Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

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

Richard Waystack: Affordable Housing Champion

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Nov 20, 2017 @ 10:33 AM
HWLW-2 ( Richard Waystack).jpgBernadette and Richard Waystack during this summer's 25th Annual Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk. While in Harwich, they got some support from their granddaughter Juliet. 

With a 31-year career in the real estate industry on Cape Cod, Harwich’s Richard Waystack understands the vital role a home plays in one’s life. “It is the basis of all we do,” he said.

And so it is through housing that Waystack has not only made a living, but given meaning to his life. It started over three decades ago when he was introduced to the late Bob Murray, a former grant writer for HAC and a passionate advocate for affordable housing on Cape Cod.

Waystack helped Murray with a project undertaken by the Harwich Community Development Corporation which built seven affordable homes on Community Way during the 1980s. “When you drive by those houses they are like any other house in the neighborhood,” Waystack said. “And the people that live there are your neighbors and work here in town.”

Since that time, both Richard and his wife Bernadette, an artist and art teacher at Monomoy Regional High School, have been tireless in their efforts to address the region’s housing needs. Richard was a board member for the Harwich Ecumenical Council for Housing (HECH), the former president and director of The Family Pantry of Cape Cod, and has served as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod.

Over the past four years, the couple have walked the length of Cape Cod, from Provincetown to Falmouth, for one week every July as part of the annual Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk. They have done so in memory of Richard’s longtime friend Bob Murray, all while raising funds for HAC’s housing programs and services.

Richard said he and his wife were drawn to the agency after meeting HAC’s Margaret Benaka and Deanna Bussiere who have served as the drivers for those taking part in the annual walk. “Because those ladies were so passionate my wife said we should do more to help because HAC seems to be one of the biggest parts of the solution in battling housing insecurity,” Richard said.

The Waystack’s passion for supporting HAC has only grown because of the need for affordable housing that still exists in the region. “I think there are some great opportunities at HAC with a dynamic group of new leadership,” Richard said. “HAC can be the prime force in creating housing security here on Cape Cod.”

It is a cause that Richard, who was recently recognized with a Good Neighbor Award for his volunteerism from the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, will continue to champion. “What people don’t see is the other side of Cape Cod,” Richard said. “There are many people struggling and we’ve got to provide housing for them.”

Why We Give: Homeless Outreach

While Richard Waystack’s passion for addressing the region’s housing issues spans the gamut of services HAC provides, he expressed particular interest in the agency’s homeless outreach program.

Started in June 2016, the program currently consists of three case managers – Derick Bussiere, Deborah McDonnell, and Shannon Tracy – who are connecting the homeless on Cape Cod to the services they need to move into safe, stable housing. That housing can allow them to turn their lives around. From January to the end of September, the trio has worked with 175 clients, placing 26 into permanent housing.

“What that does is give hope to people,” Waystack said of the outreach program. “There are a huge population on the Cape who are not able to afford good, safe, warm housing… With permanent housing people are able to get better jobs and be a part of the economy. And they are able to better their own circumstances in life. Without permanent housing that is difficult for people.”

Support HAC's Homeless Outreach Efforts

Tags: Richard Waystack, Bernadette Waystack, homeless outreach, Housing with love walk, Bob Murray, Harwich, Margaret Benaka, Deanna Bussiere, Derick Bussiere, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod

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.”

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

Housing with Love Walk Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jul 07, 2017 @ 02:44 PM
HWLW Harwich 1.jpgJane Goodman (from left), Rev. John Rice, DJ Sullivan, and Richard and Bernadette Waystack during the 2016 Housing With Love Walk. 

Several familiar faces will walk one end of the Cape to the other next week, all to raise awareness to the housing challenges facing the region. A small contingent of those walkers will do so to support HAC’s housing programs on Cape Cod and the Islands as part of the 25th Annual Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk. 

HAC is one of nine housing nonprofits that will participate in the annual event. This year’s walk will begin next Monday, July 10 in Provincetown, with participants walking more than 100 miles and through each town on Cape Cod. It concludes on Sunday, July 16 in Falmouth.

Those walking on behalf of HAC next week include Richard and Bernadette Waystack of Harwich, Rev. John Rice of South Yarmouth, and Nekea Frisbee of Falmouth. While this will be Frisbee’s first year participating in the walk for HAC, both the Waystacks and Rev. Rice have done so in recent years.

