Now under the able leadership of Beth Wade, CHAMP Homes in Hyannis wants to create 23 (two people to a room) more housing units for formerly homeless individuals across the street from its main building. The town has not met its state required 10% affordable housing. There is a dramatic shortage of rental units on the Cape making competition for every decent and reasonably priced unit fierce. The town, particularly those residents and businesses in or near Hyannis, is clamoring for something to be done about the presence of homeless individuals.
CHAMP Homes, if you don’t know them, has been around for many years and has been singularly successful in providing housing and services for those individuals most in need. Paul and Carolyn Hebert, the now-retired founders, dedicated their lives to caring deeply for others and creating a fabulous program. I might call it miraculous. Recently, as part of the development process, CHAMP personnel went to town hall to discuss their plan and, as often happens, some people are vocally opposing the plan.
It isn’t as if CHAMP Homes and their tenants have created problems. They haven’t. It isn’t as if CHAMP isn’t filling a need. They are. It isn’t as if the town doesn’t need more affordable units. We do. It isn’t as if CHAMP is making a lot of money. They aren’t. It isn’t as if they are sneaking around. They aren’t. It isn’t as if CHAMP is seeking favors or hoping to skirt the law. They aren’t. CHAMP is doing what their mission says they should do and doing it well. In fact, I think it is a moral imperative that they do all they can to provide housing for as many people as possible.
What CHAMP doesn’t do is bring people with lots of money to Hyannis. That is not their job. But they are making a positive contribution to Hyannis. And, from the point of view of a person who has lived here for 41 years, Hyannis is thriving. Does anyone remember when the Mall was built and people worried that Hyannis would be a ghost town? Well, our award-winning city/village of Hyannis is thriving. Great restaurants, great stores, great public transportation services, great health care, a diverse population, a first-class recreation center, fantastic educational choices, and lots of exciting plans for the future.
CHAMP Homes unquestionably does God’s work. We should all realize how lucky we are to have CHAMP homes in our community. Think of all the things we need to be concerned about. Stopping the CHAMP Homes expansion is not one of them.
In case you are wondering, HAC has nothing to do with CHAMP Homes. Nobody at HAC is on the Board, we don’t have any contracts or agreements with CHAMP. We are just admirers of what they have accomplished. And, we are in a position to know.