Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

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

Annual Meeting Celebrates Rick Presbrey's Legacy

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Apr 06, 2017 @ 04:15 PM
2017 Annual Meeting-44-1.jpgHAC founder Rick Presbrey with new HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi. During her speech at HAC's Annual Meeting, Galazzi acknowledged Presbrey's efforts, saying, "None of us would be here if it weren't for you." 

Housing is the foundation upon which all of our endeavors stem from. “Home is where we make our dreams come true,” new HAC Board Chair Mark Forest said. “Home is where we launch our lives. And it is the mission of HAC.”

That mission and the man behind it – HAC founder Rick Presbrey, who retired at the end of January – were celebrated at the agency’s 43rd Annual Meeting & Volunteer Recognition held last month at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis.

Forest, who succeeds outgoing Chair David Augustinho, was one of several to recognize Presbrey’s contributions at HAC’s Annual Meeting. He relayed one story from the early 1980s when a group of people approached Presbrey wanting to create a nonprofit that eventually became the Community Development Partnership in Eastham.

“Rick’s response was, ‘Good idea. How can I help?’” Forest said. “If you went to Rick over the years that is what he would say, ‘Good idea. How can I help?’ For every one of his [accomplishments] we touch or reflect on tonight, there are dozens of others that people don’t even know about.”

New HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi spoke about the importance of her predecessor’s work as it relates to the agency’s services. “We all know that housing is where everything starts,” she said. “Nothing can be accomplished without having a safe, affordable house.”

Presbrey, who started HAC in 1974, said his was a career that was focused on helping people. “We never said no to a need ever,” he said. “We helped as many people as we could. The number now is over 160,000 people. Every one of those that we helped is incredibly important.”

Annual Meeting-10.jpgIn his speech, HAC founder Rick Presbrey (center) acknowledged longtime HAC staffers Michael Sweeney and Nancy Davison who both retired in the past year. 

That work continues under Galazzi’s leadership and guidance. During the night, she called on the community’s support, stressing that “it is going to take all of us” to address Cape Cod’s housing issues.

Among those heeding that call are businesses and organizations like the Cape and Islands United Way, Emerald Physicians and Cape Save which were all honored at HAC’s Annual Meeting.

“The incredible amount of work that goes on through the employees of HAC and its programs is an essential prescription for the health of our community,” said Dr. Kumara Sidhartha, who accepted this year’s Volunteer of the Year Award on behalf of Emerald Physicians.

Barbara Milligan, president of the United Way which was the recipient of the Human Services Partner Award, eagerly accepted Galazzi’s challenge. “Let’s get this problem solved,” she said. “Let’s work on it together.”

HAC also honored Michael Princi, who has served as the agency’s lawyer for 40 years and organized a holiday gift basket party for children in shelter for the past 25 years, as well as longtime board member Edgar Mangiafico, who was the recipient of this year’s Presbrey Public Service Award.

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Cape Save was the recipient of the Business Partner of the Year Award. The Yarmouth-based company insulates low-income homes for HAC's Energy and Repair Department. 

Tags: HAC Annual Meeting, HAC Volunteer Recognition, HAC Energy, Michael Princi, Rick Presbrey, HAC Volunteers, Alisa Galazzi, Ed Mangiafico, Cape and Islands United Way, Cape Save, Emerald Physicians

Annual Meeting Recognizes Those Making an Impact on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Feb 03, 2017 @ 12:07 PM
Rick Retirement-3.jpgThis year's Annual Meeting will be a celebration of Outgoing CEO Rick Presbrey's legacy. Presbrey, who founded the agency in 1974, is retiring this year. Incoming CEO Alisa Galazzi, who started in January, is replacing him. 

HAC’s 43rd Annual Meeting & Volunteer Recognition in March will be a seminal one, representing a changing of the guard as we celebrate Outgoing CEO Rick Presbrey and welcome Incoming CEO Alisa Galazzi. Presbrey is retiring after 43 years with the agency; in 1974 he founded HAC to oversee the state’s rental voucher program on Cape Cod.

The meeting, which will be held on Thursday, March 23, from 5 to 7:30 pm at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa, will also recognize individuals and organizations that are working to make a positive impact in the community.

The event is also a way to thank the more than 750 volunteers who support HAC in its mission of ensuring all on Cape Cod have access to safe, secure housing. One of those volunteer groups, Emerald Physicians, will be the recipient of HAC’s Volunteer of the Year Award.

The medical group has served as phone fundraisers, filling more than a dozen seats for a half hour at HAC’s Shelter Cape Cod Telethon for the past eight years. “They have been so extraordinary every year,” said HAC Volunteer Coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin, who noted that Emerald Physicians and HAC often serve the same clientele. “I feel so blessed we work together in helping those in need on Cape Cod.”

The Cape and Islands United Way has been chosen for HAC’s Human Services Partner Award. Since 2005, the nonprofit has provided HAC with more than $243,000 in funding that has gone to support the Angel House shelter in Hyannis, homelessness prevention for families and individuals and homeless efforts on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. “Providing housing stability and affordable housing for our residents is a priority for our organization,” said Barbara Milligan, the CEO of the Cape and Islands United Way. “We’re honored to have been able to partner with and support the outstanding work that HAC has done for many years.”

The Business Partner Award is going to Cape Save of South Yarmouth, which has been insulating low-income single-family and multi-family homes for HAC’s Energy and Repair Department for more than a decade. “They definitely deserve it,” said Al DiMuzio, interim director of the energy department. “They have a mindset much like HAC.”

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The final honoree is longtime HAC board member and former board chair Edgar Mangiafico (pictured above) of Chatham, who is the recipient of this year’s Presbrey Public Service Award. 

HAC’s Annual Meeting & Volunteer Recognition
March 23 ~ 5 to 7:30 PM

Cape Codder Resort & Spa,
1225 Rte. 132 Hyannis

Tags: HAC Annual Meeting, Rick Presbrey, HAC Volunteers, Alisa Galazzi, Ed Mangiafico, Cape and Islands United Way, Cape Save, Emerald Physicians