Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Westwood Troop Donates Bikes to Village at Cataumet

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Aug 21, 2017 @ 04:20 PM
Cataumet Bicycles-1.jpgWestwood Girl Scouts Tessa Scolaro (from left), Maggie Fahey, Jade Landolphi, and Laurel Barnett with HAC’s Paula Mallard. 

Bicycling is one of the simplest and most effective modes of transportation and thanks to the generosity of Girl Scout Troop 75006 of Westwood, clients at The Village at Cataumet now have the ability to use them both for fun and for more practical means.

The scouts – Laurel Barnett, 13, Maggie Fahey, 14, Jade Landolphi, 14, and Tessa Scolaro, 13 - donated a total of 14 bicycles, nine helmets and two bike pumps to the shelter in May. The donations were a mix of children’s and adult bikes; all but one was used and had been checked over by staff at Landry’s Bikes in Norwood or Common Wheels in Allston.

As part of the donation, Arthur Diangelis of Art’s Bike Shop in North Falmouth, has agreed to provide any reasonable repairs over the next two years. And the troop will pay for any smaller replacement parts, including tire tubes or brake pads, that may be needed for those repairs.

As to why the group chose The Village at Cataumet, Troop Leader Amy Barnett said, that they either vacation in this part of Cape Cod or have homes here.

Her daughter said they decided the shelter would be a good fit because the clients lack the means to get to places. “We felt it was important to have bikes for transportation for adults,” Laurel said.

Paula Mallard, the facility director at The Village at Cataumet, said as part of the project the children had an opportunity to learn about the shelter and the people it serves. During those discussions, Mallard told them that many clients have no real way to get around which led to the bike donation. Any client can use the bicycles which will remain the property of the shelter.

Amy Barnett said the project was a rewarding one for the scouts. “I hope they learned that even though they are young, if you have a good idea, you have the ability to actually make a difference in people’s lives,” she said.

Tags: Family Shelter, Paula Mallard, Village at Cataumet, donations, charitable giving

Osterville Men's Club Gives Back to HAC

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 @ 11:02 AM
Osterville Club-1.jpgMike Ingham (from left), Paul Ruane and Jim Ruane of the Osterville Men’s Club helped deliver donations for HAC’s Welcome Home Gift Basket program. 

The Osterville Men’s Club is using its 60th anniversary this year not only as a reason to celebrate, but as cause to give back to the community.

“Sixty is a time in your life when you reflect back and it’s also a time to give back,” said club member Paul Ruane. He was one of four club members who collected a variety of new and used household goods, ranging from lamps to kitchen appliances to towels to bedsheets, which were donated to HAC’s Welcome Home Gift Basket program.

Ruane spearheaded the effort, filling up several truckloads of donations and delivering them to HAC with fellow club members Jim Ruane, Mike Ingham and Jack Mechem. The donations will go to HAC clients who are making the transition from shelter to permanent housing.

This spring, Paul Ruane said, the club also took time to support Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands Meals on Wheels program. And in October, they plan on volunteering a day to make small home improvements to a handful of homes for those in need in the community.

This September, they have invited HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi to speak to the club about the work the agency does.

Click here to learn more about HAC's Welcome Home Gift Basket program and how you or your business can help support our clients in shelter as they transition into permanent housing. 

Tags: Welcome Home Gift Basket Drive, donations, charitable giving, HAC donors, Osterville Men's Club, Welcome Home Gift Basket Program

Celebrating Mother's Day at Angel House

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jun 16, 2017 @ 05:30 PM
Angel House Mothers Day-2 Edited.jpgA few of the mothers at Angel House with their Mother's Day gifts

There are 13 mothers currently at HAC’s Angel House shelter, all of whom are taking steps to improve their lives, not only for themselves, but for their children.

As they work towards this goal, one anonymous donor showed her support for them by giving each client a Mother’s Day gift bag filled with chocolates and a note of encouragement, as well as two sets of flowers for the shelter.

Two days before they received those gifts, one of the Angel House clients spoke about what being a parent means to her. “I love kids, number one,” she said. “And I have always wanted to be a mom.”

With three children of her own, she has fulfilled that dream, understanding that her role “is just giving more love to this next generation.”

