Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Cape Advocacy Training Inspires Public to Get Involved Locally

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Mar 09, 2018 @ 02:48 PM
Housing Advocacy3-1.jpgHAC Board President Mark Forest (from left), Barnstable Town Councilor Paula Schnepp, and Barnstable Housing Committee member Hilda Haye lead a Cape Housing Advocacy Training session last month. 

Just how bad is the housing situation on Cape Cod and the Islands? Yarmouth Selectman Mark Forest, the chair of HAC’s Board of Directors, termed it a crisis. Forest spoke during Cape Housing Advocacy Training held at Shepley Showcase in Hyannis last month.

Solving that crisis, he said, cannot be done at the federal or state level. “It really today is coming to be a local issue,” he told those in attendance. “We have to deal with this on our watch. And if we don’t, the Cape is going to continue to change in ways that are incredibly dramatic and it will be unlike the kind of Cape Cod that we have grown quite fond of.”

Since last year, HAC has worked with Community Development Partnership (CDP) in Eastham to support communities throughout the Cape in addressing their housing challenges. It started last fall with the Cape Housing Institute, aimed at municipal officials, and expanded last month to Cape Housing Advocacy Training, aimed at the general public.

With workshops so far held on the Mid-Cape, Lower Cape and Outer Cape, advocacy training has been geared to giving residents the tools, resources, support and motivation to speak up in favor of affordable housing projects in their towns. A total of 70 residents have taken part in the sessions with another 40 set to do so on the Upper Cape in Falmouth this month.

Housing Advocacy3-2.jpgBarnstable Housing Committee member Hilda Haye encourage participants in HAC's Cape Housing Advocacy Training to be more active in their community. 

The Mid-Cape workshop began with Paula Hersey, the director of outreach and special projects at Cape Cod Community Media Center, sharing her story about struggling to find housing with her husband in the late 1980s. “We lived above a heroin dealer,” she said. “We moved six times in three years… We ate a lot of Ramen, couch surfed, and lived in unfinished basements. It has not been easy.”

Eventually, they were able to find a place, becoming one of the first homeowners in a Chapter 40B development in Marstons Mills. By telling her story, Hersey said, she hoped to “remove the stigma associated” with affordable housing.

A significant piece of advocacy training was focused on just that – getting residents to speak up at public meetings about why affordable housing is important to them.

Barnstable Town Councilor Paula Schnepp, another speaker, said doing so can make a difference. “It really is helpful that your voice is heard,” she said.

Barnstable Housing Committee member Hilda Haye, also a speaker at the training, said, “it is time for us all to get involved… This is our community that we live in and we need to do something… We all need to play our part.” It is this type of activism that Mark Forest said can make a real difference when it comes to affordable housing. “The reality is that what we do in our towns… is critical in terms of making any real progress,” he said.

To stay up to date on upcoming Cape Housing Advocacy Training sessions, click this link

 

Tags: Shepley Wood Products, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, affordable housing, Mark Forest, Cape Housing Institute, Community Development Partnership, Cape Community Housing Partnership, Paula Schnepp, Advocacy Training, Hilda Haye, Cape Housing Advocacy Training

Osterville Church Gives Back to Angel House

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Mar 08, 2018 @ 05:25 PM
DSC_9655-1.jpgMary Beebe (from left), Anne Minor and Robert Bartholomay recently helped paint one of the rooms at Angel House as a way to give back to our clients. 

On the last Thursday in January, staff at HAC’s Angel House shelter in Hyannis held a graduation ceremony for 30-year-old Samantha, who had been at the shelter with her six-month-old son for a year, recovering from the dual traumas of homelessness and addiction. 


By the next day, Samantha had moved out of the shelter and four volunteers from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Osterville – Mary and Will Beebe, Robert Bartholomay and Anne Minor – were busy giving her former room a much-needed facelift before the next client arrived on Monday.

