Timothy Whelan, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Dennis, Janelle Chan

Music Therapy for HAC Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jun 07, 2018 @ 04:59 PM

 

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Initially, they drummed to their own beat. But once musician Sam Holmstock had concluded his one-hour session with nearly a dozen children living at Village Green II, a workforce housing development located in Hyannis, they were drumming together in unison.

Held during April’s spring break, the activity was organized by HAC Case Manager Jacqueline Smith as a way to offer these at-risk youth a fun, relaxing opportunity to let loose by banging their hands on the drums on a sunny spring day.

This is the second time that Smith, who provides case management to 15 households who have housing vouchers at Village Green II, had brought in Holmstock, owner of Drum Strategies for Healing, to lead a drumming circle for children.

It may have appeared like a simple music class filled with repetitive motions, but it was much more than that. It was therapeutic. “Just smacking their hands on this drum stimulates neurotransmitters in the brain,” Holmstock said. “Generally speaking, although it’s not obvious walking out of that room, it generally calms people down… On one level it’s moderate physical exercise, but more than that it’s stimulating the brain.”

It’s something Smith has noticed by observing the two sessions held at Village Green II this year. “You can see how much calmer they are after doing it,” she said.

Holmstock, who co-founded the band Entrain, now focuses his musical talents on using drumming as a healing mechanism for a host of groups, from at-risk youth to incarcerated teens to those with Alzheimer’s to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Sam Holmstock and Jacqueline SmithSam Holmstock with HAC's Jacqueline Smith following April's drumming session at Village Green II. 

It allows Holmstock to use his talents to reach populations that can truly benefit from music therapy. “Just giving them this opportunity and being able to sort of reach them on a certain level,” he said is part of the reward. “Maybe they don’t even realize in their thinking brain that there are positive things going on when they’re just banging on the drums.”

Tags: music, music therapy, Family and Individual Services Department, Leased Housing, Hyannis, Village Green II, Jacqueline Smith, Drum Strategies for Healing, Sam Holmstock, drum circle

Donor Spotlight: Jim Hinkle & Roy Hammer

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Apr 25, 2018 @ 04:21 PM
Jim and Roy-2Since 1994, Roy Hammer (left) and Jim Hinkle have been supporting HAC as a way to make an impact at the local level. 

Nearly 14 years ago, Jim Hinkle and Roy Hammer decided to close their art gallery, Cummaquid Fine Arts on Route 6A, and enter the next phase of their life – retirement.

Since then they have enjoyed the perks that come with making your own routine. They regularly take trips over the Canal to take in performances at the Boston Symphony and exhibits at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Travel has also been a priority; over the past six years, they have explored Europe and they will do once again later this year when they go on a Baltic cruise, from Copenhagen to St. Petersburg to Stockholm.

Just as rewarding as these personal adventures has been the opportunity to make an impact on this place they have called home for the past 32 years.

The couple, who both attended Yale University and met while graduate students at Harvard University in 1965, have focused their giving on three local nonprofits – Housing Assistance Corporation, Duffy Health Center, and Cape Abilities. “With all of these, there’s a theme of helping people in need and people living below the line,” said Hinkle.

Next year will represent a milestone for the two, at least in terms of donor longevity. That is when they will become members of the quarter century club, having donated to HAC every year since 1994.

The two were initially drawn to the agency thanks to HAC’s efforts to support the region’s homeless. Shortly thereafter, they took a tour of HAC’s properties “and that is when we realized what a much larger organization it was, and when we recognized that, we increased our support,” Hinkle said.

Having an organization like HAC on Cape Cod, Hammer said, is vital, especially for the region’s workforce. “The problem is, there isn’t enough affordable housing for people who make the general salary on Cape Cod.”

“The jobs available don’t pay enough for people to afford living here,” Hinkle said.

And so the two continue to give to HAC because they know the work it is doing is transforming the lives of their neighbors, from those who have little-to-no income to those who are working to purchase their first home here.

“I think it’s important to support organizations [like HAC] in our community,” Hinkle said. “It can make a lasting difference.”

Why We Give

With over a dozen programs that help those of all income levels on Cape Cod and the Islands, Jim Hinkle and Roy Hammer know that each plays a vital role in the lives of HAC clients.

“I think it’s very important what HAC does,” Hinkle said. “They prepare people for housing and enable people to eventually afford housing. And I think the programs HAC offers, in terms of homeownership, are very valuable.”