Having spent eight months at Angel House, she is looking forward to doing that in a home of her own once she leaves shelter. She wants “housing, but most of all, a safe place for my kids to grow up and be with their mom,” she said.

Support HAC's Angel House Shelter

Tags: Angel House, donations, charitable giving, Mother's Day

Barnstable High Grads Give Back to HAC

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Jun 06, 2017 @ 01:12 PM
Barnstable High Book Donation-Edited-1.jpgBarnstable High School grad Lauren Hansen (middle) with HAC's Lynne Perry (left) and Jodi Keegan with a few of the books she collected and donated to children in HAC's family shelters.  

When it comes to the country’s civil rights movement, Ruby Bridges was a seminal figure in advancing equal opportunities for African-Americans, becoming the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South in the fall of 1960.

In doing so, Bridges helped open doors to educational and literacy programs not previously offered to minorities.

In their final months as students at Barnstable High School, seniors Lauren Hansen and Rachel Madore learned about Bridges’ contributions to society in their Understanding Diversity class taught by Michele Netto. The pair then turned the lessons of Bridges’ life story into action, collecting used children’s books that were donated to HAC in the middle of last month.

The books will be given to children in HAC’s shelters. Hansen said she and Madore wanted to utilize books as a way to empower HAC’s clients and enrich their lives.

Tags: Family Shelter, Books, donations, charitable giving, Barnstable High School

Chatham Store Knits Blankets for HAC's Shelter Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, May 04, 2017 @ 11:00 AM
Great Yarn-2.jpgA Great Yarn owner Mary Weishaar (from left), store employee Antonia DaSilva, knitter Jean Williams, WCVB cameraman Isaiah Bradwell, WCVB reporter Erika Tarantal, HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi, and knitter Barbara Gibson at last month's WCVB taping in Chatham. 

A handmade blanket symbolizes warmth, care and compassion. And this month, A Great Yarn delivered more than 150 such blankets to HAC that will provide just that to our families in shelter.

The donations were tied to a community knit-a-thon organized by the Chatham yarn shop and bookstore and its owners Ron and Mary Weishaar. This is now the second year the Weishaars have mobilized their customers who have knit individual panels that have been turned into blankets for those most in need in the community. Last year, the grassroots effort resulted in 29 blankets and $1,500 donated to HAC.

This year, the store far exceeded those numbers, partially the result of the story being publicized in the Cape Cod Times and the Cape Cod Chronicle. Last month, it found its way onto WCVB Channel 5’s “Five For Good” segment which highlighted what the project meant to the knitters. “It’s just a gift from the community to folks that need help,” Mary told WCVB reporter Erika Tarantal.

“I think this speaks to the good of human beings,” HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi said, during the taping in Chatham. “To think that the people were at home, by themselves, knitting and thinking of our clients is so heartwarming and impressive.”

This year’s effort began in February with roughly 400 knitters – some were experts, others were novices – participating. “I just love doing it because it’s for such a good cause, and it’s relaxing and fun,” said knitter Barbara Gibson of Chatham.

With Cape Cod experiencing the “perfect storm of high real estate prices and low wages,” Galazzi said, this type of gesture – putting one’s talents into making a necessary household item like a blanket – can have great meaning to the recipients who are struggling to move forward with their lives.

“We have people who come to us with nothing. They walk in with literally the clothes they are wearing. And then we have people, their car is full, and they’re homeless and living out of their car,” Galazzi said. “To have a special handmade blanket for these people, whether they have some stuff or have nothing, it’s just the idea of the community coming together, supporting them and helping them.” 

Tags: Family Shelter, donations, A Great Yarn, Alisa Galazzi, charitable giving, WCVB, knit-a-thon, Mary Weishaar, Ron Weishaar

Realtors Provide HAC Clients with Fresh Start

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Apr 06, 2017 @ 03:56 PM
Welcome Home Edited.jpgHAC's Mary LeClair (from left) and Deanna Bussiere with Sunny Fellman, chair of the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors Young Professionals Network which recently organized a drive for the agency's Welcome Home Gift Basket Program. 

