Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Shelter Telethon Puts Face to Cape's Housing Issues

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jan 20, 2017 @ 04:24 PM

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Holding a microphone in her right hand and a handwritten essay on a piece of paper in the other, Autumn Rivieccio’s words came out slowly and softly. “When I slept in my car one night with my mom and dad I really learned what homelessness was,” she started.

Perhaps no moment during last month’s Shelter Cape Cod Telethon was more poignant than that one; the moment when a 10-year-old student at the Nathaniel H. Wixon Innovation School in South Dennis, spoke about her experience of sleeping in a car and living in motels.

There were “six or seven motels” to be exact. Perhaps the worst part, Autumn said, is that “we couldn’t have friends over.”

In September, that changed when Autumn and her parents moved into a home in West Yarmouth. “I feel like an actual family because friends and family can come over,” she said, adding that, “my favorite thing is my own room that I can decorate.” Her favorite decoration is a poster with a white kitten holding onto a rope; on it are three simple words: “Hang in There.”

Now in its 13th year, the telethon not only raised awareness to the region’s housing issues, it helped put a face to those impacted by them. People like Autumn Rivieccio and Cathy Gibson, the chair of HAC’s Constituency Committee.

Gibson, a former client, praised HAC for assisting her, first through its voucher program and then its Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. “The programs run by housing assistance really need to be exactly what they are intended to be: a leg up to be able to set yourself on a path that leads towards self-sufficiency,” she told co-host Matt Pitta of Cape Cod Broadcasting.

Throughout the night, both Pitta and co-host Mindy Todd of WCAI, spoke to those within the agency as well as those outside HAC about ways they are working to address the Cape’s housing issues.

The event also served as a way forward, raising nearly $80,000 for HAC in support of its mission to ensure that all on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket have access to safe, secure housing.

Since 1974, when CEO Rick Presbrey founded the agency, it has been committed to that work. At the end of the night, Pitta took a moment to ask Presbrey about his legacy as he will be retiring in March. “The organization is going to continue. It’s helped 160,000 people and that’s going to continue,” Presbrey said. “I have tried to establish very positive values in how to treat people, how to be honest, and essentially to always be respectful to others, and I think that will stay and I feel good about that.”

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Tags: Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, homelessness, Homeless on Cape Cod, Matt Pitta, Rick Presbrey, Mindy Todd, Fundraising, housing, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod

Take Advantage of HAC's Tax Credits This Holiday Season

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Dec 05, 2016 @ 01:10 PM

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With the holiday season here, donating to HAC is one way to ensure those in need are cared for at a time of year when they could use it most. Especially with colder temperatures coming, HAC’s work can make a major difference in the lives of those struggling to get by and who may be working two or three jobs just to remain in their apartment or home.

Thanks to HAC’s tax credits, you can make your holiday gift to HAC go further this year. The tax credits are for those who donate over the $1,000 threshold and are either new donors or who double their donations from last year.

In return for your donation, you will receive half back in tax credits. This is on top of the federal tax deduction you are allowed to declare for charitable giving.

Aside from the tax benefits, you can be confident that your gift may be helping a neighbor in need, someone who may be one paycheck away from homelessness. Your gift could help them remain in their apartment and off the streets. And isn’t that what the holiday season is all about?

For more information about HAC’s tax credits, click this link or contact Margaret Benaka at mbenaka@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 272.

Tags: Tax Credits, Community Investment Tax Credit Program, charitable giving, Fundraising, holiday giving

Shelter Telethon Addresses Homelessness on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 @ 10:00 AM
Matt Pitta and Lin Rohr-1.jpgTelethon host Matt Pitta from Cape Cod Broadcasting Media interviews Lin Rohr, the director of HAC's Angel House shelter. Pitta will be returning, along with WCAI's Mindy Todd, to serve as hosts of this year's telethon. 

