Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

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.

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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

HAC Staff Attend Hoarding Training

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Oct 11, 2018 @ 04:07 PM

Hoarding Photo-1

On Cape Cod, it is estimated that over 8,500 individuals suffer from hoarding disorder.

It’s a mental illness that a number of HAC staff have encountered when assisting clients. Recently, several employees attended a training session on the topic that was led by Erika Woods (above), chair of the Cape Cod Hoarding Task Force.

The three-hour workshop provided details on the disease and ways to address compulsive cluttering and hoarding. Dealing with the issue, Woods said, is complicated by the fact that “there are not a lot of services out there. One of the things we struggle with is providing services to people.”

Despite those difficulties, Woods said, the region is working to address the issue through the task force which holds meetings for professionals who are or may be working with individuals struggling with hoarding on the first Thursday of every other month, 9:30 to 11:30 am, at the Dennis Police Station.

For info on self-help groups or other resources related to hoarding, contact Erika Woods at info@hoardingcapecod.org or at 508-375-6620. You can also visit the Cape Cod Hoarding Task website by clicking this link

Tags: hoarding, Cape Cod Hoarding Task Force, Erika Woods

Cape Cod 5 Gives Shelter a Makeover

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Oct 02, 2018 @ 10:34 AM
CC5 Cataumet-4Cape Cod Five’s Joe Beasley (from left), HAC’s Maintenance Supervisor Keith Trott, Cape Cod Five’s Elaine Sweeney, and Paula Mallard, the facility director for the Village at Cataumet.

Over the course of one day at the beginning of last month, roughly 40 interns from Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank came together to give HAC’s Village at Cataumet a much needed facelift.

The group painted the exterior of the 18-unit family shelter from white to gray. Combined with new black doors and shutters, installed by HAC’s maintenance department and several contractors, the makeover provided the Bourne shelter with an entirely new appearance.

“This hasn’t been touched in 25 years,” said HAC’s Maintenance Supervisor Keith Trott of the shelter. “This is going to be quite a transformation.”

He made the statement on the morning the interns were about to begin their work. Before they did, he thanked them for their contributions to HAC. “This is probably a $40,000 paint job we’re going to try to knock out with all your help,” he said. “It goes a long way and lets us have funds to do other things with.”

CC5 Cataumet-3Approximately 40 Cape Cod Five interns spent a day painting the Village at Cataumet family shelter in Bourne.

Intern Alyssa Birchfield, a sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley, said, “it’s nice to be doing something for the community.”

Former intern Joe Beasley, who now works at the bank as a talent management administrative coordinator, said these types of community service projects are a key component of his company’s culture. “Cape Cod 5 really prides itself on giving back to the community and helping out those in need,” he said.

Tags: Village at Cataumet, The Village at Cataumet, Paula Mallard, Cape Cod 5, Philanthropy, Community Service, giving back, Keith Trott, Family Shelter

HAC's Big Fix Challenge

Posted by HAC Staff on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 @ 01:36 PM

Big Fix

If you follow HAC's Facebook page, then you know our CEO Alisa Magnotta Galazzi, pictured above with our COO Walter Phinney, has been issuing a challenge for residents, business owners, volunteers, and community leaders to step up and make a difference at this month's Big Fix in Harwich.

With 9 Big Fix fundraising teams consisting of 37 fundraisers, nearly $40,000 has already been raised. The public has embraced the challenge by raising funds to not only support this year's Big Fix, but to enable the agency to conduct the type of work that makes the annual day of service so meaningful to residents.

Now we're challenging YOU to accept the Big Fix Challenge. All you have to do is make your own video, explain why housing is important to you and/or you're participating in the Big Fix and tag two friends. And share the video on our Facebook page.

You can also make a donation by clicking this link so we can expand the reach and impact of this year's Big Fix.

