Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Choose Your Own Affordable Home in Yarmouth

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Oct 25, 2017 @ 01:46 PM

Yarmouth Buydown Photo.jpg

With housing at a premium, becoming a homeowner on Cape Cod continues to be difficult for low- to middle-income wage earners. In Yarmouth, a handful of residents will have an opportunity to achieve that dream through a buydown program HAC is administering for the town.

The program will enable 4 residents to purchase a market rate home at an affordable price. “Inventory has gotten really expensive so a buyer could find a market rate property priced at $289,000 and buy it at $189,000 with a deed restriction,” said Gael Kelleher, HAC’s director of Cape Community Real Estate. “It is the best deal in town. You can’t beat it.”

Qualified applicants must be first-time homebuyers (some exceptions apply), earn 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Barnstable County, and have no more than $75,000 in household assets. To participate in the program, residents must fill out an application and return it to HAC’s offices at 460 West Main Street by Friday, November 17 by 5 pm.

Applications are available at HAC; Yarmouth Town Hall at 1146 Route 28; Yarmouth Housing Authority at 534 Winslow Gray Road; and all Yarmouth public libraries.

Winners will be selected by lottery and will receive a buydown of 35% of the purchase price of a market rate home of their choice, up to $100,000. The following are maximum prices of homes that can be purchased in Yarmouth through this program: $339,000 (four bedroom); $319,000 (three bedroom); $295,000 (two bedroom); and $273,000 (one bedroom).

Any house purchased through the program will be recorded and deed restricted as affordable.

Contact HAC Real Estate Assistant Betsie Rumbaugh at ccre@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 285 for more information on the Yarmouth Buydown Program.

Tags: Gael Kelleher, Cape Community Real Estate, homeownership, affordable homeownership, Yarmouth Buydown Program, Yarmouth

HAC Holds Information Session for Mill Hill Affordable Units

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jun 09, 2017 @ 02:49 PM
Mill Hill-1.jpgHAC Real Estate Assistant Betsie Rumbaugh answers a question about the lottery application for the affordable units at Mill Hill Residence in Yarmouth. 

When our loved ones grow older, how will we be able to care for them? It’s a question more Cape Codders are asking, particularly with an aging population; a Community Health Needs Assessment published by Cape Cod Healthcare last fall noted that nearly 26% of Barnstable County’s year-round population is over the age of 65, compared to 14% in Massachusetts and 13% in the nation.

The University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute predicts those numbers will only grow, estimating that by 2035 nearly 35% of the county’s population will be over 65.

That will bring with it a host of challenges that South Yarmouth’s Debbie Martin and Barnstable’s Cheryl Gibson are already grappling with. The pair were among a handful of residents who attended an information session focused on eight affordable units being built as part of Mill Hill Residence in Yarmouth that staff in HAC’s Cape Community Real Estate department held last month at the Yarmouth Senior Center.

Mill Hill is the latest assisted living facility that Maplewood Senior Living has constructed on Cape Cod. Last year, HAC conducted a lottery for 14 affordable units at Maplewood in Brewster. HAC will be doing the same for the eight affordable units in Mill Hill; a total of 75 units are being constructed there, representing a mixture of assisted living and memory care units.

Gael Kelleher, director of Cape Community Real Estate, said HAC’s role is to determine the eligibility of those applying for the affordable units based upon their income and assets. She said that interested applicants and caregivers should not disqualify themselves or a loved one before applying, noting that there were 45 people eligible for the 14 affordable units in Brewster. 

Both Gibson and Martin attended the session not for themselves, but for their mothers. “It is a lot for families,” Gibson said of serving as a caregiver. Her mother will soon turn 89 and would benefit from being in a facility like Mill Hill that offers memory care services. “There’s so many different aspects of it, between making sure she takes her medication on time to having some social stimulation rather than staring at the TV by herself.”

It was a similar story for Martin, whose 89-year-old mother currently lives at Thirwood Place, an independent living community for seniors in South Yarmouth. “She is at a point where she needs memory care,” Martin said.

She said having affordable units that provide the kinds of services that Mill Hill does make it an attractive option. And it’s something that more people on Cape Cod will require. “When my generation – I’m a Baby Boomer – starts to retire, we are going to demand a lot more options like this,” she said. 

Interested in applying for an affordable unit at Mill Hill Residence? Click this link to download a lottery application. 

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Senior Housing, Gael Kelleher, affordable housing, Betsie Rumbaugh, Mill Hill Residence, Maplewood Senior Living

Staff Take Advantage of HAC Services

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, May 15, 2015 @ 01:19 PM

 

By CORNELL STUDENTS

One of the qualities HAC employees are known for is their compassion for the people they serve. That compassion may lie in the fact that occasionally staffers are clients, and therefore understand the emotions one goes through when seeking help from HAC.

