Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Cape Housing Institute: The Speakers

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 @ 03:57 PM

Since the middle of last month, 140 elected and appointed officials, municipal employees, and members of town boards, committees, and commissions on Cape Cod have come together to learn about ways they can begin to address the affordable housing needs in their communities. 

It’s all part of the Cape Housing Institute, a joint initiative between HAC and Community Development Partnership (CDP). During the six-week session, experts in the field of housing, zoning, design, and planning are sharing their insights to assist municipal leaders as they tackle this issue.

Below are thoughts that two of those presenters - Heather Harper of the Cape Cod Commission and Jennifer Goldson of JM Goldson community preservation + planning - shared about the inaugural institute. Click here to read about what two participants think about the Cape Housing Institute and affordable housing on Cape Cod. 

Next year, HAC and CDP will be bringing back the Cape Housing Institute while also giving the general public an opportunity to lend their support to the region's housing efforts through Advocacy Training. Click here to learn more and to keep updated on these upcoming housing workshops. 

Heather Harper.jpg

Heather Harper
Cape Cod Commission Affodable Housing Specialist
 

Topic: Cape Cod Commission Regional Housing Market Analysis

Why the Cape Housing Institute is Necessary: I think it’s important to talk about how we meet some of our social and demographic goals as a region, and to think about how our decisions as individual communities may be effective and not effective as they relate to the overall regional plan.

Why Affordable Housing is an Important Issue: If we don’t provide housing to meet the needs of the services of the region, we might not meet our full economic potential.

Jennifer Goldson.jpgJennifer Goldson
Founder, JM Goldson community preservation + planning

Topic: Housing Production Plans

Why the Cape Housing Institute is Necessary: Affordable housing issues and needs are one of the least understood areas of community planning, and the Cape truly has a unique market.

Why Affordable Housing is an Important Issue: Having quality homes for all incomes on the Cape is inseparably linked to the health, vitality, and long-term sustainability of the Cape’s local and regional economy.

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Cape Cod, Affordable Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Housing Development, Cape Housing Institute, Community Development Partnership, Cape Community Housing Partnership, Cape Cod Commission, Jennifer Goldson, Heather Harper

HAC Report: Treatment Limited for Region's Homeless Addicts

Posted by Noah Hoffenberg on Fri, Apr 22, 2016 @ 11:32 AM

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Substance abuse treatment that serves homeless Cape and Islands residents is lacking, leaving the fringe demographic at risk and perpetuating the cycle of homelessness, addiction and societal expense, according to a new white paper written by Noah Hoffenberg, HAC’s director of housing information.

In “Closer to Home: Substance Abuse Treatment Options for the Homeless on the Cape and Islands,” the report finds that treatment in the region is limited; most sites are far away; and that wait times for a treatment bed can drag into months. While these difficulties pose problems for Cape Codders at all income levels, the danger for homeless people is magnified, as they have no housing, few resources and little in the way of support systems once they emerge from treatment. Relapse and treatment rates for the homeless are high, but can be mitigated by stable housing during and after treatment, studies cited in the report show.

Almost universally, experts cited in the HAC report decry the state’s lack of treatment beds. Daily occupancy for Massachusetts’ 868 detox beds hovers between 91 and 100 percent. Waits for detox average three to five days, and only 17 percent of the people emerging from detox can get a bed at a rehab facility because of lack of space. For people seeking long-term residential treatment, waits along coastal Massachusetts are close to a month. And for those seeking specialized treatment, such as the homeless, waits can be as long as 10 weeks.

The Cape and islands do have substance abuse infrastructure, but like the rest of the state, demand is greater than the supply; on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, the vacuum is even more acute. The region has one detox and one rehab facility, as well as two long-term recovery homes, but only 60 percent of substance abuse clients from the Cape and islands can be served here because of limits on capacity. Since the numbers of Cape Codders and Islanders with substance abuse disorders could easily fill all Cape treatment beds, it means that people seeking treatment – homeless and otherwise – must leave the region to receive services. Meanwhile, studies show – and Gosnold CEO Raymond Tamasi agrees – that treatment closer to home is far more effective than treatment afar.

