Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Walk Celebrates Bob Murray's Passion

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 @ 07:00 AM
HWLW Day Four-2.jpgBernadette (left) and Richard Waystack with Laurie Sexton. Over the past four years the Waystacks have participated in the walk on behalf of HAC. Sexton was walking on behalf of Homeless Not Hopeless. 

Back in 1993, Bob Murray decided to walk from one end of Cape Cod to the other during the height of the summer season, not for himself, but for people in need.

“He was pretty passionate about affordable housing and he obviously felt he had to stand up for people who he felt didn’t have anybody to stand up for them,” said Tony Shepley, owner of Shepley Wood Products, as he helped kick off the fourth day of the 25th Annual Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk.

Though Murray passed away in 2013, he is never far from the minds of those who have continued to walk in his memory. “You can see here today we certainly haven’t lost his spirit,” Shepley said. “I think you can sort of say every step you take, Bob will be stepping beside you, in spirit at least.”

That was certainly true for Richard Waystack of Harwich, who considered Murray a friend and a mentor. On Murray’s final walk, Waystack pushed him 19 miles in a wheelchair. “Bob was a guy who could motivate people to do things and he knew the issues we faced here on Cape Cod going back 30 years,” Waystack said.

This year, he was joined by his wife Bernadette, walking the entire 100 miles, enduring extreme heat and rain all to help raise awareness to the housing issues facing Cape Cod. Rev. John Rice of South Yarmouth, and Nekea Frisbee of Falmouth joined the Waystacks in walking for HAC, helping to raise over $30,000 for the agency’s housing programs on Cape Cod.

“We understand the difficulties of housing here on Cape Cod. I see it. The people who are buying homes are predominantly second homeowners and the pricing has gotten out of hand for many people,” Richard said. “For us, this walk is not only about making people aware about the housing isses and the housing insecurities that we have on Cape Cod, but raising funds to actually combat it.”

Donate to the Walk

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Housing with love walk, Shepley Wood Products, Richard Waystack, Bernadette Waystack, Bob Murray, Tony Shepley

Building a Community in Bourne

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Aug 10, 2017 @ 04:01 PM

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Those who attended last month's groundbreaking included Julie Creamer (from left) of POAH; State Representative Randy Hunt; POAH CEO Aaron Gornstein; U.S. Representative Bill Keating; Greg Janey, owner of Janey Construction; MassHousing Executive Director Timothy Sullivan; State Senator Vinny deMacedo; HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi; and Chrystal Kornegay, undersecretary for the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.

When HAC and the Preservation Of Affordable Housing (POAH) completed Clay Pond Cove in Bourne five years ago, Nancy Nygard became its first resident.

Since then, she has found it to be more than a home. It’s a community where her neighbors have become her friends. “It is wonderful,” she said. “Everyone cares for each other.”

During last month’s groundbreaking for what will be the final of three phases of a mixed-income housing development HAC and POAH are building at this 19-acre site, property manager Karen Kelley of POAH Communities said this is an example of what residents really cherish here. “A lot of people want a home to be a nice, safe place, and for there to be a strong sense of community,” she said. “Those things are really important to people.”

That is what the residents living in the 28 affordable apartments at Canal Bluffs and the 45 individual, family and senior apartments at Clay Pond Cove have experienced. And that is what HAC and POAH hope to provide with the remaining 44 affordable and market rate townhouse-style apartments that will be built over the next year as part of Canal Bluffs III.

When complete, Canal Bluffs will have allowed “117 families who get to live here an opportunity to come home, put their groceries away, and have a safe place to rejuvenate where their children can launch their dreams and where families can live their lives on beautiful Cape Cod,” said HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi.

Canal Bluffs-4.jpgNancy Nygard (left) with Cathie Michel, friends and neighbors who have discovered a sense of community at Canal Bluffs. 

She and several other speakers credited HAC founder Rick Presbrey, who attended the ceremony, for making the project possible. The site was once slated to become an office building for a failed dot com company before businessman Bill Zammer of Mashpee, purchased it in the hopes of turning it into a housing development.

That plan never came to fruition. Presbrey was able to work out a deal with Zammer for HAC to purchase the property for $2.1 million. Presbrey then came to an agreement with the town that allowed HAC and POAH to turn the site into an affordable housing development that has added to the Cape’s rental stock.

