Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Blanketing HAC Clients with Love

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

Knitathon-3

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

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

Chatham Church Gives to Shelter Clients

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

 

Margaret-1

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

Barnstable Teen Has Passion for Helping Others

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 @ 02:22 PM

Allison Carter Headshot

Perhaps it’s in her nature or perhaps it’s been ingrained in her by her mother Kathy Carter, a family advocate at Cape Cod Child Development, but either way Barnstable High School senior Allison Carter has long had a propensity to give back to this place she calls home.

“I just see the need,” she said. “We all need to do more and so many of us are capable of it.”

For Allison these aren’t hollow words; she backs them up with action. Over the past two holiday seasons, the star lacrosse player has worked with her fellow athletes at Barnstable High School, organizing drives to collect socks, diapers and canned goods for clients in HAC’s shelters.

As a student ambassador to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Association (MIAA), Allison has served as a leader at her school for initiatives such as this. She has helped collect food donations during the holidays for families being served by her mother’s nonprofit.

This past fall, she was successful in getting her school to purchase a stainless steel composter, paid for by the Cape Cod Challenger Club, that turns food waste into compost. As part of the purchase, Allison helped design a program that involved special needs students working alongside their peers at the high school in collecting, running and maintaining the machine.

Allison’s altruism doesn’t end there. A shift leader at Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop in Hyannis, Allison started delivering iced coffee to HAC’s Angel House shelter as well as its Scattered Site shelter in Hyannis last fall. It was a way to both reduce waste while supporting those most in need in the community.

This spring, Allison is organizing one last drive for HAC’s shelter clients prior to graduation.

While Allison, who wants to either major in speech pathology or environmental science in college – Tufts University is at the top of her list – is proud of the work she has done, she acknowledged “it feels like I still should be doing more… There’s so much need in the community. I see it at my job working on Main Street. I’m just glad I can help out because it is easy to do it.”

Support HAC's Family Shelters

Tags: Family Shelter, Angel House, giving, Scattered Sites, charitable giving, Barnstable High School, Allison Carter

HAC Seeks Recipients for Harwich Big Fix

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Apr 06, 2018 @ 12:17 PM

 

Harwich Sign-2

Since 2010, the Big Fix has been to eight towns on Cape Cod. On Saturday, September 22, 2018, HAC’s annual fundraiser will next come to Harwich in an effort to help those in need in that Lower Cape community.

HAC is currently seeking recipients for the Big Fix. The event typically sees roughly 200 volunteers come out to make small home repairs for income-eligible veterans, seniors and disabled homeowners in one town on the Cape each fall.

“The idea of the Big Fix is to help people most in need do the basic maintenance on their home that they can’t do themselves and don’t have the income to keep up themselves,” said David Quinn, HAC’s assistant director of Housing Development.

Last year’s Big Fix was Quinn’s first “and it happened to be the biggest one we’ve ever done,” with a record 340 volunteers assisting 18 homeowners in Falmouth.

“It was really amazing for the community to come out and rally around all of these homeowners,” Quinn said. “A lot of them were smiling and a lot of them were in disbelief. They couldn’t believe their neighbors and complete strangers were willing to come out and help them in such an enthusiastic way.”

Harwich homeowners who are either veterans, seniors or disabled can apply to be a recipient by clicking this link.

Hard copies of applications can be found at the Brooks Free Library at 793 Main Street; the Harwich Community Center at 100 Oak Street; the Harwich Chamber of Commerce at 1 School House Road; Hands of Hope Outreach Center at 49 Route 28; and the Family Pantry of Cape Cod at 133 Queen Anne Road.

The deadline to apply to be a recipient of the Big Fix is Friday, June 1. Those with questions can contact HAC’s Project Coordinator Romy Maimon at rmaimon@haconcapecod.org or at 508-771-5400, ext. 103.

Those interested in volunteering or forming a fundraising team for the Big Fix can email volunteer@haconcapecod.org. To become a Big Fix sponsor, email Deanna Bussiere at dbussiere@haconcapecod.org

 Recipient-Big-Fix-Yarmouth

 

Tags: volunteers, fundraiser, Big Fix, HAC Volunteers, charitable giving, Falmouth Big Fix, Harwich, David Quinn, Harwich Big Fix

A Gift of Hope

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Apr 05, 2018 @ 04:18 PM

Matt Sullivan Photo (March 2018)

Over the past two years, Matthew Sullivan of West Bridgewater has collected donations from his friends, family and customers at MAD Boot Camps in Marshfield. He takes those donations and uses them to provide a holiday meal as well as gifts to clients at HAC’s Angel House shelter in Hyannis which serves mothers overcoming addiction and their children. 

As someone who has struggled with addiction and homelessness, Sullivan understands what many of the mothers are going through. “It is just really important for me to give back, in general,” Sullivan said. “Hopefully, this gives them a little bit of hope to keep trudging forward.”

You can read more about Sullivan's connection to our work and support of our clients by clicking this link

Give Hope to a HAC Client

 

Tags: Angel House, HAC Volunteers, volunteer, charitable giving, Matthew Sullivan

Monthly Angel House Dinners

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Sat, Mar 31, 2018 @ 05:00 AM
IMG_1279Ron Winner (middle) and his wife Wendy (right) have helped organize monthly dinners at Angel House with the help of their friends.  

It started with a taco dinner in January and continued with a turkey dinner, with all the fixings, in February. Once a month, HAC volunteers Ron and Wendy Winner of Centerville have committed to cooking a meal for clients at HAC’s Angel House shelter.

Angel House is a family shelter for women recovering from substance abuse and their children 

It’s the latest attempt by the Winners to show those at the Hyannis shelter just how much they care. Over the years, the pair have organized outdoor barbecues, Christmas dinners, and Valentine’s Day meals at Angel House, throwing in a variety of gifts, from chocolates to gift certificates, all to bring some much-needed joy into our clients’ lives.

Read more about Ron Winner's contributions to HAC by clicking this link

Tags: Family Shelter, volunteers, Angel House, HAC Volunteers, Ron Winner, charitable giving

Addressing a Need

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Mar 30, 2018 @ 04:57 PM

 

Susan Bushart Photo

“I love to sew,” Susan Bushart of Orleans said at the end of January, as she held up several of her handmade winter hats that reflected that statement.

While simple to make and admittedly “addicting,” Bushart said she wanted to use her passion for sewing to help those less fortunate.

“There is a need,” she said.

As she dropped off the donations at HAC’s Hyannis office, a client in the reception area asked if he could have one. “Thank you very much,” he said, as he put it on. “This is great.”

Tags: winter, donations, charitable giving, Orleans

Donor Spotlight: Tony Shepley

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 @ 10:34 AM

Tony Shepley Photo.jpg


In 1978, Tony Shepley opened the doors to his new company, Shepley Wood Products, in Hyannis.

With little experience in business – he had moved to the Cape eight years earlier, making his living as a musician in a rock band – and $4,000 to invest in his fledgling venture, Tony has grown that small company to one that currently employs 160 people. 

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, Shepley Wood Products’ impact can be felt throughout the region with a main office and yard in Hyannis, a branch yard in Wellfleet, and a sales office on Nantucket.

With all of his success, Tony has remained committed to giving back to this place that he and his wife Lorraine and their two sons call home. That commitment has not only been recognized by HAC, which honored Shepley Wood Products with its 2011 Business Partner of the Year Award, but by the Hyannis Elks (2012 Distinguished Citizenship Award), the Cape and Islands United Way (2002 Citizen of the Year), and Philanthropy Partners of the Cape & Islands (2014 Outstanding Business Award), among others.

We recently had a chance to ask Tony about his longtime support of HAC and our affordable housing efforts in the region. 

HAC: Why is HAC’s mission so important to you and Shepley Wood Products?

Tony Shepley: No community stays in balance without a healthy affordable housing supply. HAC has done a lot to help provide and push for housing for Cape Cod and the Islands.

HAC: What are some of the housing challenges you face as an employer on the Cape?

TS: Zoning changes and building code changes have driven the cost of housing up over the past 40 years, by limiting the supply of available land and by raising the cost of construction in our area. Employers can’t sit idly by and watch; we have to be involved.

HAC: How do you see HAC helping to address those challenges?

TS: HAC has worked on the development side by building new housing to add to the available supply, but also to drive awareness on the political front, as well as to educate the public and to stimulate affordable housing design.

HAC: Can you talk about the housing issues facing Cape Cod and why it’s necessary for organizations like HAC and companies like Shepley to work together to tackle those issues?

TS: I am surprised by the extent of NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) thinking in many of our towns. Although our population on Cape Cod is not growing and has been slightly receding recently, some of our selectmen and town councilors are still convinced that we are in a runaway growth phase and they are scared of opening up a Pandora’s Box if they loosen their grip on housing.

We need to help them see that without affordable workforce housing our service industries suffer. Our teachers, nurses, firefighters, and police suffer, and we drive affordability out of reach. We have a lot of work ahead of us in de-polarizing our communities on the subject of a balanced approach to sensible housing. Healthy communities must stand for what they want, not just for what they don’t want.

WHY I GIVE

Over the years, Tony Shepley and his company, Shepley Wood Products, have generously given to HAC in support of its programs. That support has included sponsoring the agency’s Annual Dinner & Volunteer Recognition. Shepley Wood Products will do so once again in May.

This past fall, Shepley Wood Products also served as a sponsor of HAC’s Cape Housing Institute, a six-week workshop which provides municipal officials with the tools and resources to boost affordable housing in their communities. Last month, Shepley also sponsored our Cape Housing Advocacy Training, which teaches the general public how to speak up in support of more affordable housing in their towns.

“These programs help educate our town leaders and our fellow residents about the need for affordable housing and remove some of the stigma with which affordable and workforce housing gets tagged,” Tony said, explaining why Shepley has sponsored these two new HAC initiatives.

Become a Corporate Sponsor

 

Tags: Shepley Wood Products, Shepley, workforce housing, affordable housing, charitable giving, Housing Development, HAC donors, Tony Shepley, Donor Spotlight, corporate sponsorship, sponsors

Give Back to HAC on Amazon Smile This Month

Posted by HAC Staff on Thu, Mar 15, 2018 @ 01:17 PM

amazon_logo-resized-600.jpg

This month, you have an opportunity to assist your neighbors in need by shopping for products online at Amazon Smile.

From Monday, March 12 through Saturday, March 31, Amazon will be tripling their donation amount when customers make their first eligible purchase through Amazon Smile.

Simply use your Amazon or Amazon Prime account and log onto Amazon Smile (smile.amazon.com) and designate Housing Assistance Corp. as your charity of choice.

Amazon Smile offers the same products at the same prices as its counterpart, Amazon. The only difference is that Amazon Smile will donate a percentage of your eligible purchases to a charity of your choice. Typically, that percentage is .5% of all eligible purchases. This month, for first-time Amazon Smile shoppers, that percentage will increase to 1.5%.

Your purchase can help ensure that our clients most in need have access to safe, stable, decent housing.

Tags: Amazon, AmazonSmile, charitable giving