Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Chris Kazarian

Recent Posts

Catherine Baker Joins HAC Staff

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Dec 05, 2018 @ 11:14 AM

 

Baker_Headshot

This week, HAC welcomed former Board Member Catherine Baker to its staff, helping to bolster the agency's development efforts to increase donor engagement. 

Baker, who lives in Cotuit, will serve as HAC's Assistant Director of Development, supporting the nonprofit in achieving its fundraising goals, "As a past board member, I'm thrilled to join the HAC team," she said. "I truly look forward to meeting our donors and engaging our community in the organization's multifaceted programs and services." 

She comes to HAC with a breadth of experience in the nonprofit sector of Cape Cod. Most recently, she was the Donor and Community Relations Manager at the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance. Prior to that, she worked at Cape Cod Academy, Cape Cod Young Professionals (CCYP), and the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod. 

"Catherine brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for the work we do to her position at HAC," said Chief Development Officer Anne Van Vleck. "Both will play a critical role in communicating the impact of our agency to current and prospective donors and supporters." 

At HAC's Annual Dinner in May, Baker joined its Board of Directors and in that capacity helped chair the agency's Big Fix in Harwich in September. In accepting her new position at HAC, Baker resigned from the board. 

A 2009 graduate of Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, Baker received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Endicott College in Beverly, in 2013. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Community Leadership Institute (CLI) of Cape Cod as well as the Philanthropy Day Marketing Committee. In June, Baker was the recipient of a 40 Under 40 Award from Cape & Plymouth Business Magazine. 

Tags: Catherine Baker, development, Fundraising, HAC staff, Anne Van Vleck, Harwich Big Fix, Big Fix, Annual Dinner, 40 Under 40

Village Green Families Celebrate Halloween

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Nov 30, 2018 @ 12:59 PM

Halloween-2

Ashley Murphy and her son Dallas came dressed for the occasion at last month's Halloween party at Village Green. 

In the middle of last month, Ashley Murphy quietly traced her son Dallas’ left hand on an orange piece of paper, shaped like a pumpkin, inside the community center at Village Green apartments in Barnstable.

It was a superhero moment befitting of their costumes – Ashley as Spiderman and Dallas as the Incredible Hulk.

The scene was created by HAC Case Manager Zelda Bergstrom who organized the Halloween party that included free pizza, candy, cookies, arts and crafts, pumpkin decorating, and an inflatable bounce house for families at the apartment complex to enjoy.

sm Halloween-3

“It just brings the community together and helps me to really get to know the families here on a different level,” said Bergstrom who was dressed as a fairy. “It is also modeling what you can do with your kids with age-appropriate activities.”

Through a contract with Hallkeen Management, the property manager at Village Green, HAC is providing case management for clients holding Section 8 or MRVP vouchers there. Many of the events, like last month’s party, are open to all families there as a way to strengthen the community.

Tags: Village Green II, Halloween, Zelda Bergstrom, Section 8, MRVP, Leased Housing

Toy Run Embodies Spirit of the Season

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Nov 29, 2018 @ 01:41 PM

hogs bridge

Motorcyclists make their way over the Bourne Bridge and to HAC's Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth. 

On the first Sunday of this month, a sea of roughly 225 motorcycles could be seen making their way from Buzzards Bay over the Bourne Bridge and down Falmouth’s Main Street with one destination in mind – HAC’s Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth.

With over $3,000 worth of toys, the goal of the motorcycle brigade was to spread some holiday cheer to children staying in one of HAC’s four family shelters. Now in its 30th year, the Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run started as a way to give back to those who are less fortunate on Cape Cod.

In 1999, the run was named after longtime participant and organizer Christina Wetherbee who died of cancer the following spring.

Her husband Joe and his second wife Clarissa have proudly carried on the tradition. This year, they had some assistance from Joe and Christina’s daughter Tammy Baptiste and her two children Cody Litchfield and Christopher Baptiste. “It is the best way I know to honor my mother’s memory,” Tammy said outside Eagles Hall in Buzzards Bay where the run kicked off. “We look forward to this every year. She loved the children. To be able to carry on this tradition means so much to me.”

joe&daughter

Tammy Baptiste with her father Joe Wetherbee. The pair helped organize this year's toy run along with Joe's wife Clarissa and Tammy's two songs Cody and Christopher. 

Along with the toys, this year’s participants raised $4,900 to support HAC’s housing programs, including a $2,000 donation from the Eagles Club.

“That’s what we are all about is people helping people and giving back to the community,” said Kim Genson, a trustee with the club. “We’ve got to take care of those in need.”

For Sarah and her son Izaiah, who have been at Carriage House for a month, seeing the outpouring of support from toy run participants was inspiring. “It means a lot to have people think about the homeless at this time of year,” she said. “To have people think about those who are less fortunate, that is the real spirit of Christmas.”

Support HAC's Family Shelters

Tags: Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run, Clarissa Wetherbee, Joe Wetherbee, Carriage House, The Village at Cataumet, Scattered Sites, Angel House, holiday giving, charitable giving, Falmouth, Bourne

Dentists Offer Expertise at Village Green

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Nov 19, 2018 @ 05:56 PM
Dentist PhotoAndrea Read (left) and Teresa Simison

At Village Green Apartments in Hyannis, dental hygienists Andrea Read and Teresa Simison have given residents there something to smile about.

