Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Preventing Homelessness on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Sep 10, 2018 @ 03:15 PM

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When it comes to money, $500 may not seem like much. But at HAC, it often is the difference between keeping a client in their home and them becoming homeless.

Over the past 25 years, HAC’s Project Prevention has worked to prevent homelessness through one-time emergency funds that go to pay utility bills, rent or mortgage arrears for individuals and families on Cape Cod and the Islands.

“A relatively small amount of money can resolve a really big problem,” said HAC’s Information and Client Services Manager Liz Belcher who assists individuals at risk of becoming homeless. Monica Mitchell, HAC’s family services supervisor, assists families at risk of becoming homeless.

Among Belcher’s recent clients is a woman in her 30s who holds a Section 8 voucher and was unable to work due to an injury. While she filed for unemployment and an adjustment on her rent, Belcher said, “both of those take time” so HAC used $439 from Project Prevention funds to cover her rent.

A frequent request, Belcher said, is individuals seeking money to prevent their utilities from being shut off. “Usually anywhere between $150 and $450 we give as a down payment on someone’s utility arrearage,” said Belcher. “And then we get them on a payment plan. It is really a leg up.”

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On average, Belcher said, she sees at least 15 clients a week who need funds to keep them in their homes or apartments.

That funding comes from two sources – the Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) and the Barnstable Interfaith Council (BIC).

DYECH’s funding supports HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts for families while BIC’s funding goes towards individuals in danger of becoming homeless. Both raise funds for HAC through the sale of gift certificates to local supermarkets and restaurants that are sold at face value to the public. Because the faith-based groups purchase those certificates in bulk, they receive a discount, allowing five percent of each purchase to go towards HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts.

Since it was formed in 1993, DYECH has raised over $1.5 million to help keep local families in their homes and apartments and off the streets. BIC has raised nearly $400,000 for individuals.

For roughly 20 years, Deacon David Akin of St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth, has been involved in DYECH’s efforts to support HAC’s Project Prevention. “It is good for the soul,” he said of his involvement. “You’re doing something good for another human being or family.”

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Cash for Causes-1

If you shop for food at a supermarket, then you can help prevent homelessness on Cape Cod. It’s that simple.

HAC sells gift certificates at face value to the following stores: Lambert’s; Shaw’s/Star Market; Stop & Shop; Ring Brothers; Peterson’s Market & Fancy’s in Osterville; Roche Brothers; Cape Cod Natural Foods; and Whole Foods as well as Country Garden; CVS; 99 Restaurant & Pub; and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Because the Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) and the Barnstable Interfaith Council (BIC) purchase those certificates in bulk, they receive a 5 percent discount on them. For each certificate sold, that 5 percent goes to HAC to prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless.

Deacon David Akin of St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth said, “it should be a no-brainer” for people to participate in the program. “We are supposed to support our neighbors.”

Those interested in purchasing gift certificates to support HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts can do so at our office at 460 West Main Street in Hyannis.

Along with selling gift certificates, DYECH organizes free concerts twice a year where they collect donations on behalf of Project Prevention. It also works with local restaurants who donate a portion of their patrons’ checks to Project Prevention several times a year. Visit www.dyech.org for details on upcoming fundraisers.

 

Tags: homeless prevention, homelessness prevention, grocery cards for prevention, Gift Cards for prevention, Project Prevention, homelessness, DYECH, Liz Belcher, BIC, Barnstable Interfaith Council, David Akin

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.

Make A Donation

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

Gift Cards Help Prevent Homelessness

Posted by HAC Staff on Wed, Nov 22, 2017 @ 04:22 PM

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Do you plan on buying a gift card for a loved one this holiday season? If so, you can help prevent homelessness on Cape Cod by purchasing them through the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH).

Every year, DYECH sells gift cards to over 100 stores, restaurants and movie theaters – Best Buy, Amazon, Target, Starbucks and more – that raise funds for HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts.

To purchase gift cards this holiday season visit www.shopwithscrip.com. The enrollment code to support DYECH and HAC is 561B698219989.

Cards can be picked up at Yarmouth Appliance Clinic at 61 White’s Path in Yarmouth one week after you place your order. Make sure to place your order early so you have the cards in time for the holidays!

If you have questions about the program, please email DYECH at dyech@comcast.net

Tags: Cape Cod Caring Cards, DYECH, Gift Cards for prevention, Prevention, Project Prevention, homelessness prevention

Dine at the 99 Restaurant

Posted by HAC Staff on Wed, Oct 25, 2017 @ 03:28 PM

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Several times a year the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) offers an easy opportunity to keep families in their homes and off the streets.

They will do so once again tomorrow (October 26), when they invite you, your family and friends to dine at the 99 Restaurant at 14 Berry Avenue in West Yarmouth. From 11 am to 8 pm, the restaurant will be donating 15 percent of your guest check to prevent families on Cape Cod from becoming homeless.

