Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Editorial: A Need for Rental Housing

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Tue, Jul 03, 2018 @ 03:37 PM

 

House For Rent Photo-1

We’re all concerned about maintaining the vibrancy of our local community and economy. The lack of year-round rentals in the region is having a dire effect on the Cape and Islands, an issue reinforced by the Cape Cod Commission’s recent Regional Housing Market Analysis. The problem is only going to get worse. By 2025, the report forecasts the Cape’s housing unit gap will be more than 33,000 homes.

“Cape Cod’s housing supply is heavily skewed towards single family homeownership, resulting in a historically narrow supply of rental housing in our market,” said Cape Cod Commission Affordable Housing Specialist Heather Harper. “Nationally, 30% of the housing is supplied by the rental market. On Cape Cod, we are below the national average with less than 20% of stock provided as rentals.”

Many in our region are working on this problem. At HAC, we are developing rental units; promoting accessory apartments as a zoning change; and holding workshops at our Cape Housing Institute and Advocacy Training with our partner Community Development Partnership.

Another solution is to convert seasonal rentals to year-round use. According to the commission, roughly 58,500 of the Cape’s nearly 160,000 homes are used seasonally. If we can convert some these to year-round use, it will be a step forward to solving the Cape’s lack of rentals.

Unfortunately, this won’t be easy. Realtor Margo Pisacano, owner of Margo & Company, said today’s real estate market is encouraging landlords to sell rather than rent when leases terminate, only serving to exacerbate the problem.

Pisacano has been in the real estate industry since 1992 on Cape Cod, calling recent years “the worst housing shortage I have seen.”

HAC Can Help

Addressing the Cape’s lack of rentals is so important that we at HAC are willing to walk homeowners and investors through the process of converting a seasonal rental into an affordable unit.

We are not naïve about this multi-faceted problem. It is complicated by our seasonal economy and low wages which negatively affect the ability of Cape Codders to afford a rental. Additionally, wealth earned off-Cape allows people to pay exorbitant prices to buy houses on Cape which artificially raises the cost to both purchase a home and rent one.

High prices are forcing our year-rounder workforce out of the market and will eventually force them off Cape Cod. This will have a negative impact on employers. As Matthew Cole, CEO of Cape Associates, said, “the available pool of workers suffers as a result of a lack of housing.”

Using our existing inventory for more year-round rentals makes financial sense for the community, for property owners, for businesses, and the local economy. There is a perception that short-term rentals are more lucrative, but our research shows this is not the case. If you are interested in renting your property to a year-round renter, call me today at 508-771-5400 ext. 225 and we can help you get started.

Tags: year round rentals, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, affordable housing, rental housing, Housing Development, Cape Cod Commission, Heather Harper, Cape Associates

HAC Welcomes New Director of Education and Engagement

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 @ 05:51 PM

 

Cheryl-2

In April, HAC welcomed Cheryl Codair to the agency, tapping her expertise to expand its financial literacy classes.

Codair was hired as HAC’s new director of education and engagement. She is responsible for managing the workshops offered through HAC’s Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) which includes Be a Successful Tenant; Community Resources; First-Time Homebuyer Education; HomeSafe Post Purchase Series; Housing Search; Money Matters; and Rebuilding Your Credit.

“I am delighted to be a part of HAC’s professional family,” said Codair, who lives in Orleans with her two daughters. “I wanted to work on a team with strong leadership and to serve our community in a meaningful way.”

She is particularly drawn to HAC’s housing-focused mission. “I do believe that living where you’re working builds a strong, vibrant community,” she said. “And it begins with affordable, year-round housing.”

Codair earned her bachelor of science degree in nursing from the University of Vermont. She comes to HAC with extensive experience in a variety of fields including health care, real estate, software, and education. Most recently, she served as the program director for the Cape Cod Institute.

Anne Van Vleck, HAC’s Chief Development Officer, said Codair has a unique skillset that will serve her well in this position. “We weren’t sure we could find somebody who could do all aspects of the job, from fundraising to sponsorships to relationship building with educational partners to program design and curriculum development,” she said. “Cheryl brought all of those skills to the table. She has a background in all of those areas.”