That’s because the pair, owners of Mobile Dental Hygiene Services in Forestdale, have brought their services there twice this summer, providing cleanings and routine check-ups for children and adults.

“One of the biggest barriers to self-sufficiency is transportation,” said Andrea during a recent visit. “That’s why we bring our services to them.”

With a combined 20 years of clinical dental hygiene experience, the pair had previously worked at a private practice together before using their expertise to open up their own business with a distinct business model.

“We are trying to fill in any gaps in care,” Andrea said, making dental care more accessible for vulnerable populations like those at Village Green. “We love doing this… We just saw our 800th patient so it seems that this is a model that is not only working, but is needed.”

Through a contract with Hallkeen Management, the property manager at Village Green, HAC has been providing case management for 15 clients with Section 8 or MRVP vouchers at the apartment complex since February. That work includes offering access to a variety of supportive services like this to those living at Village Green.

Tags: Village Green II, dentist, health care, Section 8

Telethon Expands to Cape Cod Beer

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Nov 19, 2018 @ 05:34 PM

Shelter 2017-8

HAC's annual telethon is always a festive event that sometimes includes a surprise visit from Santa Scott. 

Now in its 15th year, HAC’s annual holiday telethon is being reinvigorated with a new name and a satellite location to increase engagement with new audiences.

The Telethon for Hope will support all of the programs and services offered at HAC with a goal to give hope to the clients we serve on the Cape and Islands.

 Purchase Tickets to viewing party

On Thursday, December 13, the majority of the event will be broadcast live at the Cape Cod Community Media Center, with a Give-a-Thon & Viewing Party running concurrently at Cape Cod Beer. The goal of the Give-a-Thon & Viewing Party will be to reach people through social media and encourage others to share, comment, and most importantly to give.

Longtime telethon co-host Matt Pitta will interview special guests and attendees at Cape Cod Beer where fundraisers who meet specific fundraising goals will be recognized and rewarded for their efforts.

“We’re excited about incorporating a satellite location that will allow people to watch the telethon and engage in and contribute towards our mission to help those in need during the holiday season,” said HAC Chief Development Officer Anne Van Vleck.

Cape Cod Beer owner Beth Marcus agreed, saying that she was looking forward to “being a part of the reimagination of the telethon as a social event. It’s unlike anything that we’ve ever seen on Cape Cod before. It encourages the entire community to understand, participate, and share in HAC’s vision for stable housing on Cape Cod.”

As in previous years, the Cape Cod Community Media Center will serve as the primary backdrop for the telethon which will focus on HAC’s housing programs, including its four family shelters, homeless outreach efforts, Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, annual Big Fix, and the agency’s new housing study and Rent 365 program.

Shelter Email-1-1

Throughout the night, the telethon will feature HAC clients talking about how our programs have helped them. Last year, Matt Pitta talked to Angel House facility director Lin Rohr (second from left) and mothers at the family shelter. 

“I like the telethon because it brings together a lot of prominent members of the community for a really good cause,” said Sarah Colvin, a producer for this year’s telethon.Special guests will include clients and community leaders as well as local school groups and musicians, including Kim Moberg and Chris Mack, as they all come together to embrace the spirit of the season by giving back to those most in need on Cape Cod and the Islands.

Visit www.telethonforhope.org to learn more about this year's Telethon for Hope and ways you can support the annual event. 

Tags: Telethon for Hope, telethon, Matt Pitta, Cape Cod Community Media Center, Cape Cod Beer, Give-A-Thon & Viewing Party, Anne Van Vleck, Sarah Colvin, Beth Marcus, holiday giving, Santa Claus

HAC's Round Tables an Invaluable Tool for Cape Nonprofits

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Nov 19, 2018 @ 02:23 PM
Round Table

At a recent Round Table, over 30 people providing essential human services for Cape residents met to discuss how to better serve clients.

We serve our clients best by knowing all of the available resources and programs they can access,” Liz Belcher, HAC’s information and client services manager, said. “Having a relationship with the people and agencies providing those other services means we can always say, ‘Yes, I know who can help you with that.’ That’s invaluable.”

That philosophy serves as the rationale behind quarterly Round Table meetings that Belcher organizes at HAC that are open to other service providers in the region.

At a recent session, over 30 people representing agencies that included Elder Services of Cape Cod, Barnstable County’s SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) Program, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Community Action Committee, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Cape Cod Hospital, Independence House, the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, and more were in attendance.

Deleta McMullin

Deleta McMullin, president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, at a recent round table session.

Several HAC staffers, including Monica Mitchell, took part in the Round Table, providing insight into the services we offer as an agency. Mitchell spoke about the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) and the HomeBASE programs which HAC oversees on behalf of the state; both provide emergency funding for families, diverting them from entering shelter and providing them the resources to access housing.

Deleta McMullin, president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society which serves as a food pantry and provides financial assistance for those in need, explained her attendance at the Round Table meeting this way: “It’s for us to find out about the other service providers who might be able to help our clients.”

To learn about upcoming Round Table sessions, email HAC’s Liz Belcher at lbelcher@haconcapecod.org.  

 

Tags: Liz Belcher, Round Table Discussions, networking, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Cape Cod Hospital

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. 

Donate to HAC 

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

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