Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Celebrating the Completion of High Meadow Townhomes

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Oct 30, 2018 @ 01:51 PM
High Meadow-1-1Melissa Harris and her two children, Isaiah and Arianna, help cut the ribbon to mark the completion of High Meadow Townhomes which HAC developed with POAH in Bourne. The Harris family are one of 44 families who will soon call High Meadow home. 

Since 2012, Melissa Harris has lived in a two-bedroom apartment at the Residences at Canal Bluffs in Bourne, where she is raising her two children all while balancing a job at Cape Cod Healthcare and studying for her nursing degree.

Next month, her family will move into a more spacious three-bedroom apartment at nearby High Meadow Townhomes. “I don’t think there’s anybody more excited today than us because we have been in a two-bedroom,” Melissa said during a ribbon cutting earlier this month to celebrate the completion of the project which will add 44 mixed-income housing units to the Upper Cape community. “We’re so excited and so incredibly thankful that you all took the time to design such beautiful homes.”

HAC CEO Alisa Magnotta Galazzi said Melissa is, “an example how safe, affordable housing is the foundation from which dreams and hope grow… Melissa is an example of our mission in action and really, truly, the reason we are all here and the reason this works.”

High Meadow Townhomes represents the third and final phase of a project that has brought 117 mixed-income apartments to a 19-acre parcel located off MacArthur Boulevard.

High Meadow-9HAC CEO Alisa Magnotta Galazzi talks about how having a safe, affordable home serves as the foundation from which hope and dreams can flourish. 

Originally slated for use as an office building for a tech startup, it was purchased by businessman William Zammer of Mashpee who eventually sold it to HAC to develop as rental housing.

HAC partnered with Preservation Of Affordable Housing (POAH) on the project which started with 28 affordable apartments at the Residences at Canal Bluffs, completed in 2009, and followed by 45 individual, family, and senior affordable apartments at Clay Pond Cove, completed in 2012.

The final apartments are significant because of the impact they will have on the 44 families that will move into them in November. “These 44 townhouses and 117 homes and residences that are here for people will be a success story that will drive not only a more successful Bourne community, but something we need on Cape Cod as well,” said Congressman William R. Keating, one of several public officials to attend the ceremony.

State Senator Vinny deMacedo echoed the Congressman’s comments, saying that, “there is nothing more important than being able to provide someone with a roof over their head and a safe and a warm place to go that is affordable.”

High Meadow-25

Tags: High Meadow Townhomes, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Housing Development, affordable housing, Preservation Of Affordable Housing, Aaron Gornstein, Alisa Galazzi, POAH, Bill Keating, Canal Bluffs, rental housing, year round rentals

Municipal Peer Groups Discuss Accessory Dwelling Units

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Oct 12, 2018 @ 03:46 PM
Mid Cape Peer Group (July 2018)Stefanie Coxe (third from right) discusses Accessory Dwelling Unit bylaws during the Mid-Cape Municipal Peer Group meeting this summer. 

Modifying each town’s Accessory Dwelling Unit bylaw is not a panacea for Cape Cod’s housing issues, but it can help.

That was the message Stefanie Coxe, a consultant for Smarter Cape Cod, a coalition of community groups, had for town officials from the Mid-Cape and the Upper Cape taking part in HAC’s latest Municipal Peer Group sessions held separately at the Cape Cod Community Media Center in Dennis in July and the Mashpee Public Library in September.

Held quarterly, the sessions are tied to HAC’s Cape Housing Institute which is intended to support municipalities in finding ways to boost the development of affordable housing that is needed on Cape Cod.

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Stefanie Coxe led two of our most recent Municipal Peer Group meetings, one on the Mid-Cape in July, and another on the Upper Cape in September. 

One way to address the region’s housing needs without developing more land, Coxe said, is for towns to modify their Accessory Dwelling Unit bylaw. It is “one tool to start to ameliorate the shortage of 1- and 2-bedroom units” without adding more housing, Coxe said. “We’re talking about repurposing existing bedrooms.”

By updating these bylaws, Coxe said, towns can add more year-round rentals which are in short supply on the Cape.

While she stressed it will not solve the Cape’s rental housing shortage, it will help. “We’ve been talking about the problem for so long,” she said. “Now is the time for action.”

To learn more about HAC’s Cape Housing Institute or Municipal Peer Group sessions, visit www.CapeHousingInstitute.org.

Tags: Cape Housing Institute, Municipal Peer Groups, Accessory Dwelling Units, ADUs, Accessory Dwelling Unit bylaw, Stefanie Coxe, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Housing Development, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, affordable housing

Cape Housing Institute Begins in October

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 @ 12:41 PM
Housing Institute-25Jim Donaghue and Elizabeth Brown, both of Bourne, were among the 140 municipal officials to take part in last year's Cape Housing Institute. 