In order to participate, you must present your server with this flier

You can make your impact go even further by paying for your meal with a gift certificate to 99 Restaurant purchased through the Cape Cod Caring Cards program. By doing so, DYECH will earn an additional 13% which will go towards our homelessness prevention efforts.

There is no extra cost to purchase a 99 Restaurant gift certificate through the Caring Cards program which helps ensure families and individuals, who are struggling with their bills, can remain in their homes. To learn more about the program or to purchase a gift certificate contact HAC’s Margaret Benaka at mbenaka@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 272.

Tags: 99 Restaurant, homelessness prevention, DYECH, Homeless on Cape Cod

DYECH Celebrates Fundraising Milestone

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Apr 07, 2017 @ 11:26 AM
DYECH Edited.jpgAt its meeting last month, DYECH presented HAC's Cassi Danzl with an $8,000 check which pushed its fundraising total to $1.5 million since the group's inception. The money has been used to prevent families on Cape Cod from becoming homeless.

In the grand scheme of things, $8,000 may seem like a relatively small amount of money, but in the beginning of March, it represented a major milestone for a group of residents committed to helping their neighbors in need.

When that donation was given to Cassi Danzl, HAC’s director of Family and Individual Services, it pushed the group, better known as the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH), over $1.5 million raised since it was formed in 1993.

HAC founder Rick Presbrey said the genesis of DYECH was “to prevent people from entering shelters and motels and keep them in housing,” an effort spearheaded by the late Bob Murray in conjunction with parishioners and staff at Christian churches in Dennis and Yarmouth that had reached out to HAC asking how they could support the agency.

And so DYECH was born. Golf tournaments, ham and bean dinners, chicken pot pie suppers and community concerts are just a few of the ways they have raised money to prevent homelessness on Cape Cod and the Islands over the past 24 years.

DYECH has also been able to raise funds from the bulk purchase of gift certificates to participating stores such as Shaw’s, Stop & Shop, Whole Foods and CVS. It then sells those gift certificates at face value to those in the community. For every dollar spent, DYECH receives five percent that goes directly to HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts for families.

Debbie McDevitt-Hayes of Yarmouth, who has been involved with DYECH since the beginning, recalled that the late Art Kimber, a member of the clergy at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Yarmouth, and Deacon David Akin of St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth, were instrumental in the launch of DYECH and bringing neighboring churches into the fold.

DYECH’s Early Days
“Those early days were exciting days for sure,” she said, noting that it was less about the money raised and more about the number of families they were able to help. “HAC was good at keeping us posted as to putting a personal face on what was happening. Sometimes you’d meet some of the clients that you helped which was really exciting.”

As to DYECH reaching this fundraising milestone last month, she said, “I’m sure if we put the faces on that $1.5 million it would have a huge impact.”

Akin said the reason for the continued dedication to DYECH is simple: there are people in need. “They say that for 60 or more percent of Cape Codders, if one or two paychecks don’t come, the party is over,” he said. “There is a real hand-to-mouth economy for the have nots.”

“I think we all have to help each other,” said Yarmouthport’s Barbara Lussier, who manages the gift certificate program for DYECH. “Some of us are more fortunate than others, but I think it’s important for us to give back.”

While all agreed there is still more to do, current DYECH President Steve Sozanski was proud of all the group has accomplished. “It’s mind-boggling to think we’ve raised that much money organizing meals and concerts three or four times a year and buying and selling gift cards in bulk,” he said.

Presbrey agreed, calling DYECH’s work “amazing, actually. For them to do it all these years is impressive and also the energy with which they do it. They’ve kept up the program and prevented people from being homeless and keeping them in their current housing. It’s been a huge thing, really.”

To learn more about ways you can help prevent homelessness simply by purchasing a gift card to a local supermarket, store or restaurant, click this link.

You can also purchase gift cards at HAC's office at 460 West Main Street in Hyannis. Contact Margaret Benaka at 508-771-5400, ext. 272, or at mbenaka@haconcapecod.org for more information. 

Tags: DYECH, homeless prevention, Cassi Danzl, Project Prevention, homelessness prevention, Gift Cards for prevention, Steve Sozanski, Rick Presbrey, David Akin, Barbara Lussier, Debbie McDevitt-Hayes, St. Pius X School

Prevent Homelessness on Cape Cod While Doing Your Holiday Shopping

Posted by HAC Staff on Wed, Nov 30, 2016 @ 06:30 AM

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The Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH), which supports HAC’s Project Prevention, has gift cards available for purchase to over 100 stores, restaurants and movie theaters (from Amazon to Zappos). When you purchase gift cards through this program, merchants give a percentage of the sale to homelessness prevention. For example, if you buy a $25 gift card for the Gap, your gift card is worth the full $25, but the Gap donates 14 percent ($3.50) to Project Prevention.

All of the money raised through this program is given directly to families in need, providing them with emergency funds so they can remain in their homes and off the streets. To purchase gift cards, go to www.shopwithscrip.com. The enrollment code to help DYECH and HAC is 561B698219989.