Tags: Harwich Big Fix, Big Fix, Big Fix Challenge, Fix-A-Thon, social media, Facebook, Harwich

Animals Offer Delight at Cataumet

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 @ 01:07 PM
Cataumet Animals-1A child at the Village at Cataumet pets Zima the cockatoo, one of several animals to visit the Bourne shelter. 

His name – Harold – was friendly enough. But his appearance, now that was an entirely different matter.

“That is far enough,” Paula Mallard, the facility director at the Village at Cataumet shelter, laughed as Rick Roth, owner of Creature Teachers in Littleton, pulled out Harold the tarantula from a box and held it in his hand.

At the end of July, Roth and his animal sidekicks – they included Zima the cockatoo, Mr. Prickles the hedgehog, Walter the American alligator, and Gertrude the possum – paid a visit to the family shelter, providing some entertainment and education to more than a half dozen families, including eight children.

Cataumet Animals-2Mr. Prickles, a hedgehog, gets some attention during his visit to the Village at Cataumet. 

Paula, a client at the shelter, was surprised to see that her granddaughter, who has sensory issues, was “actually touching all the animals. Now I want to take her to a petting zoo,” she said.

The animal encounter was paid for by Bourne For Children which offers parenting workshops and play and learn groups in the community. “Kids are fascinated by this,” said HAC volunteer Maura Dankert, who is the Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Coordinator for Bourne For Children.

Roth, who does similar presentations at the Jonathan Bourne Public Library, agreed. “It gives kids the opportunity to see and touch some of the animals,” he said. “A lot of them are really interested in the animals.”

Cataumet Animals-3Paula Mallard (from left), facility director at the Village at Cataumet, HAC volunteer Maura Dankert, and Rick Roth, owner of Creature Teachers, with Zima the cockatoo. 

Tags: The Village at Cataumet, Village at Cataumet, animals, Paula Mallard, Maura Dankert, HAC Volunteers, Bourne, Rick Roth, Creature Teachers

Cape Housing Institute Begins in October

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 @ 12:41 PM
Housing Institute-25Jim Donaghue and Elizabeth Brown, both of Bourne, were among the 140 municipal officials to take part in last year's Cape Housing Institute. 

HAC and Community Development Partnership (CDP) will kick off the second year of the Cape Housing Institute next month. The six-week workshop is intended for municipal officials throughout Cape Cod, providing them with the support, tools and resources to help boost the development of affordable housing needed in their individual communities. 

Sessions, which will begin on Wednesday, October 3 and end on Thursday, November 8, will be held in four separate sections on Cape Cod. 

Municipal officials on the Upper and Mid-Cape can sign up here. Officials on the Lower and Outer Cape can sign up here

 HAC will organize the weekly sessions on the Mid-Cape and Upper Cape which will be held every Thursday. Those on the Mid-Cape will take place from 1-3:30 pm at the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS at 22 Mid-Tech Drive in West Yarmouth. Those on the Upper Cape will take place from 6-8:30 pm at the Mashpee Public Library at 64 Steeple Street.

Housing Institute-18This year's Cape Housing Institute features a revised curriculum as well as a slate of new and returning speakers. Among those returning are Laura Shufelt, assistant director for community assistance at Massachusetts Housing Partnership. 

CDP’s sessions will be held every Wednesday on the Outer and Lower Cape. Those on the Lower Cape will take place from 1-3:30 pm at the Harwich Cultural Center at 204 Sisson Road. Those on the Outer Cape will take place from 6-8:30 pm at the Eastham Public Library at 190 Samoset Road.

The Cape Housing Institute is free and open to elected and appointed officials throughout Cape Cod and the Islands as well as town housing and planning staff.

This year’s institute will be more interactive, allowing participants to engage in workshops so they can better understand their community’s housing needs and ways their municipality can address them.

Each class will focus on a specific topic related to housing development starting with Cape Cod housing needs and telling your town’s data story; an overview of Chapter 40B; planning and community engagement; financing; development; and fair housing and advocacy.