“And to you, Rick, for what you have done over 43 years in this region providing housing for people that is one of the most basic needs we can have in our lives and understanding the significance of that,” State Senator Viriato (Vinny) deMacedo said. “You have left a huge legacy . . . and I apologize that people will not even know who made that difference for them, but for those of us today we know it was you and we thank you so much for your efforts on all these people’s behalf.”

U.S. Representative William Keating said the project fills a critical need for moderate and affordable housing on Cape Cod, allowing people who work here to live here. He said it was a project made possible through the cooperation of federal, state, local, and nonprofit agencies all coming together towards a common aim.

State Representative Randy Hunt said projects like this are a critical piece to preserving the character of Cape Cod. “I’m glad people are really united in getting in front of [these issues] and are starting to put more of this type of housing into the market which will allow the working class people to live here,” he said.

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Bourne, Rick Presbrey, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Alisa Galazzi, Canal Bluffs, POAH, rental housing, Bill Keating

HAC and CDP Launch Cape Housing Institute

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Aug 04, 2017 @ 11:37 AM
Housing Conference-2-1.jpgHAC CEO Alisa Galazzi and Community Development Partnership Executive Director Jay Coburn announced the collaboration between their two agencies at the One Cape Summit in June. 

HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi and Community Development Partnership (CDP) Executive Director Jay Coburn have announced a collaboration between their two agencies that would address the challenges local municipalities face due to the shortage of affordable housing on Cape Cod.

Together, HAC and CDP are forming the Cape Community Housing Partnership, a three-tiered strategy aimed at increasing the region’s affordable housing capacity. The first prong of that strategy, the Cape Housing Institute, will be launched this fall with the second and third – advocacy training and a public education campaign – to begin in 2018.

The Housing Institute will provide technical training and education to elected and appointed municipal leaders and town staff so they can learn how to help address their community’s affordable housing needs through land-use policy and other planning tools. The curriculum is being developed with support from Massachusetts Housing Partnership.

The six-week course is scheduled to take place from October 11 to November 16, with sessions offered Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 4 pm and 6 to 8 pm in the Upper Cape, Mid-Cape, Lower Cape and Outer Cape.

The Housing Institute will be a way for municipalities on Cape Cod to work in concert with one another as they learn the ins and outs of affordable housing development. Galazzi stressed that those needs can best be addressed collectively, with towns on Cape Cod working together to deal with the shortage of housing. “This really is a regional issue,” Galazzi said.

Moving the Needle

Coburn seconded that point by highlighting statistics from the Cape Cod Regional Housing Market Analysis that is currently being undertaken by the Cape Cod Commission. That study, Coburn said, shows, “we need 22,000 units that are affordable ownership units. And we also need 5,000 more affordable rental units and another 2,700 units to accommodate future growth.” 

To accomplish any of that – “to move the needle,” as Galazzi said – will require a cohesive, collaborative effort among all Cape Cod towns.

That was an argument backed by Michael Crane at One Cape, a two-day symposium organized by the Cape Cod Commission in June where Galazzi and Coburn announced the partnership between their two agencies. Crane's Vermont-based company, Crane Associates, is working with the commission to conduct the regional housing market analysis for the Cape. What that study has found, Crane said, is that "You have 15 independent municipalities making decisions, but I still don’t see who is going to tie them all together." 

The Cape Housing Institute is one way that HAC and CDP are attempting to solve that problem. 

Sponsors for the Cape Housing Institute include Shepley Wood Products, Cape & Islands United Way, Cape & Islands License Plate Fund, and the Estate of Bernard Kaplan.

Tony Shepley, owner of Shepley Wood Products, explained his support of the Institute this way: “The lack of affordable housing on Cape Cod is a major challenge for local employers. At Shepley, we believe that our employees should be able to live where they work, so we are committed to supporting this effort to help our Cape Cod towns be able to increase affordable year-round housing in a way that also preserves the unique character of this peninsula.”

To learn more about the Cape Housing Institute or to register for the upcoming fall session, click the blue button below. 

Cape Housing Institute 

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, affordable housing, Alisa Galazzi, Cape Housing Institute, Community Development Partnership, Cape Community Housing Partnership, Jay Coburn

Anne Van Vleck Joins HAC Team

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Aug 03, 2017 @ 03:57 PM

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At the end of last month, HAC welcomed Anne Van Vleck as its Chief Development Officer, a new position that will lead the agency’s major gifts and resource development efforts.

