Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Enhanced Cape Housing Advocacy Training Set to Kick Off in February

Posted by Shawna Moos on Tue, Jan 15, 2019 @ 02:37 PM

Housing Advocacy3-7

Yarmouth Selectman Mark Forest talks about how residents can make a difference in their communities during last year's Cape Housing Advocacy Training in Hyannis. 

Next month, Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC) and Community Development Partnership (CDP) will launch the second iteration of the Cape Housing Advocacy Training, a collaborative effort between the two nonprofits to provide people throughout the region with the tools to support affordable housing in their communities. 

It is becoming increasingly well-known that there is shortage of 4,500 units of housing that is driving many working families and lower-income households, as well as the businesses and customers that rely on them, into crisis.

“More and more people on Cape Cod are understanding that to preserve our communities, we need to ensure that there is enough diverse types of housing to support our workforce, young professionals, and seniors who want to downsize. To meet this housing need, towns have to change their housing planning and policies. This workshop gives people the information and practice they need so that their message will be heard by decision makers in our region," Housing Assistance CEO Alisa Galazzi said.

Cape  Housing Advocacy-4

Stefanie Coxe talks to attendees at last year's Cape Housing Advocacy Training session in Falmouth. Stefanie is the principal of Nexus Werx LLC which provides Learn to Lobby trainings in Massachusetts. 

CDP and HAC will each host trainings in different areas of the Cape. The workshops are free and are geared toward anyone who wants to learn more about the housing crisis on Cape Cod and the Islands, and how they can make a difference.

Participants must pre-register and can do so by clicking this link

The workshop dates, times and locations are as follows:

  • Saturday, February 2, 9 am–2 pm, Wellfleet Preservation Hall at 335 Main Street, Wellfleet 
  • Saturday, February 23, 9 am–2 pm, Harwich Community Center at 100 Oak Street, Harwich
  • Snow Date for Lower and Outer Cape: Saturday, March 2, 9 am–2 pm, Harwich Community Center
  • Saturday, March 2, 1–4 pm, Yarmouth Council on Aging at 528 Forest Road, West Yarmouth
  • Monday, March 4, 5:30–8:30 pm, Mashpee Town Hall at 16 Great Neck Road, Mashpee
  • Thursday, March 14, 5:30–8:30 pm, Barnstable Town Hall at 367 Main Street, Hyannis
  • Snow Date for Upper and Mid-Cape on Saturday, March 23, 1-4 pm, Housing Assistance Corporation at 460 West Main Street, Hyannis

These workshops are designed to provide an overview of the housing crisis and how individual residents can make impact with an emphasis on practicing their advocacy skills with each other in a variety of simulated official and social settings. Attendees will learn:

  • Basics of the housing crisis
  • How public housing decisions are made
  • Opportunities to engage
  • Common arguments against housing (NIMBY: Not In My Backyard!)
  • Counter arguments to support housing (YIMBY: Yes in My Backyard!) 
  • Framing your message
  • Speaking with confidence

Participants on the Upper Cape and Mid-Cape are encouraged to register for the free trainings online at www.capehousinginstitute.org. Those on the Lower Cape and Outer Cape can do so by clicking this link

The Housing Advocacy workshops are generously supported by funding from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

Tags: Community Development Partnership, Cape Community Housing Partnership, Advocacy Training, Cape Housing Advocacy Training, housing crisis, housing advocacy, YIMBY, NIMBY

Editorial: Celebrating 45 Years Building Strong Communities Together

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Mon, Jan 14, 2019 @ 12:09 PM

 

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It is only with the sustained support of a vast network of donors, volunteers, towns, partner agencies, and of course, our dedicated staff, that Housing Assistance has reached more than 170,000 people on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket facing a housing crisis. Thank you for your support!