Among her duties, Codair will be responsible for overseeing an effort to make HAC’s educational offerings more accessible by holding them in other sections of Cape Cod and the Islands. Traditionally, those classes have been held at HAC’s Hyannis office at 460 West Main Street and at its family shelters.

Codair expressed excitement with her new role, especially as it will give clients attending HAC workshops the tools and resources to achieve housing stability and move towards self-sufficiency. “The core education piece is important to be able to set up your financial goals. Maybe it is just to get a better apartment or maybe it is to achieve homeownership,” she said. “It is having that stable place that a family needs to experience that next level of joy.”

To register or to learn more about HAC's financial literacy classes, click this link. To contact Cheryl, email her at ccodair@haconcapecod.org or call her at 508-771-5400, ext. 267.

Tags: HCEC, Homebuyer Education, education, housing consumer education, First-Time Homebuyer workshop, financial literacy, Anne Van Vleck, first-time homebuyer, Cheryl Codair, self-sufficiency

Blanketing HAC Clients with Love

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jun 22, 2018 @ 02:03 PM

Knitathon-3

A Great Yarn owner Mary Weishaar (from left) with three of the participants in this year's Knit-A-Thon, Jean Williams, Judy Maynard, and Susan Bartels. 

A hand-knit blanket represents warmth, comfort, and love, something hundreds of HAC clients have received since 2016 thanks to the generosity of Ron and Mary Weishaar and their customers.

That was the first year that the couple, who own A Great Yarn in Chatham, and the store’s customers came together to knit 29 blankets for those in HAC’s shelters. In addition to the blankets, $1,500 was raised to support the agency’s housing programs.

Last year, those numbers jumped to 155 hand-made blankets and $6,000 in donations. This year, 192 blankets were made and nearly $5,000 was raised as part of what has become an annual tradition that takes place every February, March, and April.

The knit-a-thon concluded last month with a “yarn bomb” in which all interior and exterior surfaces of A Great Yarn were covered in the finished blankets before being delivered to HAC to go to clients in the agency’s family shelters.

Interest in the annual drive has grown to the point that nearly 300 people representing seven states throughout the country now participate in it. “We probably have 50 to 60 new people who this is their first year involved in it,” Ron said.

Each person knits individual panels – essentially the size of a long scarf – that volunteers sew together to make blankets for HAC clients who need them the most.

“We have a number of people who come in and tell us how much this has meant to them,” Ron said. “It is just remarkable… They feel, ‘I’ve got this talent and here’s a way of, instead of making another sweater for my granddaughter, I can help somebody who doesn’t have a home.’”

Tags: Family Shelter, homelessness, homeless shelters, A Great Yarn, charitable giving, knit-a-thon, Mary Weishaar, Ron Weishaar, Chatham, blankets, knitting

HAC Adds to Its Board

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jun 21, 2018 @ 11:15 AM

Tamasi, Raymond V

Raymond Tamasi

At HAC’s 44th Annual Dinner & Volunteer Recognition last month, the agency welcomed four new members to its Board of Directors.

The new members are Ashley Moore Baker of Chatham; Catherine Baker of Cotuit; Dr. Kumara Sidhartha of South Dennis; and Raymond Tamasi of Mashpee.

Ashley Baker currently is the Deputy Vice President of Institutional Giving for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). She previously served as the development director for the Cape Cod Foundation.

Ashley Baker Photo

Ashley Baker

Ashley's commitment to affordable housing started during her master's program in Community Economic Development and her work as a housing analyst with the Vermont Housing Conservation Board. She lives with her husband and two children in Chatham.

A 2018 Cape & Plymouth Business Magazine 40 Under 40 honoree, Catherine Baker is the advancement associate at Cape Cod Academy. She previously served as the Operations Director at Cape Cod Young Professionals (CCYP).

