Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

From Homelessness to Hope to Housing

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Apr 17, 2018 @ 09:45 AM
Moriya SmithMoriya Smith with Labouré College President Maureen Smith at her graduation last May. Moriya is now studying for her bachelor's degree. 

Almost 20 years ago, when Moriya Smith was only a teenager, she became homeless, fending not only for herself, but her firstborn son Reggie. “I had to go into a shelter,” she said. “I didn’t have a place to stay. It was horrible, probably the worst experience of my life.”

Today, the pain of that experience has been washed away by the success she has achieved as a single mother – she has two other children Marissa and Maranda – who works full-time as a registered nurse. She is currently studying to earn her bachelor’s degree, and is saving money through HAC’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program to one day become a homeowner on Cape Cod.

Originally from Boston, Smith moved to Brewster nearly two years ago, initially working with HAC to secure a rental. “You helped me with my first and last month’s rent which was a big burden lifted from me,” Smith said. “And then my oldest daughter needed a bed so [HAC] gave me a mattress and box spring… They [HAC] were like my little angels. They really helped me. I was still in school and had not yet finished so I wasn’t working and money was tight, very tight.”

As Smith describes it, money was so tight that while she was working towards her associate’s degree and commuting to Labouré College from Cape Cod to Milton, she sometimes didn’t know if she could pay for the gas to make the trip.

Despite these obstacles, Smith has been able to flourish thanks to those around her who have offered their support.

One of those is HAC’s FSS Coordinator Jan Nelson, who has worked with Smith since she entered the program in September 2016. “I have never met anyone like her who is not only supportive, but caring and who I feel is 100 percent in my corner for everything,” Smith said.

Nelson has provided that support and care through FSS which provides incentives for Section 8 voucher holders to increase their earnings. As one’s income increases, their rent increases, and the difference between the original rent and the increased rent is placed into an escrow account which FSS clients can access once they graduate.

Before Smith graduated from Labouré last May, Nelson recommended her for the One Family Scholarship, given to low-income single parents to further their education. Smith was selected for the scholarship which she is using as she pursues her bachelor’s from Labouré in the hopes of becoming a family nurse practitioner.

In the fall, Smith landed a job as a nurse in a long-term care facility on the Cape, a position that has added financial stability to her life.

When she eventually graduates from FSS, Smith plans on using the money to become a homeowner, something she never could have envisioned two decades ago when she was homeless. “I feel like those things, those unfortunate events in my life have made me strong and made me who I am today,” she said.

Give Hope to a HAC Client

Tags: Section 8, Jan Nelson, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Family Self Sufficiency, homelessness, One Family Scholarship, FSS, hope, affordable housing, Moriya Smith, Brewster

Lovely Eastham Condo

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 @ 12:38 PM

 

70 Dory Front for use

This one-bedroom, one-bath Eastham condo at 70 Dory Lane is being offered at $154,399 with a deed restriction. Featuring 750-square feet of living space and a garage, it’s perfect for a first-time homebuyer on Cape Cod.

The $123 monthly condo fee covers snow removal and landscaping.

Eligible applicants must be first-time homebuyers, with some exceptions; have a household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Barnstable County; and have less than $75,000 in assets.

Click this link for an application. To see more affordable listings for sale, visit Cape Community Real Estate's website here.

Tags: Gael Kelleher, Cape Community Real Estate, workforce housing, Nonprofit Real Estate, affordable housing, homeownership, Betsie Rumbaugh, real estate listings, affordable homeownership, first-time homebuyer

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

Donor Spotlight: Tony Shepley

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 @ 10:34 AM

Tony Shepley Photo.jpg


In 1978, Tony Shepley opened the doors to his new company, Shepley Wood Products, in Hyannis.

With little experience in business – he had moved to the Cape eight years earlier, making his living as a musician in a rock band – and $4,000 to invest in his fledgling venture, Tony has grown that small company to one that currently employs 160 people. 

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, Shepley Wood Products’ impact can be felt throughout the region with a main office and yard in Hyannis, a branch yard in Wellfleet, and a sales office on Nantucket.

With all of his success, Tony has remained committed to giving back to this place that he and his wife Lorraine and their two sons call home. That commitment has not only been recognized by HAC, which honored Shepley Wood Products with its 2011 Business Partner of the Year Award, but by the Hyannis Elks (2012 Distinguished Citizenship Award), the Cape and Islands United Way (2002 Citizen of the Year), and Philanthropy Partners of the Cape & Islands (2014 Outstanding Business Award), among others.

We recently had a chance to ask Tony about his longtime support of HAC and our affordable housing efforts in the region. 

HAC: Why is HAC’s mission so important to you and Shepley Wood Products?

Tony Shepley: No community stays in balance without a healthy affordable housing supply. HAC has done a lot to help provide and push for housing for Cape Cod and the Islands.

HAC: What are some of the housing challenges you face as an employer on the Cape?

TS: Zoning changes and building code changes have driven the cost of housing up over the past 40 years, by limiting the supply of available land and by raising the cost of construction in our area. Employers can’t sit idly by and watch; we have to be involved.

HAC: How do you see HAC helping to address those challenges?

TS: HAC has worked on the development side by building new housing to add to the available supply, but also to drive awareness on the political front, as well as to educate the public and to stimulate affordable housing design.

HAC: Can you talk about the housing issues facing Cape Cod and why it’s necessary for organizations like HAC and companies like Shepley to work together to tackle those issues?

TS: I am surprised by the extent of NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) thinking in many of our towns. Although our population on Cape Cod is not growing and has been slightly receding recently, some of our selectmen and town councilors are still convinced that we are in a runaway growth phase and they are scared of opening up a Pandora’s Box if they loosen their grip on housing.

We need to help them see that without affordable workforce housing our service industries suffer. Our teachers, nurses, firefighters, and police suffer, and we drive affordability out of reach. We have a lot of work ahead of us in de-polarizing our communities on the subject of a balanced approach to sensible housing. Healthy communities must stand for what they want, not just for what they don’t want.

WHY I GIVE

Over the years, Tony Shepley and his company, Shepley Wood Products, have generously given to HAC in support of its programs. That support has included sponsoring the agency’s Annual Dinner & Volunteer Recognition. Shepley Wood Products will do so once again in May.

This past fall, Shepley Wood Products also served as a sponsor of HAC’s Cape Housing Institute, a six-week workshop which provides municipal officials with the tools and resources to boost affordable housing in their communities. Last month, Shepley also sponsored our Cape Housing Advocacy Training, which teaches the general public how to speak up in support of more affordable housing in their towns.

“These programs help educate our town leaders and our fellow residents about the need for affordable housing and remove some of the stigma with which affordable and workforce housing gets tagged,” Tony said, explaining why Shepley has sponsored these two new HAC initiatives.

Become a Corporate Sponsor

 

Tags: Shepley Wood Products, Shepley, workforce housing, affordable housing, charitable giving, Housing Development, HAC donors, Tony Shepley, Donor Spotlight, corporate sponsorship, sponsors

Independent Living for Seniors

Posted by HAC Staff on Fri, Mar 16, 2018 @ 05:50 PM

front of Wise Living.jpg

A wonderful opportunity exists for those over the age of 62 to move into a lovely 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo at Wise Living, a modern independent senior living community in Orleans. Located at 18 West Road, Unit 302, this condo includes 24-hour concierge service and building security. The facility has several guest amenities, including a dining area, library, solarium, kitchen, activity area, and exercise room.

Priced at $144,600, the unit comes with a deed restriction and is available for seniors whose household income is at or below $47,600 for one person or $54,400 for two people. Household assets can be no more than $275,000. There is a monthly condo fee of $717.

Click this link to download an application. And click here to see more affordable listings from HAC's Cape Community Real Estate (CCRE). When you purchase or sell a home through CCRE, all fees go back to Housing Assistance Corporation, supporting our housing programs on Cape Cod and the Islands. 

Tags: Senior Housing, Cape Community Real Estate, affordable housing, affordable homeownership, seniors, Wise Living, Orleans

Garden-Style Chatham Condo

Posted by HAC Staff on Thu, Mar 15, 2018 @ 01:51 PM

Balfour Lane Chatham Photo.jpg

A two-bedroom, two-full bath, garden-style condo exists at 15 Balfour Lane, Unit S, in Chatham. An end unit, the condo offers 1,200-square-feet of first-floor living at an affordable price of $193,000, which includes a resale restriction. The condo fee is $187 per month. 

Eligible applicants must be first-time homebuyers, with certain exceptions; earn at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Barnstable County; and have less than $75,000 in household assets. 

Click this link for an application. And click this link to see more homes currently on the market through our Cape Community Real Estate (CCRE). 

Should you have any questions about this or any other property currently being listed by CCRE, do not hesitate to contact us at either 508-771-5400, ext. 285 or ccre@haconcapecod.org

Tags: CCRE, Cape Community Real Estate, Nonprofit Real Estate, affordable housing, real estate listings, Chatham, affordable homeownership

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

Community Leaders, Clients Featured at Annual Telethon

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 @ 05:39 PM
Shelter Email-1.jpgTwo Angel House clients, Samantha (second from right) and Jeana (right), had an opportunity to share their powerful, touching stories on-air at HAC’s Shelter Cape Cod Telethon.

Since last January, 30-year-old Samantha has been at HAC’s Angel House where she lives with her six-month-old son. “Angel House, I would say, has given me, me back,” she said during last month’s 14th Annual Shelter Cape Cod Telethon which was televised on cable access channels Cape-wide. 

Samantha was one of several clients who told their story during the telethon. The annual event raises funds for the agency’s programs and brings awareness to the work HAC is doing to provide housing services and solutions to those most in need on Cape Cod and the Islands.

The telethon raised nearly $75,000. The funds will allow HAC to help those like Samantha who had struggled with addiction for roughly 15 years. “I am 16 months clean today,” she said. “It has been a really long ride and it’s been really difficult… Last year I was in a sober house and became pregnant early in my sobriety. I made the decision to move to Angel House. Coming to Angel House was probably the best decision I have ever made in my entire life.”

Telethon co-host Matt Pitta told viewers that these types of stories are an important reminder of “how the money you folks have donated over the years has made a huge difference, a real difference, in people’s lives.”

2017-Shelter-Telethon.jpgTelethon Co-Host Mindy Todd interviews State Representative Sarah Peake who reminded the audience that housing is not a town issue, but a Cape-wide issue that is affecting the entire region. 

HAC has made a difference, CEO Alisa Galazzi said, by providing clients with safe, stable housing. “That is what our mission is: keep them safe, get them housed, but really help take them to the next level in their life.

“You’ve got to have housing,” she continued. “It’s a basic human need, and from housing we can talk about jobs. We can talk about health care. We can talk about living the life you want to live.”

This year’s telethon allowed not only HAC clients to tell their story, but HAC staff, including homeless outreach specialists Derick Bussiere and Deborah McDonnell, and Paula Mallard, the facility director at the Village at Cataumet.

The telethon also featured an array of guests – State Senator Julian Cyr, Duffy Health Center CEO Heidi Nelson, and Paula Schnepp, coordinator for the Cape and Islands Regional Network to Address Homelessness, among others – who are taking steps to address the region’s housing needs.

State Representative Sarah Peake was one of those guests who underscored the importance of that work. “I can’t tell you, especially at this time of year when it gets cold, how many people are either homeless or one rent check away from becoming homeless,” she said. “I’m here to make the point for the people who are watching that this is not a Mid-Cape issue. This is not an Upper Cape issue. This is a Cape-wide issue.”

Support HAC's Homeless Shelters

 

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, Mindy Todd, Angel House, Matt Pitta, affordable housing, Alisa Galazzi, Sarah Peake

Helping Tackle the Vineyard's Housing Issues

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Oct 23, 2017 @ 12:33 PM

Rebecca Jamieson-1.jpg

Having been born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard, Rebecca (Townes) Jamieson knows there is a lot to love about the Island.

But HAC’s new Homeless Case Manager on Martha’s Vineyard also understands it’s a community that is not devoid of its problems. “There definitely are struggles and issues we have here,” she said. “One of the biggest issues right now we face is homelessness.”

Since the beginning of September, Jamieson has been helping HAC tackle that problem on the Island on a part-time basis, Monday through Wednesday, working out of the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority on State Road in Vineyard Haven. Her position is currently being funded through a grant from the Cape and Islands United Way.

In her role, she is responsible for providing intensive case management to families and individuals experiencing housing instability on Martha’s Vineyard. These are people who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness.

HAC Director of Family and Individual Services Cassi Danzl said that until January 2016, when the state earmarked money to cover the costs of a similar position, there was “no other existing case management services for individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness” on the Vineyard. That is why the role, she said, is so critical to this community.

And that is why Jamieson applied for the position. “I want to help the people here who are struggling,” she said. “I think that this is a place where there is so much wealth and amongst all of that wealth, we have a significant population who has little, if anything.”

Prior to coming to HAC, Jamieson served as a case manager with Arbour Counseling Services in West Yarmouth. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ashford University and a master’s of science in professional counseling from Grand Canyon University.

“She brings a really great skillset to this position,” said Danzl, adding that having lived on the Island most of her life, “she has a really clear understanding of the struggles and stressors that come with being a resident of the Vineyard.”

While still new to HAC, her hiring represents a whirlwind few months for Rebecca who was married in August to Jonathan Jamieson. She has two adult children, Kayla, 24, and Dorian, 20, as well as a six-year-old stepdaughter Laiah.

Having the opportunity to live, work and raise her own family on the Vineyard is rewarding for Jamieson. “I love the small community. I love its beauty. I love that we have wonderful weather in the summertime and snow in the winter,” she said. “Most of my family is here so it is very comforting, and a very familiar and lovely place.”

House Needed on Martha’s Vineyard

HAC is currently seeking a year-round home to rent or buy on Martha’s Vineyard that would house 5 chronically homeless adults. The home should have between 4 and 5 bedrooms and can consist of one or two structures on the same property.

Rent will be paid utilizing a grant HAC received earlier this year from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Those with a potential home should contact HAC’s Cassi Danzl at cdanzl@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 253.

Tags: homelessness, Martha's Vineyard, homelessness prevention, affordable housing, Cape and Islands United Way, Rebecca Jamieson

Helping Cape Communities Address Affordable Housing

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Oct 16, 2017 @ 11:02 AM
Cape Housing Institute Photo-1.jpgSandwich Housing Authority Executive Director Paula Schnepp (from left), Community Development Partnership Executive Director Jay Coburn talk to Matt Pitta from Cape Cod Broadcasting during a recent interview. 

This month, HAC and Community Development Partnership (CDP) are embarking on a new initiative, the Cape Housing Institute, which will help town officials boost the development of affordable housing in their individual communities.

HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi said the institute will give municipal leaders “the tools and language they need to be able to create housing for the workforce and all residents of their community at all income levels.”

The institute is a six-week workshop which began last Tuesday and runs through Thursday, November 16. Sessions will last two hours and take place on the following days and locations: Wednesdays, from 2-4 pm, at the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS in West Yarmouth; Wednesdays, from 6-8 pm, at the Mashpee Public Library; Thursdays, from 2-4 pm, at the Wellfleet Preservation Hall; and Thursdays, from 7-9 pm, at the Harwich Community Center.

Each week will feature guest speakers who will touch upon specific aspects related to affordable housing development. The topics, from week one to week six, are an introduction to housing; planning and needs assessment; zoning and site selection; financing and development; making the case for affordable housing; and developing an action plan.

The institute’s speakers are Judi Barrett, economic development director for the Plymouth Regional Economic Development Foundation; attorney Peter Freeman, a partner at the Freeman Law Group in Yarmouth Port; Cape Cod Commission Affordable Housing Specialist Heather Harper; Jennifer Goldson, a certified professional planner and founder of JM Goldson in Boston; Laura Shufelt, assistant director of community assistance for Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP); Kevin Maguire, a development consultant and co-founder of Oxbow Partners; architect Richard Fenuccio, president of Brown, Lindquist, Fenuccio & Raber Architects, Inc. in Yarmouth Port; Susan Connelly, director of community assistance at MHP; Maura Tsongas, director of real estate development at Neighborhood of Affordable Housing in Boston; Shelly Goehring, program manager at MHP; and Paula Schnepp, executive director at the Sandwich Housing Authority.

Presenting sponsors for the housing institute are Cape & Islands License Plate Fund; Cape & Islands United Way; Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank Charitable Trust; Cape Cod Foundation; the Estate of Bernard Kaplan; and Shepley Wood Products. The Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS is serving as a location host for the institute.

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