New this year, officials and staff in each town will convene for a post-institute wrap up to determine their community’s next plans of action.

Register for This Year’s Institute

To register for sessions on the Upper and Mid-Cape, visit www.capehousinginstitute.org.

To register for sessions on the Lower and Outer Cape, visit www.capecdp.org.

The Cape Housing Institute is free and open to elected and appointed officials and town housing and planning staff.

 

Tags: Cape Housing Institute, Cape Community Housing Partnership, Community Development Partnership, Housing Development, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Development on Cape Cod

Oysters & Champagne Raises Funds for HAC's Programs

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Sep 11, 2018 @ 05:40 AM
Oysters-1Dr. William Rhodes, a longtime HAC donor, enjoying some of the delicious oysters at the Wequassett Resort. 

On a picturesque Cape Cod summer evening, over 100 HAC supporters gathered at the Wequassett Resort in Harwich to celebrate the agency’s work and raise funds so it can continue to provide access to housing for those most in need in our region.

The brainchild of HAC’s Chief Development Officer Anne Van Vleck, Oysters & Champagne was a fun, casual affair in an inspiring setting. Over $50,000 was raised that will enable HAC to address the region’s housing issues.

“You all being here is literally a translation of our mission in action,” HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi told those in attendance. “Housing instability is a very serious problem in our region and tonight, all of us here together, we are actually doing something about it.”

On a picturesque Cape Cod summer evening, over 100 HAC supporters gathered at the Wequassett Resort in Harwich to celebrate the agency’s work and raise funds so it can continue to provide access to housing for those most in need in our region.

Oysters-3HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi (from left) with John and Barbara Cotton of Mashpee and HAC Chief Development Officer Anne Van Vleck. 

The brainchild of HAC’s Chief Development Officer Anne Van Vleck, Oysters & Champagne was a fun, casual affair in an inspiring setting. Over $50,000 was raised that will enable HAC to address the region’s housing issues.

“You all being here is literally a translation of our mission in action,” HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi told those in attendance. “Housing instability is a very serious problem in our region and tonight, all of us here together, we are actually doing something about it.”

Dan Wolf, the vice chair of HAC’s Board of Directors, thanked guests for their generosity before calling on them to continue to support the nonprofit’s housing efforts. “Let’s keep the fight going because we have a long way to go, but we’re working on it and I think we’re doing a great job,” he said.

Make A Donation

Tags: Oysters & Champagne, wequassett resort, Harwich, Anne Van Vleck, Dan Wolf, HAC Board of Directors

Preventing Homelessness on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Sep 10, 2018 @ 03:15 PM

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When it comes to money, $500 may not seem like much. But at HAC, it often is the difference between keeping a client in their home and them becoming homeless.

Over the past 25 years, HAC’s Project Prevention has worked to prevent homelessness through one-time emergency funds that go to pay utility bills, rent or mortgage arrears for individuals and families on Cape Cod and the Islands.

“A relatively small amount of money can resolve a really big problem,” said HAC’s Information and Client Services Manager Liz Belcher who assists individuals at risk of becoming homeless. Monica Mitchell, HAC’s family services supervisor, assists families at risk of becoming homeless.

Among Belcher’s recent clients is a woman in her 30s who holds a Section 8 voucher and was unable to work due to an injury. While she filed for unemployment and an adjustment on her rent, Belcher said, “both of those take time” so HAC used $439 from Project Prevention funds to cover her rent.

A frequent request, Belcher said, is individuals seeking money to prevent their utilities from being shut off. “Usually anywhere between $150 and $450 we give as a down payment on someone’s utility arrearage,” said Belcher. “And then we get them on a payment plan. It is really a leg up.”

homeless-prevention

On average, Belcher said, she sees at least 15 clients a week who need funds to keep them in their homes or apartments.

That funding comes from two sources – the Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) and the Barnstable Interfaith Council (BIC).