HAC and Community Development Partnership (CDP) will kick off the second year of the Cape Housing Institute next month. The six-week workshop is intended for municipal officials throughout Cape Cod, providing them with the support, tools and resources to help boost the development of affordable housing needed in their individual communities. 

Sessions, which will begin on Wednesday, October 3 and end on Thursday, November 8, will be held in four separate sections on Cape Cod. 

Municipal officials on the Upper and Mid-Cape can sign up here. Officials on the Lower and Outer Cape can sign up here

 HAC will organize the weekly sessions on the Mid-Cape and Upper Cape which will be held every Thursday. Those on the Mid-Cape will take place from 1-3:30 pm at the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS at 22 Mid-Tech Drive in West Yarmouth. Those on the Upper Cape will take place from 6-8:30 pm at the Mashpee Public Library at 64 Steeple Street.

Housing Institute-18This year's Cape Housing Institute features a revised curriculum as well as a slate of new and returning speakers. Among those returning are Laura Shufelt, assistant director for community assistance at Massachusetts Housing Partnership. 

CDP’s sessions will be held every Wednesday on the Outer and Lower Cape. Those on the Lower Cape will take place from 1-3:30 pm at the Harwich Cultural Center at 204 Sisson Road. Those on the Outer Cape will take place from 6-8:30 pm at the Eastham Public Library at 190 Samoset Road.

The Cape Housing Institute is free and open to elected and appointed officials throughout Cape Cod and the Islands as well as town housing and planning staff.

This year’s institute will be more interactive, allowing participants to engage in workshops so they can better understand their community’s housing needs and ways their municipality can address them.

Each class will focus on a specific topic related to housing development starting with Cape Cod housing needs and telling your town’s data story; an overview of Chapter 40B; planning and community engagement; financing; development; and fair housing and advocacy.

New this year, officials and staff in each town will convene for a post-institute wrap up to determine their community’s next plans of action.

Register for This Year’s Institute

To register for sessions on the Upper and Mid-Cape, visit www.capehousinginstitute.org.

To register for sessions on the Lower and Outer Cape, visit www.capecdp.org.

The Cape Housing Institute is free and open to elected and appointed officials and town housing and planning staff.

 

Tags: Cape Housing Institute, Cape Community Housing Partnership, Community Development Partnership, Housing Development, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Development on Cape Cod

Editorial: On To Second Year for Cape Housing Institute and Cape Housing Advocacy

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Mon, Aug 20, 2018 @ 02:52 PM
Cape Housing Institute-33Attorney Peter Freeman speaks to participants about Chapter 40B during last year's Cape Housing Institute. 

It is long past time for bold new initiatives to help to increase our attainable housing stock on the Cape and Islands. “Attainable” housing means our Cape Cod workforce can afford it, and these units are in very short supply throughout our region. Ideally, everyone in our region—from nonprofits to municipalities to town meeting voters—will work together on ways to increase capacity for attainable housing in the region.

Our Cape Community Housing Partnership, a collaboration that began in 2017 with Community Development Partnership, is a three-part initiative to try to break the impasse in creating housing opportunities for all on the Cape.

The first part is the Cape Housing Institute, which debuted in the fall of 2017. During the Institute, elected and appointed municipal officials and town staff are invited to learn about the ins and outs of affordable housing, from 40Bs to accessory apartments, from financing to fair housing laws.

The idea of the training is to make municipal officials more savvy about housing so that when developers come calling with a project, town officials can negotiate with them and steer them toward projects that meet the character of the community.

We trained 140 officials during last year’s Cape Housing Institute, with HAC running the classes in the Upper and Mid-Cape and CDP running the classes in the Lower and Outer Cape.

We were most proud of the fact that 100 percent of the attendees who gave us feedback about the course said they would recommend it to their colleagues on committees. That gave us the impetus to continue the training for a second year with a revised curriculum that offers new subjects suggested by last year’s participants.

The 2018 Cape Housing Institute will take place from October 3 to November 8 with classes in the Upper, Mid, Lower and Outer Cape.

The second part of the Cape Community Housing Partnership is Cape Housing Advocacy Training, which we held for the first time last winter. We are in the planning stages for the second session this winter. The Advocacy Training, which is open to the public, is designed for people to learn about the shortage of housing and how to advocate for more housing, by attending town meetings to speak up in favor of new developments.

Between the sessions in the Lower and Outer Cape run by CDP and our sessions in the Upper and Mid-Cape, we trained 80 people through Advocacy Training last winter.

For those who want to join us for these sessions, you can register on our website by clicking this link

We hope to see you there so we can all be part of the solution to generate more housing on the Cape and Islands.

Sign Up for the Cape Housing Institute


Are you a municipal employee or elected official on the Upper Cape or Mid-Cape who wants to learn more about affordable housing and how you can help your community address its housing needs?

