Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Toy Run Embodies Spirit of the Season

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Nov 29, 2018 @ 01:41 PM

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Motorcyclists make their way over the Bourne Bridge and to HAC's Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth. 

On the first Sunday of this month, a sea of roughly 225 motorcycles could be seen making their way from Buzzards Bay over the Bourne Bridge and down Falmouth’s Main Street with one destination in mind – HAC’s Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth.

With over $3,000 worth of toys, the goal of the motorcycle brigade was to spread some holiday cheer to children staying in one of HAC’s four family shelters. Now in its 30th year, the Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run started as a way to give back to those who are less fortunate on Cape Cod.

In 1999, the run was named after longtime participant and organizer Christina Wetherbee who died of cancer the following spring.

Her husband Joe and his second wife Clarissa have proudly carried on the tradition. This year, they had some assistance from Joe and Christina’s daughter Tammy Baptiste and her two children Cody Litchfield and Christopher Baptiste. “It is the best way I know to honor my mother’s memory,” Tammy said outside Eagles Hall in Buzzards Bay where the run kicked off. “We look forward to this every year. She loved the children. To be able to carry on this tradition means so much to me.”

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Tammy Baptiste with her father Joe Wetherbee. The pair helped organize this year's toy run along with Joe's wife Clarissa and Tammy's two songs Cody and Christopher. 

Along with the toys, this year’s participants raised $4,900 to support HAC’s housing programs, including a $2,000 donation from the Eagles Club.

“That’s what we are all about is people helping people and giving back to the community,” said Kim Genson, a trustee with the club. “We’ve got to take care of those in need.”

For Sarah and her son Izaiah, who have been at Carriage House for a month, seeing the outpouring of support from toy run participants was inspiring. “It means a lot to have people think about the homeless at this time of year,” she said. “To have people think about those who are less fortunate, that is the real spirit of Christmas.”

Support HAC's Family Shelters

Tags: Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run, Clarissa Wetherbee, Joe Wetherbee, Carriage House, The Village at Cataumet, Scattered Sites, Angel House, holiday giving, charitable giving, Falmouth, Bourne

Animals Offer Delight at Cataumet

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 @ 01:07 PM
Cataumet Animals-1A child at the Village at Cataumet pets Zima the cockatoo, one of several animals to visit the Bourne shelter. 

His name – Harold – was friendly enough. But his appearance, now that was an entirely different matter.

“That is far enough,” Paula Mallard, the facility director at the Village at Cataumet shelter, laughed as Rick Roth, owner of Creature Teachers in Littleton, pulled out Harold the tarantula from a box and held it in his hand.

At the end of July, Roth and his animal sidekicks – they included Zima the cockatoo, Mr. Prickles the hedgehog, Walter the American alligator, and Gertrude the possum – paid a visit to the family shelter, providing some entertainment and education to more than a half dozen families, including eight children.

Cataumet Animals-2Mr. Prickles, a hedgehog, gets some attention during his visit to the Village at Cataumet. 

Paula, a client at the shelter, was surprised to see that her granddaughter, who has sensory issues, was “actually touching all the animals. Now I want to take her to a petting zoo,” she said.

The animal encounter was paid for by Bourne For Children which offers parenting workshops and play and learn groups in the community. “Kids are fascinated by this,” said HAC volunteer Maura Dankert, who is the Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Coordinator for Bourne For Children.

Roth, who does similar presentations at the Jonathan Bourne Public Library, agreed. “It gives kids the opportunity to see and touch some of the animals,” he said. “A lot of them are really interested in the animals.”

Cataumet Animals-3Paula Mallard (from left), facility director at the Village at Cataumet, HAC volunteer Maura Dankert, and Rick Roth, owner of Creature Teachers, with Zima the cockatoo. 

Tags: The Village at Cataumet, Village at Cataumet, animals, Paula Mallard, Maura Dankert, HAC Volunteers, Bourne, Rick Roth, Creature Teachers

Sachem's Path Now Complete

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

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

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

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

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

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

Affordable Rentals in Bourne

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

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

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

Editorial: Meaningful Impact of Canal Bluffs

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 @ 11:52 AM
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One of the highlights for me last month at HAC was the groundbreaking at Canal Bluffs, which is the third phase of what will be 117 mixed-income housing units in the Town of Bourne.

We have had a lot of cloudy and rainy days this summer, but the day of the groundbreaking dawned clear and the ceremony took place under beautiful sunny skies. It was an apt metaphor for the project which brings affordable, workforce and market-rate apartments for families and seniors in a residential community off MacArthur Boulevard in Pocasset.

The project continues the partnership that HAC has forged with POAH (Preservation of Affordable Housing) in the development and management of affordable housing throughout the Cape.

We all know about the shortage of affordable housing in the region, but Congressman Bill Keating, the keynote speaker for the event, talked about what a project like this does for the economy, not just in the short-term, in providing construction jobs, but in the long-term for the workforce who live in the homes.

We have long been working to get the word out to the community that people who live in developments like Canal Bluffs are our neighbors, friends and family. Based on recent housing lotteries HAC has conducted for rental and homeownership units throughout the region, the people who live in affordable housing work as waitresses, construction workers, dental hygienists, bookkeepers, mechanics, handymen, truck drivers, legal secretaries, plumbers, bartenders, personal trainers and teachers, to name just a few professions. They are the people who make the Cape’s economy thrive.

During the Canal Bluffs ceremony, I took the opportunity to give credit for the project to HAC’s founder and CEO Emeritus, Rick Presbrey. He had the vision and foresight to put the deal together. Over the past four decades, HAC has brought over 500 affordable units to our region.

The best part of it all is that after the third phase of Canal Bluffs is completed, 117 families get the opportunity to live here, the opportunity to come home, to 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.

Click this link to learn more about the Canal Bluffs groundbreaking and what the development means to the residents that live there. 

Tags: Canal Bluffs, POAH, Alisa Galazzi, Preservation Of Affordable Housing, Bourne, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, affordable housing

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

HAC is Looking for Big Fix Volunteers

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Sep 04, 2015 @ 12:42 PM

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Great things happen when over 200 people come together to help their neighbors in need. It has happened every fall for five years as part of HAC’s annual Big Fix.

And it will happen once more on Saturday, October 24 when HAC and its army of volunteers descend upon Bourne to assist complete strangers by making minor home repairs that have become difficult for them to undertake.

“We’re certainly excited about it,” said Bourne Town Administrator Thomas Guerino. “The energy the Big Fix brings with volunteers helping folks who may fall through the cracks by bringing their housing to a livable situation is tremendous.”

The Big Fix is targeted at helping senior citizens, veterans and disabled residents, understanding that small home improvements can make a world of difference in the quality of their lives.

The day of service also can have a profound impact on those doing the actual work. “Volunteers come out for a half a day and when they’re done, they’ve made a real difference for a homeowner in need,” said HAC’s volunteer coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin. “Volunteers often say they’re grateful for an opportunity to give back because they remember a difficult time in their past when someone – sometimes a complete stranger – reached out to help them through it.”

Want to volunteer? Click this link or contact Mary Everett-Patriquin at volunteer@HAConCapeCod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 279 for more info! The deadline to submit an application is Friday, October 16.

Tags: Bourne, HAC, Big Fix, volunteer