The costs of the existing Cape system are high; one study pegged the cost of treatment and recovery at about $51,457,000 in 2013; related costs for law enforcement and corrections came to $56,900,000. Cape Cod Hospital alone, for example, reports that there’s been a 78 percent increase in Emergency Center (EC) staff hours to deal with behavioral health and substance abuse cases between 2011 and 2015. The hospital now deals with an average of 10.5 of these patients every 24 hours, with an average stay just shy of a day. By comparison, most other serious EC patients – such as cardiac cases – leave for the next level of care in less than six hours; the hours spent by the homeless in the EC is reflective of the absence of places to send them for treatment.

Treatment programs that include housing have been shown to be more effective, and even more so for programs that include an array of on-site services. Studies show that with Housing First efforts in place, homelessness, and hospital and justice system costs drop dramatically.

The HAC report compiles local, state and national data from governmental and independent studies, and takes a close look at what treatment options are available here, as well as effective examples elsewhere. 

To read the report, click here. For more information on the report and its findings, email Housing Information Director Noah Hoffenberg at nhoffenberg@haconcapecod.org.

Tags: homelessness, Cape Cod, substance abuse, white papers, housing research, Housing Information Department

Addressing Homelessness Through Housing First

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Mar 04, 2016 @ 01:04 PM
Ann_Marie_1.jpgHAC's Ann Marie Peters oversees the agency's Housing First efforts. 

When it comes to helping the homeless, providing shelter is not the only answer.

For the past decade, HAC has used the Housing First model as a way to support chronically homeless adults. Ann Marie Peters, HAC’s client services manager, oversees the program which rapidly houses those who would otherwise be on the streets.

“The whole premise of the program is to take people from the streets or shelter and get them into stable affordable housing. There are no hoops for them to jump through,” Peters said. “You’re giving them housing and then providing the supportive services they need to maintain it.”

Funding comes from two sources. The Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance funds what is known as the Home & Healthy For Good program while the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds the Cape Homes program.

Combined, the two funding sources have allowed HAC to provide housing for roughly 50 chronically homeless men and women at any one time in units that are located across the Cape, extending to Wareham. Some are housed in studios, others in one-bedroom apartments and others in single-room occupancy units in shared housing.

Most people do better in their own space, Peters said, while others need the structure provided by congregate housing. “There is no one perfect fit,” she said. “We do the best we can to put people in a program that meets their individual needs.”

Tenants are required to pay a portion of their income towards their monthly rent while the remainder is paid by a state and federal subsidy through HAC. That can change if something catastrophic happens – someone loses their job, for instance – at which point the subsidy would pay their full rent until the person is able to find employment.

The success of the program is judged on several factors, but primarily on whether the individual maintains their housing. “Most of the people that are in Cape Homes, in particular, have been there for five plus years,” Peters said. “So they’ve really been stable.”

The outcomes bear that out. Less than 10% of the individuals served through Cape Homes and Home & Healthy for Good over the last nine years recidivated back to homelessness after obtaining permanent housing.

These are encouraging results, particularly because Peters is working with the chronically homeless. “You’re talking about people in camps, people who have been kicked out of NOAH and those who have been homeless multiple times,” she said. “We’re not talking about an easy population to work with so the fact they are able to maintain their housing is incredible.”

When the model came to Cape Cod in 2006, Peters was unsure whether it would be successful. After witnessing positive results in the first few years, she became a firm believer in the approach.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle she has faced is finding property owners willing to rent their homes out to those who are homeless. “The housing inventory is extremely tight right now,” she said. “Last year we had a really difficult year getting people placed.”

But once they are placed, Peters said people can start to rebuild their life in relative anonymity; that is something that can be difficult for those in the shelter system which is largely in the public’s eye. “These places have less of a footprint in the community than a big facility does,” she said.

Ultimately, Peters said, the aim with every homeless person is for them to one day live independently and become a part of the community. Her programs do that immediately, giving the homeless housing so they can begin to concentrate on their other needs with the help of supportive services.

With the positive strides that have already been made through the Cape Homes and Home & Healthy For Good programs, Peters hopes they will only expand to continue addressing the region’s homeless problems. “It is extremely difficult to address whatever issue you have, whether it is substance abuse, loss of a job or some type of trauma, it is really difficult to get back on track if you don’t have a permanent place to live,” Peters said.

Tags: homelessness, Cape Cod, Housing First

Melpet Farm Project Allows Residents to Stay on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Nov 11, 2015 @ 11:54 AM
Vietnam veteran Daniel Paulsen in front of one of the apartment units at Melpet Farm.

