Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Affordable Condo in Mashpee

Posted by HAC Staff on Fri, Oct 06, 2017 @ 12:17 PM

Mashpee Property Photo-1.jpg

Call this 1-bedroom, 1-bath condominium yours for only $169,000. Located in a quaint, quiet neighborhood in Main Street Village, this condo is in a four-unit building on the upper level.

The condo, which comes with a resale restriction, has two deeded parking spaces, a detached garage, ample basement and closet space, and gas-forced hot water heat.

Eligible applicants must be first-time homebuyers. Incomes may not exceed 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Barnstable County which is equivalent to $75,800 for a one-person household and $86,600 for a two-person household. Household assets must be less than $75,000.

Click here to download an application for this home. And click here to see more affordable homes for sale on Cape Cod. If you have questions about this or other homes, contact HAC Real Estate Assistant Betsie Rumbaugh at ccre@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 285.

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Cape Community Real Estate, Mashpee, homeownership, Betsie Rumbaugh, affordable homeownership, first-time homebuyer

Barnstable Sunrise Rotary Donates to Children in Need

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Sep 29, 2017 @ 04:01 PM
Barnstable Rotary-1.jpgBarnstable Sunrise Rotary Club members Norman Wilson (from left), Wylton Hampton and Randy Gold dropped off 10 backpacks filled with basic school supplies for HAC clients.

Backpacks and back-to-school supplies are a necessity for every student. But for some HAC clients struggling just to get by, they are a luxury they can’t afford.

Thankfully, HAC has generous donors like the Barnstable Sunrise Rotary Club which fill that need. At the end of August, three of its members – Randy Gold, Wylton Hampton and Norman Wilson – dropped off 10 backpacks filled with basic school supplies that will go to children in HAC shelters and those just out of shelter.

The club, which has 10 members, meets every Monday morning for breakfast. In the middle of last month, HAC’s Director of Community Relations Laura Reckford met with the group, giving info on the agency’s shelters, including Angel House which serves mothers overcoming addiction and their children.

After that meeting, the group elected to do something to give back to children in shelter. “We are hands-on. When we see a need, we fill it,” Gold said. “We do small projects like this and we like to help where we can.”

Tags: Philanthropy, charitable giving, back to school, backpacks, Barnstable Sunrise Rotary

Angel House Clients Build Life Skill Competencies

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Sep 28, 2017 @ 10:52 AM
Angel House-17.jpgHAC HCEC Manager Cheryl Kramer (fourth from left) with several of the Angel House clients who took her most recent financial literacy classes. 

Last fall, a client at Angel House took a series of financial literacy classes taught by HAC’s Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) Manager Cheryl Kramer. 

When Kramer brought that series – Creating a Budget, Rebuilding Your Credit, and Be a Successful Tenant – back to the shelter in June, that same client opted to take them again. Kramer said the client told her, “I’m so glad you’re back… Last fall I was focused on having my baby and not really focused on what you were teaching. I’m coming to the end of my time at Angel House and I really need to hear what you have to say.” 

It is one example of why these classes are so important, especially for the mothers at Angel House, who are dealing with the trauma of homelessness, overcoming addiction, and learning how to be a proper parent to their child. “Having the class available more than once, they’re able to build on what they learned the first time,” Kramer said. 

On average, 10 clients took part in each of the classes Kramer offered this summer. In August, she awarded 19 certificates of completion to the clients; some received multiple certificates because they took more than one of the classes. 

“One of the greatest values is that this is a concrete way for them to build their life skill competencies,” shelter director Lin Rohr said. “We do a lot of stuff on healing, recovery and parenting. This teaches them how to do a budget. If you spend everything you make in your first week, how are you going to eat?” 

Amanda, a 23-year-old client at Angel House, said the classes provided her with basic skills that she had overlooked or had no knowledge about. “I never knew anything about my credit,” she said. “And it made me open up my eyes about a lot of things like the money I spend on Dunkin’ Donuts alone.” 

“It’s amazing, isn’t it?” Rohr said. “If you spend $5 a day for coffee, that’s $35 a week.” 

Another client, Cassandra, admitted she has poor credit and was considering filing for bankruptcy. Kramer “showed me that is not my only option,” Cassandra said. “Now I’m almost amped up about it. I can fix it. It’s not too late.”

Cassandra is one of nine Angel House clients who plan on meeting with Kramer one-on-one to focus on their individual financial needs. “That is a huge thing she is offering,” Rohr said. “If they had to pay for that kind of outside support that is not doable for a lot of them. It’s a wonderful gift she [Kramer] is giving them.” 

