Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

HAC Adds Fundraising Component to Big Fix

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Jul 24, 2018 @ 12:44 PM
Big Fix Team Leader-3Realtors Lisa Parenteau (left) and Robin Gunderson have signed up as Big Fix Team Leaders for this year's Big Fix in Harwich. 

In an effort to expand the reach of the Big Fix, the agency is seeking Big Fix Team Leaders and Big Fix Fundraising Volunteers to enable HAC to assist more residents, not only during the annual day of service, but throughout the year.

Realtors Lisa Parenteau and Robin Gunderson of Lisa Sells Cape Cod were the first to sign up as Team Leaders at the end of last month. In that capacity, the pair are organizing a Big Fix team that will volunteer their time for this year’s Big Fix in Harwich and also raise funds to not only support the event, but HAC’s programs that serve vulnerable populations on the Cape.

During a Big Fix Team Leader information session at the Harwich Chamber of Commerce in June, HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi spoke about how impactful the Big Fix is. “Last year was transformative,” she said, of the Big Fix which helped seniors, veterans, and disabled homeowners with small home repairs in Falmouth. “Now this year, our personal goal is to be financially in a position that would allow us to do this type of work year-round.”

Parenteau jumped at the opportunity to make a difference on Cape Cod “where there is just a real shortage of housing, in general,” she said. “We really want to be a part of the housing solution, both in selling houses, and in supporting the mission of HAC.”

To learn more about becoming a Big Fix volunteer, click this link. Those who sign up as a Big Fix Team Leader or Fundraising Volunteer by Tuesday, July 31 will receive two free tickets to HAC’s 4th Annual Cape Cod Quahog Challenge on Sunday, August 5, 1-4 pm, at Trader Ed’s in Hyannis.

Tags: Harwich Big Fix, Big Fix, Fundraising, Harwich, Alisa Galazzi

Quahog Challenge Enters Fourth Year

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Sat, Jul 21, 2018 @ 07:15 AM
Sea Dog Brew PubSea Dog Brew Pub in Yarmouth is one of several restaurants that will compete in next month’s Cape Cod Quahog Challenge. 

For the first time in its four-year history, a new champion will be crowned at next month’s Cape Cod Quahog Challenge at Trader Ed’s in Hyannis.

Over the past three years, Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar in Eastham has won the coveted title of tastiest stuffed quahog on all of Cape Cod, but the restaurant will not be returning to defend its title. The restaurant’s owner, Nathan Nickerson, and head chef, Susan Buckley, promised that if Arnold’s won three years in a row, they would step aside to give others a chance.

That leaves room for several restaurants in the region to win this year’s prize, including Cape Tip Seafood Market of Truro which came in second place in 2017.

Also returning to compete are Fresh Ketch in Hyannis; Portside Tavern in Hyannis; Sea Dog Brew Pub in Yarmouth; and Trader Ed’s. Joining them are two newcomers, the BaHa Brothers Sandbar Grill in Taunton, as well as Sesuit Harbor Cafe in Dennis.

Restaurants interested in competing can contact HAC’s Event and Resource Development Coordinator Deanna Bussiere at dbussiere@haconcapecod.org or at 508-771-5400, ext. 270.

“The quahog challenge is one of my favorite events of the summer,” said Bussiere. “You get to taste incredible quahog recipes from some of the best chefs on the Cape.”

Along with sampling locally-made stuffies, attendees will get to taste free samples of Polar Cave Ice Cream, free Narragansett Beer for those 21 and over, and enjoy live music from Four Guys Cape Cod. 

Purchase Tickets 

Tags: Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, Quahog Challenge, Quahog, fundraiser, HAC Events, Deanna Bussiere, Trader Ed's, Arnold's Lobster & Clam Bar

Southport Supports Carriage House

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jul 20, 2018 @ 02:52 PM

 

Southport-1Carriage House's Laurie Ronayne (middle) with Southport's Laurel Samuels (from left), Judy Phillips, Nancy DiFinizio and Cheryl Piesco. 