The real impact of developing affordable housing on Cape Cod can be witnessed in the people that it helps. They are not unlike Vietnam veteran Daniel Paulsen who will soon move into one of 27 new affordable apartments at The Residences at Melpet Farm which HAC is building on Route 134 in Dennis with Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH).

While Paulsen, a native of Connecticut who moved here 11 years ago, always dreamed of living on Cape Cod, he acknowledged the region’s housing challenges are great. “You can’t find anything,” he said, particularly for someone like him who lives on a fixed income.

Paulsen’s arrival to the Cape was initially filled with promise. He started a painting business that was steadily growing until America’s financial crisis hit home in 2008. “I lost everything and moved back to Connecticut,” he said.

Still there was something pulling him back to this part of New England – his friends affectionately refer to him as “Cape Cod Dan” – so he decided to return. 

He admitted it has not been easy, but his fortune changed earlier this year when he filled out an application for an apartment at Melpet Farm. The development is intended for those earning 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) in Barnstable County or $36,780 for one person; $42,000 for two people; and $47,280 for three people.

Though he submitted an application, he said, “I didn’t think I even had a chance” which is why he never attended the housing lottery in July when Paulsen’s name was the first to be pulled. Paulsen said he was shocked when he first heard the news. Since then his excitement has only grown. “Seeing it in person is really amazing,” he said. “These are just gorgeous. It is unbelievable.”

At a ribbon cutting ceremony last month celebrating the near-completion of Melpet Farm, HAC CEO Rick Presbrey said the satisfaction he derives from these types of projects is that they ultimately help those like Paulsen. “What I get thrilled at is the principle of getting people a decent place to live,” he said.

Consisting of eight residential buildings along with a community building, The Residences at Melpet Farm are designed to use half as much energy as a typical development. Solar panels will soon be placed on Melpet Farm, making it a net zero project “which means the project will produce nearly as much energy as it uses so that is quite a feat for an affordable housing development,” said Aaron Gornstein, president of POAH.

“But the real point of all of this is of course the residents who are going to be living here and the affordable housing that’s being provided,” added Gornstein, as he introduced Paulsen to the audience. “We can’t wait for you to move in.” “I can’t wait,” Paulsen replied.

Congressman William Keating said Cape Cod needs developments like this for its economy to thrive and to support its year-round workforce.

As he toured one of the completed units, Dennis Planning Board Chair Bob Mezzadri spoke about the importance of Melpet Farm to his community. “You can’t put a price tag on this,” he said. “There is a real need for affordable housing in all communities in Massachusetts, but it’s especially important to the Cape and the town of Dennis.”

Affordable housing projects like this, he said, can be used to keep the region’s workforce and younger population from moving off-Cape. “We have to do more of these,” he said.

Tags: Cape Cod, Melpet Farm

Homelessness on Cape Cod: One Family's Story

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 @ 10:11 AM

DSC 8630 resized 600

There are many ways to celebrate a birthday, but living at a campground with three children is probably not the way 30-year-old Amanda* envisioned the transition to 31 would occur.

But just a few weeks before her 31st birthday, that is exactly where she found herself – homeless, living in a tent with four sleeping bags, one each for her and her children Joseph, 9, Connor, 6, and Beth, 3.

With no vehicle, the family spent the better part of May, June and July relying on the kindness of strangers and the support of HAC to receive the essentials they needed – food and clothing – to survive the outdoors. During one significant storm, HAC was able to temporarily transition them into a local motel for two nights before they returned to the campground.

While many situations involving the Cape’s homeless population handled by HAC are difficult, family housing services department administrative assistant Monica Mitchell was particularly struck by the troubling nature of this one. “This was an extreme situation where they didn’t have anything except the clothes on their back,” Mitchell said.

“It’s been a struggle,” Amanda admitted, sitting on one of five folding chairs situated around a fire pit on a warm, sunny day during the second week of June.

About 20 feet away, on a picnic table covered with a plastic tablecloth sat much of the family’s belongings. There was a plastic bin full of small toys – dinosaurs, rubber balls, action figures and children’s books, all donated by strangers – to keep her kids entertained.

A small cooler was used to keep perishables cold with more important food kept inside the tent so that animals, like the raccoon that visited the night before, would not take what little they had. Food was cooked on either a small portable propane stove or over the fire pit.

“I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible,” Amanda said, when asked what she makes. That meant lots of hot dogs, fresh fruit, vegetables and granola bars.