In 1974, Rick Presbrey founded Housing Assistance, operating the fledgling nonprofit out of a cramped West Yarmouth garage converted into an office. The agency had just one program, overseeing the state’s Chapter 707 Rental Assistance to provide affordable apartments to our region’s workforce, seniors and disabled residents.

Over 43 years of service, Presbrey, the organization, and our network of supporters developed myriad programs to help homeless, low-income and middle-income families achieve a stable housing foundation. When Presbrey retired in 2017, I was grateful for the opportunity to carry on this legacy of building strong communities through housing.

Home is where we make our dreams come true. Home is where we launch our lives. And it is the mission of Housing Assistance. I couldn’t agree more.

This year, I’m asking all of you to join us in ensuring that all our neighbors have the opportunity to have a home. Today, more than ever, our region faces a critical housing shortage. Recent surveys have shown that we need at least 4,500 more small units to house our service workforce, our young professionals, and seniors wishing to downsize.

How You Can Help

It is going to take all of us, acting in many different capacities, to ensure that we are building a solid foundation of housing that can sustain our community into the future. We invite you to join us as we look toward the future and explore new ways we can support housing development that supports our people, respects our environment, and fits within our regional culture. At Housing Assistance, we are committed to expanding our impact on the region, though some exciting new initiatives:

We will train more citizens to advocate for housing solutions that work for their town. This means not just building more affordable housing developments, but also making sure our communities have appropriate housing for their local workforce, young professionals and seniors.

With citizen involvement, we can help towns update zoning laws to allow for more dense, walkable village centers and accessory dwelling units, like apartments in an existing home’s basement or over a garage. Ensuring the availability of appropriate, affordable housing for everyone in our community is the way we can build a strong foundation for our future.

We will develop more innovative partnerships. Through cooperation with other agencies such as job training providers and healthcare organizations, we can make donor dollars go further and increase the benefit we deliver to our most vulnerable neighbors.

And of course we will continue our core programs to help our neighbors in need:

  • We will build more housing for our workforce and the elderly.
  • We will shelter families living on the streets, in the woods, or in their cars.
  • We will educate people to take control of their financial goals and well-being.

Our region is changing, and the housing crisis could be the issue that prevents our region from prospering. Or if we all become part of the solution, housing can be the issue that unites us and makes us stronger. We hope you’ll join us throughout this year in advocating to build stronger communities.

Get Involved with Housing Assistance Corporation

Join us in celebrating our 45th anniversary by helping us move forward in addressing the region's housing crisis by: 

  • Serving as a HAC Volunteer (click here)
  • Serving as an Advocate for the housing needed on Cape Cod and the Islands (click here)
  • Serving as a HAC Donor to ensure we can continue to assist our neighbors in need (click here)

Tags: HCEC, Family Shelter, Rick Presbrey, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, workforce housing, housing consumer education, Alisa Galazzi, Housing Development, Editorial, Cape Housing Advocacy Training, housing crisis, housing advocacy, HAC 45th Anniversary, zoning

Get Trained to Advocate for Better Housing Solutions!

Posted by HAC Staff on Mon, Jan 07, 2019 @ 02:38 PM

 

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As part of last year's Cape Housing Advocacy Training, State Senator Julian Cyr talked about the importance of getting involved in housing issues in your community. 

In February and March, Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC) and Community Development Partnership (CDP) will offer free Cape Housing Advocacy Training, an interactive workshop that will provide people throughout the region with the tools to support affordable housing in their communities.

Register Today

Recent studies have shown that there is shortage of 4,500 units of housing in our region that is driving many working families and lower-income households, as well as the businesses and customers that rely on them, into crisis. To meet this housing need, towns have to change their housing planning and policies. This workshop gives people the information and practice they need so that their message will be heard by decision makers in our region.

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Christy Donovan provided last year's participants with tips on how to improve their public speaking when they want to speak up in favor of public housing initiatives in their town. 