She comes to HAC after having spent almost seven years as the executive director of CCYP, formerly known as the Cape Cod Young Professionals. During her tenure, Van Vleck helped grow the CCYP’s membership from 350 members to over 1,200. She also instilled a culture focused on addressing the Cape’s workforce issues through mentoring, civic engagement programs, and community summits.

It is this type of leadership that HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi said Van Vleck will add to the agency. “I am confident she will bring the same level of professionalism and expertise in translating our mission to donors,” Galazzi said.

As chief development officer, Van Vleck will focus on major gifts while cultivating new relationships that can allow the agency to grow and expand its services. “I’m thrilled to join the HAC team,” said Van Vleck who lives in Chatham with her family.

While still learning about HAC, she said she has been impressed with the staff’s commitment and passion for the agency's mission. “Housing is a huge issue on the Cape and there is a full spectrum of needs that this agency has a critical role in addressing.”

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Fundraising, affordable housing, CCYP, Anne Van Vleck, HAC donors

Deadline for Mill Hill Residence is Approaching

Posted by HAC Staff on Thu, Jun 29, 2017 @ 12:35 PM

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HAC is encouraging residents and caretakers to apply for an affordable rental unit at Mill Hill Residence before the Friday, July 14 deadline. There are a total of eight affordable units available in the new senior living facility which is being constructed in West Yarmouth. 

The apartments are eligible to those over the age of 62 and who earn 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Barnstable County. They include a mixture of assisted living units as well as memory care units. Those who work, live or have family whose children go to school in Barnstable County will be entered into a local pool; a certain number of units have been set aside for local preference applicants. 

HAC’s Cape Community Real Estate department is conducting the housing lottery for the eight Mill Hill affordable units. “The facility is fantastic,” said Gael Kelleher, HAC’s director of real estate. “We took a tour of Mill Hill last week and were just amazed at the beauty of the building itself.”

Kelleher said this represents a unique opportunity for applicants to get the care they need at a first-rate senior living facility at an affordable price.

Located at 164 Route 28, Mill Hill Residence will have a total of 75 units. It is scheduled to open in August.

Click here to download a lottery application. Hard copies can be picked up at Mill Hill Residences; Yarmouth Town Hall at 1146 Route 28 in South Yarmouth; all Yarmouth public libraries; and HAC’s office at 460 West Main Street in Hyannis.  Applications must be returned to HAC by 5 pm on July 14.

Mill Hill Residence is the latest facility to be built on Cape Cod by Maplewood Senior Living. The Connecticut-based company also operates Maplewood at Brewster and Maplewood at Mayflower Place in West Yarmouth.

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Senior Housing, Cape Community Real Estate, Mill Hill Residence, housing lottery

HAC Holds Information Session for Mill Hill Affordable Units

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jun 09, 2017 @ 02:49 PM
Mill Hill-1.jpgHAC Real Estate Assistant Betsie Rumbaugh answers a question about the lottery application for the affordable units at Mill Hill Residence in Yarmouth. 

When our loved ones grow older, how will we be able to care for them? It’s a question more Cape Codders are asking, particularly with an aging population; a Community Health Needs Assessment published by Cape Cod Healthcare last fall noted that nearly 26% of Barnstable County’s year-round population is over the age of 65, compared to 14% in Massachusetts and 13% in the nation.

The University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute predicts those numbers will only grow, estimating that by 2035 nearly 35% of the county’s population will be over 65.

That will bring with it a host of challenges that South Yarmouth’s Debbie Martin and Barnstable’s Cheryl Gibson are already grappling with. The pair were among a handful of residents who attended an information session focused on eight affordable units being built as part of Mill Hill Residence in Yarmouth that staff in HAC’s Cape Community Real Estate department held last month at the Yarmouth Senior Center.

Mill Hill is the latest assisted living facility that Maplewood Senior Living has constructed on Cape Cod. Last year, HAC conducted a lottery for 14 affordable units at Maplewood in Brewster. HAC will be doing the same for the eight affordable units in Mill Hill; a total of 75 units are being constructed there, representing a mixture of assisted living and memory care units.

Gael Kelleher, director of Cape Community Real Estate, said HAC’s role is to determine the eligibility of those applying for the affordable units based upon their income and assets. She said that interested applicants and caregivers should not disqualify themselves or a loved one before applying, noting that there were 45 people eligible for the 14 affordable units in Brewster. 

