Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

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

dsc_8630-resized-600

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

Hydrangea Festival Raises Funds for Angel House

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Aug 22, 2018 @ 10:41 AM

Hydrangea-1

Marjorie Harvey and her grandson Jack.

For the third straight year, Marjorie Harvey opened up her Cotuit yard to the general public, all to raise funds for HAC’s Angel House shelter in Hyannis.

“My garden is my passion,” Harvey said last month on the first of two days when visitors could tour her yard which is rich with an assortment of colorful flowers that include hydrangeas, daisies and campanulas as well as a fairy garden. “This is a chance for me to share that passion with others.”

Since 2016, Harvey has participated in the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce’s Hydrangea Festival which is held every July and allows the public to tour stunning gardens like hers for a minimal fee. Proceeds from the tours go to support nonprofits like HAC.

Hydrangea-2

Harvey was joined by her grandson, Jack Thornton of Hanover, who helped greet visitors to her yard. Along with the garden tour, Harvey held a cocktail party for family and friends as part of her fundraising effort.

This year, Harvey raised over $2,300 that will go to Angel House, a family shelter which serves mothers overcoming addiction and their children.

Tags: Marjorie Harvey, Angel House, Hydrangea Festival, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, fundraiser, gardening

Editorial: On To Second Year for Cape Housing Institute and Cape Housing Advocacy

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Mon, Aug 20, 2018 @ 02:52 PM
Cape Housing Institute-33Attorney Peter Freeman speaks to participants about Chapter 40B during last year's Cape Housing Institute. 

It is long past time for bold new initiatives to help to increase our attainable housing stock on the Cape and Islands. “Attainable” housing means our Cape Cod workforce can afford it, and these units are in very short supply throughout our region. Ideally, everyone in our region—from nonprofits to municipalities to town meeting voters—will work together on ways to increase capacity for attainable housing in the region.

Our Cape Community Housing Partnership, a collaboration that began in 2017 with Community Development Partnership, is a three-part initiative to try to break the impasse in creating housing opportunities for all on the Cape.

The first part is the Cape Housing Institute, which debuted in the fall of 2017. During the Institute, elected and appointed municipal officials and town staff are invited to learn about the ins and outs of affordable housing, from 40Bs to accessory apartments, from financing to fair housing laws.

The idea of the training is to make municipal officials more savvy about housing so that when developers come calling with a project, town officials can negotiate with them and steer them toward projects that meet the character of the community.

We trained 140 officials during last year’s Cape Housing Institute, with HAC running the classes in the Upper and Mid-Cape and CDP running the classes in the Lower and Outer Cape.

We were most proud of the fact that 100 percent of the attendees who gave us feedback about the course said they would recommend it to their colleagues on committees. That gave us the impetus to continue the training for a second year with a revised curriculum that offers new subjects suggested by last year’s participants.

The 2018 Cape Housing Institute will take place from October 3 to November 8 with classes in the Upper, Mid, Lower and Outer Cape.

The second part of the Cape Community Housing Partnership is Cape Housing Advocacy Training, which we held for the first time last winter. We are in the planning stages for the second session this winter. The Advocacy Training, which is open to the public, is designed for people to learn about the shortage of housing and how to advocate for more housing, by attending town meetings to speak up in favor of new developments.

Between the sessions in the Lower and Outer Cape run by CDP and our sessions in the Upper and Mid-Cape, we trained 80 people through Advocacy Training last winter.

For those who want to join us for these sessions, you can register on our website by clicking this link

We hope to see you there so we can all be part of the solution to generate more housing on the Cape and Islands.

Sign Up for the Cape Housing Institute


Are you a municipal employee or elected official on the Upper Cape or Mid-Cape who wants to learn more about affordable housing and how you can help your community address its housing needs?

HAC and Community Development Partnership (CDP) are preparing for the second year of the Cape Housing Institute, which will start on October 3 and run through November 8.


The 6-week workshop is intended for members of Select Boards, Planning Boards, Zoning Boards, Community Preservation Committees, Housing Trusts, Housing Committees, Housing Authorities, and Town staff. For more info or to register, click this link

Tags: Cape Housing Advocacy Training, Cape Housing Institute, Cape Community Housing Partnership, Community Development Partnership, Alisa Galazzi, Housing Development, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Development on Cape Cod

Voucher Provides Necessary Stability for Vineyard Resident

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 @ 02:46 PM

Leased Housing Client Photo-548543-edited

The car accident occurred nearly four decades ago when Michael Brady’s head hit the windshield of the vehicle he was in. Shortly thereafter, Brady, then only a teenager, started having seizures.

They became so bad, the Martha’s Vineyard resident said, “I couldn’t work any longer. They started happening in the daytime. I kept trying to work until 1990 when I was dangerous, not only to myself, but to others.”

Thanks to treatment – Brady had brain surgery in 1992 and a vagus nerve stimulator implanted into his chest in 2003, both at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center – he has not had a seizure in the past decade.

Thanks to a Section 8 voucher – Brady has had one for the past 15 years – he has had the housing stability to reduce his stress, offer him comfort, and ensure his safety.

Stable housing has provided even more than that for Brady. “I honestly might not be alive if it weren’t for this house,” he said.

Brady is one of nearly 1,200 HAC clients that the agency supports through housing vouchers which help offset rental costs and enable them to live on Cape Cod and the Islands. Some clients represent the region’s workforce. Some are elderly. And some, like Brady, are disabled.

Prior to receiving his voucher, Brady was homeless, living on friends’ couches. At his worst, Brady was living in the basement of a home with three other roommates. “I never had more seizures than there,” he said.

Around 2003, Brady’s situation improved when he landed a Section 8 voucher through HAC, enabling him to rent a home in Edgartown. The voucher provided him with the housing stability he needed to address his medical condition.

While he is still unable to work, Brady is leaving his mark in other ways. He makes jewelry – beads, necklaces, pendants and earrings - for friends and family using quahog shells. “It gives me a purpose,” he said of the craft.

“He makes the most beautiful jewelry I’ve ever seen,” said Logan Patrick, HAC’s supervisor of inspection services. “He said this to me: housing is what enabled him to have a life. Housing is what enabled him to go beyond that and be creative in that life… That is why I do this job because whether we realize it or not, the work we do for our clients builds a better community for all of us.”

Give Hope to a HAC Client

Tags: Section 8, Leased Housing, Martha's Vineyard, Michael Brady, Logan Patrick, housing stability, vouchers, housing vouchers