Trips to the nearby restrooms or showers required bringing the entire family to ensure everyone was safe.

For adventurers seeking a weekend getaway, there is a romantic notion to living like this. But when it is about survival, it is a much different story.

There is a sadness to their situation which Amanda never acknowledged. Her focus, since becoming homeless in April when she left her husband and their religious community, was protecting her children in hopes they will soon have a better, more stable life.

DSC 8625 resized 600

To that end, HAC staff, along with TEAM M25, have provided the family with everything they need until they are eventually placed into an affordable apartment using HomeBase funds from the state that are intended for extreme cases like this.

These are the small steps called progress, better than having to call a tent your home.

Being homeless is difficult enough and has only been compounded for this family by several factors: according to HAC staff, Amanda appeared to have been mentally abused; they had no belongings; and the children, due to their religion, had never been vaccinated.

Through it all, Amanda has maintained a positive, upbeat attitude, displaying a courage that has impressed Mitchell who has been in contact with her on an almost daily basis this summer. “She has given me an unbelievable amount of strength watching her,” Mitchell said. “She is always calm, always focused. She knows this is a tiny blip and that this too shall pass.”

And it will when the family eventually moves into a three-bedroom apartment on Cape Cod, representing a stability that Amanda and her three children have been seeking for months. “Most of our lives, our whole family has been cramped into one room,” Amanda said. “This will feel like we’ve won the lottery, living in a three-bedroom house.”

She makes the statement as her oldest son, puts the finishing touches on homemade sassafras tea, and her other son rollerblades around the camp site. Her daughter, meanwhile, is taking a nap in the tent that provided them with safety for several weeks in the late spring and summer of 2015 when they had nowhere else to go.

They look as normal as you or I, only they are homeless.

*NOTE: The names of the client in this story have been changed. 

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Tags: Homeless, HomeBASE, homelessness, Cape Cod, TEAM M25

HAC Aims to Find Best Stuffed Quahog on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 @ 04:46 PM
DSC 1113 resized 600HAC's Deanna Bussiere chats with illustrator John Sullivan who created the logo for The Cape Cod Quahog Challenge. 

When it comes to food, perhaps no dish is as synonymous with Cape Cod as the stuffed quahog.

And that appetizer will be the centerpiece of a summer showdown in Hyannis, The Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, to help raise funds for HAC’s housing programs.

Scheduled for Sunday, August 2, from 1 to 4 pm, at Trader Ed’s, the challenge is intended to be a fun-filled day, complete with live music from Four Guys Cape Cod, that epitomizes what summer is all about.

To add some color to the event, HAC tapped local illustrator John Sullivan to create the logo featuring Cape Cod’s unofficial mascot Doug the Quahog.

The former teacher and head of the drama club at Barnstable High School, Sullivan has long had a passion for art. “When I was a small child, I would always be drawing,” he said.

That passion led him to Massachusetts College of Art and Design where he received his bachelor’s degree in illustration and filmmaking. After graduating from there in 1974, he returned to Mass Art to get his master’s in education, later parlaying that degree to his 34 years of teaching at Barnstable.

DSC 1117 resized 600

During his time there, his drama club students actively took part in HAC’s Cape Walk to End Homelessness, an event no longer held, so Sullivan is quite familiar with the agency’s work. “I can’t think of a more worthy organization on Cape Cod right now because family is home and home is family,” he said. “If you don’t have a home, you can’t keep your family together.”

Because he identifies with the mission of HAC, Sullivan was more than eager to accept HAC’s invitation to lend his talents to the quahog challenge. And it was more than a fitting assignment for Sullivan who, along with former student Andrew Rapo, has created the Boston/New England Emmy-nominated children’s show, "Quahog Corner." 

Sullivan also crafted the lobster mascot for Cape Country (103.9) which is owned by Cape Cod Broadcasting, the media sponsor for the quahog challenge.

Though officially retired, Sullivan enjoys these types of assignments that let him express his creativity. “It just makes me smile when I’m drawing,” he said. 

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Tags: housing, Julie Wake, homelessness, Cape Cod Broadcasting, Cape Cod, Quahog, Quahog Challenge

Spring Welcome Home Gift Basket Drive

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 @ 09:20 AM

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Each quarter HAC teams up with a local business and holds a drive for basic home goods for clients making the transition from shelter to permanent housing.