Cards can be picked up at Yarmouth Appliance Clinic at 61 White’s Path in Yarmouth one week after you place your order. Don’t forget to place your order early!

If you have questions about the program please email DYECH at dyech@comcast.net

Tags: Project Prevention, DYECH, homeless prevention, Gift Cards for prevention, holiday shopping

DYECH Approaches Major Milestone

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 @ 05:10 PM

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Success does not happen overnight. And neither does change. But the Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) has achieved both through a commitment to helping those most in need on Cape Cod.

The council, now in its 23rd year of existence, is closing in on a major milestone that directly impacts HAC clients: $1.5 million raised for the agency’s Project Prevention program, which provides short-term financial assistance for those at risk of homelessness.

A portion of the funds DYECH raises comes from relatively small, meaningful fundraisers like these upcoming ones:

  • Big Band Concert on Tuesday, September 27 at 7:30 pm at St. Pius X Life Center at 21 Barbara Street in Yarmouth. The concert is free and there will be a good-will offering.
  • The 99 Restaurant at 14 Berry Avenue, West Yarmouth, will be donating a portion of your check to DYECH on Thursday, October 13 from 11:30 am to 9 pm. You must present your server with this flier in order to participate in the fundraiser.

These are fun, simple ways you can help DYECH reach its fundraising milestone, all while ensuring your neighbors on Cape Cod can remain in their homes.

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, fundraiser

Jazz Ensemble to Perform for DYECH Fundraiser

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

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For more than 15 years, the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) has organized a free concert twice a year, all in an effort to support those in need. 

DYECH will do so once again tomorrow (Tuesday, June 28) at 7:30 pm when the Cape Cod Conservatory Jazz Ensemble performs at the St. Pius X Life Center in South Yarmouth. It's an event that demonstrates the power of music in opening up people's hearts, helping to raise funds for HAC's Project Prevention program which ensures residents struggling with their bills are able to remain in their homes and off the streets. 

"We usually raise about $1,000 a concert," said DYECH's Steve Sozanski. That money is raised through a free-will offering. 

Sozanski said the concert is always well-attended, giving residents and tourists alike the opportunity to listen to "music you won't hear on the radio. It is the old classic music that makes you tap your toes like Benny Goodman and Count Basie. It is really good and the people who attend it really love it. Sometimes people will even break out into dancing on the floor." 

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, homeless prevention, Cape Cod Conservatory Band

Taking Steps to Prevent Homelessness on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jun 05, 2015 @ 02:21 PM

Dining for a Cause (June 2015) resized 600

Homelessness is a serious issue, but finding ways to combat it can be enjoyable.

That’s exactly DYECH’s (Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Homeless) approach to the issue on Cape Cod. Over the next two months, the organization will be holding fundraisers for HAC’s Project Prevention program that keeps people off the streets and in their homes. We are confident you’ll find these events will be pleasing to your stomach and pleasing to your ears while ultimately filling your heart with the satisfaction that you helped your neighbors in need.

It starts on Thursday, June 11, from 11 am to 8 pm, when the 99 Restaurant in West Yarmouth will donate 15 percent of your total bill to DYECH. Simply print out the voucher about and present it your server that night. 

On Tuesday, June 30, the Cape Cod Conservatory Jazz Band will be playing a free concert at the St. Pius X Life Center on Barbara Street in South Yarmouth, at 7:30 pm.  And on Sunday, July 5 at 2:30 pm, you can continue with the holiday spirit by attending a free patriotic concert at the St. Pius X Church.

There will be a free will offering at both concerts to raise funds for HAC’s homelessness prevention programs.  

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, homelessness prevention, HAC, housing assistance corporation, 99 Restaurant, Cape Cod Conservatory Band

Cape Cod Caring Cards Prevent Homelessness

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 @ 12:06 PM

Since 1993 keeping Cape Codders in their homes and off the streets has been as simple as purchasing a gift card. Well, make that thousands of gift cards.

A program started more than two decades ago by the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) and later adopted by the Barnstable Interfaith Council (BIC) has been a resounding success.

Known as Cape Cod Caring Cards, the program is simple: DYECH and BIC purchase gift cards in bulk from stores such as Stop & Shop, Shaw’s, Roche Brothers and Lambert’s. In return the two nonprofits receive five percent on every purchase.

The gift cards are then sold at face value to consumers. The five percent then goes directly to HAC to oversee Project Prevention which provides financial assistance to help residents on Cape Cod struggling with their bills stay in their homes.

Last year over $80,000 was raised by Cape Cod Caring Cards that went towards Project Prevention. And more than $1 million has been raised during its 21 years of existence. None of this would be possible without the churches, businesses and organizations that sell these gift cards directly to residents.

Thanks also go out to those who participate in the caring card program because it allows people to remain in their homes on Cape Cod.

To learn more about Cape Cod Caring Cards and where you can purchase a gift card for yourself or a loved one click on this link

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, HAC, Cape Cod Caring Cards