Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Donor Spotlight: Margaret Hogan and Tony Rhodes

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jan 04, 2019 @ 05:02 PM

 

RhodesHogan

Dr. William "Tony" Rhodes and Margaret Hogan have been longtime supporters of HAC, understanding the importance a home can have on one's health.  

Though he was never homeless, there was a time during Dr. William “Tony” Rhodes’ childhood when he experienced what it meant to be poor.

“I lived in pretty low-income housing because my parents had gotten divorced,” he said. “It was just survival and there wasn’t any money for anything frivolous. You were lucky to get a new shirt or something like that every once in a while. It gave me an appreciation that you can have the best world and all of the sudden” it can change.

That lesson has stayed with Dr. Rhodes, who has lived in Brewster with his wife Margaret Hogan for nearly 33 years. Because of his experiences as a child, the couple have supported HAC’s work for nearly a decade.

The pair were introduced to the agency through Dr. Rhodes’ practice, Brewster Medical Associates, which served some patients who happened to be clients of HAC.

Though the pair are now retired – Margaret worked as a nurse with her husband before assuming the role of a full-time grandmother – they are still committed to helping those in need as HAC donors.

“I’ve been very fortunate to be successful in my life and I think we owe society a debt to help folks who can’t help themselves or just to help folks who are not as fortunate,” Dr. Rhodes said.

Margaret agreed, saying there is a reward one gets from giving to agencies like HAC which are focused on making an impact at the local level. “When you do something like get involved with your agency, you feel like you’re benefitting people you might know,” she said.

For Dr. Rhodes, who served as a police officer before he pursued a career in medicine, there was a parallel between his work and the services HAC provides – it is all about helping others. “You were dealing with people,” he said. “The skills I learned as a police officer in seeing problems, as a doctor now I could do things about those problems… I put 32 years into doing that, but it was worth every minute.”

Why We Give: Margaret Hogan and Tony Rhodes

With their medical backgrounds, Dr. William “Tony” Rhodes and Margaret Hogan know the importance housing has on one’s health and well-being.

“What helps is stabilizing someone’s living situation so they have an incentive to take care of themselves,” said Dr. Rhodes. “That is where Housing Assistance Corporation comes in. It doesn’t have to be all people who are homeless. It can be people who get depressed or anxious or whatever. Because their situation is out of control, I think what HAC does is stabilize their environment so at least they can get their hands on the edge of the pool.”

With programs that include operating four family shelters, preventing families and individuals from becoming homeless, conducting energy audits on low-income households to reduce their utility costs, and conducting workshops to enable first-time homebuyers to purchase a home on Cape Cod, HAC supports those of all income levels in our region.

When asked which of these programs is most vital to the region, Dr. Rhodes said, “there is a role for everything you do… from people who are homeless to families trying to get into housing at a lower rent, these are all things that are so important.”

Tags: charitable giving, HAC donors, Donor Spotlight, Brewster, giving back, health care, Tony Rhodes, Margaret Hogan, Brewster Medical Associates

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