HAC will be organizing free training sessions on the Upper Cape and Mid-Cape while CDP will be organizing sessions on the Lower Cape and Outer Cape. Participants must pre-register and can do so here

Tags: Community Development Partnership, Cape Community Housing Partnership, Cape Housing Advocacy Training, housing crisis, housing advocacy

Editorial: On To Second Year for Cape Housing Institute and Cape Housing Advocacy

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Mon, Aug 20, 2018 @ 02:52 PM
Cape Housing Institute-33Attorney Peter Freeman speaks to participants about Chapter 40B during last year's Cape Housing Institute. 

It is long past time for bold new initiatives to help to increase our attainable housing stock on the Cape and Islands. “Attainable” housing means our Cape Cod workforce can afford it, and these units are in very short supply throughout our region. Ideally, everyone in our region—from nonprofits to municipalities to town meeting voters—will work together on ways to increase capacity for attainable housing in the region.

Our Cape Community Housing Partnership, a collaboration that began in 2017 with Community Development Partnership, is a three-part initiative to try to break the impasse in creating housing opportunities for all on the Cape.

The first part is the Cape Housing Institute, which debuted in the fall of 2017. During the Institute, elected and appointed municipal officials and town staff are invited to learn about the ins and outs of affordable housing, from 40Bs to accessory apartments, from financing to fair housing laws.

The idea of the training is to make municipal officials more savvy about housing so that when developers come calling with a project, town officials can negotiate with them and steer them toward projects that meet the character of the community.

We trained 140 officials during last year’s Cape Housing Institute, with HAC running the classes in the Upper and Mid-Cape and CDP running the classes in the Lower and Outer Cape.

We were most proud of the fact that 100 percent of the attendees who gave us feedback about the course said they would recommend it to their colleagues on committees. That gave us the impetus to continue the training for a second year with a revised curriculum that offers new subjects suggested by last year’s participants.

The 2018 Cape Housing Institute will take place from October 3 to November 8 with classes in the Upper, Mid, Lower and Outer Cape.

The second part of the Cape Community Housing Partnership is Cape Housing Advocacy Training, which we held for the first time last winter. We are in the planning stages for the second session this winter. The Advocacy Training, which is open to the public, is designed for people to learn about the shortage of housing and how to advocate for more housing, by attending town meetings to speak up in favor of new developments.

Between the sessions in the Lower and Outer Cape run by CDP and our sessions in the Upper and Mid-Cape, we trained 80 people through Advocacy Training last winter.

For those who want to join us for these sessions, you can register on our website by clicking this link

We hope to see you there so we can all be part of the solution to generate more housing on the Cape and Islands.

Sign Up for the Cape Housing Institute


Are you a municipal employee or elected official on the Upper Cape or Mid-Cape who wants to learn more about affordable housing and how you can help your community address its housing needs?

HAC and Community Development Partnership (CDP) are preparing for the second year of the Cape Housing Institute, which will start on October 3 and run through November 8.


The 6-week workshop is intended for members of Select Boards, Planning Boards, Zoning Boards, Community Preservation Committees, Housing Trusts, Housing Committees, Housing Authorities, and Town staff. For more info or to register, click this link

Tags: Affordable Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Alisa Galazzi, Housing Development, Cape Housing Institute, Community Development Partnership, Cape Community Housing Partnership, Cape Housing Advocacy Training

Housing Advocacy Training Wraps Up in Falmouth

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Apr 06, 2018 @ 01:47 PM

 

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HAC and Community Development Partnership (CDP) concluded their inaugural Cape Housing Advocacy Training with a one-day session at Falmouth Public Library at the end of last month.

Over 80 people attended the workshops which were also held on the Mid-Cape, Lower Cape and Outer Cape in February. Cape Housing Advocacy was geared towards residents interested in affordable housing and how they can use their voice to speak up in favor of projects that help address the region’s housing issues.

During the workshops, attendees learned what affordable housing is and why it is needed; how to speak at public meetings with confidence; how decisions related to housing are made at the local level; and how people can get involved in their community.