Currently, the folks at Sullivan & Sullivan Auctioneers of Sandwich, will be collecting a variety of new household items (towels, silverware, canned goods, paper goods, blankets, cleaning supplies, toiletries, gift cards, hats, gloves, winter coats) that will be placed into Welcome Home Gift Baskets for our clients. The drive runs from March through Friday, April 3.

Those wanting to take part in the gift basket drive and give our clients a fresh start in their new homes can do so by bringing donations to: 

Sullivan & Sullivan Auctioneers, LLC
148 Route 6A
Sandwich, MA 02563
Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm

In December, The Young Professionals Network, a subcommittee of the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors, organized the inaugural drive as a way to show our shelter clients how much the community cares and wants them to succeed once they transition out of shelter. 

To learn how your organization can get involved or for additional information contact Julie Wake at 508-771-5400 or jwake@HAConCapeCod.org

Tags: HAC, Cape Cod, Welcome Home Gift Basket Drive, CHAPA Regional Meeting Cape Cod, volunteerism, volunteering

The Joy of Becoming a Homeowner on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 @ 10:08 AM
Durante Family Photo resized 600Scott and Lynn Durante with their children Hailey (from left), Anthony, Charlotte, Elizabeth and Jeweleann in their Cotuit home.

How does one celebrate becoming a first-time homeowner?

After he and his wife closed on their new home in Cotuit - but before they moved in at the end of October - Scott Durante did so by sitting quietly on the front steps of that house, thinking about how his life was about to soon change for the better. “It was an amazing feeling to know a lot of our hard work was actually paying off,” he said.

A little more than a month later, as the holiday season began, Scott went shopping for a Christmas tree to put in that home. Of course, he purchased the biggest one he could find for his living room. “It was too dang big for the room,” he laughed. “But it was my first year as a homeowner so I decided we’ll have a huge tree. It was great, especially having them [our kids] wake up and be in their own home on Christmas. My oldest daughter is almost 16 and never had a home of her own until now.”

Until a few months ago, Scott, his wife Lynn and their five children Elizabeth, 15; Jeweleann, 13; Hailey, 11; Anthony, 7; and Charlotte, 2, had only rented homes in Centerville, never knowing the satisfaction and pride that comes with being a homeowner.

That changed two years ago when the Durantes were informed by their landlord that he was intending to sell their rental.

So the couple visited Gael Kelleher, HAC’s director of real estate, asking her for guidance. Kelleher suggested they may qualify for a USDA loan which helps low-income families become homeowners.

Since then Scott and Lynn took the requisite classes through HAC’s Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) to help rebuild their credit and prepare them for becoming first-time homebuyers.

“The thing that’s so good with them is they followed all the rules,” said Kelleher. “They took the class. They fixed their credit. They did everything a first-time homebuyer should do.”

HAC Provided Much-Needed Help

Scott, who works full-time as a tow truck driver, had similar praise for the work HAC did in helping his family which has gone through some difficult times over the years.

In 2007, the Durantes had to move out of their home and into his mother’s house in West Barnstable after he lost his job. “HAC has been great,” Scott said. “When we were down and out a couple of times, my wife called you. At one point we were referred to a shelter, but we didn’t take it.”

The family’s problems did not end there. Five years ago, he and his wife noticed their son was having physical difficulties – eye fluttering, pausing when he walked – so they took him to a neurologist. Anthony underwent an MRI, discovering that he had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in his brain, requiring surgery.

“It was very scary being told your son is going to have brain surgery to save his life,” Scott said.

Today, Anthony is a healthy vibrant boy though he requires therapy to address his physical and sensory needs. “He is very smart, but you have to kind of keep him engaged,” Scott said. To that end, the Durante’s home in Cotuit has been a blessing. A room with a hot tub has since been transformed into a recreational space for Anthony.

“It was good to get our own home so we could build a room for his needs,” Scott said.

The house, a small saltbox with three bedrooms, a finished basement and a wooded lot, has also been a much-needed gift for the entire family which includes pugs Bella and Brutus. Thanks to the home, the Durantes have been able to save more than $400 a month in their mortgage compared to what they paid in rent.

Perhaps the best part for the Durantes is the freedom they have since gained. “You don’t have to call the landlord and ask him what color paint is acceptable or if you can put up a shelf,” Scott said. “You don’t have to ask the landlord to replace the stove or refrigerator. We have the freedom to do whatever we want, to a point, and don’t have to answer to anybody else.”