Headshot_Catherine Baker

Catherine Baker

A familiar face at HAC’s Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, Dr. Sidhartha is the medical director at Emerald Physicians in Hyannis. He has been in preventative medical practice for more than 15 years with a focus on nutrition.

Dr. Sidhartha has been principal investigator and study designer for Farm and Local Health Alliance for Fruit and Vegetables in Outcome-based RX program (FLAVORx), the nation's first randomized controlled trial design to research blood tests for outcome measurements in a free fruit and vegetable prescription program for vulnerable populations.

Ray Tamasi has over 40 years of experience managing treatment, intervention, and prevention services. For 25 of those years he was the CEO of Gosnold. Last year, he transitioned to become the president and founder of the Gosnold Innovation Center which is focused on developing and testing innovative treatment methods, progressive prevention programs, and effective recovery management services.

Tags: HAC Annual Meeting, HAC Executive Board, Emerald Physicians, Annual Dinner, Board Members, Catherine Baker, Ashley Baker, Raymond Tamasi, Kumara Sidhartha, Gosnold

Recognizing Volunteers, Donors at Annual Dinner

Posted by Laura Reckford on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 @ 11:57 AM
Annual Meeting-1-10Volunteers of the Year winners Richard and Bernadette Waystack of Harwich. 

Housing Assistance is a special place. We make dreams come true.” Those words were spoken by Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC) CEO Alisa Galazzi at HAC’s 44th Annual Dinner and Volunteer Recognition. Telling the stories of several of HAC’s clients, Galazzi kicked off the event with heartwarming examples of success.

As it is every year, the event was an opportunity to celebrate the hundreds of volunteers and donors who support the agency on an annual basis. More than 250 people turned out to the event on May 3 at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis, which was once again sponsored by Shepley Wood Products. Tony Shepley, founder and CEO, was on hand to greet those gathered for the Annual Dinner.

This year’s honorees for Volunteer of the Year were Bernadette and Richard Waystack of Harwich. The couple have participated in the Bob Murray Housing With Love Walk, walking the entire Cape, from Provincetown to Falmouth, for many years to raise funds for HAC.

Three awards all honored participants in the Big Fix. Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub earned the Business Partner Award for their annual efforts providing lunch for the hundreds of volunteers at the annual Big Fix over the past five years. 

Annual Meeting-2-9Mashpee Boy Scout Troop 36 received this year's Human Service Partner Award. 
Mashpee Boy Scout Troop 36 received the Human Service Partner Award for volunteering at the Big Fix for the past several years. Assistant Troop Leader John Cotton also participates in HAC’s annual Shelter Cape Cod Telethon. This year, he also participated in HAC’s new initiative, the Cape Housing Institute.

The Making A Difference Award went to Home Depot, which supported the Falmouth Big Fix by providing more than $20,000 in supplies to use at the homes of senior citizens, disabled people, and veterans. Home Depot also sent a large volunteer team to the Big Fix. In addition, the company has hired a number of clients from HAC’s Angel House shelter who are recovering from substance abuse.

HAC gave a special posthumous award, the Lifetime Benefactor Award, to Barton Tomlinson, who passed away last year. Mr. Tomlinson supported the Angel House shelter for many years with generous donations. The classroom space at Angel House where the clients heal from the trauma of addiction will be named the Barton Tomlinson Clinical and Classroom Space in his honor.

Tags: Housing with love walk, HAC Annual Meeting, HAC Volunteer Recognition, Annual Meeting, Richard Waystack, Bernadette Waystack, Angel House, Big Fix, HAC Volunteers, Bob Murray, 99 Restaurant, Falmouth Big Fix, Annual Dinner, Mashpee Boy Scouts, Home Depot

Compete in HAC's Quahog Challenge

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jun 14, 2018 @ 11:58 AM

 

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For the fourth straight year, HAC is searching for the best stuffed quahog on all of Cape Cod.

If you're a chef or a restaurant owner who thinks you have the perfect stuffie recipe, then contact HAC Event Coordinator Deanna Bussiere at dbussiere@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 270 to compete in this year's Quahog Challenge.