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Stefanie Coxe (pictured above), owner of the political consulting firm Nexus Werx LLC, gave residents one way they can get involved immediately. It is by supporting an initiative of SmarterCape Partnership which is working with towns throughout the Cape to modify their Accessory Dwelling Unit bylaw to add to the available supply of housing units without developing more land.

She concluded her presentation by commending people for taking part in the workshop. “I think it’s tremendously brave and important of you to be here because we’re not going to see any changes without people speaking up,” she said.

To learn more about Cape Housing Advocacy Training and to stay updated on future sessions, click this link.

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Affordable Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, affordable housing, Falmouth, Community Development Partnership, Advocacy Training, Cape Housing Advocacy Training, Stefanie Coxe

Cape Advocacy Training Inspires Public to Get Involved Locally

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Mar 09, 2018 @ 02:48 PM
Housing Advocacy3-1.jpgHAC Board President Mark Forest (from left), Barnstable Town Councilor Paula Schnepp, and Barnstable Housing Committee member Hilda Haye lead a Cape Housing Advocacy Training session last month. 

Just how bad is the housing situation on Cape Cod and the Islands? Yarmouth Selectman Mark Forest, the chair of HAC’s Board of Directors, termed it a crisis. Forest spoke during Cape Housing Advocacy Training held at Shepley Showcase in Hyannis last month.

Solving that crisis, he said, cannot be done at the federal or state level. “It really today is coming to be a local issue,” he told those in attendance. “We have to deal with this on our watch. And if we don’t, the Cape is going to continue to change in ways that are incredibly dramatic and it will be unlike the kind of Cape Cod that we have grown quite fond of.”

Since last year, HAC has worked with Community Development Partnership (CDP) in Eastham to support communities throughout the Cape in addressing their housing challenges. It started last fall with the Cape Housing Institute, aimed at municipal officials, and expanded last month to Cape Housing Advocacy Training, aimed at the general public.

With workshops so far held on the Mid-Cape, Lower Cape and Outer Cape, advocacy training has been geared to giving residents the tools, resources, support and motivation to speak up in favor of affordable housing projects in their towns. A total of 70 residents have taken part in the sessions with another 40 set to do so on the Upper Cape in Falmouth this month.

Housing Advocacy3-2.jpgBarnstable Housing Committee member Hilda Haye encourage participants in HAC's Cape Housing Advocacy Training to be more active in their community. 

The Mid-Cape workshop began with Paula Hersey, the director of outreach and special projects at Cape Cod Community Media Center, sharing her story about struggling to find housing with her husband in the late 1980s. “We lived above a heroin dealer,” she said. “We moved six times in three years… We ate a lot of Ramen, couch surfed, and lived in unfinished basements. It has not been easy.”

Eventually, they were able to find a place, becoming one of the first homeowners in a Chapter 40B development in Marstons Mills. By telling her story, Hersey said, she hoped to “remove the stigma associated” with affordable housing.

A significant piece of advocacy training was focused on just that – getting residents to speak up at public meetings about why affordable housing is important to them.

Barnstable Town Councilor Paula Schnepp, another speaker, said doing so can make a difference. “It really is helpful that your voice is heard,” she said.

Barnstable Housing Committee member Hilda Haye, also a speaker at the training, said, “it is time for us all to get involved… This is our community that we live in and we need to do something… We all need to play our part.” It is this type of activism that Mark Forest said can make a real difference when it comes to affordable housing. “The reality is that what we do in our towns… is critical in terms of making any real progress,” he said.

To stay up to date on upcoming Cape Housing Advocacy Training sessions, click this link

 

Tags: Shepley Wood Products, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, affordable housing, Mark Forest, Cape Housing Institute, Community Development Partnership, Cape Community Housing Partnership, Paula Schnepp, Advocacy Training, Hilda Haye, Cape Housing Advocacy Training