 

Help Other HAC Clients  Become First-Time Homebuyers

Tags: Cape Cod, Scott Durante, homeowner, Housing on Cape Cod, Gael Kelleher

11th Annual Shelter Cape Cod Telethon a Success

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Jan 26, 2015 @ 03:07 PM
DSC 1196 resized 600WCAI's Sean Corcoran sings "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" with several students from the Nathaniel H. Wixon Innovation School.

During the first hour of the 11th Annual Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, State Representative Timothy Madden made his way onto the festively decorated set at the Cape Cod Community Media Center and spoke with hosts Mindy Todd and Sarah Colvin about the homeless situation on Cape Cod.

“This is our community and people have to step up now and contribute,” he said. “We can’t continue to live in a place like Cape Cod and have people who are homeless.”

The sad reality is that there are homeless people on Cape Cod and the telethon raises funds that go directly to HAC’s four shelters which serve that vulnerable population. In December more than $90,000 was raised during the five-hour live event to help support the programs and services at the NOAH Shelter in Hyannis, Angel House in Hyannis, Carriage House in North Falmouth and The Village at Cataumet in Bourne.

That money ranged from small $10 and $15 donations from individuals to large ones like a $5,000 check from Heroes in Transition that the Mashpee nonprofit’s co-founders, Cynthia and Kenneth Jones, and one of its directors, Roberta Cannon, presented to HAC on air.

Each donation represented one small step towards giving HAC clients a better life through programs intended to not only provide them with the basic essentials – food and housing – but the tools and confidence to become self-sufficient. Paul Melville, a consultant who runs a parenting group for fathers living at The Village at Cataumet, spoke about his experience working with clients and the benefits his program has brought to them. “They talk about parenting tips and their successes and we talk about their hopes and dreams,” Melville said.

And while he has never been homeless, he said, he has lived in subsidized housing, allowing him a chance to relate to what the parents he works with at the shelter are going through. “I remember thinking [when I was in subsidized housing] this isn’t where or how I wanted to raise my children,” Melville said. “I get them to open up and to realize this isn’t long term.”

If anything, the telethon was an indication of the help, and hope, that the community provides to HAC’s clients. This year’s event saw over 75 sponsors, ranging from Comcast to Clancy’s Tavern in Dennis Port to Hyannis Toyota to Cape Associates in Yarmouth Port to Falmouth Lumber, as well as roughly 170 volunteers that called friends and family throughout the evening asking them to donate to the telethon.

DSC 0920 resized 600Volunteers from Shepley Wood Products were in the holiday spirit.

A team of phone volunteers from Shepley Wood Products was adorned in Santa hats while a group from the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Cape Cod wore pink construction hats.

Among those providing entertainment during the evening were several HAC staffers, including Alison Reid who sang a live rendition of the Jackson Five’s “Give Love on Christmas Day” as well as Greg and Karin Bar and Derick Bussiere who performed a pre-taped acoustic version of James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend.”

WCAI’s Sean Corcoran, who served as a co-host during the evening, led several children from the Nathaniel H. Wixon Innovation School in a sing-a-long of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” while David Kuehn, executive director of the Cotuit Center for the Arts, was joined by actress Hannah Carrita in performing a Christmas-themed medley.

DSC 0770 resized 600State Representative Timothy Madden (right) talks about homelessness on Cape Cod with telethon co-hosts Mindy Todd (left) and Sarah Colvin.

Underlying the performances was the theme of action, one that several speakers touched upon throughout the night. “We’ve got to do better and we will do better,” Madden said. 

“Homelessness is a national disgrace,” said David Augustinho, chair of HAC’s executive board. “Everybody needs to solve this problem together.”

It is a problem that not only HAC is working to solve, but those in the community. Dr. Nate Rudman, an emergency room physician at Cape Cod Hospital, noted that he sees homeless men and women spend anywhere from 140 to 170 hours in the ER because they have nowhere else to go.

“There are so many people in need,” Hyannis Fire Chief Harold Brunelle said. “I think so many people are just one paycheck away from being homeless and we already have a big homeless population on the Cape.”

Thank you so much to all our sponsors (click here for the full list) who helped make this telethon our best yet!

Even though the telethon is over, you can still help support HAC's shelter program. Click the button below to do so today!

Support HAC's Homeless Shelters

Tags: Homeless, Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, Cape Cod, NOAH Shelter, Village at Cataumet, Carriage House, Angel House, shelter