In May, roughly 20 Southport residents took to the runway, modeling spring and summer fashion as part of an event that raised funds for HAC’s Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth.

“A lot of us here are moms and have children and now grandchildren and had wonderful support systems in our homes,” said Laura Samuels, a resident of the 55 and over community in Mashpee. “To know someone is alone in this world and doesn’t have that kind of support network is unthinkable. These young girls who are raising babies in the shelter can use a helping hand at this point in their life.”

The fashion show raised more than $2,300 for Carriage House which serves young mothers and their children. Clothing for the models was provided by L.L. Bean in Mashpee and Cape Chic in Falmouth.

Among those taking part in the event was Laurie Ronayne, the house manager at the shelter, who has been at HAC for 25 years because “I want to make a difference and pay it forward.”

At the fashion show, she shared her story of not only working at the shelter, but “growing up really poor,” she said. “At one point I was couch surfing and I had been that route. With the girls at the shelter, I tell them, ‘You can do anything if you want to. We have all the tools to help you move forward.’”

Make A Donation 

Tags: Carriage House, Family Shelter, Mashpee, Southport, Laurie Ronayne, charitable giving, giving

HAC Helps Municipalities Address Housing

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jul 13, 2018 @ 10:24 AM
Peer Group Photo-1Mashpee Selectman John Cotton (second from right) talks about the affordable housing projects being conducted in his town during the Upper Cape Affordable Housing Municipal Peer Group meeting. 

Municipal officials from every town on Cape Cod have come together in recent months to talk about ways they are tackling housing issues in their communities.

The effort is part of the Cape Housing Institute, a collaboration between Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC) and Community Development Partnership (CDP). HAC is organizing Affordable Housing Municipal Peer Groups in the Upper and Mid-Cape while CDP is organizing the peer groups on the Lower and Outer Cape.

From 69 units of affordable apartments the Town of Yarmouth is building at the former Cavalier Motel on Route 28 to 42 rental units the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is building off Meetinghouse Road, participants have learned about efforts being made to address the need for more affordable housing on Cape Cod.

The peer groups meet for two-hour sessions each quarter. Elected and appointed municipal officials as well as town staff are invited to participate.

The peer groups have been formed as a way to provide additional support, tools, and resources to help expand the development of affordable housing that is necessary for those of all income levels.

This month, the peer groups met for the second time, focusing on how an accessory dwelling unit bylaw can be used to expand a town’s affordable housing inventory.

The peer groups are one way HAC is working with municipal leaders and the general public to address the region’s housing issues. During the first Mid-Cape session held at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, HAC Director of Community Relations Laura Reckford told attendees that the people who need affordable housing “aren’t the enemy. They are you and me. They are community members... The people who need affordable housing is all of us throughout the community.”

To take part in future Municipal Peer Group sessions, contact Laura Reckford at lreckford@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 273. 

Tags: Municipal Peer Group, Cape Housing Institute, Laura Reckford, Community Development Partnership, Cape Community Housing Partnership, affordable housing, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Development on Cape Cod

Applications Available for High Meadows Townhomes in Bourne

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jul 13, 2018 @ 09:34 AM
High Meadow-1High Meadows Townhomes represents the third and final phase of a 117-unit affordable housing project in Bourne that includes Canal Bluffs and Clay Pond Cove. 

Last year at this time, HAC and the Preservation Of Affordable Housing (POAH) took part in a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off the construction of 44 affordable townhouse apartments the two nonprofits are building in Bourne as part of High Meadows Townhomes.

Now, HAC is accepting applications for those 2- and 3-bedroom apartments which will go to those in three separate income categories: those earning 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Barnstable County ($20,700 for a 2-person household; $23,300 for a 3-person household); those earning 60% AMI ($41,400 for a 2-person household; $46,560 for a 3-person household); and those earning 75% AMI ($51,750 for a 2-person household; $58,200 for a 3-person household).