Ann Rebello, HAC’s accounts payable clerk, is a prime example. A few years ago, she was struggling to afford the high costs of rent on Cape Cod so she moved in with her daughter to lessen the financial blow. When her daughter eventually moved out, Rebello looked to colleague Cheryl Kramer, manager of HAC’s Housing and Consumer Education Center (HCEC), for guidance.

“I wanted to see if I could get a consolidated loan to pay my bills so maybe I could afford a little more (rent),” Rebello said. “But when Cheryl saw my credit, she said, ‘Why don’t you try to buy?’ I didn’t think I could afford to buy, but she told me that mortgages are less than rent.”

That one meeting led Rebello to work with Gael Kelleher, the director of real estate for HAC’s Cape Community Real Estate (CCRE), in 2013 to find an affordable home she eventually purchased in South Yarmouth. “Being able to buy a house at my age with my income is nothing short of a miracle,” Rebello said.

Today, Rebello could not be happier. At the end of July, she will be celebrating her second anniversary as a homeowner on Cape Cod.

At HAC, Rebello is not alone. Volunteer coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin and her husband, who moved to Massachusetts in the spring of 2008, ran into financial complications while trying to sell their previous home in Arizona in the midst of one of the worst economic recessions in recent history.

As a result, the couple moved in with Everett-Patriquin’s mother, saving money to afford their own place. During that time, she was hired by HAC’s communications and development team, and enrolled in the nonprofit’s Homebuyer Education class.

Afterwards, she utilized HAC’s services as Kelleher acted as their real estate agent and was able to find them a condominium in Yarmouth that the couple moved into about a year and a half ago. Like Rebello, Everett-Patriquin could not be more pleased with the assistance she received as a client.

And both agreed that one of the most satisfying aspects of their home purchases was that it was able to generate a profit for HAC. As a nonprofit real estate company, CCRE supports itself and generates funds for HAC programs every time they help a client buy or sell a home. For Kelleher that is the strength of her department. “We don’t make it for profit,” she said. “We make it to do good.”

Tags: alternative spring break, HACbeat, Cornell University, HAC, Mary Everett Patriquin, Gael Kelleher, Ann Rebello

The Joy of Becoming a Homeowner on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 @ 10:08 AM
Durante Family Photo resized 600Scott and Lynn Durante with their children Hailey (from left), Anthony, Charlotte, Elizabeth and Jeweleann in their Cotuit home.

How does one celebrate becoming a first-time homeowner?

After he and his wife closed on their new home in Cotuit - but before they moved in at the end of October - Scott Durante did so by sitting quietly on the front steps of that house, thinking about how his life was about to soon change for the better. “It was an amazing feeling to know a lot of our hard work was actually paying off,” he said.

A little more than a month later, as the holiday season began, Scott went shopping for a Christmas tree to put in that home. Of course, he purchased the biggest one he could find for his living room. “It was too dang big for the room,” he laughed. “But it was my first year as a homeowner so I decided we’ll have a huge tree. It was great, especially having them [our kids] wake up and be in their own home on Christmas. My oldest daughter is almost 16 and never had a home of her own until now.”

Until a few months ago, Scott, his wife Lynn and their five children Elizabeth, 15; Jeweleann, 13; Hailey, 11; Anthony, 7; and Charlotte, 2, had only rented homes in Centerville, never knowing the satisfaction and pride that comes with being a homeowner.

That changed two years ago when the Durantes were informed by their landlord that he was intending to sell their rental.

So the couple visited Gael Kelleher, HAC’s director of real estate, asking her for guidance. Kelleher suggested they may qualify for a USDA loan which helps low-income families become homeowners.

Since then Scott and Lynn took the requisite classes through HAC’s Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) to help rebuild their credit and prepare them for becoming first-time homebuyers.

“The thing that’s so good with them is they followed all the rules,” said Kelleher. “They took the class. They fixed their credit. They did everything a first-time homebuyer should do.”

HAC Provided Much-Needed Help

Scott, who works full-time as a tow truck driver, had similar praise for the work HAC did in helping his family which has gone through some difficult times over the years.

In 2007, the Durantes had to move out of their home and into his mother’s house in West Barnstable after he lost his job. “HAC has been great,” Scott said. “When we were down and out a couple of times, my wife called you. At one point we were referred to a shelter, but we didn’t take it.”

The family’s problems did not end there. Five years ago, he and his wife noticed their son was having physical difficulties – eye fluttering, pausing when he walked – so they took him to a neurologist. Anthony underwent an MRI, discovering that he had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in his brain, requiring surgery.

“It was very scary being told your son is going to have brain surgery to save his life,” Scott said.

