Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Donor Spotlight: Carolyn Crowell 

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Feb 26, 2018 @ 02:41 PM
Carolyn Crowell-1.jpgCarolyn Crowell knitting at her home in Sandwich. Over the years, her handmade mittens have made their way onto the hands of clients in our family shelters. 

This past October, Carolyn Crowell celebrated her 91st birthday. When asked what the secret is to a long, healthy, happy life, she said, “keep active for as long as you can.”

Despite the aches and pains that come with old age, Crowell has been able to do exactly that. She is a voracious reader. She is on the Board of Directors for Camp Farley; sits on the Sandwich Historical Commission; and clips news articles for the Town of Sandwich archives.

This January, Crowell stepped down as a volunteer at Plimouth Plantation where she initially portrayed the role of Elizabeth Warren, a Pilgrim from the 1600s, before taking a behind-the-scenes role, knitting costumes and other garments in the wardrobe department.

Crowell still continues to knit, primarily mittens which she regularly makes for the Unitarian Church of Barnstable’s annual craft fair. She has donated some of her mittens to HAC where they have made their way onto the hands of clients at Angel House in Hyannis and Carriage House in North Falmouth.

The two shelters both serve mothers and their children; Angel House’s adult clients are all overcoming addiction.

Crowell was proud of the fact that her handmade creations have been able to provide some much-needed warmth to HAC clients that are most in need. And she had high praise for HAC staff who work with this population who have all been homeless. “You’ve got to have a special skill to work with those people to convince them there is a chance things will get better,” she said.

Crowell, who has witnessed HAC grow in size, scope and stature over the three decades she has supported the agency, was impressed with the agency’s development over the years. “What struck me is the diversity of housing-related activities and the staff members who were acquainted with and can help everyone from the homeless to low-income residents to people trying to buy a home,” she said. “I’m sure when [HAC founder] Rick [Presbrey] started this, he never dreamed it would ever get to be this big, but it kept going and going.”

That growth may be the result of the need that exists here on the Cape. “The cost of housing on the Cape is quite expensive, especially where so much of our economy is based on tourism and so much of our service-related jobs don’t pay that well,” she said. “Therefore, we have many people who haven’t had the money or the good job to afford to buy a house. So they have to make do with substandard housing.”

Because of the difficulties facing many Cape Codders, Crowell understands supporting an agency like HAC is crucial to addressing the region’s housing issues.

Why I Give: Carolyn Crowell 

In 1923, newlyweds David and Dorothy Crowell celebrated their marriage by purchasing Crow Farm in Sandwich, building a home on the 45-acre property where they raised their three children, Howard, Carolyn and Eleanor.

That home still stands today and is owned by the Crowell’s middle child, Carolyn, who was born three years after it was built. At 91, she has lived the majority of her life there, first as a child and then when she returned home in 1978 after stints off-Cape in New Hampshire, Michigan, and New Jersey where she worked primarily as a 4-H county extension agent.

Her home – its longevity and the stability it has provided in her life – may be one reason why Crowell has been such a longtime, passionate supporter of HAC. Over the past three decades, she has been an annual donor to HAC and served as a volunteer, helping with everything from mailings to serving on an advisory committee for one of HAC’s properties.

She explained her commitment to HAC in this way: “Organizations like HAC can do things I can’t do that need to be done. I can help other people who have the expertise and inspiration to carry on.”

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Tags: Philanthropy, Carriage House, Angel House, charitable giving, HAC donors, Donor Spotlight, Carolyn Crowell, knitting, Sandwich

Holiday Giving: A Birthday Wish

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 @ 05:05 PM

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Throughout the year, our donors give to our clients in a variety of ways. That giving is always magnified during the holiday season. The following are a few of the heartwarming stories of how those young and old, local businesses, and families took time to remember those we serve last month. 

Last month, Ariel Martynyak celebrated her 7th birthday by donating her gifts to children in need. “I wanted to donate this to other kids,” said Ariel, a first grader at West Villages Elementary School in Barnstable.

Tags: donations, charitable giving, holiday giving, 2017 Holiday Giving

Holiday Giving: Realtors Give Back

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 @ 04:57 PM
Realtors Gift Baskets (December 2017).jpgCape Cod & Island's Associaton of Realtors Patricia Pry (left) real estate agents joined Sarah Lapsley (second from right) and her husband Gregory Martin in dropping off donations to HAC's Mary LeClair last month. 

For the fourth straight year, the Cape Cod & Island’s Association of Realtors (CCIAOR) Young Professionals Network worked with local Realtors to collect items for our Welcome Home Gift Basket Program. The donations - 10 laundry baskets full of basic home goods – will be given to our clients in shelter when they make the transition into permanent housing. CCIAOR Member Programs Director Patricia Pry dropped off the donations to HAC’s Mary LeClair along with Sarah Lapsley and Gregory Martin of Kinlin Grover Real Estate in Yarmouth Port. 

Tags: Welcome Home Gift Basket Drive, donations, charitable giving, holiday giving, Mary LeClair, Cape Cod & Islands Associaton of Realtors, HAC donors, Welcome Home Gift Basket Program, 2017 Holiday Giving

Holiday Giving: No Yankee Swap 

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 @ 04:43 PM
Dooley Family.jpgCindy (left) and Tess Dooley with a few of the presents they collected for our families in need last month. 

Instead of their annual Yankee Swap, Fred, Cindy and Tess Dooley of Marstons Mills convinced their family to forego the holiday tradition and give back to HAC’s clients instead. Gifts came from all over the country, including Pennsylvania, Florida, New Hampshire and Vermont.  Thanks to the Dooley’s generosity a total of 10 families and 14 children had presents to open last month. “This has more meaning to us,” Cindy said. “And it’s way more fun.”

Give Hope to a HAC Client

Tags: Holiday Drive, donations, giving, charitable giving, holiday giving, 2017 Holiday Giving

Editorial: Spirit of the Season

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 @ 04:09 PM

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This was my first Christmas as CEO of Housing Assistance Corporation and I am awestruck by the generosity of the community towards our clients, many of whom are families in shelter and those on the edge of homelessness, struggling just to get by.

People give to Housing Assistance Corporation in all kinds of ways this time of year, from the elderly lady in Harwich who knits hats and scarves for our families to the many people who sponsor a needy family at Christmas to make sure they have gifts under the tree.

Businesses like Snow’s in Orleans, Whole Foods in Hyannis and Starbuck’s in Mashpee and Hyannis all run holiday drives for our clients, as do students and others throughout the Cape. We are so grateful for this outpouring of giving from hundreds of anonymous individuals.

One local mother whose family received Christmas gifts from one of our generous donors this year wrote this eloquent note as a thank you and I think it captures the spirit of the season:

To the Family that so graciously helped my family at Christmas time,

It’s extremely difficult to put into words how grateful I am for your generosity and care. The heartwarming feeling is completely overwhelming.

My daughters and I have been through a great deal of struggle, cold nights, hungry days, and with a lot of encouragement and support I’ve worked hard to get past those times to try and ensure that doesn’t happen again. We are still struggling a bit.

It’s very difficult to pay the rent, keep food on the table, keep a warm house, buy the warm coats, pay all the bills, support all the activities that active growing girls come with, and provide a Christmas—even if you have girls who don’t ask for much. However, when you have girls who make Honor Roll, stay positive through so much negative, show so much love and support no matter what, are grateful for all they have (and don’t have) and try their hardest (always), that makes me want to provide a Christmas that they aren’t asking for, even when I really can’t.

When I am trying 110% and still falling somewhat short, and someone else steps in to help out at this time of year, to help give my daughters a little more joy during their Christmas, it feels so wonderful.

They know the meaning of Christmas. They understand it’s not about presents under the tree, or big shiny boxes or bags or fancy labels or what you get or don’t get. It’s about who you have around you, the love you feel, what you’re able to do for others, the peace you bring, the joy you can spread, the happiness and joy that you share with others; being with family, friends, and loved ones.

Please do understand just how thankful I am for all of your help—your help and support during this time is exactly the kind of love and support that my daughters strive to give back to our community in every way they can on their own level. May all your hopes for the New Year come true.

From all of us at Housing Assistance Corporation, best wishes for the New Year.

 

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, donations, Alisa Galazzi, charitable giving, holiday giving

Osterville Men's Club Give Back to Angel House

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Sat, Dec 30, 2017 @ 08:42 PM
Osterville-1.jpgOsterville Men's Club President John Caney (from left) joined fellow members Paul Ruane and his brother Jim Ruane in donating their time to beautify HAC's Angel house shelter at the end of October. 

At the end of October, Tim Moran, Peter Holcombe and Don MacDonald quietly and diligently painted the kitchen inside one of the two houses at HAC’s Angel House shelter in Hyannis.

The trio were among the 14 members of the Osterville Men’s Club who spent a few hours earlier this fall making small improvements to the shelter which serves mothers overcoming addiction, and their children. They painted two kitchens and installed a new fence, representing their latest project to give back to the community as the club celebrates its 60th year.

In the summer, the club had donated several truckloads of basic home goods – cutlery, dishes, pots, pans, towels, and more – to HAC’s Welcome Home Gift Basket program. Those donations have gone to the agency’s clients transitioning out of shelter and into permanent housing.

Paul Ruane, who has spearheaded many of the club’s 60th anniversary activities, said their latest effort at Angel House was “our day of caring.”

And for the clients at Angel House it had special meaning. “What this does is make the women feel as though they matter,” said Angel House clinical director Martie Woods. 

Donate to Angel House

Tags: Family Shelter, Angel House, donations, charitable giving, HAC donors, Osterville Men's Club

Donor Spotlight: Jim and Helen Wick

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Dec 28, 2017 @ 06:32 PM
The Wicks-1.jpgJim and Helen Wick have been supporters of HAC for over 25 years.

By the time Jim and Helen Wick moved to West Dennis in 1983, they were officially retired. Fast forward nearly 35 years later and the couple could not be busier.

“When you retire, you don’t retire from living,” Helen explained at the end of last month inside their condo at Mill Hill Residence in West Yarmouth. “It frees time to participate in things you are really interested in.”

“I’ve been retired more than I’ve worked,” her husband of 65 years added. “Retirement is kind of like a second career… When you’ve been retired for 35 years, you want to keep your life kind of meaningful. One of the ways you can do it in a good way is associating with nonprofits.”

The Wicks have a list of several nonprofits on Cape Cod – the Dennis Conservation Trust, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Cape Symphony, and CHAMP Homes – that align with their passion for giving back to the community they live in.

HAC is one of those nonprofits at the top of this list. “I think HAC is probably one of the most innovative nonprofits I have ever witnessed,” said Jim. Over the past 25 years, the Wicks have backed up their belief in HAC’s mission by donating thousands of dollars to support the agency’s work.

Whether it’s developing affordable housing, providing educational workshops to first-time homebuyers, or offering shelter to young mothers facing homelessness, the Wicks had high praise for the wide-range of programs HAC offers that benefits those of all income ranges on Cape Cod.

Jim, who served on the Dennis Housing Authority for several years, has long maintained an interest in housing. Having the ability to support an agency like HAC whose focus is on this sector has been rewarding for him and his wife.

“There’s such a shortage of affordable housing here and young people are moving out,” said Jim, who will be turning 93 on Christmas Day.

At their age, the Wicks are showing no signs of slowing down. They hope they will inspire others to find ways they can give back, whether it’s through donations of time, money or talent. “If this encourages somebody else to donate, that would be great,” Helen said.

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Why We Give: The Wicks

In the early 1990s, Jim and Helen Wick attended a fundraising dinner organized by the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH), serving as their first introduction to HAC.

That dinner was where they met HAC founder Rick Presbrey and began to learn about the agency’s work which encompasses everything from operating four shelters for homeless families to developing affordable housing for low- and middle-income residents.

While the couple expressed an affinity for HAC’s broad expanse of programs, it was homelessness prevention that was the entrée for the Wick’s longtime support of the agency.

Since 1993, DYECH has raised more than $1.5 million that has provided one-time emergency funds for families, allowing them to stay in their homes and off the streets.

In addition to organizing dinners and concerts, DYECH sells gift certificates to participating grocery stores such as Shaw’s, Stop & Shop, CVS, and Whole Foods which help prevent homelessness on Cape Cod. DYECH also sells gift cards to a variety of popular stores – Amazon, iTunes, Target, Gap, and more – that raises funds for HAC’s prevention efforts.

To learn more about how you can purchase a gift card to support HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts email dyech@comcast.net

Tags: DYECH, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, homelessness prevention, Philanthropy, donations, charitable giving, HAC donors, Jim and Helen Wick

Toy Run Spreads Holiday Cheer for 29th Straight Year

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Dec 21, 2017 @ 10:06 AM
Toy Run17-2.jpgSanta leads the parade of nearly 200 motorcyles that made their way to HAC's Carriage House shelter last month. 

Ariana and her nine-month-old daughter had only been at Carriage House for a little more than a month when nearly 200 motorcyclists delivered over $3,000 worth of toys to the North Falmouth shelter on the first Sunday of November. 

“This means a lot,” she said. “I feel like for the kids, Christmas is really important.”

The Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run gives children in HAC’s four family shelters – Carriage House; Angel House in Hyannis; the Village at Cataumet in Bourne; and Scattered Sites in Hyannis – an opportunity to experience the joy of the holidays thanks to the generosity of the bikers who participate in the annual event.

The toy run started 29 years ago as a way to spread some holiday cheer to children in shelter. In 1999, it was named in honor of Joe Wetherbee’s first wife Christina, an organizer of the event, who died of cancer the following spring. Joe and his second wife Clarissa continue to hold the event every year with the support of the Cape Cod Harley Owners Group.

“All of these bikers have come together today for these kids and their families to let each and every one of them know that because they are here… doesn’t mean that they’re forgotten. Because they are not,” an emotional Clarissa told those in attendance who came from as far away as Boston and Rhode Island to participate in the event which also raised nearly $3,000 for HAC’s housing programs. “They will have clothes on their back at Christmas and for their birthdays, and they will have toys, and they will have love.”

Support HAC's Homeless Shelters

Tags: Carriage House, Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run, Falmouth, charitable giving, holiday giving, Clarissa Wetherbee, Joe Wetherbee

Shop AmazonSmile This Holiday Season

Posted by HAC Staff on Fri, Nov 10, 2017 @ 03:55 PM

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As the holiday season approaches, there is a simple way you can support HAC’s housing programs by shopping online at AmazonSmile. The website (www.smile.amazon.com) operates the same as its parent company, Amazon, does while allowing you to give back to HAC.


Amazon will donate .5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to HAC. All you have to do is log in to AmazonSmile using your Amazon or Amazon Prime account and then designate Housing Assistance Corp. as your charity of choice.

Then comes the fun part: shopping for gifts. By doing so, you will epitomize the spirit of the season – helping those most in need on Cape Cod at a time when they could use it the most.

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

Toy Run Brings Joy to Children in Shelter

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Oct 06, 2017 @ 03:07 PM

HOG Run 16-29.jpg

A procession of nearly 200 motorcycles driving from Buzzards Bay over the Bourne Bridge to HAC’s Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth is a sight to behold. And on the first Sunday in November, it happens like clockwork every year. Their mission is simple – spread a little holiday joy to children in HAC’s family shelters.

It’s all part of the Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run which has been taking place for the past 29 years. In 1999, it was named in honor of organizer Christina Wetherbee who died of cancer the following spring.

Since that time, her husband Joe Wetherbee and his second wife Clarissa have taken over the reins, organizing the toy run with the support of the Cape Cod Harley Owners Group (HOG) of Pocasset. “The best part of the day is seeing the bikes show up and the people supporting this,” Joe said. “And then, of course, the look on the kids’ faces because we could have 200 to 250 bikes. To see that many bikes is impressive.”

One of the longest-standing toy runs in the state, the event generates interest from motorcyclists throughout Cape Cod and even off-Cape with some coming from as far away as Boston and Rhode Island. Leading the group every year is Joe Wetherbee who will do so once again next month on his Can-Am Spyder.

Last year, participants delivered over $3,000 worth of toys that went to children in all four of HAC’s family shelters – Carriage House, The Village at Cataumet, Angel House, and Scattered Sites – as well as to children of families in need that HAC serves.

Families are given the gifts for the children to open during the holiday season.

Yvonne Rivers, the facility director at Carriage House, said the gifts come at a time of year when families could use it the most. “The holidays can be tough for our clients, especially because they are in a shelter,” she said.

The toy run serves as a meaningful show of support and kindness delivered by complete strangers on motorcycles. “It’s great to see the joy and smiles on children’s faces,” Rivers said. “The kids love it.”

18th Annual Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run
When: Sunday, November 5
Where: Eagles Hall at 39 Cohasset Avenue, Buzzards Bay
Registration: 8:30-10:30 AM

The run begins at 11 AM, starting at Eagles Hall and ending at Carriage House. Participants are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy (no stuffed animals or violent toys) or a minimum $10 donation. Those unable to participate in the ride can drop off donations to Cape Cod Harley-Davidson at either 750 MacArthur Boulevard in Pocasset or at 615 Main Street in Hyannis.

As they have in recent years, Seafood Sam’s in Falmouth and Sandwich will provide chili, clam chowder, and hot dogs for participants.

 

Tags: Family Shelter, Carriage House, Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run, Christmas, charitable giving, holiday giving, Clarissa Wetherbee, Joe Wetherbee, Cape Cod Harley Owners Group (HOG)