HAC and Community Development Partnership (CDP) are preparing for the second year of the Cape Housing Institute, which will start on October 3 and run through November 8.


The 6-week workshop is intended for members of Select Boards, Planning Boards, Zoning Boards, Community Preservation Committees, Housing Trusts, Housing Committees, Housing Authorities, and Town staff. For more info or to register, click this link

Tags: Cape Housing Advocacy Training, Cape Housing Institute, Cape Community Housing Partnership, Community Development Partnership, Alisa Galazzi, Housing Development, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Development on Cape Cod

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

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

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

Housing Advocacy Training Wraps Up in Falmouth

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Apr 06, 2018 @ 01:47 PM

 

Cape Housing Advocacy-2

HAC and Community Development Partnership (CDP) concluded their inaugural Cape Housing Advocacy Training with a one-day session at Falmouth Public Library at the end of last month.

Over 80 people attended the workshops which were also held on the Mid-Cape, Lower Cape and Outer Cape in February. Cape Housing Advocacy was geared towards residents interested in affordable housing and how they can use their voice to speak up in favor of projects that help address the region’s housing issues.

During the workshops, attendees learned what affordable housing is and why it is needed; how to speak at public meetings with confidence; how decisions related to housing are made at the local level; and how people can get involved in their community.

Cape  Housing Advocacy-4

Stefanie Coxe (pictured above), owner of the political consulting firm Nexus Werx LLC, gave residents one way they can get involved immediately. It is by supporting an initiative of SmarterCape Partnership which is working with towns throughout the Cape to modify their Accessory Dwelling Unit bylaw to add to the available supply of housing units without developing more land.

She concluded her presentation by commending people for taking part in the workshop. “I think it’s tremendously brave and important of you to be here because we’re not going to see any changes without people speaking up,” she said.

To learn more about Cape Housing Advocacy Training and to stay updated on future sessions, click this link.

Tags: Cape Housing Advocacy Training, Falmouth, Advocacy Training, Community Development Partnership, Stefanie Coxe, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, affordable housing, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Affordable Development on Cape Cod

Editorial: Helping People Helps the Economy

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Mon, Mar 26, 2018 @ 09:51 AM

HAC's Economic Impact Photo.jpg

When we think about all we do at Housing Assistance Corporation to help people, from homeless outreach to sheltering families, homeless prevention and first-time homebuyer counseling, among our many programs, we can sometimes forget about the beneficial economic impact to the Cape Cod regional community of not just Housing Assistance Corporation, but also other local nonprofits.

Housing Assistance Corporation is one of the largest human service agencies on Cape Cod, and our positive impact on the local economy on Cape Cod is significant.

In our most recent count, the 105 full- and part-time jobs at HAC resulted in $6.7 million in salaries to Cape Codders. In addition, HAC’s contracted services resulted in 74 jobs and $11.8 million in spending. Using a standard multiplier formula to determine the economic impact of our agency on Barnstable County —adding the employee spending and the vendor and contractor spending—results in a grand total of $28.4 million dollars in impact plus 274 jobs created through HAC’s presence on Cape Cod.

We are helping people to live in safe, secure housing, and we are also helping landlords. As the largest supplier of rental vouchers in the region, with more than 1,200 vouchers, our leased housing program generates $750,000 per month in government funds to local landlords in rents. Of that total, $219,000 per month is paid for 328 rental units in the town of Barnstable—a total of $2.6 million annually in federal funds that are passed through HAC to the town of Barnstable.

Our impact to the town of Barnstable and the village of Hyannis, where our headquarters is located, has a positive impact on the community. Of the approximately 5,300 clients that we help every year, about one-sixth are town of Barnstable residents, for a total of 888 individuals and families assisted in the Town of Barnstable last year.
Taking a close look at that figure through some of our larger programs, the impact to the townspeople of Barnstable is quantifiable. For instance, our homeownership assistance program, which includes foreclosure prevention counseling, assisted 260 Barnstable residents.

Our homeless prevention program assisted 117 individuals and families in the town of Barnstable to prevent them from falling into homelessness.

Our energy, weatherization and home repair program assisted 183 low-income homeowners in the town of Barnstable to stay comfortable in their homes and save money on heating and cooling.

We are currently in pre-development on a housing project that I wrote about in this column last month. The project will bring $1.6 million in investment to an economically challenged corner of Hyannis.

As CEO of Housing Assistance Corporation, I am so proud of the impactful work we do to help people throughout Cape Cod. This is our social imperative. One benefit of having a nonprofit mission is that we reinvest money into the community. I am equally proud of the important role that we play in driving the local economy in the town of Barnstable and in the region.

Tags: Economic Impact, Alisa Galazzi, job creation, Section 8, affordable homeownership, foreclosure prevention, homeless prevention, Housing Development, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod