Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Harwich Big Fix Helps Transform Lives

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Nov 08, 2018 @ 04:18 PM
Cape Associates BFBarbara and Chris Mack join volunteers, which include staff from Cape Associates, who donated their time fixing up the Harwich couple's home. 

Outside Chris and Barbara Mack’s Harwich house, volunteers were busy painting the trim, landscaping the yard, and fixing gutters. Inside, a skilled crew from Cape Associates was installing a new bay window.

As the scene unfolded in front of them, Barbara acknowledged how much this work meant to her. “It is just so overwhelming,” she said. “It makes my heart so happy.”

Individually, the projects done at the Mack’s house, which they have owned since 1998, may have been relatively minor. But combined, they made a huge impact on the couple who repeatedly expressed their gratitude for the kindness of complete strangers.

This is the magic of the Big Fix which started in 2010 in Barnstable as a way to support seniors, veterans and disabled homeowners in one town on Cape Cod. Through the one-day event, volunteers help raise funds for HAC’s programs while conducting the types of small home repairs that can be financially or physically difficult for homeowners like the Macks to do themselves.

Harwich Big Fix-8Jeanne Roque of Cape Cod 5 hauls trash during the Harwich Big Fix. 

“When you go to the site take a mental note of what it looks like before and what it looks like after,” HAC CEO Alisa Magnotta Galazzi said during the kick-off ceremony at Monomoy Regional High School. “You’re going to see how the power of a community coming together, like-minded people coming together, can transform a life and transform a house.”

This year, roughly 340 volunteers donated a few hours of their time to help 18 homeowners in Harwich at the end of September.

They included people like Ralph Perry, a US Army veteran, who has lived in his home for 32 years. He had nearly two dozen volunteers clearing brush, trimming trees, removing an old swing set, and hauling trash at his house.

“It means a lot. It means an awful lot,” he said. “I can’t believe how many people have come to help.”

Tags: Big Fix, Harwich Big Fix, Harwich, Cape Cod 5, Cape Associates, Alisa Galazzi, veterans, home repair, HAC Volunteers, volunteering, volunteerism, Volunteer Cape Cod

HAC's Big Fix Challenge

Posted by HAC Staff on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 @ 01:36 PM

Big Fix

If you follow HAC's Facebook page, then you know our CEO Alisa Magnotta Galazzi, pictured above with our COO Walter Phinney, has been issuing a challenge for residents, business owners, volunteers, and community leaders to step up and make a difference at this month's Big Fix in Harwich.

With 9 Big Fix fundraising teams consisting of 37 fundraisers, nearly $40,000 has already been raised. The public has embraced the challenge by raising funds to not only support this year's Big Fix, but to enable the agency to conduct the type of work that makes the annual day of service so meaningful to residents.

Now we're challenging YOU to accept the Big Fix Challenge. All you have to do is make your own video, explain why housing is important to you and/or you're participating in the Big Fix and tag two friends. And share the video on our Facebook page.

You can also make a donation by clicking this link so we can expand the reach and impact of this year's Big Fix.

Tags: Harwich Big Fix, Big Fix, Big Fix Challenge, Fix-A-Thon, social media, Facebook, Harwich

Volunteers Needed for Harwich Big Fix

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 @ 11:25 AM
Big Fix imageVolunteers work on a home during last year's Big Fix in Falmouth. This year's Big Fix is coming to Harwich on Saturday, September 22. 

A total of 15 Harwich homeowners will benefit from the generosity of HAC volunteers as part of this year’s Big Fix on Saturday, September 22.

“Each one of them are special in their own way,” said HAC Project Coordinator Romy Maimon. “Volunteers will be assisting a great group of people this year.”

Along with HAC Maintenance Supervisor Keith Trott, Maimon has visited each of the homes for recipients of the Harwich Big Fix. “From everybody, I heard the word ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘grateful,’” Maimon said.

Those feelings will be on full display next month when more than 200 volunteers come out to make small repairs for those homeowners, who are either veterans, seniors, or disabled.

“It is a wonderful way to make a difference for people who don’t have the physical or financial capability to do these jobs themselves,” said HAC Volunteer Coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin.

HAC is currently seeking hands-on volunteers who will spend roughly four hours on September 22 doing a range of work that will include raking, weeding, hauling brush, trimming trees, interior and exterior painting as well as light carpentry.

“In general volunteers don’t need to have special skills. They just need to be able to perform tasks of moderate intensity,” Everett-Patriquin said. “If people have some basic home repair skills in carpentry, electrical, plumbing or other trades that is certainly a plus.”

Along with serving as a hands-on volunteer, residents can sign up as a Big Fix Fundraiser to help raise funds for HAC that will help the agency conduct this type of work on a year-round basis instead of annually.

To register as a Big Fix volunteer or fundraiser, click this link. The deadline to sign up as a volunteer is Saturday, September 1.

Tags: Harwich Big Fix, Big Fix, Falmouth Big Fix, volunteer, HAC Volunteers, volunteerism, Mary Everett Patriquin, Romy Maimon, Harwich, Fundraising

HAC Adds Fundraising Component to Big Fix

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Jul 24, 2018 @ 12:44 PM
Big Fix Team Leader-3Realtors Lisa Parenteau (left) and Robin Gunderson have signed up as Big Fix Team Leaders for this year's Big Fix in Harwich. 

In an effort to expand the reach of the Big Fix, the agency is seeking Big Fix Team Leaders and Big Fix Fundraising Volunteers to enable HAC to assist more residents, not only during the annual day of service, but throughout the year.

Realtors Lisa Parenteau and Robin Gunderson of Lisa Sells Cape Cod were the first to sign up as Team Leaders at the end of last month. In that capacity, the pair are organizing a Big Fix team that will volunteer their time for this year’s Big Fix in Harwich and also raise funds to not only support the event, but HAC’s programs that serve vulnerable populations on the Cape.

During a Big Fix Team Leader information session at the Harwich Chamber of Commerce in June, HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi spoke about how impactful the Big Fix is. “Last year was transformative,” she said, of the Big Fix which helped seniors, veterans, and disabled homeowners with small home repairs in Falmouth. “Now this year, our personal goal is to be financially in a position that would allow us to do this type of work year-round.”

Parenteau jumped at the opportunity to make a difference on Cape Cod “where there is just a real shortage of housing, in general,” she said. “We really want to be a part of the housing solution, both in selling houses, and in supporting the mission of HAC.”

To learn more about becoming a Big Fix volunteer, click this link. Those who sign up as a Big Fix Team Leader or Fundraising Volunteer by Tuesday, July 31 will receive two free tickets to HAC’s 4th Annual Cape Cod Quahog Challenge on Sunday, August 5, 1-4 pm, at Trader Ed’s in Hyannis.

Tags: Harwich Big Fix, Big Fix, Fundraising, Harwich, Alisa Galazzi

Donor Spotlight: Cape Associates

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jul 05, 2018 @ 09:53 AM

 

Cape Associates Photo-1

As a business focused on custom home building and home renovations, it should come as no surprise that Cape Associates has long been connected to HAC’s Big Fix.

But the company’s support of HAC goes far beyond the annual day of service held every fall. It has regularly donated to several of the agency’s annual events, including our Shelter Cape Cod Telethon.

This summer, the construction firm will increase its giving by serving as a Signature Sponsor of HAC’s Oysters & Champagne fundraiser, a new event taking place on Thursday, July 19 at the Wequassett Resort in Harwich.

Sponsoring the event, said Cape Associates CEO Matthew Cole, aligns with his company’s desire to give back to the community. “Without this community, there would be no us,” he said. “We look for opportunities to make the greatest impact [with our giving] as much to create a sustainable future as to pay thanks to that which has been provided to us.”

HAC’s role in the community, he said, is vital to addressing the lack of housing units on Cape Cod. “The most acute need is for additional rental housing,” he said. “We need to create more for our current workforce and for the future workforce. Too many folks are house burdened and paying too much for housing.”

Why We Give: Cape Associates

Over the years, Cape Associates Executive Vice President Richard Bryant has organized a Big Fix team of skilled professionals who donate their time and talents to the day of service.

The annual event has allowed Cape Associates to “get out of the office and use our skills as a great team-building exercise,” company CEO Matthew Cole said. “What we’ve seen is some really neat stories of recipients of the work who always are very grateful, whether it’s a veteran who served in the military or an elderly person who needs a little help. It leaves the group feeling very good about the contributions they’ve made. We take away more than we give through that event.”

As they have in the past, Cape Associates plans on organizing a Big Fix team to assist veterans, seniors and disabled homeowners with small home repairs in Harwich this September.

If you want to support HAC's Big Fix, we are currently seeking Team Leaders, Fundraising Volunteers, and Hands-On Volunteers. Click this link to learn more. 

 

Tags: Cape Associates, Oysters & Champagne, HAC Events, Harwich Big Fix, Big Fix, HAC Volunteers, Donor Spotlight, HAC donors, corporate sponsorship, sponsors

Recognizing Volunteers, Donors at Annual Dinner

Posted by Laura Reckford on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 @ 11:57 AM
Annual Meeting-1-10Volunteers of the Year winners Richard and Bernadette Waystack of Harwich. 

Housing Assistance is a special place. We make dreams come true.” Those words were spoken by Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC) CEO Alisa Galazzi at HAC’s 44th Annual Dinner and Volunteer Recognition. Telling the stories of several of HAC’s clients, Galazzi kicked off the event with heartwarming examples of success.

As it is every year, the event was an opportunity to celebrate the hundreds of volunteers and donors who support the agency on an annual basis. More than 250 people turned out to the event on May 3 at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis, which was once again sponsored by Shepley Wood Products. Tony Shepley, founder and CEO, was on hand to greet those gathered for the Annual Dinner.

This year’s honorees for Volunteer of the Year were Bernadette and Richard Waystack of Harwich. The couple have participated in the Bob Murray Housing With Love Walk, walking the entire Cape, from Provincetown to Falmouth, for many years to raise funds for HAC.

Three awards all honored participants in the Big Fix. Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub earned the Business Partner Award for their annual efforts providing lunch for the hundreds of volunteers at the annual Big Fix over the past five years. 

Annual Meeting-2-9Mashpee Boy Scout Troop 36 received this year's Human Service Partner Award. 
Mashpee Boy Scout Troop 36 received the Human Service Partner Award for volunteering at the Big Fix for the past several years. Assistant Troop Leader John Cotton also participates in HAC’s annual Shelter Cape Cod Telethon. This year, he also participated in HAC’s new initiative, the Cape Housing Institute.

The Making A Difference Award went to Home Depot, which supported the Falmouth Big Fix by providing more than $20,000 in supplies to use at the homes of senior citizens, disabled people, and veterans. Home Depot also sent a large volunteer team to the Big Fix. In addition, the company has hired a number of clients from HAC’s Angel House shelter who are recovering from substance abuse.

HAC gave a special posthumous award, the Lifetime Benefactor Award, to Barton Tomlinson, who passed away last year. Mr. Tomlinson supported the Angel House shelter for many years with generous donations. The classroom space at Angel House where the clients heal from the trauma of addiction will be named the Barton Tomlinson Clinical and Classroom Space in his honor.

Tags: Annual Dinner, Annual Meeting, HAC Annual Meeting, Big Fix, Falmouth Big Fix, Bernadette Waystack, Richard Waystack, Mashpee Boy Scouts, 99 Restaurant, Home Depot, HAC Volunteer Recognition, HAC Volunteers, Angel House, Bob Murray, Housing with love walk

HAC Seeks Recipients for Harwich Big Fix

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Apr 06, 2018 @ 12:17 PM

 

Harwich Sign-2

Since 2010, the Big Fix has been to eight towns on Cape Cod. On Saturday, September 22, 2018, HAC’s annual fundraiser will next come to Harwich in an effort to help those in need in that Lower Cape community.

HAC is currently seeking recipients for the Big Fix. The event typically sees roughly 200 volunteers come out to make small home repairs for income-eligible veterans, seniors and disabled homeowners in one town on the Cape each fall.

“The idea of the Big Fix is to help people most in need do the basic maintenance on their home that they can’t do themselves and don’t have the income to keep up themselves,” said David Quinn, HAC’s assistant director of Housing Development.

Last year’s Big Fix was Quinn’s first “and it happened to be the biggest one we’ve ever done,” with a record 340 volunteers assisting 18 homeowners in Falmouth.

“It was really amazing for the community to come out and rally around all of these homeowners,” Quinn said. “A lot of them were smiling and a lot of them were in disbelief. They couldn’t believe their neighbors and complete strangers were willing to come out and help them in such an enthusiastic way.”

Harwich homeowners who are either veterans, seniors or disabled can apply to be a recipient by clicking this link.

Hard copies of applications can be found at the Brooks Free Library at 793 Main Street; the Harwich Community Center at 100 Oak Street; the Harwich Chamber of Commerce at 1 School House Road; Hands of Hope Outreach Center at 49 Route 28; and the Family Pantry of Cape Cod at 133 Queen Anne Road.

The deadline to apply to be a recipient of the Big Fix is Friday, June 1. Those with questions can contact HAC’s Project Coordinator Romy Maimon at rmaimon@haconcapecod.org or at 508-771-5400, ext. 103.

Those interested in volunteering or forming a fundraising team for the Big Fix can email volunteer@haconcapecod.org. To become a Big Fix sponsor, email Deanna Bussiere at dbussiere@haconcapecod.org

 Recipient-Big-Fix-Yarmouth

 

Tags: Big Fix, Harwich, Harwich Big Fix, HAC Volunteers, charitable giving, fundraiser, David Quinn, Falmouth Big Fix, volunteers

HAC Assists Falmouth Veteran

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Sat, Feb 17, 2018 @ 06:00 AM
John Martin-2.jpgHAC Event and Resource Development Coordinator Deanna Bussiere (from left) with Army veteran John Martin, Falmoth Toyota General Manager Matt Murphy, and Heroes In Transition Executive Director Nicole Spencer. 

"Since September, all that you’ve done for me, it’s like I hit the jackpot, you know,” John Martin said on the last day of January when HAC, Heroes In Transition and Falmouth Toyota came together to give him a used Toyota Camry.

Last fall, HAC was introduced to Martin through the Falmouth Big Fix. An Army veteran, he was one of 18 recipients of the day of service which saw over 340 volunteers come out to make small home improvements for their neighbors in need.

It was through the event that Keith Trott, HAC’s maintenance supervisor, realized that Martin’s Toyota RAV4 was inoperable, and the cost to fix it was beyond his means. Because Martin suffers from respiratory issues and needs transportation to get to and from his medical appointments, Trott said, finding him a new car was the right thing to do.

Together with HAC, Heroes In Transition, which covers the cost of improvements for veterans’ homes during the Big Fix, agreed to fund the purchase of the used car.

Finding the car was left to Falmouth Toyota General Manager Matt Murphy and his staff. While his company strives to be as charitable as it can, Murphy said, it truly appreciates moments like this when it can “drill that down to one individual and do something that’s hopefully special for someone on an individual basis. It’s not something we can do all the time, but when we do it’s really nice to see.”

Read more about last year's Falmouth Big Fix by clicking this link

Tags: Falmouth Big Fix, Big Fix, Deanna Bussiere, Heroes in Transition, Nicole Spencer, Falmouth Toyota, John Martin, veterans, Falmouth, Matt Murphy, Keith Trott

Editorial: A Responsibility to One Another

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Thu, Nov 02, 2017 @ 12:05 PM
DSC_3522.jpgAmong the volunteers at this year's Big Fix were a number of high school students on Cape Cod. 

Every Sunday, as a child, I would go to my grandparent’s house for dinner. During those meals, they would give me a list of small chores to accomplish while I was there. 

Embedded in these chores were life lessons; it was a way of showing my love for my grandparents. Doing these tasks was also a reminder of our connection to one another and that, in large ways and small, we all have a responsibility to each other.

As my grandparents got older, their needs grew to the point where they relied on more than just small chores. When I went away to college, my cousins stepped up, making sure my grandparents were not only loved, but received the care and comfort they needed to survive.

Unfortunately, not everyone has this luxury in today’s society. Families are often scattered throughout the country and picking up the phone to have a sister, brother, son or daughter quickly help is not so simple.

Once a year at HAC, we fill this void through our Big Fix. It’s an inspiring event, one that saw 340 volunteers help 18 complete strangers last month as part of our 8th Annual Big Fix in Falmouth.

The volunteers did relatively small tasks – clearing brush, installing new kitchen tile, painting a deck – in a few hours. The work may seem minor in nature, but the homeowners we spoke to admitted there was no way they could have done this on their own.

These people included a 91-year-old World War II veteran, a disabled woman who lost her husband a few years ago, and a legally blind couple in their 80s who have been married for over 50 years. For each, it was not easy asking for help. But when they did, there was no shortage of people who eagerly volunteered their time, talents, energy and enthusiasm to provide a little care and a lot of comfort to our neighbors in Falmouth.

It was a wonderful display of kindness that exemplified the best of Cape Cod. And it was an important reminder of the connection and responsibility we have to one another.

Tags: Alisa Galazzi, Big Fix, Falmouth Big Fix, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Falmouth, home repair

Falmouth Big Fix a Display of Community

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 @ 11:51 AM
Big Fix-17-5.jpgClifford Long repairs a front step during the Big Fix in Falmouth last month. 

With one knee on the ground, Falmouth’s Clifford Long hammered a nail into a piece of wood, repairing the front steps leading into John Martin’s North Falmouth home.

“I think this is something we should do more of,” said Long, taking a short break as dozens of other volunteers around him removed brush from Mr. Martin’s yard. In the back a crew from Home Depot was staining Mr. Martin’s deck. “So many people, we could make their homes affordable if we all put a little love and attention into them.”

About 20 feet away, Mr. Martin sat in a wheelchair inside his home. An Army veteran who served two years in Korea, Mr. Martin marveled at the kindness of complete strangers like Clifford Long. “You know what this is like? You hear people talking about neighborhoods. If this isn’t a sign of a neighborhood, I don’t know what is.”

What Mr. Martin calls a neighborhood, others call community, and in the middle of last month, there was plenty of that on display during HAC’s 8th Annual Big Fix in Falmouth. A total of 340 volunteers – a record for the Big Fix – showed up to make small improvements to 18 homes owned by veterans, seniors and disabled residents in the Upper Cape community.

If that wasn’t enough, one small group dedicated their time to beautifying the Falmouth Senior Center.

Big Fix-17-6.jpgBig Fix recipient Tina Barr (left) with Rev. John Terry of the First Congregational Church in Sandwich and HAC's Meg Chaffee. Rev. Terry, an advocate for affordable housing, organized a group of volunteers, the "First Fixers", from the church. 

“This is really the meaning of community service and it’s what makes the Cape and Islands so special,” said Falmouth Selectman Megan English Braga during the kick-off to the Big Fix at the Lawrence School.

At the kick-off, HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi took a moment to praise the work the volunteers were doing. “It really means a lot to be able to have this community support and to come out and help these [people],” she said. “This helps them stay in place.”

These were people like 91-year-old Jim Crossen who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. At his home, a small crew of volunteers repaired his garage door while his daughter Jamie spoke about what the Big Fix meant to her. “What I think is really great is that knowing my dad, he has given so much to the community and volunteering his time, and now it’s nice it comes full circle and people are doing the same for him,” she said.

“I never could do this myself,” West Falmouth’s Valerie Tillman said outside her home where volunteers were clearing brush, removing weeds, and mulching her flower beds.

It was a similar scene at Dorothy Sgarzi’s home in East Falmouth, where volunteer Dana Robert remarked, “It is amazing how much work you can do with so many hands” after crews had finished beautifying her yard.

While the calendar may have read September 16, Christine (Tina) Barr of East Falmouth said the Big Fix actually felt like a holiday. “It was like Christmas morning,” she said. “This was much more than I could have ever imagined.”

Donate to the Falmouth Big Fix 

 

Tags: Falmouth Big Fix, Big Fix, Falmouth, veterans, Philanthropy, HAC Volunteers, volunteerism