Over the course of two days the group painted the room as a way to give back to those in need. While the church’s members donate food to HAC’s Scattered Sites shelter on a monthly basis, this was their first time at Angel House.

In between paint strokes, the group spoke about the importance of this type of work. “It makes you feel good when you help somebody,” Robert said.

“Any time you do something good, it matters,” Mary added.

Tags: Family Shelter, Community Service, Angel House, charitable giving, St. Peter's Episcopal Church

Donor Spotlight: Carolyn Crowell 

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Feb 26, 2018 @ 02:41 PM
Carolyn Crowell-1.jpgCarolyn Crowell knitting at her home in Sandwich. Over the years, her handmade mittens have made their way onto the hands of clients in our family shelters. 

This past October, Carolyn Crowell celebrated her 91st birthday. When asked what the secret is to a long, healthy, happy life, she said, “keep active for as long as you can.”

Despite the aches and pains that come with old age, Crowell has been able to do exactly that. She is a voracious reader. She is on the Board of Directors for Camp Farley; sits on the Sandwich Historical Commission; and clips news articles for the Town of Sandwich archives.

This January, Crowell stepped down as a volunteer at Plimouth Plantation where she initially portrayed the role of Elizabeth Warren, a Pilgrim from the 1600s, before taking a behind-the-scenes role, knitting costumes and other garments in the wardrobe department.

Crowell still continues to knit, primarily mittens which she regularly makes for the Unitarian Church of Barnstable’s annual craft fair. She has donated some of her mittens to HAC where they have made their way onto the hands of clients at Angel House in Hyannis and Carriage House in North Falmouth.

The two shelters both serve mothers and their children; Angel House’s adult clients are all overcoming addiction.

Crowell was proud of the fact that her handmade creations have been able to provide some much-needed warmth to HAC clients that are most in need. And she had high praise for HAC staff who work with this population who have all been homeless. “You’ve got to have a special skill to work with those people to convince them there is a chance things will get better,” she said.

Crowell, who has witnessed HAC grow in size, scope and stature over the three decades she has supported the agency, was impressed with the agency’s development over the years. “What struck me is the diversity of housing-related activities and the staff members who were acquainted with and can help everyone from the homeless to low-income residents to people trying to buy a home,” she said. “I’m sure when [HAC founder] Rick [Presbrey] started this, he never dreamed it would ever get to be this big, but it kept going and going.”

That growth may be the result of the need that exists here on the Cape. “The cost of housing on the Cape is quite expensive, especially where so much of our economy is based on tourism and so much of our service-related jobs don’t pay that well,” she said. “Therefore, we have many people who haven’t had the money or the good job to afford to buy a house. So they have to make do with substandard housing.”

Because of the difficulties facing many Cape Codders, Crowell understands supporting an agency like HAC is crucial to addressing the region’s housing issues.

Why I Give: Carolyn Crowell 

In 1923, newlyweds David and Dorothy Crowell celebrated their marriage by purchasing Crow Farm in Sandwich, building a home on the 45-acre property where they raised their three children, Howard, Carolyn and Eleanor.

That home still stands today and is owned by the Crowell’s middle child, Carolyn, who was born three years after it was built. At 91, she has lived the majority of her life there, first as a child and then when she returned home in 1978 after stints off-Cape in New Hampshire, Michigan, and New Jersey where she worked primarily as a 4-H county extension agent.

Her home – its longevity and the stability it has provided in her life – may be one reason why Crowell has been such a longtime, passionate supporter of HAC. Over the past three decades, she has been an annual donor to HAC and served as a volunteer, helping with everything from mailings to serving on an advisory committee for one of HAC’s properties.

She explained her commitment to HAC in this way: “Organizations like HAC can do things I can’t do that need to be done. I can help other people who have the expertise and inspiration to carry on.”