For the 13th straight year, HAC will be holding its Shelter Cape Cod Telethon during the season of giving. The telethon, which takes place on Thursday, December 8, from 5 to 9 pm, at the Cape Cod Community Media Center in Dennis Port, helps place a spotlight on the region’s housing and homelessness issues. It also raises funds to support HAC’s homelessness programs which include its three family shelters – Angel House in Hyannis; Carriage House in North Falmouth; and The Village at Cataumet in Bourne – as well as its scattered site units, homelessness prevention for individuals and families and its outreach services for the homeless living in the streets and woods of Cape Cod.

Laura Reckford, HAC’s director of community relations and fundraising, said the lineup will be similar to last year’s, featuring HAC staff, board members and volunteers as well as public officials and representatives from a variety of businesses and organizations that are working to address homelessness and improve housing on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Those interested in sponsoring the telethon should contact Deanna Bussiere, HAC’s event and resource development coordinator, at dbussiere@haconcapecod.org or at 508-771-5400, ext. 270.

HAC also relies on volunteers to serve as phone fundraisers to ensure the agency can continue to address the region’s homeless issues. The event is ideal for businesses or groups, serving as a way for them to give back to the community in a meaningful way during the holiday season. To sign up, click the Santa icon below. 

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Tags: Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, Matt Pitta, homelessness, Fundraising, Laura Reckford, volunteerism

Care Packages Donated to Cape's Homeless

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Aug 19, 2016 @ 10:55 AM
First_Citizens_Photo.jpgDella Sattin (from left) of First Citizens Federal Credit Union was joined by her colleagues Linda Wilson and Kristen Boyd-Higgins in dropping off donations to HAC’s Deanna Bussiere. 

Earlier this year, First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union started planning a fundraiser to collect items for the homeless off-Cape. When several local branch managers heard of the drive, they decided they wanted to do their part on Cape Cod.

“We wanted to do something on Cape to help the homeless here,” said Hyannis branch manager Linda Wilson. “And the NOAH Shelter came to mind.”

So from April 1 to the end of May, customers and staff of all Cape branches were encouraged to participate in Project Care Package, donating toiletries such as soap, toothpaste and lip balm as well as umbrellas, rain ponchos and $5 gift cards to fast food restaurants.

Wilson delivered those donations – over five boxes worth of small blue bags – to HAC in the middle of June along with Mashpee branch manager Della Sattin and Orleans branch manager Kristen Boyd-Higgins. The bags will be given to those at HAC’s NOAH Shelter, which serves the region’s homeless men and women.

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Tags: homelessness, NOAH Shelter, Fundraising

HAC's Quahog Challenge Returns for Second Year

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 @ 11:34 AM
Quahog_Winners_15.jpgLast year's winners of the Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, Susan Buckley and Nathan Nickerson of Arnold's Lobster & Clam Bar, will be returning to defend their title. 

On Route 6 in Eastham, there’s a large poster of chef Susan Buckley proudly holding a gold trophy with a quahog on top with the words, “2015 Winner of Best Stuffed Clam on Cape Cod” emblazoned on it. 

That image, which hangs in front of Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar, was taken shortly after Buckley won last year’s inaugural Cape Cod Quahog Challenge at Trader Ed’s in Hyannis.

Organized by HAC, the summer event is a way to highlight a regional culinary favorite all while going to support the nonprofit’s housing programs on Cape Cod and the islands. Featuring some of the top local restaurants and chefs, the challenge seeks to find the best stuffed quahog on all of Cape Cod.

Last year, that honor went to Buckley who was joined at the event by Arnold’s owner Nathan Nickerson. As the reigning champs, the pair will be back to defend their title.

As for their chances of repeating, Buckley was confident. “I’m very proud of these,” she said of the restaurant’s stuffed quahogs. “It took a long time to perfect them.”

List of Competitors Growing
Returning to the challenge is Trader Ed’s and Spanky’s Clam Shack in Hyannis. Joining them are newcomers Wicked n’ Wood, a catering business owned by Falmouth’s Dan Sawyer, and Buddha Belly Kitchen, a food truck owned by Chadchai Lohr.