The competition takes place on Sunday, August 5, 1-4 pm, at Trader Ed's in Hyannis. Tickets are $30 per person ($35 at the door) and $5 per person for those 10 and under. Click this link to purchase tickets.

Funds raised will go to benefit HAC's housing programs on Cape Cod and the Islands.

Tags: Deanna Bussiere, fundraiser, Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, HAC Events, Quahog, Quahog Challenge, Hyannis, Trader Ed's

Items Needed for HAC Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jun 08, 2018 @ 04:04 PM

 

HAC Items Needed (June 2018)

In a few short weeks, HAC will move 5 formerly chronically homeless adults into a home in Hyannis. We are currently in need of a variety of small home furnishings for the house, including: 

  • A kitchen table with 6 chairs 
  • 5 XL twin bed frames
  • 5 XL twin mattresses (new)
  • 5 dressers
  • 5 small night stands
  • 1 leather/vinyl couch
  • 1 TV stand
  • 1 area rug
  • 1 microwave

We ask that these donated items either be new or gently used. 

Those able to donate should contact HAC Director of Community Relations Laura Reckford at either lreckford@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 273. 

NOTE: This post has been updated (6/11/18 at 11:30 am) with items still needed in bold. All other items have already been donated. 

Tags: Homeless on Cape Cod, Homeless, homelessness, homeless shelters, donations, HAC donors, Hyannis

State Backs FORWARD at the Rock

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jun 08, 2018 @ 11:29 AM
FORWARD-1Attending last month's ceremony were HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi (center) as well as several HAC staff, FORWARD President Kathy Ohman (left of Galazzi), and DHCD Undersecretary Janelle Chan (right). 

Last month, the state gave FORWARD at the Rock, an eight-unit development that will be built in Dennis for adults on the autism spectrum, a financial shot in the arm, bringing the project one step closer to reality.

“This is the way government is supposed to work: local government working with state government to better the lives of our citizens. This is a textbook example,” said State Representative Tim Whelan during a ceremony at the future site of the Dennis development. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Undersecretary Janelle Chan announced $8 million in funding to support the creation or preservation of almost 100 units of supportive housing throughout Massachusetts, including $1 million for FORWARD at the Rock.

HAC is a consultant on the project and has been lending its support and expertise to FORWARD (Friends Or Relatives With Autism And Related Disabilities) since 2014. That is when Kathy Ohman, president of FORWARD, sought out HAC founder and former CEO Rick Presbrey’s assistance with the housing project.

At the ceremony, Ohman praised HAC for its help since that time. Both Housing Development Director Sandy Horvitz and Assistant Director of Housing Development David Quinn supported FORWARD in writing the grant for the $1 million in state and federal funding it received last month.

To view additional projects in HAC's housing development pipeline, click this link

Tags: Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, FORWARD at the Rock, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Kathy Ohman, Timothy Whelan, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Dennis, Janelle Chan

Music Therapy for HAC Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jun 07, 2018 @ 04:59 PM

 

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Initially, they drummed to their own beat. But once musician Sam Holmstock had concluded his one-hour session with nearly a dozen children living at Village Green II, a workforce housing development located in Hyannis, they were drumming together in unison.

Held during April’s spring break, the activity was organized by HAC Case Manager Jacqueline Smith as a way to offer these at-risk youth a fun, relaxing opportunity to let loose by banging their hands on the drums on a sunny spring day.

This is the second time that Smith, who provides case management to 15 households who have housing vouchers at Village Green II, had brought in Holmstock, owner of Drum Strategies for Healing, to lead a drumming circle for children.

It may have appeared like a simple music class filled with repetitive motions, but it was much more than that. It was therapeutic. “Just smacking their hands on this drum stimulates neurotransmitters in the brain,” Holmstock said. “Generally speaking, although it’s not obvious walking out of that room, it generally calms people down… On one level it’s moderate physical exercise, but more than that it’s stimulating the brain.”