Please Donate

Tags: Philanthropy, Carriage House, Angel House, charitable giving, HAC donors, Donor Spotlight, Carolyn Crowell, knitting, Sandwich

St. Pius Students Knit Blankets for HAC Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Feb 21, 2018 @ 02:23 PM
St. Pius Martin Family.jpgHAC's Mary LeClair (from left) with Maeve, Effie and Beatrice Martin. Maeve and her fellow St. Pius X classmates knit over 60 blankets for our clients in need. 

Every November, middle school students at St. Pius X School in Yarmouth try to better understand the plight of the homeless by spending a portion of one evening inside cardboard boxes set up in the gym.

This year, roughly 40 students turned that understanding into action by also knitting over 60 homemade blankets that will be given to HAC clients in shelter. Last month, St. Pius X eighth grader Maeve Martin, 13, dropped off those blankets with her mother, Katie Martin, and her two sisters Effie, 11, and Beatrice, 5.

“I like that we were able to do something nice for others,” Maeve said.

Her mother said the school project was rewarding because it taught children the importance of helping others. “It’s amazing how happy the kids felt helping someone else and stepping outside of themselves,” she said.

Give Hope to a HAC Client

Tags: Homeless on Cape Cod, Family Shelter, homelessness, shelter, St. Pius X School, Mary LeClair, blankets

Ideal East Falmouth Location

Posted by HAC Staff on Sun, Feb 18, 2018 @ 07:11 AM

110alton.jpg

Enjoy first-floor living in this one-bedroom, one-bath condo at 110 Altons Lane, Unit 10B. The unit has recently been updated and includes a gas fireplace, hardwood floors, a new kitchen with granite countertops, and a stainless steel appliance package. 

This condo is centrally located, a short drive from Mashpee Commons, downtown Falmouth and nearby beaches. It is currently listed at $159,947, which comes with a deed restriction, and a condo fee of $360 per month.

Those interested must be first-time homebuyers, with some exceptions; earn at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Barnstable County; and have no more than $75,000 in household assets. Click this link to apply. 

Our real estate department, Cape Community Real Estate, has several additional affordable listings, from Mashpee to Wellfleet, which you can find by clicking here.

If you have questions about this or any other property, contact HAC Real Estate Assistant Betsie Rumbaugh at brumbaugh@haconcapecod.org or at 508-771-5400, ext. 285. 

Tags: Cape Community Real Estate, Nonprofit Real Estate, Falmouth, real estate listings, affordable homeownership, first-time homebuyer

HAC Assists Falmouth Veteran

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Sat, Feb 17, 2018 @ 06:00 AM
John Martin-2.jpgHAC Event and Resource Development Coordinator Deanna Bussiere (from left) with Army veteran John Martin, Falmoth Toyota General Manager Matt Murphy, and Heroes In Transition Executive Director Nicole Spencer. 

"Since September, all that you’ve done for me, it’s like I hit the jackpot, you know,” John Martin said on the last day of January when HAC, Heroes In Transition and Falmouth Toyota came together to give him a used Toyota Camry.

Last fall, HAC was introduced to Martin through the Falmouth Big Fix. An Army veteran, he was one of 18 recipients of the day of service which saw over 340 volunteers come out to make small home improvements for their neighbors in need.

It was through the event that Keith Trott, HAC’s maintenance supervisor, realized that Martin’s Toyota RAV4 was inoperable, and the cost to fix it was beyond his means. Because Martin suffers from respiratory issues and needs transportation to get to and from his medical appointments, Trott said, finding him a new car was the right thing to do.

Together with HAC, Heroes In Transition, which covers the cost of improvements for veterans’ homes during the Big Fix, agreed to fund the purchase of the used car.

Finding the car was left to Falmouth Toyota General Manager Matt Murphy and his staff. While his company strives to be as charitable as it can, Murphy said, it truly appreciates moments like this when it can “drill that down to one individual and do something that’s hopefully special for someone on an individual basis. It’s not something we can do all the time, but when we do it’s really nice to see.”