When asked what makes a great quahog, Sawyer answered simply, “it starts with a good, clean, fresh quahog.” His recipe features Portuguese bread and mixes in a signature butter that includes either honey garlic, toasted coconut or sweet chili lime.

Stuffed quahogs, he said are “a Cape Cod tradition” and he was eager to submit his entry into this year’s competition.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Billy Moore, owner of Spanky’s Clam Shack. Like the other competitors, he expressed confidence in winning, but stressed the most important aspect of the challenge is that it benefits HAC.

“The thing I liked most was the sense of joy in knowing that you are helping out the less fortunate through Housing Assistance Corporation,” Buckley said in agreement.

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Are You Up for the Challenge? 

If you're a chef or restaurant owner and you want to compete in the Cape Cod Quahog Challenge on Sunday, August 7, from 1 to 4 pm, at Trader Ed's, contact HAC's Deanna Bussiere at 508-771-5400, ext. 270 or at dbussiere@haconcapecod.org

Click here to learn more about the quahog challenge. 

Tags: Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, Quahog Challenge, Fundraising, HAC Events

A Family Bond Inspires a Connecticut Teen to Give Back

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Oct 02, 2015 @ 02:01 PM

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There is a power to music that is difficult to measure. It not only serves as a form of creative expression, but it moves people to do extraordinary things.

And in May, it did just that inside a home in Weston, Connecticut. There, far removed from Cape Cod, music inspired 45 people to donate $11,286 to HAC’s Angel House shelter.

The connection between Angel House and Weston, starts in Osterville, where longtime HAC supporter Margaret Mullin lives. Every summer Mullin’s 23 grandchildren visit, including her youngest, 17-year-old Thomas Rosiello.

For roughly three weeks during the past four summers, Thomas has become a familiar face at Angel House where he volunteers at the shelter’s play space, helping play and care for its children. “I function as an extra person, doing whatever is needed: playing with kids, cleaning up after snacks, anything that I can help with,” he said. “The best part for me is playing with the kids. It’s not only fun for them, but fun for me.”

He credited his grandmother, who he calls Greta, for motivating him to donate his time to HAC while on summer vacation. “I saw clearly that she was a large supporter of Angel House and it meant something to her,” he said. “With her being one of my heroes, I saw it as a great chance to do some good and support something which she clearly thought was special.”

When not visiting Cape Cod, Thomas spends his time in Weston, where he lives with his parents Barbara and Robert Rosiello. It is there that Thomas came up with an idea to extend his support of Angel House even further. He decided to organize a concert, performing with The Hopkins Harmonaires, an all-male acapela group at Hopkins School where he is currently a senior.

Thomas_Rosiello_Photo_2The Hopkins Harmonaires at this spring's Angel House fundraiser in Connecticut.

So this spring, Thomas invited friends and family over for an evening of music that included everything from classics to more modern selections like “Wagon Wheel” by Mumford & Sons and “Here We Go” by Dispatch.

Aside from his parents and grandmother, the nearly 75 people in attendance were unfamiliar with Angel House, a Hyannis shelter focused on providing treatment and support for mothers – all are homeless and overcoming some form of addiction – and their children. So Thomas gave a short speech, explaining the work being done there and his ties to the shelter and the people it serves.

And that is when people gave.

Encouraging such philanthropy is something that was instilled in Thomas at a young age. “It has always been a large focus,” Thomas said.

His experience at Angel House has only cemented those early childhood lessons and the importance of being civic-minded. “They sort of help you be happy,” he said of his motivation for this fundraiser: the children in the shelter. “Particularly at Angel House, with them being in such tough circumstances, when I show up, everyone puts a smile on my face.” 

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Tags: homelessness, Thomas Rosiello, Philanthropy, Community Service, Fundraising, Angel House