On the final day of the event, HAC supporters are invited to meet at the Falmouth Village Green at 11 am and walk the last 3.5 miles to the Church of the Messiah in Woods Hole.

To learn more about the walk, click here. To donate to the walk, click here

Tags: Housing with love walk, Bob Murray, HAC Celebrity Walkers, charitable giving, Fundraising, Falmouth, Bernadette Waystack, Richard Waystack

Looking Back at the Housing with Love Walk

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 @ 11:23 AM
HWLW_Harwich_2.jpgRichard Waystack (from left), DJ Sullivan and Rev. John Rice make their way down the Cape Cod Rail Trail during last month's 24th Annual Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk.

Walking 100 miles in seven days in the midst of the summer is difficult for most anyone. But sometimes that difficulty can be placed into perspective when considering life’s other challenges. “It’s easy knowing you have a place to go home to every night,” said Harwich’s Bernadette Waystack. “Not everyone has that luxury.”

Waystack made the statement on the third leg of a seven-day journey that saw her and dozens of other volunteers walk from Provincetown to Falmouth during the second full week of July as part of the 24th Annual Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk.

Started in 1993 by the late Bob Murray, the walk has continued on since his death three years ago. The walk is held, in part, to honor his memory by those like Bernadette’s husband, Richard, who considered Murray a mentor. “We are continuing his spirit and passion to make a difference on Cape Cod,” Richard told more than three dozen participants and supporters of the walk as they ate lunch inside the First Congregational Church in Harwich.

The Waystacks were one of several walkers committed to walking each of the seven days. The couple did so for the second straight year in support of HAC’s housing programs on Cape Cod and the islands.

As much as the walk helps raise funds for several nonprofits like HAC working to solve the region’s housing issues, it also helps raise awareness to those challenges. This year, Jane Goodman of Chatham, joined the Waystacks in traversing the entire Cape over the course of one week.

Last year, she walked the Chatham to South Yarmouth leg with her husband Steven. After moving here full-time from Burlington, Vermont, she opted to extend her commitment to the walk even further. “Here, I am seeing this place has more and more extremes: the haves and the have nots,” she said. “Many of the people who work here can’t afford to live here. I feel very fortunate to live here and I’d like to help other people, who really make the whole Cape operate, be able to live here.”

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Tags: Housing with love walk, Bob Murray, Richard Waystack, Bernadette Waystack, John Rice, Jane Goodman

Walking to Help Others

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Jun 07, 2016 @ 11:37 AM

The list of Rev. John Rice’s ailments hardly make him a candidate to walk from one end of the Cape to the other. The 75-year-old South Yarmouth resident has a torn ligament in his right foot, an injury to his upper Achilles tendon in his left calf and neuropathy in both feet.

None of this is enough to stop Rev. Rice from walking parts of each day of the 24th Annual Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk which will be held in the middle of July. “I’ll be out there plugging away,” he promised. “There are people out there in worse shape than I am.”

For that reason, Rev. Rice will walk for seven days during the hottest part of the year. He will do so as one of several celebrity walkers for HAC.

This will be the 12th year he has participated in the event which raises both awareness and funds for the region’s housing issues. He started walking at the urging of DJ Sullivan of South Yarmouth, who will be participating in his last walk this summer at the age of 80.

In Memory of His Mother

A retired Episcopalian priest, Rev. Rice has a personal connection to the types of services HAC provides. His mother was the recipient of a Section 8 voucher, allowing her to remain housed and live comfortably during the final years of her life. “My mother is really at the heart of my walk every year,” he said. “I am grateful to agencies, the government and volunteers that provide services like HAC does because I know up close and personal what a difference that makes in a person’s life.”

And so 12 years after he took his first steps from Provincetown and made his way to Falmouth seven days later, he continues to walk.

Despite the physical pain – two years ago he participated shortly after receiving his final radiation treatment for prostate cancer – he remains committed to helping those in need. “Surprisingly, we have a lot of economic problems here with younger families working two, three jobs just to put food on the table and keep their lights on,” he said.

HAC, he said, represents a vital safety net for those people. “What agencies like HAC do is they stop the fall and give a person the chance to rally their own resources to begin to float back to the top,” he said. “That is what it is all about.”