In October, Kramer will return to Angel House to offer the classes to clients again. “It is part of the [Angel House] program now,” Kramer said. “When they come to that class, they are awake, they are vested and come with good questions… They are not just there because they have to be which makes it more fun to teach. And I make sure I’m giving them the info they want to hear and need to hear.”

HAC Receives CCYP Grant

For the second straight year, HAC has been the recipient of a grant from the CCYP's Giving Circle Fund of the Cape Cod Foundation. This grant will allow HAC to provide the following classes for free, for a limited time, on a first-come, first-served basis: 

Tags: HCEC, Family Shelter, Angel House, Cheryl Kramer, Lin Rohr, housing consumer education, financial literacy

Charming Affordable Chatham Home For Sale

Posted by HAC Staff on Wed, Sep 27, 2017 @ 03:12 PM

Chatham Property Photo-1.jpg

This 3-bedroom, 1-bath Cape-style home at 4 Konuhasset Way in Chatham is currently on the market for $214,500. The purchase of the home comes with an affordable resale restriction. 

Close to local shops and restaurants, this two-foor home is available for first-time homebuyers. Applicants must earn a household income that is at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Barnstable County with household assets of no more than $75,000. 

Eligible AMI is $47,600 for a one-person household; $54,400 for a two-person household; $61,200 for a three-person household; and $68,000 for a four-person household. 

Click here for a lottery application. If you have any questions on this home, contact HAC Real Estate Assistant Betsie Rumbaugh at 508-771-5400, ext. 285 or brumbaugh@haconcapecod.org

HAC also has several affordable homes for sale throughout Cape Cod. Click this link to view a listing of those properties. 

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Cape Community Real Estate, homeownership, real estate listings, Chatham, homes for sale

FSS Graduation Result of Hard Work

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Sep 26, 2017 @ 03:19 PM
Stacey Whittemore FSS Photo-1.jpgHAC FSS Coordinator Jan Nelson (left) with Stacey Whittemore, who recently graduated from the program and became a homeowner on Cape Cod. 

When some clients graduate from the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, it can be a large celebration with a number of HAC staff in attendance. Others, like Cotuit’s Stacey Whittemore, opt for something more low key.

That did not make the moment any less meaningful when Whittemore and her son Connor received a $9,061.84 check at the end of July from Jan Nelson, who manages the FSS program for HAC.

With tears in her eyes, an emotional Whittemore spoke about the impact that FSS has had on her since she first entered it a little more than a year and a half ago. “You helped me out tremendously,” Whittemore told Nelson.

With the support of Nelson, FSS clients find ways to increase their income so they can move off of public assistance. As one’s income increases, their rent increases. The difference between the new monthly rent and the old rent is placed into an escrow savings account that clients can access, and use as they deem fit, upon completion of FSS.

Whittemore was able to accumulate more than $4,000; she received another $5,000 in federal funds because she was giving up her Section 8 voucher and becoming a homeowner, moving from her Mashpee home into what she called, “my forever home” in Cotuit.

Nelson called Whittemore, who has two jobs, including a full-time one as an overnight dispatcher for a towing company, “a hard worker” something that was witnessed when she boosted her credit score from roughly 500 to over 700 during her time in the FSS program.

While she was looking forward to decorating her new home for Halloween and Christmas, Whittemore said, the most important aspect is, “just giving him [my son] the security. It’s something I never had as a child.”

To have that kind of security on Cape Cod is the icing on the cake. “It is so beautiful here,” Whittemore said. “I’m pretty content to call this place my home.”

Give Hope to a HAC Client

Tags: Jan Nelson, Family Self Sufficiency, FSS, homeownership, Stacey Whittemore

Nutrition Workshop Brought to Village at Cataumet

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Sep 25, 2017 @ 03:45 PM
Cataumet Nutrition Photo-1.jpgCooking Matters' Catherine Cleary (middle) with Margaret Peters (left), administrative support at The Village at Cataumet, and facility director Paula Mallard. 

At HAC’s family shelters, the goal is to not only house clients, but to give them the tools to care for themselves and their children. Nutrition is a key part of this equation and recently HAC welcomed Catherine Cleary, program manager for Cooking Matters, to The Village at Cataumet to provide a handful of parents with the skills necessary to ensure their children are fed healthy meals at home.

“It’s not about teaching people,” Cleary said about the aim of the initiative, which she has brought to food pantries, public libraries, Head Start programs, and family shelters throughout Massachusetts. “It’s about building confidence in caregivers of young children.”

For a little more than an hour, Cleary engaged mothers in a conversation about everything from shopping for nutritious foods to cooking those foods for their families, all while on a budget. She stressed that parents are the best judge of what choices to make. “You all know what is best for you and your family,” she said.

She began with simple advice – always make a list, for example - that can help clients with budgeting and keeping them better organized while shopping.