DYECH’s funding supports HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts for families while BIC’s funding goes towards individuals in danger of becoming homeless. Both raise funds for HAC through the sale of gift certificates to local supermarkets and restaurants that are sold at face value to the public. Because the faith-based groups purchase those certificates in bulk, they receive a discount, allowing five percent of each purchase to go towards HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts.

Since it was formed in 1993, DYECH has raised over $1.5 million to help keep local families in their homes and apartments and off the streets. BIC has raised nearly $400,000 for individuals.

For roughly 20 years, Deacon David Akin of St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth, has been involved in DYECH’s efforts to support HAC’s Project Prevention. “It is good for the soul,” he said of his involvement. “You’re doing something good for another human being or family.”

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Cash for Causes-1

If you shop for food at a supermarket, then you can help prevent homelessness on Cape Cod. It’s that simple.

HAC sells gift certificates at face value to the following stores: Lambert’s; Shaw’s/Star Market; Stop & Shop; Ring Brothers; Peterson’s Market & Fancy’s in Osterville; Roche Brothers; Cape Cod Natural Foods; and Whole Foods as well as Country Garden; CVS; 99 Restaurant & Pub; and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Because the Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) and the Barnstable Interfaith Council (BIC) purchase those certificates in bulk, they receive a 5 percent discount on them. For each certificate sold, that 5 percent goes to HAC to prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless.

Deacon David Akin of St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth said, “it should be a no-brainer” for people to participate in the program. “We are supposed to support our neighbors.”

Those interested in purchasing gift certificates to support HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts can do so at our office at 460 West Main Street in Hyannis.

Along with selling gift certificates, DYECH organizes free concerts twice a year where they collect donations on behalf of Project Prevention. It also works with local restaurants who donate a portion of their patrons’ checks to Project Prevention several times a year. Visit www.dyech.org for details on upcoming fundraisers.

 

Tags: homeless prevention, homelessness prevention, grocery cards for prevention, Gift Cards for prevention, Project Prevention, homelessness, DYECH, Liz Belcher, BIC, Barnstable Interfaith Council, David Akin

HAC Intern Has Passion for Helping Others

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 @ 04:50 PM
Ashley Intern PhotoAshley McCloud (second from left) with HAC’s Margaret Benaka (from left), Ruth Bechtold, Suzanne Smith, Jo Ann Cournoyer and Mary Everett-Patriquin on the final day of her internship.

When she graduates from Wheaton College next May, Ashley McCloud plans to get her master’s degree in business administration and then “be able to create my own company where I can be able to help reduce poverty.” 

Though she has long had a desire to help others, Ashley witnessed how HAC is working to disrupt poverty on the Cape and Islands as part of a summer internship which ended last month. 

“What I love about HAC is that each department here has a role and is contributing to people that need help,” she said. 

Over the course of two months, Ashley assisted several HAC departments, including HAC Energy, its Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC), and Family and Individuals Services. 

She helped Cassi Danzl, director of family and individuals services, on a safety policy and procedure for three of the agency’s family shelters – Scattered Sites, Carriage House and the Village at Cataumet. 

Ashley worked closely with Ruth Bechtold, manager of HAC Energy, in creating a standard operating procedure for invoicing. “She is very smart and also has a good sense of humor. She fit really well into our group,” Bechtold said of McCloud. “She is going to go places.” 

For Ashley, who grew up on Nantucket and lives in Hyannis, her career goals are rooted in her background. Her parents were born in Jamaica and during several trips there, Ashley has seen how insufficient housing, education, and healthcare have negatively impacted those on the Caribbean island. 

“I have a passion for helping people,” she said. “If you help someone, that person can then help the next person. It is about sending positive energy into the world.”

Tags: Interns, Wheaton College, Ashley McCloud, HCEC, housing consumer education, HAC Energy, Ruth Bechtold, Cassi Danzl, Family Shelter