Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sachem's Path Now Complete

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Jan 17, 2018 @ 04:38 PM

Sachems Streetscape.jpg

Earlier this month, HAC’s Housing Development Director Sandy Horvitz will attend a Homeowners Association meeting for Sachem’s Path, effectively concluding HAC’s role in the Nantucket project which saw the agency build 37 affordable homes for the island’s workforce on 10 acres of land off Surfside Road.

All 37 houses have been constructed and the final residents moved into their new homes just prior to Christmas. “I get emails from them [the homeowners] all the time saying, ‘This is the best thing that ever happened’ and ‘I can’t thank you enough,’” Horvitz said. “It is really heartwarming. It is one of those things that makes doing this job kind of fun, in a sense. There’s a reward you get when people are that excited.”

The project has been more than 30 years in the making. In 1985, Islanders voted to give the land to the Nantucket Housing Authority for the purpose of developing affordable housing. In 2011, the housing authority selected HAC to oversee the neighborhood project; construction began three years later.

“It’s been a very long road to see Sachem’s Path come to its completion. It’s a very proud moment for all of us who participated in its success and have seen it through to fruition. That includes HAC, the Nantucket Housing Authority, and the community at large which voted to be a major donor for the project,” Nantucket Housing Authority Director Renee Ceely said. “The real winners are the wonderful families who are now homeowners who thought owning a home was an impossible dream that actually came true.”

Learn more about Sachem's Path and those who have benefited from the project by clicking this link

Affordable Rentals in Bourne

Now that Sachem’s Path is complete, HAC and the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) are in the midst of constructing 44 low-income and workforce apartments in Bourne. When finished next fall, those apartments will be added to the 73 that have already been built as part of the three-phased project known as Canal Bluffs.

Last July, HAC and POAH kicked off the third phase of Canal Bluffs with a groundbreaking ceremony. You can read about that event here.

Tags: Nantucket, Bourne, Affordable Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Sachems Path, Sandy Horvitz, Canal Bluffs, Housing Development, affordable homeownership, Renee Ceely

Cape Housing Advocacy Training in February

Posted by Laura Reckford on Fri, Jan 05, 2018 @ 04:30 PM
Cape Housing Institute-2017-2.jpgCommunity leaders take part in the Cape Housing Institute last fall. HAC and Community Development Partnership will be launching Advocacy Training next month for the general public. 

Cape Cod residents will get an opportunity to learn how to speak up at public meetings about the lack of affordable housing in the region at a series of workshops coming up in February. Advocacy Training is being presented by Housing Assistance Corporation, along with the Community Development Partnership, a nonprofit based in Eastham.

The two agencies have partnered on a three-part initiative called Cape Community Housing Partnership. Part one of the partnership was the Cape Housing Institute, which took place this past fall and trained more than 100 municipal leaders and staff about affordable housing development. Advocacy Training is the second part of the partnership. The third part is a media campaign which will debut in the spring.

Advocacy Training will be free and open to Cape residents who have struggled or are struggling with the lack of affordable housing in the region. Attendees can either attend a series of three workshops, each 90 minutes long, in the Mid-Cape or Outer Cape; or they can attend a five-hour workshop offered in the Upper Cape and Lower Cape on a Saturday in February.

The sessions will include information about affordable housing on Cape Cod and why there is a shortage of affordable housing in the region. There will be an explanation of how town government works and how citizens can participate in meetings where decisions are being made about affordable housing. Attendees will learn the facts about affordable housing and how to debunk myths and negative stereotypes about affordable housing. The class will also learn public speaking tips; how to organize; and how to become advocates of affordable housing.

Click here to find all the details on Cape Housing Advocacy Training, as well as a form to receive information about upcoming sessions.

Planning Underway for Year Two of Housing Institute

The Cape Housing Institute will hold its second session in the fall of 2018. The Institute is open to appointed and elected municipal officials and town planning staff.

The inaugural six-week Cape Housing Institute, which took place this past October and November, trained more than 100 town officials about affordable housing. Through surveys given prior to the class, attendees stated that they hoped to learn about financing opportunities; regional efforts; the 40B process; affordable rentals; how to work with developers; and about the development process, among other topics. Lack of affordable land and lack of political will were among the barriers to creating affordable housing in their towns, attendees stated.

Feedback from the 2017 Housing Institute:
  • “Terrific overview”
  • “Really well-planned and executed”
  • “Excellent initiative”
  • “Speakers were very interesting”
  • “Highly recommend!”

Sign up here or click the blue button below to keep informed about the Cape Housing Institute.

Cape Housing Institute 

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