Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Yarmouth Concert Helps Prevent Homelessness on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Sun, Jun 22, 2014 @ 09:45 AM

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Twice a year for nearly 15 years the Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) has organized a free concert providing a night of musical enjoyment for residents and tourists alike.

But that joy has extended to complete strangers – those on the verge of losing their homes – thanks to the money raised over that time. Through goodwill offerings the concert series has been brought in roughly $20,000, all of which has gone toward HAC’s Project Prevention program that aims to keep people who are struggling with their bills in their homes and off the streets.

“It is much cheaper and much more economical to keep people in their homes than trying to get them back into housing once they are kicked out of their house and are forced to stay in their car or motels,” DYECH’s acting president Steve Sozanski said.

On Tuesday, June 24 DYECH will once again do its part to ensure Cape Codders will never experience the horrors of homelessness by holding a concert featuring the Cape Cod Conservatory Jazz Ensemble. The event, which begins at 7:30 PM, will take place in the Parish Life Center at St. Pius X Church at 21 Barbara Street in South Yarmouth.

“It is actually old-fashioned type of music which older people all recognize and some of the younger people never heard before, like Count Basie, but will still enjoy,” Sozanski said. “It is really cool music.”  

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, Steve Sozanski, music

Help Prevent Homelessness by Dining at the 99 Restaurant

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Jun 02, 2014 @ 11:29 AM

This Thursday the 99 Restaurant in West Yarmouth has kindly offered to donate 15 percent of your check to the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council to Prevent Homelessness (DYECH).

That money will then be funneled to HAC's Project Prevention program which helps Cape Codders struggling with their bills to remain in their homes.

In order to participate in the fundraiser simply print out this voucher and present it to your server on Thursday, July 5 between 11 AM and 8 PM.

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Tags: Homeless on Cape Cod, Homeless, DYECH, Project Prevention, HAC

Boston Marathon Takes on Special Meaning for Cape Resident

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Apr 18, 2014 @ 02:39 PM

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Since 1999 Gerald “Curly” Carey has run 27 marathons, but there was only one he did not finish – last year’s Boston Marathon.

The marathon bombings and subsequent manhunt for the suspects were well documented in the news, capturing the nation’s attention in the days and weeks that followed. And for many runners, like South Dennis’ Carey, it represented a difficult time. “I would say the first week afterward was very emotional watching TV and knowing that five years prior I would have been coming in at the time the bombs went off,” he said. “It was very emotional and it still is.”

He anticipated this year’s Boston Marathon – his 14th time running it – will carry similar weight. “It will be an emotional race for me, especially the last mile and a half because I didn’t get to finish last year,” he said.

Instead, like the thousands of other race participants who had not yet crossed the finish line, Carey found himself searching for loved ones – his wife Kelly was planning on watching him finish – as helicopters flew overhead and the sounds of fire and police sirens could be heard racing towards the crime scene.

He estimates he has helped raise close to $50,000 for the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council’s (DYECH) Project Prevention since 2001 when he was inspired to somehow give back in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A conversation with David Akin, a deacon at St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth and a member of DYECH, convinced him to focus his efforts locally. “He told me we have a big problem on Cape Cod,” he said, in reference to the region’s homeless population.

Though he has run dozens of other races, Carey holds a special place in his heart for the Boston event, listing a litany of reasons from its history to its stature as a worldwide event to the difficulty of the course itself. The race also serves as a fundraiser to a cause important to Carey: fighting homelessness on Cape Cod.

Carey’s money has gone towards Project Prevention which HAC oversees and which ensures Cape Codders struggling with their bills will never find themselves on the street. “Last year I was able to raise $2,044 and through that effort at least three families were able to stay in their homes and avoid being homeless,” Carey wrote in his fundraising letter for this year’s marathon.

He expressed pleasure in being in a position to help those who are less fortunate. “When I find out where the money is going and that it keeps people in their homes it makes me proud,” he said.

Along with running marathons, Carey serves monthly meals to the homeless as a member of the Yarmouth Rotary, an experience he has found rewarding. “I have a beautiful house in South Dennis. I have a good life,” he said. “One of the things my parents taught me is you have to give back. That is what keeps me going.”