Both Gibson and Martin attended the session not for themselves, but for their mothers. “It is a lot for families,” Gibson said of serving as a caregiver. Her mother will soon turn 89 and would benefit from being in a facility like Mill Hill that offers memory care services. “There’s so many different aspects of it, between making sure she takes her medication on time to having some social stimulation rather than staring at the TV by herself.”

It was a similar story for Martin, whose 89-year-old mother currently lives at Thirwood Place, an independent living community for seniors in South Yarmouth. “She is at a point where she needs memory care,” Martin said.

She said having affordable units that provide the kinds of services that Mill Hill does make it an attractive option. And it’s something that more people on Cape Cod will require. “When my generation – I’m a Baby Boomer – starts to retire, we are going to demand a lot more options like this,” she said. 

Interested in applying for an affordable unit at Mill Hill Residence? Click this link to download a lottery application. 

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Senior Housing, Gael Kelleher, affordable housing, Betsie Rumbaugh, Mill Hill Residence, Maplewood Senior Living

Editorial: Working with our Legislators to Tackle the Cape's Housing Challenges

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Tue, May 16, 2017 @ 10:50 AM

Julian-3.jpgState Senator Julian Cyr (second from left) with HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi (from left), Director of Leased Housing Cindi Maule, Director of Family and Individual Services Cassi Danzl and Chief Operating Officer Walter Phinney. 

I have been spending my first few months as CEO of HAC getting to know the leaders in our community. It has been particularly gratifying to meet members of our legislative delegation and to learn of their passion to help all the residents of our region.

When State Senator Julian Cyr stopped by HAC’s offices recently, he said housing has been one of the main issues at the forefront of his constituents’ minds.

During his visit, Senator Cyr told us, “Housing and access to housing that is affordable is a top issue for us on Cape Cod, on Martha’s Vineyard and on Nantucket. Our real estate market is so aggressive here that most anyone who is a middle-income wage earner, including working families, is struggling to make it here… We really need to have housing that meets our needs.”

Meeting the needs of those in the region when it comes to affordable housing has always been a major focus for HAC and it will continue to be so in the coming years.

I was pleased to learn that even prior to becoming a State Senator in November, Senator Cyr said, he has long admired HAC’s work on the Cape and Islands. “HAC is just one of those organizations that is a real pillar of the community. HAC has been doing work for generations to make sure our most vulnerable have housing.”

After taking a tour of HAC’s offices and meeting the staff on the front lines of delivering housing services for HAC, the Senator gave his impressions of the meeting. “I was just really impressed with the scale and scope of how HAC helps people realize housing on Cape Cod and the Islands, from the most vulnerable people who are homeless living in the streets to helping people improve the energy efficiency of their homes. I have a renewed appreciation for how much HAC does.”

We’re looking forward to partnering with Senator Cyr and the rest of the Cape and Islands delegation on strategic regional issues, and having our voice and mission loudly and clearly represented at the State House.

It is through these partnerships between HAC, our legislators and other leaders in the community, that we can add more resources for our clients and do more to help them succeed.

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, homelessness, State budget, Alisa Galazzi, Julian Cyr

Editorial: How Federal Budget Cuts Could Impact Your Neighbors

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Tue, Apr 18, 2017 @ 02:00 PM

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President Trump’s proposed $7 billion budget cuts to affordable housing, community development and social services programs appear to take a direct hit on our nation’s most vulnerable citizens: the elderly, the disabled, and the homeless, including those on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

In this region, as in many other parts of the country, wages have not kept up with cost of living increases. In addition, the Cape’s high rents and home prices, driven up by second homeowners and resort factors, continue to be out of reach for working year-rounders. HAC’s programs funded through HUD dollars are the foundation for economic mobility and stability in our community.

All told about 1,250 of HAC’s clients on the Cape and Islands could be affected if all the President’s recommended cuts take place. These programs bring $11 million annually from the federal government through HAC and into the Cape’s economy through rents and other assistance.

At Housing Assistance Corporation, we know the local stories behind the funding. We know how the assistance that flows from the federal government to our friends and neighbors here helps the neediest among us. It is not an exaggeration to say that these programs save lives.