Read more about last year's Falmouth Big Fix by clicking this link

Tags: Deanna Bussiere, Big Fix, Heroes in Transition, Falmouth, Falmouth Big Fix, veterans, Nicole Spencer, John Martin, Keith Trott, Falmouth Toyota, Matt Murphy

Lovely Eastham Condo

Posted by HAC Staff on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 @ 04:34 PM

70 Dory Front for use.jpg

This one-bedroom, 750-square-foot condo at 7 Dory Lane in Eastham is currently being offered at $154,399 with a resale restriction. The property, which comes with a garage, has a $123 monthly condo fee which covers snow removal and landscaping.

Eligible applicants for this condo must be a first-time homebuyer, with some exceptions; earn at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Barnstable County; and have no more than $75,000 in household assets. 

Click this link to apply. 

HAC's Cape Community Real Estate has several additional deed-restricted affordable homes on the market, including ones in East Falmouth, Wellfleet, Mashpee, Chatham, and Brewster. Click here to view those listings. 

Tags: Cape Community Real Estate, Nonprofit Real Estate, real estate listings, Eastham

HAC Energy Assessments in High Demand

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 @ 10:36 AM
HAC Energy-1.jpgThe HAC Energy team includes Jim Ames (from left), Suzanne Smith, Jo Ann Cournoyer and Ruth Bechtold.

Typically on Cape Cod this is a slow time of year, but don’t tell that to HAC’s Energy Department which is busier than ever. “We are in high demand,” Suzanne Smith, HAC Energy’s intake/outreach coordinator, said.

Smith and Ruth Bechtold, who manages the Energy Department, attributed that demand to the frigid temperatures which have left its mark on the Cape this winter. Because of the weather, residents are looking for ways to keep their home warmer and reduce their energy costs.

Working with Cape Light Compact, HAC offers free energy assessments throughout the year to low-income residents living in single-family and multi-family homes on Cape Cod and the Islands, as well as Wareham. Those who receive fuel assistance or are eligible to receive fuel assistance or discounted utility rates can qualify for a HAC energy assessment.

HAC’s energy auditors, Jim Ames and Joshua Trott, conduct the assessments, which include replacing all inefficient light bulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs and checking refrigerators, freezers, window air conditioning units, dehumidifiers, and washing machines to determine if they are eligible for replacement.

As part of the assessment, they will inspect a home’s heating system to see whether it should be repaired or replaced. In some instances those services can be performed through HAC’s HEARTWAP (Heating Emergency Assistance Retrofit Task Weatherization Assistance Program).

The auditors also look at whether a home can benefit from insulation and air sealing which “seals up all the air pathways,” Smith said.

“If all air leaks are not sealed, it can be like having an open window in your house,” Bechtold explained. “Sealing all those cracks makes sure no warm, humid air escapes into the attic where it can create moisture issues.”

HAC’s weatherization measures can also include the installation of vents which allows an attic to properly breathe and helps to minimize issues with moisture that can lead to mold.

Both Smith and Bechtold agreed that the work HAC’s Energy Department does is not only important, but rewarding.

“We’re helping people save money, save energy and increase the overall comfort of the home, and in doing so we’re also staying true to what the agency’s values are,” Smith said. “We really enjoy and get a lot of satisfaction out of helping those who need our services the most.”

Schedule an Energy Assessment Today

You can schedule an energy assessment by calling Cape Light Compact at 800-797-6699. 

HAC Energy provides no cost energy assessments and weatherization measures to income-eligible homeowners and renters. If you receive fuel assistance or a discounted utility rate, or you are income-eligible for fuel assistance, you will receive these services through HAC. 

Tags: Energy Assessments, Cape Light Compact, HAC Energy, saving energy, Energy Audit, Weatherization, Ruth Bechtold, Suzanne Smith, Jim Ames, Joshua Trott, energy efficiency

Editorial: Lofts at 57 a New Development Model for HAC

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 @ 10:29 AM
Ridgewood Plans-2 (February 2018).jpg A street elevation rendering of the Lofts at 57 from Ridgewood Avenue. 