It was his mother Mary, who passed away in 1997, who he dedicated his first Boston Marathon to in 1999. To this day the 57-year-old Carey honors her spirit every time he runs the historic race which will take on special meaning this month because of the lives that were lost and those that were injured last year. “If I had to run it on crutches I would do it,” he said. “It really means a lot to me.”

Help Curly reach his goal! Send a tax-deductible donation to "Run to Prevent Homelessness," c/o Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council, P.O. BOX 507, Yarmouthport, MA 02675

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, Athletics, Curly Carey, Boston Marathon, David Akin

Golf Day To End Homelessness A Success At Bass River

Posted by Laura Reckford on Thu, Aug 15, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

Ken and Janice Lyman of Yarmouthport have long been supporters of Housing Assistance Corporation’s Project Prevention through their church, St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth, but the couple decided they could do more.

Mr. Lyman suggested this spring that his club, the Retired Men’s Club of Cape Cod, raise money for the cause through one of their golf tournaments. The club schedules about five tournaments every spring and fall to raise money for various charities.

The “Golf Day To End Homelessness—Closest-to-the-Pin Contest” was held Monday, May 20 at Bass River Golf Course. About 80 people attended, Mr. Lyman said.

The event raised $700 for Project Prevention.

Also involved in helping with the tournament, including the critical role of working at the tee and measuring the distance to the “pin,” were David Puchalsky of South Yarmouth and Paul and Marcia Karhu of Dennis, who are members of the Congregational Church of South Dennis, which, like St. Pius X is among the 13 churches that are part of Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH).

Paul Karhu had been involved for the past two years in running a similar golf tournament at Dennis Highlands. Success of the tournament was limited so he was interested in switching the fundraiser to Bass River Golf Course. Mr. Karhu has also participated over the years in HAC’s Walk to End Homelessness. He did his first walk in 1999.

Tags: housing, Homeless on Cape Cod, Homeless, DYECH, Project Prevention, Prevention, HAC, housing assistance corporation, Housing on Cape Cod

Fundraisers This Month To Benefit DYECH For HAC

Posted by Laura Reckford on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 @ 04:58 PM

Several fundraisers to help prevent homelessness are coming up this month in Yarmouth. Mark your calendar for two free concerts and an opportunity to dine out to benefit Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical  Council for Housing Assistance Corporation.

The Cape Cod Conservatory Jazz Ensemble with Tyler Newcomb will perform on Tuesday, June 25 at 7:30 PM at the Parish Life Center at St. Pius X Church at 21 Barbara Street in South Yarmouth. The church phone number is 508-398-6889. Barbara Street is off Station Avenue (exit 8).

The second concert is the American Gala Concert scheduled for Sunday, July 7 at 2 PM in St. Pius X Church. The concert will feature the St. Pius X Choir, Music Ministry and special guests performing inspirational music directed by Mark Girardin.

Free will offerings will be taken at both concerts.

On Wednesday, June 26, if you dine at the Ninety Nine Restaurant between 4 and 8 PM, 15 percent of the meal will be donated to Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical Council to Benefit HAC. The Ninety Nine Restaurant is located at 14 Berry Avenue in West Yarmouth. You must bring a voucher with you for the donation to take place. Download this Ninety Nine voucher.

More news to help our neighbors in danger of becoming homeless: Cape Cod Caring Cards, formerly known as food certificates, are now being sold at Our Lady of the Highway Chapel, which is located on Forest Road in Yarmouth, after the 8 AM and 9:30 AM Sunday Masses. The cards are grocery gift cards in which a portion of the amount spent is donated to Housing Assistance Corporation’s Project Prevention to help prevent homelessness.

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Tags: Homeless on Cape Cod, DYECH, Project Prevention, housing assistance corporation

DYECH Presents Its Largest Gift to Project Prevention

Posted by Julie Wake on Sun, Mar 17, 2013 @ 09:00 AM
Since 1993, the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) mission has been clear: to raise money for HAC’s homelessness prevention programs. The mission, by all accounts, has been a resounding success. More than $1.3 million has been raised, and hundreds of Cape Cod families have been helped.
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Last month, David Akin, a deacon at St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth and past president of DYECH, presented a check for $25,000 to HAC CEO Rick Presbrey. The gift came from an anonymous donor and is the largest single donation ever to DYECH.