During her visit, Cleary touched upon several key areas that included how to choose produce, how to choose whole grain foods and why it matters, how to read the nutrition labels on the food packages, and why the unit price on food is important.

Shelter clients were interested in strategies for getting children to eat healthier. Cleary suggested cooking two types of vegetables, such as peas and carrots, and having the children decide what they want to eat.

In her house, Cleary said she will always have low-salt peanut butter, jelly, and whole wheat bread to make sandwiches for her children. “At least you have a couple of food sources there,” she said, which can then be combined with fruits and vegetables. “That’s more balanced than oodles of noodles.”

These were just a few of the tips Cleary had for clients to empower them to make healthier decisions when cooking affordable meals for their children. The session represented a first for the shelter and was something that its facility director, Paula Mallard, said provided practical skills to clients which they can begin applying immediately and continue to use once they transition into permanent housing.

Tags: Family Shelter, Paula Mallard, Village at Cataumet, education, Cooking Matters, Margaret Peters, nutrition

Wells Fargo Grant Helps Prevent Homelessness

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 @ 04:23 PM
Wells Fargo Photo-1.jpgWells Fargo’s Kristine Sullivan (from left), Briana Curran and Robert Sullivan present HAC’s Laura Reckford (middle) and Cassi Danzl with a $5,000 grant. 

It can take as little as a few hundred dollars to keep HAC clients, who may be struggling to get by, in their homes and off the streets. And thanks to the generosity of Wells Fargo which recently awarded HAC a $5,000 grant, a number of families on Cape Cod and the Islands will be able to avoid the trauma and indignity of homelessness.

“This money will allow us to assist a larger number of families this year with avoiding a housing crisis,” said Cassi Danzl, HAC’s director of family and individual services. “Many families on the Cape are one crisis or missed paycheck away from homelessness. This money will help bridge that gap and allow those families to stay in stable housing.”

Danzl was joined by HAC’s Director of Community Relations Laura Reckford in accepting a $5,000 check from Wells Fargo to support the agency’s Project Prevention program. Robert Sullivan, first vice president of investments at Wells Fargo Advisors, Kristine Sullivan, a senior registered client associate at Wells Fargo Advisors, and Briana Curran, vice president of communications and community relations for Wells Fargo, delivered the check to the pair at HAC’s West Main Street office in Hyannis.

HAC was one of 18 nonprofits in Massachusetts that were awarded nearly $250,000 in grants from Wells Fargo and the only one on Cape Cod.

“HAC provides critical services to families on Cape Cod and the Islands at risk of homelessness so they can avoid entry or re-entry into the shelter system, and I’m so proud Wells Fargo can support this important work,” said Robert Sullivan.

Tags: homelessness prevention, Laura Reckford, Cassi Danzl, Wells Fargo, grant

Editorial: Threats to HCEC Funding

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 @ 11:02 AM

Galazzi_HACbeat (2017).jpg

Since I arrived at HAC in January, I have been struck by the number of people that our agency is able to help on a daily basis. Last year alone we provided over 5,600 clients with the housing services they needed to move forward with their lives in a positive direction.

Of that number, more than 1,200 people were served through our Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC). HAC’s HCEC is one of only nine in Massachusetts, and the only one that exists for those on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Due to recent budget cuts made by Governor Charlie Baker, these nine HCECs are being threatened, which will directly impact a large number of clients we serve at HAC. These are our neighbors - teachers, plumbers, electricians, firefighters, waiters, certified nursing assistants and more - who need help, support and housing stability to remain here on Cape Cod.

At HAC, our HCEC conducts client intake, determining whether there is an internal HAC program that can assist them or we need to refer them to an outside agency. Our HCEC also assists clients with housing search, working with them to find safe, secure housing in the region; provides foreclosure and reverse mortgage counseling; and offers financial literacy workshops for low- and middle-income residents.

Maureen Fitzgerald, executive director of the Regional Housing Network, which is made up of the nine HCECs throughout the state, recently wrote that, “the HCECs continue to be one of the Commonwealth’s most effective, impactful, and far-reaching housing and homelessness prevention programs. In an environment where resources are so narrowly targeted, the Centers fill in the gaps, ensuring that the right people get to the right resources at the right time.”

The statement was made as part of a letter written in light of Governor Baker’s proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget which had $320 million worth of vetoes, including a $600,000 reduction in funding for HCECs statewide. This will negatively affect agencies like HAC’s HCEC which is working with individuals and families at risk of homelessness, facing eviction, and seeking to find affordable rentals.

Because of this threat, I have spent time at the State House in Boston this month, meeting with our legislators to urge them to restore both the $800,000 vetoed in Line Item 7006-0011 and the language directing support to the state’s HCECs. We must ensure that the proper state funding is in place so agencies like HAC can continue to serve these clients in an effective and efficient manner.