The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod

Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Rev. John Rice

Bernadette & Richard Waystack

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Tags: housing, Housing with love walk, Bob Murray, HAC Celebrity Walkers, John Rice

Walking Towards a Better Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Jun 09, 2015 @ 08:45 AM
Bernadette and Richard Waystack resized 600The Waystacks brave heavy rains during last year’s Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk.

Last summer, Bernadette and Richard Waystack walked one end of the Cape to the other, over the course of seven days, enduring everything from blisters, sore muscles and even stress fractures, all to raise awareness about the housing issues facing the region.

So when asked to participate in the Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk again, the Waystacks didn’t hesitate, emphatically saying yes. Why? “Homelessness has not gone away,” Bernadette said. “My husband, who was the past president of The Family Pantry of Cape Cod in Harwich, once coined the phrase that, ‘Hunger doesn’t take a vacation on Cape Cod.’ Guess what? Homelessness doesn’t either.”

This July, the Harwich couple will be walking in the annual event on behalf of HAC, raising funds for the nonprofit’s services which includes its four homeless shelters, homelessness prevention programs, affordable housing development and housing education workshops.

The pair’s motivation goes beyond simple charitableness. They have a personal connection to the type of work HAC is doing because they have witnessed the impacts homelessness has had on a family member. That is why, when Richard ended up with stress fractures during last year’s walk, he refused to give up.

“You know it’s uncomfortable and hard, but you’re only doing it for one day and every night you get to go home to a nice, safe and secure home,” said Bernadette, who is an art teacher at Monomoy Regional High School. “I thought about the people in my hometown and across the Cape where that isn’t the case. Some of them aren’t going home to a house. Some are out in the streets or in the woods. Some have a home, but it’s not stable and they’re not sure how long they’ll have it.”

So next month the Waystacks will lace up their sneakers, taking small steps to help make Cape Cod a better place for all to live. They realize they will not solve the problem on their own. Instead their ultimate goal is progress.

“I think it’s a greater sense of wanting to make a difference,” Bernadette said. “You can’t fix it all, but if everyone does a little something, we’re going to make a change.”

HAC'S 2015 Celebrity Walkers

Bernadette and Richard Waystack

Reverend John Rice

Reverend Dr. John Terry

The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod

To support HAC's Celebrity Walkers or donate to the walk, click this link. To learn more about the Annual Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk, click here

Tags: Housing with love walk, homelessness, HAC, Richard Waystack, Bernadette Waystack, homeless prevention, Bob Murray

Walking for a Higher Purpose

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 @ 03:53 PM

John Rice Edited resized 600

Blisters, sore legs and aching muscles are all part of the bumps and bruises that come with the Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk. But that is nothing compared to what the Reverend John Rice of South Yarmouth, a retired Episcopalian priest, is undergoing through as he walks portions of each section of the seven-day event.

The 73-year-old Rice has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and recently underwent his final radiation treatment. That has not stopped him from walking a short distance each day on behalf of HAC.

This marks his 10th year participating in the walk which was created 22 years ago by Bob Murray as a way to bring awareness to Cape Cod’s housing issues. Of the walks he has participated in Rice has completed the entire course, from Provincetown to Falmouth, six times.

Despite his medical issues, he said, he felt a need to walk this year both as a way to honor Bob Murray, who passed away in September, and because of what the event means. “Shelter is the very basic need of human beings everywhere,” he said, noting that it also has a personal relevance to him because his mother was the recipient of federal funding to ensure she had a roof over her head during the last years of her life in Tennessee. 


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Tags: Housing with love walk, HAC, housing assistance corporation, Bob Murray

Meet HAC's Celebrity Walkers

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 @ 02:42 PM

Mason Small, Lynn resized 600Lynn Mason-Small

True celebrities exude a certain swagger. That is certainly the case with Lynn Mason-Small and Rana Murphy who both shrugged off any notion of nervousness when asked about their upcoming participation as HAC’s celebrity walkers for the 22nd Annual Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk.

“I’m not sure I need to train,” laughed a confident Mason-Small, the senior vice president of Rogers & Gray Insurance in Dennis.

It was a similar response from Murphy, the senior vice president of Eastern Bank, who termed herself an “exercise fiend,” with a marathon and several half-marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks under her belt.