But to them, the programs that support single parents – specifically its Angel House shelter in Hyannis and Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth – are particularly meaningful. “We’re very impressed with their programs for single parents who are trying to make a go of it,” said Hinkle.

Since 1991, HAC’s Angel House shelter has supported mothers overcoming addiction and their children. Two years earlier, HAC purchased Carriage House in North Falmouth which serves younger mothers and their children.

Both shelters are vital, the pair said, for providing single parents with the support they need to move forward with their lives in a productive manner.

Support HAC's Family Shelters

Tags: Carriage House, Angel House, giving, charitable giving, HAC donors, Donor Spotlight, Cummaquid, Jim Hinkle, Duffy Health Center, Roy Hammer, Barnstable

Chatham Church Gives to Shelter Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Apr 20, 2018 @ 05:58 PM

 

Margaret-1

At the beginning of last month, Margaret Eldredge, a parishioner at First Congregational Church of Chatham, dropped off several bags full of clothes for clients in HAC’s shelters.

The donations were tied to a drive organized by Amy Middleton, the church’s director of Christian education and family ministries.

The church holds these drives every year, Middleton said, as a way to help those most in need in the community. Several of the items, including winter hats and mittens, were knit by those in the congregation, including Eldredge.

Middleton said giving back is rooted in the church’s work. “So many of us who have children and are younger who live on the Cape, we love, love it here, but it is a struggle to keep yourself afloat,” she said. “It is eye opening and enlightening for people in the congregation to hear about the need over and over again. They forget that and think people here year-round are living like summer people and they’re not.”

Tags: charitable giving, Chatham, First Congregational Church of Chatham, Amy Middleton, church fundraiser

New Case Manager Helps Tenants at Hyannis Development

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 @ 09:48 AM
Jacqueline Smith-1Jacqueline Smith, HAC's new case manager, works with clients at Village Green II in Hyannis.

Tenants in a recently completed affordable housing development on Independence Drive in Barnstable are benefitting from the support of a new case manager at HAC.

The program is part of a contract HAC has with HallKeen Management, the property manager for Village Green II, a 60-unit development that was built by Dakota Partners for the region’s workforce. 

Since the start of February, HAC has been providing case management two days a week to 15 clients who hold Section 8 or Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) vouchers that help stabilize their rent.

Jacqueline Smith, who earned her master’s degree in social work from Simmons College last May, has been responsible for working with those 15 tenants, as well as any others at Village Green II seeking support, to connect them to the necessary resources that allow them to maintain their housing, improve their community connections, and work towards self-sufficiency.

The majority of her work so far, she said, has been focused on assisting clients with budgeting.

During February vacation, Smith organized a drumming circle led by Sam Holmstock, a family friend and co-founder of the band Entrain. “I knew Sam and he goes around to nursing homes and does drumming circles and works with at-risk youth,” Smith said. “I said why not try it here and let’s see what comes of it.”

Sam will be returning to Village Green to lead a similar exercise for families during April vacation. Smith has related ideas – yoga, meditation, and fitness – to add a holistic layer to the current offerings she is providing to clients at Village Green II.

Her underlying goal, she said, is to point these clients to the services “they need to help them grow.”

“She has kind of jumped in with both feet,” said HAC’s Director of Family and Individuals Services Cassi Danzl. “She is really committed and looking at what resources are available to make sure tenants in this development have access to them.”

Tags: Section 8, Family and Individual Services Department, Cassi Danzl, Leased Housing, Hyannis, Village Green II, Jacqueline Smith, case management, MRVP

From Homelessness to Hope to Housing

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Apr 17, 2018 @ 09:45 AM
Moriya SmithMoriya Smith with Labouré College President Maureen Smith at her graduation last May. Moriya is now studying for her bachelor's degree. 

Almost 20 years ago, when Moriya Smith was only a teenager, she became homeless, fending not only for herself, but her firstborn son Reggie. “I had to go into a shelter,” she said. “I didn’t have a place to stay. It was horrible, probably the worst experience of my life.”

Today, the pain of that experience has been washed away by the success she has achieved as a single mother – she has two other children Marissa and Maranda – who works full-time as a registered nurse. She is currently studying to earn her bachelor’s degree, and is saving money through HAC’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program to one day become a homeowner on Cape Cod.