Today, Anthony is a healthy vibrant boy though he requires therapy to address his physical and sensory needs. “He is very smart, but you have to kind of keep him engaged,” Scott said. To that end, the Durante’s home in Cotuit has been a blessing. A room with a hot tub has since been transformed into a recreational space for Anthony.

“It was good to get our own home so we could build a room for his needs,” Scott said.

The house, a small saltbox with three bedrooms, a finished basement and a wooded lot, has also been a much-needed gift for the entire family which includes pugs Bella and Brutus. Thanks to the home, the Durantes have been able to save more than $400 a month in their mortgage compared to what they paid in rent.

Perhaps the best part for the Durantes is the freedom they have since gained. “You don’t have to call the landlord and ask him what color paint is acceptable or if you can put up a shelf,” Scott said. “You don’t have to ask the landlord to replace the stove or refrigerator. We have the freedom to do whatever we want, to a point, and don’t have to answer to anybody else.”

 

Help Other HAC Clients  Become First-Time Homebuyers

Tags: Cape Cod, Scott Durante, homeowner, Housing on Cape Cod, Gael Kelleher

HAC's Workout Group More Than Just Physical Exercise

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 @ 11:36 AM
HAC Workout resized 600 HAC's Deanna Bussiere walks the balance beam during a circuit training session with personal trainer Julie Johnson (second from right).

“You didn’t touch it,” Ruth Bechtold of HAC’s Energy Department teased her fellow coworker, Joan Maney, as they ran power drills along a row of orange cones situated in front of the Hyannis West Elementary School. “You have to go back.”

“I came close,” Maney shot back, in reference to the mandatory requirement of touching each cone as she ran past.

Welcome to the afternoon HAC workout group – it is part comedy, part social and all fun, with a good dose of physical exercise thrown in. “You could make a YouTube video of us and it’d get a million hits,” said Gael Kelleher, HAC’s director of real estate. “We would go viral.”

The sessions take place twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays and first started in October 2012 as a HAC health and wellness initiative. Under the tutelage of personal trainer Julie Johnson, participants go through an array of activities that test one’s endurance, strength and physical prowess.

On this day a total of four HAC employees – event and resource coordinator Deanna Bussiere was the other participant – took part in the voluntary activity that comes with a minimal cost, a portion of which the company covers.

Exercises ranged from walking across a series of balance beams, planking on a swing and traversing a jungle gym which allowed Bechtold and Bussiere to recapture a part of their childhood by testing out the kids slides.

The best part of the workout may be the bonds formed among those active in the group where teasing, laughter and jokes are rampant, underscored by a genuine affinity they have towards one another.

HAC Workout 2 resized 600Joan Maney (left) and Ruth Bechtold (right) of HAC tone their arms as trainer Julie Johnson looks on.

“I had my hip replaced,” Kelleher says at one point, prompting Bechtold to ask, “What did I have replaced?”

“You’re just old,” Kelleher joked.

And as they did push-ups on wooden tables Joan marveled at the wildlife around her. “Oh, I got an inch worm,” she said. “Two inch worms!”

“There are ten of them over here,” Kelleher said.

Of all the participants Kelleher may get the most out of the group, especially after having hip replacement surgery in December 2013. “I couldn’t even walk or go grocery shopping afterwards,” Kelleher admits. “It is so much better now. I never want to come, ever, but I feel so much better when it is over. I’m so glad that I do it.”

Compared to the rest of the group Kelleher said she is “usually a few steps behind,” though she does not let that stop her.

And Johnson is flexible, modifying her workouts to accommodate any pain or discomfort that those like Kelleher may be feeling.

What makes the sessions unique, said Margaret Benaka, HAC’s resource development coordinator, is that Johnson tailors the workouts to each individual. “You don’t have to be in the best shape,” she said. “It is for everybody.”

Benaka, who writes a newsletter about the exercise group, has been one of the few to participate since its inception. “I have seen a big difference even when I do yard work,” she said. “I don’t hurt anymore whereas when I used to rake the yard or put down mulch I’d feel like I was in traction. You can actually feel your body getting used to working out.”

Bussiere said the activity also serves to exercise other body parts, including the brain. “There’s been ideas that have come out of these workouts,” she said. “You get your hormones pumping and ideas start to pop into your head.”

HAC is the first company where Johnson has been able to apply her expertise to weekly workout sessions, calling this contingent “a fun group… I think there is a real camaraderie to this. They cheer each other on and support each other,” she said. “It has been cool to watch them get stronger and help each other and get healthier. And as we know the healthier your employees are the better work you get from them, right?”

HAC Workout 3 resized 600Though there are plenty of laughs, the workout group also gets a healthy dose of physical exercise that helps to improve their strength and conditioning.

Tags: HAC Workout Group, Exercise, HAC, Deanna Bussiere, Gael Kelleher, Physical Fitness, Julie Johnson, Margaret Benaka