Applications are currently available online by clicking this link as well as at HAC’s office at 460 West Main Street in Hyannis; Bourne Town Hall at 24 Perry Avenue in Buzzards Bay; Jonathan Bourne Public Library at 19 Sandwich Road in Bourne; and Clay Pond Cove at 101 Harmony Hill Road in Bourne.

HAC’s Cape Community Real Estate department will be conducting the lottery for those units and has already witnessed a high demand for people seeking to live there. “They are brand new, have air conditioning, are going to have very low utility costs, and have plenty of parking,” said Gael Kelleher, HAC’s real estate director. “This is really a beautiful project.”

She encouraged residents to “get your application in as early as possible and include all of the documentation that is required.”

For those who may be unsure about their eligibility, she said, “when in doubt, apply.” Applications must be received by 5 pm on Wednesday, August 15.

Kelleher anticipated that the lottery to create the list of eligible tenants will be done at some point in September, depending on the number of applications received. POAH will oversee the tenant selection process.

Apartments should be occupied at some point in the fall, Kelleher said.

Those with questions about the application or lottery process should contact Gael Kelleher at either ccre@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 284. Click this link for more information or to download a lottery application.

Tags: Canal Bluffs, High Meadows Townhomes, POAH, Preservation Of Affordable Housing, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, affordable housing, rental housing, year round rentals, Gael Kelleher, Cape Community Real Estate

Donor Spotlight: Cape Associates

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jul 05, 2018 @ 09:53 AM

 

Cape Associates Photo-1

As a business focused on custom home building and home renovations, it should come as no surprise that Cape Associates has long been connected to HAC’s Big Fix.

But the company’s support of HAC goes far beyond the annual day of service held every fall. It has regularly donated to several of the agency’s annual events, including our Shelter Cape Cod Telethon.

This summer, the construction firm will increase its giving by serving as a Signature Sponsor of HAC’s Oysters & Champagne fundraiser, a new event taking place on Thursday, July 19 at the Wequassett Resort in Harwich.

Sponsoring the event, said Cape Associates CEO Matthew Cole, aligns with his company’s desire to give back to the community. “Without this community, there would be no us,” he said. “We look for opportunities to make the greatest impact [with our giving] as much to create a sustainable future as to pay thanks to that which has been provided to us.”

HAC’s role in the community, he said, is vital to addressing the lack of housing units on Cape Cod. “The most acute need is for additional rental housing,” he said. “We need to create more for our current workforce and for the future workforce. Too many folks are house burdened and paying too much for housing.”

Why We Give: Cape Associates

Over the years, Cape Associates Executive Vice President Richard Bryant has organized a Big Fix team of skilled professionals who donate their time and talents to the day of service.

The annual event has allowed Cape Associates to “get out of the office and use our skills as a great team-building exercise,” company CEO Matthew Cole said. “What we’ve seen is some really neat stories of recipients of the work who always are very grateful, whether it’s a veteran who served in the military or an elderly person who needs a little help. It leaves the group feeling very good about the contributions they’ve made. We take away more than we give through that event.”

As they have in the past, Cape Associates plans on organizing a Big Fix team to assist veterans, seniors and disabled homeowners with small home repairs in Harwich this September.

If you want to support HAC's Big Fix, we are currently seeking Team Leaders, Fundraising Volunteers, and Hands-On Volunteers. Click this link to learn more. 

 

Tags: Cape Associates, Oysters & Champagne, HAC Events, Harwich Big Fix, Big Fix, HAC Volunteers, Donor Spotlight, HAC donors, corporate sponsorship, sponsors

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: rental housing, year round rentals, affordable housing, Housing Development, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Heather Harper, Cape Cod Commission, 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: Cheryl Codair, HCEC, financial literacy, housing consumer education, education, first-time homebuyer, First-Time Homebuyer workshop, self-sufficiency, Anne Van Vleck, Homebuyer Education

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

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