It’s something Smith has noticed by observing the two sessions held at Village Green II this year. “You can see how much calmer they are after doing it,” she said.

Holmstock, who co-founded the band Entrain, now focuses his musical talents on using drumming as a healing mechanism for a host of groups, from at-risk youth to incarcerated teens to those with Alzheimer’s to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Sam Holmstock and Jacqueline SmithSam Holmstock with HAC's Jacqueline Smith following April's drumming session at Village Green II. 

It allows Holmstock to use his talents to reach populations that can truly benefit from music therapy. “Just giving them this opportunity and being able to sort of reach them on a certain level,” he said is part of the reward. “Maybe they don’t even realize in their thinking brain that there are positive things going on when they’re just banging on the drums.”

Tags: music, music therapy, Family and Individual Services Department, Leased Housing, Hyannis, Village Green II, Jacqueline Smith, Drum Strategies for Healing, Sam Holmstock, drum circle

Donor Spotlight: Jim Hinkle & Roy Hammer

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Apr 25, 2018 @ 04:21 PM
Jim and Roy-2Since 1994, Roy Hammer (left) and Jim Hinkle have been supporting HAC as a way to make an impact at the local level. 

Nearly 14 years ago, Jim Hinkle and Roy Hammer decided to close their art gallery, Cummaquid Fine Arts on Route 6A, and enter the next phase of their life – retirement.

Since then they have enjoyed the perks that come with making your own routine. They regularly take trips over the Canal to take in performances at the Boston Symphony and exhibits at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Travel has also been a priority; over the past six years, they have explored Europe and they will do once again later this year when they go on a Baltic cruise, from Copenhagen to St. Petersburg to Stockholm.

Just as rewarding as these personal adventures has been the opportunity to make an impact on this place they have called home for the past 32 years.

The couple, who both attended Yale University and met while graduate students at Harvard University in 1965, have focused their giving on three local nonprofits – Housing Assistance Corporation, Duffy Health Center, and Cape Abilities. “With all of these, there’s a theme of helping people in need and people living below the line,” said Hinkle.

Next year will represent a milestone for the two, at least in terms of donor longevity. That is when they will become members of the quarter century club, having donated to HAC every year since 1994.

The two were initially drawn to the agency thanks to HAC’s efforts to support the region’s homeless. Shortly thereafter, they took a tour of HAC’s properties “and that is when we realized what a much larger organization it was, and when we recognized that, we increased our support,” Hinkle said.

Having an organization like HAC on Cape Cod, Hammer said, is vital, especially for the region’s workforce. “The problem is, there isn’t enough affordable housing for people who make the general salary on Cape Cod.”

“The jobs available don’t pay enough for people to afford living here,” Hinkle said.

And so the two continue to give to HAC because they know the work it is doing is transforming the lives of their neighbors, from those who have little-to-no income to those who are working to purchase their first home here.

“I think it’s important to support organizations [like HAC] in our community,” Hinkle said. “It can make a lasting difference.”

Why We Give

With over a dozen programs that help those of all income levels on Cape Cod and the Islands, Jim Hinkle and Roy Hammer know that each plays a vital role in the lives of HAC clients.

“I think it’s very important what HAC does,” Hinkle said. “They prepare people for housing and enable people to eventually afford housing. And I think the programs HAC offers, in terms of homeownership, are very valuable.”

But to them, the programs that support single parents – specifically its Angel House shelter in Hyannis and Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth – are particularly meaningful. “We’re very impressed with their programs for single parents who are trying to make a go of it,” said Hinkle.

Since 1991, HAC’s Angel House shelter has supported mothers overcoming addiction and their children. Two years earlier, HAC purchased Carriage House in North Falmouth which serves younger mothers and their children.

Both shelters are vital, the pair said, for providing single parents with the support they need to move forward with their lives in a productive manner.

Support HAC's Family Shelters

Tags: Carriage House, Angel House, giving, charitable giving, HAC donors, Donor Spotlight, Cummaquid, Jim Hinkle, Duffy Health Center, Roy Hammer, Barnstable