The donor gave the gift in honor of his mother, an 80-year-old resident of Yarmouth who rides her bike each day to St. Pius. When he wanted to pay tribute to her, he asked Akin to suggest a worthy fund.

In February, DYECH also presented Project Prevention with a donation of $8,500, funds raised through a holiday concert and the sale of grocery and retail gift cards.

“DYECH continues to be the greatest support for family homelessness prevention that we could ever hope for,” said Allison Alewine, HAC vice president of operations.

HAC’s Project Prevention stops homelessness in its tracks by preventing it from happening in the first place, providing short-term financial assistance to people at risk of homelessness. It is also a program that saves money; family homelessness costs the taxpayer more than five times the cost of prevention ($10,000 as opposed to about $1,500).

An update on BIC clients

Just as DYECH supports HAC’s efforts for family homelessness prevention, the Barnstable Interfaith Council (BIC) raises funds for individual homelessness prevention. In a recent letter to BIC supporters, Greg Bar, HAC’s individual housing search specialist, described some of his clients who had been helped recently with Project Prevention funding.

• Brett and Arlene paid a past due electric bill so they can move forward after job loss and illness.
• Cindy is 60 years old and lives on Martha’s Vineyard with her 18-year-old son. She works, but got behind on rent because her hours were temporarily reduced.
• Dennis and Emily are two former NOAH Shelter clients who struggled to get a stable life and have succeeded. They wanted to move into a safer apartment and needed some financial help.
• Irene is a mason in her 30s. Work got light the past couple of months and she got behind on rent. BIC funds helped her stay in her apartment.

DYECH and BIC support Project Prevention through the sale of grocery and other gift cards. When you purchase gift cards through this program, merchants give a percentage of the sale (usually 4 to 8 percent, but in some cases as much as 18 percent) 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.

To purchase grocery or retail gift cards, go to www.HAConCapeCod.org/donate and click on “grocery cards for prevention” or “gift cards for prevention.”

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, Gift Cards for prevention, grocery cards for prevention

Housing Assistance Corporation - A Night to Thank Our Volunteers

Posted by Julie Wake on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 @ 03:12 PM

Dolores BommerAbove: Dolores Bommer receiving her citation from Susan Rohrbach and Tom Bernardo.

At the start of this year’s annual volunteer recognition dinner, HAC CEO Rick Presbrey asked the large group of HAC volunteers how many years of service had they been involved in, counting up from one. The years of service grew until a couple on one side of the room claimed the longest at an impressive 22 years.

Bob and Janet Winter, who have been serving meals at the NOAH Shelter for over two decades, were among the guests at the volunteer recognition dinner on May 31 at Our Lady of Victory Church in Centerville. “Our volunteers reinforce our belief in doing something worthwhile in life,” said Presbrey. “HAC depends so heavily on volunteers. We could not do our work without you.”

Rick Brigham, NOAH development director, recognized Dolores Bommer, a longtime Wednesday night meal service volunteer at the NOAH Shelter. “It was a cold and rainy night,” remembers Dolores of her first visit to the shelter. “I knew I had to do something. I could make soup.” Over the past 13 years Dolores and her team have served thousands of meals. Dolores was presented a statehouse citation by Susan Rohrbach, district director for State Sen. Dan Wolf, and Tom Bernardo, community relations director for State Rep. Demetrius Atsalis.
Also recognized with statehouse citations were two Project Prevention supporters: the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Homeless (DYECH), which raised $50,500 in 2011 and more than $1.2 million since 1994, and the Barnstable Interfaith Council (BIC), which gave $19,000 in 2011 and $289,936 since 2011. “The breadth and the depth of the giving of this community is tremendous,” said Connie Raleigh, HAC’s director of individuals housing services.
For information about volunteering with HAC, contact volunteer coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin at 508-771-5400, ext. 279, or volunteer@HAConCapeCod.org.

We are currently looking for volunteers for this year's annual Big Fix in Dennis on September 29, 2012. 

Volunteer for Big Fix Mashpee!

Tags: DYECH, Volunteer Cape Cod, NOAH Shelter, Big Fix, HAC Volunteers