Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Editorial: Hershey's Kisses

Posted by Laura Reckford on Mon, Jun 03, 2013 @ 04:01 PM

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The following is excerpted from a speech made at HAC’s annual meeting and volunteer recognition dinner

Most people on the Cape and islands don’t know much about HAC.

Hershey Chocolate Company in Hershey, Pennsylvania has the opposite problem. Everyone knows what Hershey does: makes chocolate. People value chocolate and get instant

gratification from it.

HAC doesn’t provide instant gratification. But like Hershey’s,

HAC produces useful products. They make lots of chocolate and we make lots of peoples’ lives better.

Here are 10 of the many things that HAC does:

1. Foreclosure Help

For more than six years we have had three people working on foreclosures full time, serving well over 3,000 Cape and islands homeowners. We still average 13 new cases each week!

Our data shows that we have had successful outcomes in nearly 2/3 of our cases. We have never charged a penny.

2. Energy Services

For four decades we have made homes owned and rented by lower income Cape and islanders safer, more comfortable, less expensive to operate and more energy efficient.

Hundreds are helped each year and thousands have been helped overall. And we replaced or repaired 288 failing heating systems last year at no charge, not to mention the 442 we cleaned and tuned!

3. Section 8 Assistance

We have nearly 1,000 rental units where we assist the occupants. Many receiving help are elderly or disabled and many are families with jobs that just don’t pay enough. About 10% a year are able to opt out of the program.

4. Family Self-Sufficiency

Family Self Sufficiency participants get long term counseling to help them build employment skills and increase financial literacy. We have about 50 families now working to earn more, improve their credit, save enough money to buy a house or get more education, and to make progress towards moving away from public assistance.

5. Housing Development and Facility Maintenance

HAC has built well over 100 single family homes and more than 300 apartments, all of which are affordable. We have also built housing for people with disabilities. We have nearly 200 units in various stages of pre-development right now.

6. HCEC Services

We provide time and advice to help anyone facing housing crises. In 2012 we served 3,850 households one-on-one in this way.

7. Classes and workshops

We have held evening workshops for nearly 20 years on subjects such as Creating a Budget, Rebuilding Your Credit, Home Forever for homeowners, and Homebuyer Education.

In 2012 we had 363 people complete one or more of these workshop series.

8. Shelter

Each night, 365 nights and days a year our family and individual shelters provide a safe environment for people who have nowhere to go. We wish shelters weren’t needed, but until they are not, we try to help people make the most of their time in shelter. Counseling, employment services, and education, are all part of daily shelter life.

9. Project Prevention

It is better for the household, and far less expensive, to help prevent people from losing their homes. Often, for as little as $500, we can keep someone from facing the crisis of homelessness. Prevention served 344 households in 2012.

10. Big Fix

Going into its fourth year, the Big Fix is a community outreach project where we organize volunteers, professionals and staff to help repair homes on one weekend in one town each year. So far, a total of 40 homeowners have been helped in the towns of Barnstable, Sandwich and Dennis by the Big Fix through the work of 469 volunteers! This year, the Big Fix goes to Mashpee on September 28th.

Often those we help are elderly and unable to do many of the daily tasks around their homes.

When you bite into a handful of Reese’s Pieces, a Hershey’s Chocolate Bar, a Kiss, or a Mr. Goodbar, think of HAC. Hershey’s is a well loved company but it may just be the case that the work we do at HAC is more important.

Come take a tour of our “making lives better factory” right here in Hyannis. There’s no charge and you may even get a Kiss!

Tags: Energy Assessments, housing assistance corporation, NOAH Shelter, Housing on Cape Cod, MA Rental Voucher Program, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Cape Community Real Estate