Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Donor Spotlight: Michael and Area Princi

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jan 25, 2019 @ 05:09 PM

Michael and Area Princi-1

Michael and Area Princi at HAC's Annual Meeting in 2017. The pair have been longtime supporters of our work, organizing a Gift Basket Party for clients in shelter during the holiday season. 

This year, HAC is celebrating its 45th anniversary and for 41 of those years, Michael Princi of Marstons Mills has supported the agency in its work to ensure all on Cape Cod and the Islands have access to safe, secure housing. 

An attorney and senior partner in the law firm of Wynn & Wynn in Hyannis, Princi’s initial involvement with HAC was focused on his profession. “I started to do some legal work, most of it on a pro bono basis,” he said.

Princi assisted HAC in large ways by helping move housing development projects forward through the legal process and in smaller, day-to-day matters, including internal, regulatory, landlord-tenant, and lease issues.

For Michael and his wife Area, giving back to HAC is rooted in their identity and has extended to serving meals to the homeless and collecting gifts for homeless families during the holidays.

Their efforts are tied to the belief that everyone deserves a home. “In order for people to move forward in their lives, the most important thing we can give them is a roof over their head,” Michael said. “Many people on the Cape did not have that available to them before Housing Assistance came along.”

That basic concept, he said, was something that “I identified with, in terms of wanting to give my time and efforts to.”

While housing is HAC’s primary goal, Michael noted that over the years its work has expanded to empowering families and individuals through such programs as its financial literacy classes which help clients maintain their housing through budgeting and improving their credit.

As HAC’s services have grown in size and scope, Michael is proud to have been affiliated with an agency that has helped so many over the years. “I feel like I’ve been part of the fabric, I’ve been with HAC so long,” he said. “A number of people and companies have been so supportive of HAC because they genuinely feel what Housing Assistance Corporation does is of tremendous importance to our community.”

Why We Give: Michael and Area Princi

At the beginning of last month, Michael and Area Princi organized their 28th Annual Holiday Gift Basket Drive, collecting presents that went to 50 families in HAC’s four family shelters – Angel House in Hyannis; Carriage House in Falmouth; Scattered Sites in Hyannis; and the Village at Cataumet in Bourne.

It’s a tradition that began with Michael and his first wife who passed away shortly after establishing the event. “The boys and I wanted to continue that tradition very much in memory of her,” said Michael. “When I remarried two years later, Area and her family blended into mine and we’ve expanded on it and continued it together for the past 26 years.”

With their children, Patrick, Peter, and Brendan, the Princis have been able to build a holiday drive that went beyond the confines of their home and now extends to their family, friends, and colleagues. “At the highest point, we did about 70 families and a number of homeless individuals,” Michael said.

While participation ebbs and flows, Michael said, “every year we manage to get 45 to 50 families allocated out so they all get Christmas baskets.”

Admittedly, it is a lot of work to organize the annual event, requiring the help of HAC staff as well as Michael’s legal assistant, Aimee Uhlman.

All of that effort is worth it for the Princis as they know those receiving gifts would have little to nothing to open on Christmas morning. “We play Santa for people who otherwise don’t have much or anything at all under their trees,” Michael said. “For many of the people who participate, the idea of anonymous giving is important to them… They are doing it truly out of the kindness of their hearts because they know there is a need and they are fulfilling that need.”

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Tags: Michael Princi, Area Princi, holiday giving, Holiday Drive, Family Shelter, shelter, charitable giving

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

Starbucks Gives Back

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Dec 12, 2018 @ 12:07 PM

small starbucks

Josh Leonard (left) and Dillon Probert of the Mashpee Starbucks which is collecting donations for the Stuff A Stocking Holiday Drive along with the Hyannis Starbucks. 

In advance of Thanksgiving, staff at the Mashpee Starbucks organized a drive, collecting toiletries and baby items for HAC families who were formerly homeless.

The drive is just the latest example of how the coffee shop has helped support our clients most in need over the years. “We like to give back to the community,” Starbucks Shift Manager Dillon Probert said.

Now the store, as well as the Hyannis Starbucks, is encouraging customers to help stuff stockings for teens who are homeless or at risk of homelessness by donating a range of items, including hair products; bath and baby products; toothbrushes; deodorant; sports water bottles; candy or other wrapped treats; socks; shaving kits; cards or small games; nail polish; nail care items; ChapStick; and other similar, small items.

Donations can be dropped off at either the Mashpee or Hyannis locations through Monday, December 17.

Tags: Starbucks, Holiday Drive, Stuff A Stocking, homelessness, homeless teens, charitable giving, holiday giving

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

Support HAC Through AmazonSmile

Posted by HAC Staff on Tue, Oct 30, 2018 @ 12:50 PM

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Did you know that you can enhance your support of Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC) by shopping online at AmazonSmile

That's because Amazon's sister site donates .5 percent of each eligible purchase to the charity of your choice. 