Though the pair have never participated in the annual walk before, they were excited to do so on behalf of those who are unable to this year. People can support Mason-Small, who will walk on Wednesday afternoon, and Murphy, who will do so on Thursday morning, by making a donation to HAC via this link in their name.

Mason-Small noted that despite her being a novice to the walk, Rogers & Gray has long been a supporter of not only the event, but HAC as well. “Our CEO Chuck Robinson does a lot of volunteer work with HAC and we feel the need to support this because we firmly believe in it,” she said. “And certainly with Bob Murray’s passing this is the least we can do to support his housing efforts on Cape Cod.”

Rana Murphy Head shot resized 600Rana Murphy

“What a great way to give back to the community and keep Bob Murray’s contributions to housing on Cape Cod alive,” Murphy added. “The walk not only gives back to HAC, but to all the housing agencies across the Cape.”

As for her status as a “celebrity walker” Murphy downplayed such talk and stressed she is not letting the fame go to her head. “I don’t consider myself a celebrity in any sense,” she said. “I’ve lived in this community for 25 years and as someone who has sat on a lot of boards I feel like you can not live in a community and not give back to it. I think that is how we make our community better and stronger every day. It is all of our responsibilities to give back and give back in the way you want.”

Mason-Small shared those sentiments and was humble enough to not consider herself a celebrity either. “That might be a little bit of an overstatement,” she said, though she did say for those interested she would be willing to take photos with them – perhaps even a selfie - while she walks. “I don’t know about autographs though,” she laughed. “Actually, I’m just excited to do my part.”

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Tags: Housing with love walk, Lynn Mason Small, housing assistance corporation, Rana Murphy, Bob Murray

Bob Murray Remembered on First Day of Walk

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:16 PM
DSC 4661 resized 600Patty Murray (left) walks with Dakota Mousseau and Ben deRuyter on Route 6A in Truro during the first day of the 22nd Annual Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk.

In the 22 years that the Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk has been held Harwich’s Patty Murray never once participated in the event.

That ended yesterday when Murray, whose father started the walk in 1993 to bring awareness to the Cape’s housing issues, donned her sneakers and walked over 13 miles from Provincetown to Wellfleet. “It’s kind of bittersweet,” a tearful Patty Murray said, before noting that the fact the walk is continuing would mean a lot to her father who passed away in September at the age of 73.

“I know my dad was really worried about his legacy and whether this would continue,” she said. “He would be really happy to know it is.”

Though her father was not there physically, she was positive he was there spiritually. “I’ll be using his legs,” she said.

And so it went during the kick off to the annual walk, which began with a short service at The Church of Saint Mary of the Harbor. Before, during and after the church service many had the event’s founder on their mind.

“Bob Murray,” a trio of walkers shouted enthusiastically (instead of the typical “Cheese!”) as they posed for a photo in front of Provincetown Harbor.

And a pair of bronzed sneakers Bob Murray had wore in previous walks served as a symbol of why people were participating in this year’s event.  David Willard, the director of community relations at Cape Cod Five, was the first to carry the sneakers – which came in a clear plastic bag – on his back at the start of the walk.

“I work at Cape Cod Five and we’ve been so close to Bob in all his professional endeavors,” Willard said. “And I’ve been so close to him and [his wife] Judy personally. It feels good I can be a part of it in this way. He is still in our hearts.”

Willard eventually passed the shoes onto Richard Waystack, president of the Family Pantry of Cape Cod, on Route 6A in Truro. Waystack, who is walking the entire 96.3 miles from Provincetown to Falmouth with his wife Bernadette for the Harwich Ecumenical Council for the Homeless, proceeded to carry the sneakers the remainder of the day before passing them off this morning to Vicki Hatch in South Wellfleet.

Murray Shoes Passing resized 600Richard Waystack (left) takes Bob Murray's sneakers from Cape Cod Five's David Willard.

In 2012, the last year Murray took part in the walk, Waystack pushed him 19 miles in a wheelchair. “That was a great day, an awesome day,” Waystack said. “Bob was a good friend and my mentor.” 

And yesterday the nearly two dozen walkers used him as inspiration to affect greater change on Cape Cod. “I know he is here talking to us all,” his daughter said. 

Read more about this year's Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk by clicking this link.

Tags: Housing with love walk, HAC, Richard Waystack, housing assistance corporation, Bob Murray