Funding for affordable housing has long depended on federal tax credits, a complicated, time-consuming and unreliable method. Using tax credits meant years of waiting “in line” for the funding. With our shortage of affordable housing at a crisis point in our region, we simply don’t have the time to wait.

That is why Housing Assistance Corporation’s Housing Development Department has come up with a new housing development model and a new way to fund it. We call it “pocket neighborhoods,” modeled after historic examples like the gingerbread cottage colony in Oak Bluffs. Our pocket neighborhoods will have a mix of affordable and market rate units; will not rely on federal government funding; and will be able to meet the needs of locals at all income levels.

HAC has purchased a .7-acre lot on Ridgewood Avenue in downtown Hyannis, a centrally located spot near the Hyannis Transportation Center; on the sewer line; and in the Growth Incentive Zone (GIZ). Because of the lot’s location in the GIZ, we were encouraged by the Barnstable Planning and Development Department to pursue a higher density development.

We plan to build eight rental apartments on the property, six of which would be market rate and two of which would be affordable for those earning 80 percent or less of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Barnstable County.

Ridgewood Front Elevation Photo (February 2018).jpg A rendering of the front elevation of one of the triplexes which features a wrap-around porch.

Titled the Lofts at 57, the project represents a new development model for HAC and one we hope to replicate throughout our region.

Since last fall, HAC has been working with the Town of Barnstable to vet the project. It has already received approval from Barnstable’s Site Plan Review committee and will next go before the Barnstable Planning Board on February 12. If the proposal receives support from the Planning Board, the final stage will be to obtain Barnstable Town Council’s blessing.

The development would be unique for HAC in that it is a mixed-income community. The rents from the market rate units will support the development costs of the affordable units.

When complete, the Lofts at 57 will be targeted to the Cape’s workforce and is tied to the economic redevelopment of downtown Hyannis, because it is situated on an old abandoned lot with a deteriorated foundation. About 15 years ago, someone tried to build a large single-family home there and never finished it. It’s an eyesore.

In its place will be three structures, consisting of two triplexes and one duplex, that will use modular construction technology, reducing the overall time and cost needed to build them.

Instead of facing outward, the structures will all be facing a shared open space. The intention of the pocket neighborhood is to encourage interaction with neighbors and create a sense of community. We hope to build more of these projects in the coming years, using redevelopment to revitalize our village centers and to bring much-needed “attainable” housing to the region.

Tags: Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Alisa Galazzi, Housing Development, Hyannis, Lofts at 57, Ridgewood Avenue, pocket neighborhood

Annual Dinner to Honor Those Making Impact on the Cape

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Feb 09, 2018 @ 01:57 PM

HAC Annual Dinner Photo (February 9, 2018).jpg

HAC’s 44th Annual Dinner & Volunteer Recognition will be held on Thursday, May 3, from 5 to 7:30 PM, at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis. 

The event, which is being sponsored by Shepley Wood Products will honor individuals, businesses, and organizations making an impact in the community.

It is also a way for HAC to honor its volunteers who support the agency in a number of ways, from cooking meals at the agency’s family shelters to assisting with mailings to driving shelter clients to and from appointments to serving as childcare assistants in our shelters.

“The event is a special time for us to recognize our wonderful volunteers who give so much to our clients and staff throughout the year,” HAC’s Volunteer Coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin said. 

The theme of this year’s Annual Dinner is “Doing Great Things Together” and HAC will be using that concept in handing out the following awards: Volunteer of the Year; Business Partner; Human Service Partner; and the Making a Difference Award. HAC will be announcing award recipients later this month.

The Annual Dinner is free for all 2017 volunteers. There is a $20 entry fee for all other attendees.

Registration for the Annual Dinner will be available online at HAConCapeCod.org
starting Thursday, February 22. Click this link to read about last year's Annual Meeting. 

Tags: HAC Annual Meeting, Annual Meeting, Mary Everett Patriquin, volunteer, Annual Dinner