With the holiday season approaching, you can purchase gifts for a loved one, all while supporting HAC's mission to ensure all on Cape Cod and the Islands have access to safe, secure, decent housing.

Every donation HAC receives through AmazonSmile adds up, helping strengthen HAC's programs and services. It's a perfect opportunity to enhance your giving at a time when our clients need it the most. 

To support HAC, simply go to www.smile.amazon.com, enter your Amazon account info as you normally would, and designate Housing Assistance Corp. as your charity of choice. 

Tags: AmazonSmile, holiday giving, holiday shopping, charitable giving

Editorial: Making an Impact Through Giving

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Wed, Jul 25, 2018 @ 05:14 PM
Girl Scouts-2Troop leaders Dawn Dinnan (left) and Jen Tolley (right) were joined by scouts Phoebe Pressman (from left), Madison Westover, Maddie Vlacich, Bari-Lynn Santos, Carly Dinnan and Cassandra Wells in delivering cookies.

At Housing Assistance Corporation, we see generosity from people of all ages throughout the Cape. The following act of kindness by a local Girl Scout troop for clients at our Angel House shelter is just one example of neighbors helping neighbors.

No matter what you give, every time you give, it makes an impact on our clients, and that is important.

Girl Scouts Deliver Cookies to Angel House

A plastic bin full of Girl Scout cookies sat a few feet away from Jamillah, a mother who has been at Angel House since November.

“It gives me sense of hope that there’s still good people out there, people who recognize that we matter,” Jamillah said of the cookies which were donated to Angel House clients at the end of last month by Junior Girl Scout Troop 68033 of Dennis and Yarmouth. “By acknowledging us, it gives us a sense of belonging.”

From January through May of this year, the troop offered the public an opportunity to purchase cookies, not only for themselves, but for clients at Angel House, a Hyannis shelter which serves mothers recovering from substance abuse and their children.

Girl Scouts-1

Troop leader Jen Tolley said these types of community service projects are a vital part of the group’s activities. “I think it’s important just so they know they are a part of something that is bigger than themselves,” she said. “And this helps them recognize that kindness is something that goes two ways.”

During their visit to Angel House, the scouts had an opportunity to learn about the shelter, asking questions to Support Staff Sarah Caldwell, and also interacting with clients who are benefitting from the program.

Shauni, who has been at the shelter for four months, said Angel House has “stabilized my life, helped me stay clean and helped me reunite with my son.”

She reflected on the generosity of the scouts, echoing the sentiments of the other mothers staying there: “It is nice to have people outside of here think of us.”

Donate to HAC Today

Tags: Angel House, Alisa Galazzi, charitable giving, Girl Scouts, giving, Family Shelter

Southport Supports Carriage House

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jul 20, 2018 @ 02:52 PM

 

Southport-1Carriage House's Laurie Ronayne (middle) with Southport's Laurel Samuels (from left), Judy Phillips, Nancy DiFinizio and Cheryl Piesco. 

In May, roughly 20 Southport residents took to the runway, modeling spring and summer fashion as part of an event that raised funds for HAC’s Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth.

“A lot of us here are moms and have children and now grandchildren and had wonderful support systems in our homes,” said Laura Samuels, a resident of the 55 and over community in Mashpee. “To know someone is alone in this world and doesn’t have that kind of support network is unthinkable. These young girls who are raising babies in the shelter can use a helping hand at this point in their life.”

The fashion show raised more than $2,300 for Carriage House which serves young mothers and their children. Clothing for the models was provided by L.L. Bean in Mashpee and Cape Chic in Falmouth.

Among those taking part in the event was Laurie Ronayne, the house manager at the shelter, who has been at HAC for 25 years because “I want to make a difference and pay it forward.”

At the fashion show, she shared her story of not only working at the shelter, but “growing up really poor,” she said. “At one point I was couch surfing and I had been that route. With the girls at the shelter, I tell them, ‘You can do anything if you want to. We have all the tools to help you move forward.’”

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Tags: Carriage House, Family Shelter, Mashpee, Southport, Laurie Ronayne, charitable giving, giving

Blanketing HAC Clients with Love

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jun 22, 2018 @ 02:03 PM

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A Great Yarn owner Mary Weishaar (from left) with three of the participants in this year's Knit-A-Thon, Jean Williams, Judy Maynard, and Susan Bartels. 

A hand-knit blanket represents warmth, comfort, and love, something hundreds of HAC clients have received since 2016 thanks to the generosity of Ron and Mary Weishaar and their customers.

That was the first year that the couple, who own A Great Yarn in Chatham, and the store’s customers came together to knit 29 blankets for those in HAC’s shelters. In addition to the blankets, $1,500 was raised to support the agency’s housing programs.

Last year, those numbers jumped to 155 hand-made blankets and $6,000 in donations. This year, 192 blankets were made and nearly $5,000 was raised as part of what has become an annual tradition that takes place every February, March, and April.