Tags: HCEC, Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts, State budget, housing consumer education, Alisa Galazzi, Governor Charlie Baker

Quahog Challenge Cooks Up Hope for HAC Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 @ 10:52 AM
QuahogChallenge17-2.jpgAn attendee samples a stuffed quahog made by Sea Dog Brew Pub in Yarmouth. There were a total of 11 chefs and nine restaurants who competed in this year's Cape Cod Quahog Challenge. 

On a sunny Sunday at the beginning of last month, 11 local chefs and 9 Cape restaurants and their staff chose to donate their time, energy and talents to cooking up some much-needed hope for HAC and the clients they serve.

That hope can in the form of tasty samplers of a regional dish – stuffed quahogs – served up as part of the agency’s 3rd Annual Cape Cod Quahog Challenge at Trader Ed’s in Hyannis. “We all have choices for what we do on a beautiful Sunday on Cape Cod and the fact that you’re all here really means a lot to all of us,” HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi told this year’s competitors.

Together, the 11 participants and the nearly 300 people in attendance helped HAC raise more than $30,000 that will go to support the agency’s housing programs on Cape Cod and the Islands.

In the amateur category, Ron Winner led The Shepley Shuckers to their third straight victory, besting newcomer O’Keegan’s Quahogs cooked up by HAC staffer Jodi Keegan. Keegan and her friend Amanda O’Connell dug up all the quahogs, plus blue crabs, that were used in her recipe.

QuahogChallenge17-1.jpgFor the third straight year, The Shepley Shuckers came out on top in the amateur category. 

It was a similar story in the restaurant category where Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar of Eastham, took home its third title. Coming in second and third, respectively, were newcomers Cape Tip Seafood Market of Truro and Wicked Good Seafood Truck of East Falmouth.

When master of ceremonies Matt Pitta of Cape Cod Broadcasting asked Wicked Good Seafood’s Bill Henrique what the secret ingredient was in their stuffies, he replied, “love” to laughter.

Cape Tip Seafood’s Courtney Roach expanded upon that notion when the market was handed its second place trophy. “If you make it with love, it tastes better,” she said.

“It’s all about the love here today,” Pitta chimed in.

And it’s that special ingredient which will make a major difference in the lives of those looking for safe, secure housing on Cape Cod.

To view more photos from the 3rd Annual Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, visit our Facebook page here

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Cape Cod Broadcasting, Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, Shepley Wood Products, Matt Pitta, Quahog Challenge, Ron Winner, Arnold's Lobster & Clam Bar, Jodi Keegan

HAC Supports Falmouth's Most Vulnerable Residents

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Sep 11, 2017 @ 03:58 PM
DSC_0240.jpgHAC Case Manager Deborah McDonnell has been assisting Falmouth residents in need since July as part of a Falmouth Human Services grant to serve those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

In July, HAC began a new program working with the Town of Falmouth’s Human Services Department to prevent homelessness for Falmouth residents. 

Sometimes asking for help can be the hardest part of homelessness prevention. It took one client six weeks to finally summon up the nerve to meet with HAC Case Manager Deborah McDonnell who manages the Falmouth homelessness prevention program. “Every time he tried to come in, there was some excuse, ‘Oh, the car. Oh, this.’ At the point when he came in, he was so ashamed,” she said. “It must have taken so much courage to start telling his story.”

The father, in his 40s, is raising five children on a $4,000 a month salary; his wife is a stay-at-home mother raising their youngest. “His expenses got out of control with the kids,” McDonnell said. “He didn’t know what to do.”

This is just one of the 19 clients McDonnell is currently working with in Falmouth. Of those, six are homeless and the other 13 are at risk of homelessness.

McDonnell has been assisting these clients thanks to a $20,000 grant from Falmouth that covers two days of case management services for Falmouth’s most vulnerable residents who are struggling for a variety of reasons.

When it comes to homelessness, McDonnell said, the first step is addressing the crisis. The next step is to get clients the services they need to provide short-term stability. And the final step is achieving long-term stability.

McDonnell works internally with HAC staff and externally with a variety of agencies, from the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance to Falmouth Human Services to the Falmouth Service Center to Duffy Health Center to Vinfen, to get these clients the help they need to turn their lives around.

“When people ask for help, of course there is help,” McDonnell said. “The thing I say to clients after hearing their story is that this is all going to be a series of steps. I don’t have a magic answer to give to you today. This is all going to be steps.”

Give Hope to a HAC Client

Tags: Homeless on Cape Cod, homelessness prevention, Falmouth, Deborah McDonnell, Falmouth Human Services