The start of the new year always represents a chance at a fresh beginning. And in January, the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors provided HAC clients with just that when they donated six laundry baskets filled with a variety of basic home goods that will go to them when they make the transition from homelessness to permanent housing.

Since 2014, the association’s Young Professionals Network has spearheaded several drives in which they have collected a variety of household goods ranging from bath and kitchen towels to pots and pans to oven mitts to sponges to soap that provide our clients a solid foundation once they move into their new homes. The drives are tied to HAC’s Welcome Home Gift Basket Program.

In January, Sunny Fellman, chair of the Young Professionals Network, and Patricia Pry, sales and marketing director for the realtors association, dropped off the donations to HAC. “This is the right thing to do for our community,” Pry said of her organization’s involvement in these drives. “We want to keep this going, absolutely.”

Those interested in learning more about the gift basket program or donating to it, can contact Mary Everett-Patriquin at either volunteer@haconcapecod.org or at 508-771-5400, ext. 279.

Tags: Welcome Home Gift Basket Drive, Deanna Bussiere, Philanthropy, donations, charitable giving, Mary LeClair, Cape Cod & Islands Associaton of Realtors

St. Peter's Pantry: Osterville Church Supports HAC's Shelter Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Mar 10, 2017 @ 07:45 AM
St Peters Edited-1-1.jpgMary Beebe (from left), Bob Bartholomay, Katherine Levinson and Gretchen Perry are a few of the parishioners from St. Peter's Episcopal Church who donate food to families in HAC's Scattered Site shelter program. 

On the last Friday of February, several boxes of non-perishables were delivered to HAC’s Scattered Site shelter in Hyannis. There were cans of beans, carrots and peas, an assortment of cereals, pastas and sauces as well as some bed sheets, pillowcases and wash cloths, all courtesy of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Osterville.

It may not seem like much, but to the 17 families who are the recipients of this generosity, it will make a world of difference. “It is a big help. A huge help,” said HAC case manager Geoffrey Gagnon.

“It means a lot because they always run out of food stamps each month,” added case manager Antoinette Bills.

About once a month, the church delivers the donations, filling the cupboards of a small kitchen adjacent to the offices where Gagnon, Bills and Katie Geissler, the director of HAC’s Scattered Site program, work. Their office is on the first floor of one of the shelter buildings in Hyannis, that houses 11 families.

Parishioners have been collecting and delivering the donations, which consist primarily of food, since the end of 2015. Because of their dedication, the kitchen has been given its own nickname: St. Peter’s Pantry.

A Desire to Do More

Several years prior to the monthly offerings, the church had put together Thanksgiving baskets for families staying at the shelter. Mary Beebe of Cotuit said she and her fellow parishioners realized they wanted to do more.

“I like this because it gives everybody a chance in the church to participate, no matter what their age is,” Beebe said. “And people seem to embrace it with enthusiasm so that is very nice too.”

Among those who have embraced the effort is Bob Bartholomay of Centerville, who has dropped off recent donations to the shelter. “I like the idea that we’re helping people,” Bob said. “I think it’s tough to live on the Cape. Property values are high and you know there is a lot of affluence, but sometimes we don’t see there are people in need.”

Both Gagnon and Bills said the donations help fill the gap for those in need who are struggling to get by, serving to augment their food stamps and the additional food they receive from area food pantries.

As an example, Gagnon said, one client receives only $60 a month in food stamps for him and his 3-year-old son. “He loves beans with his hot dogs so we’ll stash beans aside for him to supplement his dinner,” he said. “This tides them over and gets them through some tough times.”

While church parishioners have not met the recipients of their kindness, they are taking satisfaction in knowing they are helping others. “Even though it is pretty small, I think people are really kind of proud of the pantry,” said Beebe.

Help End Homelessness

Tags: Family Shelter, Philanthropy, donations, Scattered Sites, charitable giving, St. Peter's Pantry, St. Peter's Episcopal Church

Sandwich Women's Club Donates Beds to Angel House

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Mar 01, 2017 @ 01:36 PM
Angel House Beds-1-1.jpgAngel House Director Lin Rohr with Lily and Danielle Moore, president of the Sandwich Women's Club. 