Originally from Boston, Smith moved to Brewster nearly two years ago, initially working with HAC to secure a rental. “You helped me with my first and last month’s rent which was a big burden lifted from me,” Smith said. “And then my oldest daughter needed a bed so [HAC] gave me a mattress and box spring… They [HAC] were like my little angels. They really helped me. I was still in school and had not yet finished so I wasn’t working and money was tight, very tight.”

As Smith describes it, money was so tight that while she was working towards her associate’s degree and commuting to Labouré College from Cape Cod to Milton, she sometimes didn’t know if she could pay for the gas to make the trip.

Despite these obstacles, Smith has been able to flourish thanks to those around her who have offered their support.

One of those is HAC’s FSS Coordinator Jan Nelson, who has worked with Smith since she entered the program in September 2016. “I have never met anyone like her who is not only supportive, but caring and who I feel is 100 percent in my corner for everything,” Smith said.

Nelson has provided that support and care through FSS which provides incentives for Section 8 voucher holders to increase their earnings. As one’s income increases, their rent increases, and the difference between the original rent and the increased rent is placed into an escrow account which FSS clients can access once they graduate.

Before Smith graduated from Labouré last May, Nelson recommended her for the One Family Scholarship, given to low-income single parents to further their education. Smith was selected for the scholarship which she is using as she pursues her bachelor’s from Labouré in the hopes of becoming a family nurse practitioner.

In the fall, Smith landed a job as a nurse in a long-term care facility on the Cape, a position that has added financial stability to her life.

When she eventually graduates from FSS, Smith plans on using the money to become a homeowner, something she never could have envisioned two decades ago when she was homeless. “I feel like those things, those unfortunate events in my life have made me strong and made me who I am today,” she said.

Give Hope to a HAC Client

Tags: Section 8, Jan Nelson, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Family Self Sufficiency, homelessness, One Family Scholarship, FSS, hope, affordable housing, Moriya Smith, Brewster

Lovely Eastham Condo

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 @ 12:38 PM

 

70 Dory Front for use

This one-bedroom, one-bath Eastham condo at 70 Dory Lane is being offered at $154,399 with a deed restriction. Featuring 750-square feet of living space and a garage, it’s perfect for a first-time homebuyer on Cape Cod.

The $123 monthly condo fee covers snow removal and landscaping.

Eligible applicants must be first-time homebuyers, with some exceptions; have a household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Barnstable County; and have less than $75,000 in assets.

Click this link for an application. To see more affordable listings for sale, visit Cape Community Real Estate's website here.

Tags: Gael Kelleher, Cape Community Real Estate, workforce housing, Nonprofit Real Estate, affordable housing, homeownership, Betsie Rumbaugh, real estate listings, affordable homeownership, first-time homebuyer

Barnstable Teen Has Passion for Helping Others

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 @ 02:22 PM

Allison Carter Headshot

Perhaps it’s in her nature or perhaps it’s been ingrained in her by her mother Kathy Carter, a family advocate at Cape Cod Child Development, but either way Barnstable High School senior Allison Carter has long had a propensity to give back to this place she calls home.

“I just see the need,” she said. “We all need to do more and so many of us are capable of it.”

For Allison these aren’t hollow words; she backs them up with action. Over the past two holiday seasons, the star lacrosse player has worked with her fellow athletes at Barnstable High School, organizing drives to collect socks, diapers and canned goods for clients in HAC’s shelters.

As a student ambassador to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Association (MIAA), Allison has served as a leader at her school for initiatives such as this. She has helped collect food donations during the holidays for families being served by her mother’s nonprofit.

This past fall, she was successful in getting her school to purchase a stainless steel composter, paid for by the Cape Cod Challenger Club, that turns food waste into compost. As part of the purchase, Allison helped design a program that involved special needs students working alongside their peers at the high school in collecting, running and maintaining the machine.

Allison’s altruism doesn’t end there. A shift leader at Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop in Hyannis, Allison started delivering iced coffee to HAC’s Angel House shelter as well as its Scattered Site shelter in Hyannis last fall. It was a way to both reduce waste while supporting those most in need in the community.

This spring, Allison is organizing one last drive for HAC’s shelter clients prior to graduation.

While Allison, who wants to either major in speech pathology or environmental science in college – Tufts University is at the top of her list – is proud of the work she has done, she acknowledged “it feels like I still should be doing more… There’s so much need in the community. I see it at my job working on Main Street. I’m just glad I can help out because it is easy to do it.”

Support HAC's Family Shelters

Tags: Family Shelter, Angel House, giving, Scattered Sites, charitable giving, Barnstable High School, Allison Carter