HAC’s largest program is our Section 8 Housing program, which currently houses more than 1,000 families across the Cape and Islands. Recent news from HUD indicates that thousands of vouchers may be eliminated for low-income working families, seniors and people with disabilities. Besides pumping $750,000 per month into the Cape Cod economy through rents, HAC’s Section 8 program allows working families to stay on Cape Cod.

One of those with a voucher is Amy, a disabled senior who grew up on Cape Cod, but was unable to afford to live here. Because of her voucher, she has been able to stay on Cape Cod, work and raise her family in the town where her parents, grandparents, and great grandparents once lived.

One of our signature programs that is funded through HUD is HAC’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program that enables families to move off of government assistance and to self-sufficiency. A recent graduate of HAC’s Self-Sufficiency program, a single mom named Lisa who has three kids in Barnstable Schools, used the program to help her gain the necessary skills to move up in her job and budget more efficiently. At the end of the program, she is putting a down payment on her first home. That is how this program changes lives.

HAC is joining with other Community Development Corporations throughout the state and the country to urge congressional leaders to continue to support these valuable programs and, especially, the people that these programs serve.

Tags: Section 8, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Family Self Sufficiency, affordable housing, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Budget

Editorial: Optimism for our Future

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Thu, Mar 09, 2017 @ 04:05 PM

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It has been a whirlwind—in the best way. I have spent the past two months getting to know the staff and dozens of programs at HAC. Each day, I have been amazed at the range of services that this agency accomplishes, the programs that lift people up and build community here on Cape Cod.

Rick Presbrey has built HAC into one of the largest and most comprehensive nonprofit social service agencies on Cape Cod. I am honored to have been chosen to take the reins of the agency and continue the good works that HAC is known for throughout the region.

HAC not only runs four family shelter programs—housing 174 families last year alone—but also runs the largest rental assistance program in the region, with over 1,100 households. Our homeless prevention program ensured 198 families did not become homeless last year. Our Energy and Repair department continues to help families save money by making homes more energy efficient. Our Housing Consumer Education classes and counseling supported everyone from seniors whose homes were at risk of foreclosure to young couples looking to purchase their first home.

I am looking forward to getting to know you, HAC’s supporters. Your support makes these programs possible and your input is important. As we assess HAC’s programs and their impact, I’d like to hear what you think.

There is a lot of work to be done and it is a challenge I welcome. Working with the HAC staff and with others throughout our community, I know we can make strides, together.

Tags: Family Shelter, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, HAC, homeless prevention, Alisa Galazzi

HAC's Melpet Farm Recognized with National Award

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Mar 07, 2017 @ 10:02 AM

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A little more than a year after the Melpet Farm Residences was completed, the HAC project is in the national spotlight for its quality design and construction. In January, the development received a Silver Award from the National Association of Home Builders Best in American Living Awards program in the category of affordable, multi-family.

Consisting of 27 affordable apartments on 6.4-acres of land adjacent to Melpet Farm on Route 134 in Dennis, the development was a joint collaboration between HAC, the Preservation Of Affordable Housing (POAH), Brown, Lindquist, Fenuccio & Raber Architects, Delphi Construction, Horsley Witten Group and the Town of Dennis.

“We believe the overall team commitment to the design and implementation of high-performing building techniques to assist residents with control of their utility costs played a key role in the success of this project,” said Christine Howard, the director of business development for Brown, Lindquist, Fenuccio & Raber Architects. Melpet Farm was designed to be a net zero project, meaning it produces as much energy as it uses thanks to green measures such as solar panels.

The town purchased the property in 2001 in an effort to increase its affordable housing stock. It was not until 10 years later that HAC was selected by the town to develop the land into 27 units of affordable housing.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Melpet in October 2015 and shortly thereafter residents moved in. “This was truly a community partnership and the beneficiaries are living there now,” said HAC’s director of housing development Sandy Horvitz. “The real winners are the families that have an opportunity to thrive in this beautiful, rustic setting that has an amazing look and feel, adjacent to a working horse ranch.”

The Best in American Living Awards is the residential building industry’s premier awards program, recognizing the most creative and talented builders, remodelers, architects, designers, developers, land planners and interior designers who have redefined design excellence for homes and communities throughout the nation and the world.

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Melpet Farm, Melpet Farm Residences, Sandy Horvitz, POAH, rental housing, Best in American Living Awards