On an overcast Friday in the middle of January, stacks of brand new twin mattresses sat outside, next to a Budget rental truck parked on the grounds of HAC’s Angel House shelter in Hyannis. The 12 new mattresses and 10 box springs were replacing ones that were roughly 10 years old and had far outlived their useful life.

As Guillermo Jimenez and Brady Perez of Mattress Firm in Hyannis, carried the old ones out and the new ones into the shelter, Angel House facility director Lin Rohr spoke with Sandwich’s Danielle Moore, president of the Sandwich Women’s Club, and her daughter Lilly, 12.

“This is a compassionate way to extend tangible care to our clients,” Rohr told Moore, who organized the donation on behalf of the women’s club.

Last year, Moore had seen Rohr speak about Angel House, which serves homeless mothers struggling with addiction and their children, at a meeting of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. That talk was enough to convince Moore to find a way for her club to support the shelter and those it serves.

They were able to do so on January 20, when the new twin mattresses, which had long been on the shelter’s wish list, arrived at Angel House.

Mattress Firm offered the mattresses and box springs at a discount, adding another layer to the charitable gesture. “We have a very proud philosophy of working with a lot of nonprofit organizations in the local area,” Chelsey Tahan, the assistant manager for Mattress Firm said. “One of the things we like to do is have an impact at the local level.”

For Moore, there is a personal affinity to Angel House; during her visit to the shelter she tearfully confided in Rohr, telling her that another daughter had lost a best friend to addiction last year.

Rohr expressed her gratitude to Moore and the Sandwich Women’s Club for their generosity. “Many of these women are going from sleeping on cardboard and newspaper to a bed,” she said. “This is probably the first brand new bed some of them have ever slept on.”

That means a lot, Rohr said, to the clients in shelter. “When you’re in a safe, secure, supportive place, you begin to heal,” she said.

Support HAC's Angel House Shelter

Tags: Philanthropy, Angel House, Lin Rohr, donations, charitable giving, Sandwich Women's Club, Mattress Firm

Local Realtors Give Back to HAC

Posted by HAC Staff on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 @ 04:28 PM

Edited Gift Baskets.jpg

At the beginning of December, Angela Philbrook (left) and Kimberly Koplow of Cape Cod Title & Escrow delivered several bags of home goods to HAC. The items were collected last month by Philbrook at her 3rd Annual Friendsgiving party in which local realtors, mortgage lenders and friends were encouraged to bring donations to support HAC’s shelter clients.

Among the items collected were bath towels, cutting boards, kitchen cutlery and pans, all donations that will be given to HAC clients as part of its Welcome Home Gift Basket program. The program provides basic household items to shelter clients when they make the transition from shelter into permanent housing.

Those interested in donating to the Welcome Home Gift Basket program can contact Mary Everett-Patriquin at volunteer@haconcapecod.org or at 508-771-5400, ext. 279. HAC is currently in need of new twin and queen bed sheets, bath towels and dishware.

You can learn more about the Welcome Home Gift Basket program by clicking this link

Tags: Welcome Home Gift Basket Drive, Philanthropy, donations, charitable giving

Tax Credits Ideal for Year-End Giving

Posted by HAC Staff on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 @ 04:01 PM

tax credits homepage.jpg

As you prepare your year-end-giving, HAC has a tax credit program that can help you stretch your donation further.

The program is open to new donors and those who double their donation from the previous year. Only donations over the $1,000 threshold are eligible for the tax credits.

In return for your donation, you will receive half of it back in the form of a tax credit. This is on top of the federal tax deduction you are allowed to deduct from your taxes. So for a $1,000 donation, you will receive $500 back in tax credits. For a $5,000 donation, you will receive $2,500 back in tax credits. And for a $10,000 donation, you will receive $5,000 back in tax credits.

Those with little to no tax liability could even receive the balance of their credit back in the form of a check from the state.

Since 2014, HAC has been involved in the tax credit program which encourages charitable giving to organizations that are making a significant and positive impact in their communities.

To secure your tax credits before the end of the year, contact HAC’s Margaret Benaka at either mbenaka@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 272 by noon on Friday, December 30.

Tags: Philanthropy, Margaret Benaka, Tax Credits, donations, Community Investment Tax Credit Program, charitable giving