The knit-a-thon concluded last month with a “yarn bomb” in which all interior and exterior surfaces of A Great Yarn were covered in the finished blankets before being delivered to HAC to go to clients in the agency’s family shelters.

Interest in the annual drive has grown to the point that nearly 300 people representing seven states throughout the country now participate in it. “We probably have 50 to 60 new people who this is their first year involved in it,” Ron said.

Each person knits individual panels – essentially the size of a long scarf – that volunteers sew together to make blankets for HAC clients who need them the most.

“We have a number of people who come in and tell us how much this has meant to them,” Ron said. “It is just remarkable… They feel, ‘I’ve got this talent and here’s a way of, instead of making another sweater for my granddaughter, I can help somebody who doesn’t have a home.’”

Tags: A Great Yarn, Chatham, knitting, knit-a-thon, Ron Weishaar, Mary Weishaar, homeless shelters, Family Shelter, blankets, charitable giving, homelessness

Donor Spotlight: Jim Hinkle & Roy Hammer

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Apr 25, 2018 @ 04:21 PM
Jim and Roy-2Since 1994, Roy Hammer (left) and Jim Hinkle have been supporting HAC as a way to make an impact at the local level. 

Nearly 14 years ago, Jim Hinkle and Roy Hammer decided to close their art gallery, Cummaquid Fine Arts on Route 6A, and enter the next phase of their life – retirement.

Since then they have enjoyed the perks that come with making your own routine. They regularly take trips over the Canal to take in performances at the Boston Symphony and exhibits at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Travel has also been a priority; over the past six years, they have explored Europe and they will do once again later this year when they go on a Baltic cruise, from Copenhagen to St. Petersburg to Stockholm.

Just as rewarding as these personal adventures has been the opportunity to make an impact on this place they have called home for the past 32 years.

The couple, who both attended Yale University and met while graduate students at Harvard University in 1965, have focused their giving on three local nonprofits – Housing Assistance Corporation, Duffy Health Center, and Cape Abilities. “With all of these, there’s a theme of helping people in need and people living below the line,” said Hinkle.

Next year will represent a milestone for the two, at least in terms of donor longevity. That is when they will become members of the quarter century club, having donated to HAC every year since 1994.

The two were initially drawn to the agency thanks to HAC’s efforts to support the region’s homeless. Shortly thereafter, they took a tour of HAC’s properties “and that is when we realized what a much larger organization it was, and when we recognized that, we increased our support,” Hinkle said.

Having an organization like HAC on Cape Cod, Hammer said, is vital, especially for the region’s workforce. “The problem is, there isn’t enough affordable housing for people who make the general salary on Cape Cod.”

“The jobs available don’t pay enough for people to afford living here,” Hinkle said.

And so the two continue to give to HAC because they know the work it is doing is transforming the lives of their neighbors, from those who have little-to-no income to those who are working to purchase their first home here.

“I think it’s important to support organizations [like HAC] in our community,” Hinkle said. “It can make a lasting difference.”

Why We Give

With over a dozen programs that help those of all income levels on Cape Cod and the Islands, Jim Hinkle and Roy Hammer know that each plays a vital role in the lives of HAC clients.

“I think it’s very important what HAC does,” Hinkle said. “They prepare people for housing and enable people to eventually afford housing. And I think the programs HAC offers, in terms of homeownership, are very valuable.”

But to them, the programs that support single parents – specifically its Angel House shelter in Hyannis and Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth – are particularly meaningful. “We’re very impressed with their programs for single parents who are trying to make a go of it,” said Hinkle.

Since 1991, HAC’s Angel House shelter has supported mothers overcoming addiction and their children. Two years earlier, HAC purchased Carriage House in North Falmouth which serves younger mothers and their children.

Both shelters are vital, the pair said, for providing single parents with the support they need to move forward with their lives in a productive manner.

Support HAC's Family Shelters

Tags: Donor Spotlight, HAC donors, Roy Hammer, Jim Hinkle, Cummaquid, Duffy Health Center, charitable giving, giving, Barnstable, Angel House, Carriage House

Chatham Church Gives to Shelter Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Apr 20, 2018 @ 05:58 PM

 

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At the beginning of last month, Margaret Eldredge, a parishioner at First Congregational Church of Chatham, dropped off several bags full of clothes for clients in HAC’s shelters.

The donations were tied to a drive organized by Amy Middleton, the church’s director of Christian education and family ministries.

The church holds these drives every year, Middleton said, as a way to help those most in need in the community. Several of the items, including winter hats and mittens, were knit by those in the congregation, including Eldredge.

Middleton said giving back is rooted in the church’s work. “So many of us who have children and are younger who live on the Cape, we love, love it here, but it is a struggle to keep yourself afloat,” she said. “It is eye opening and enlightening for people in the congregation to hear about the need over and over again. They forget that and think people here year-round are living like summer people and they’re not.”

Tags: Chatham, First Congregational Church of Chatham, charitable giving, church fundraiser, Amy Middleton