Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

HAC Adds to Its Board

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jun 21, 2018 @ 11:15 AM

Tamasi, Raymond V

Raymond Tamasi

At HAC’s 44th Annual Dinner & Volunteer Recognition last month, the agency welcomed four new members to its Board of Directors.

The new members are Ashley Moore Baker of Chatham; Catherine Baker of Cotuit; Dr. Kumara Sidhartha of South Dennis; and Raymond Tamasi of Mashpee.

Ashley Baker currently is the Deputy Vice President of Institutional Giving for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). She previously served as the development director for the Cape Cod Foundation.

Ashley Baker Photo

Ashley Baker

Ashley's commitment to affordable housing started during her master's program in Community Economic Development and her work as a housing analyst with the Vermont Housing Conservation Board. She lives with her husband and two children in Chatham.

A 2018 Cape & Plymouth Business Magazine 40 Under 40 honoree, Catherine Baker is the advancement associate at Cape Cod Academy. She previously served as the Operations Director at Cape Cod Young Professionals (CCYP).

Headshot_Catherine Baker

Catherine Baker

A familiar face at HAC’s Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, Dr. Sidhartha is the medical director at Emerald Physicians in Hyannis. He has been in preventative medical practice for more than 15 years with a focus on nutrition.

Dr. Sidhartha has been principal investigator and study designer for Farm and Local Health Alliance for Fruit and Vegetables in Outcome-based RX program (FLAVORx), the nation's first randomized controlled trial design to research blood tests for outcome measurements in a free fruit and vegetable prescription program for vulnerable populations.

Ray Tamasi has over 40 years of experience managing treatment, intervention, and prevention services. For 25 of those years he was the CEO of Gosnold. Last year, he transitioned to become the president and founder of the Gosnold Innovation Center which is focused on developing and testing innovative treatment methods, progressive prevention programs, and effective recovery management services.

Tags: HAC Annual Meeting, HAC Executive Board, Emerald Physicians, Annual Dinner, Board Members, Catherine Baker, Ashley Baker, Raymond Tamasi, Kumara Sidhartha, Gosnold

Recognizing Volunteers, Donors at Annual Dinner

Posted by Laura Reckford on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 @ 11:57 AM
Annual Meeting-1-10Volunteers of the Year winners Richard and Bernadette Waystack of Harwich. 

Housing Assistance is a special place. We make dreams come true.” Those words were spoken by Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC) CEO Alisa Galazzi at HAC’s 44th Annual Dinner and Volunteer Recognition. Telling the stories of several of HAC’s clients, Galazzi kicked off the event with heartwarming examples of success.

As it is every year, the event was an opportunity to celebrate the hundreds of volunteers and donors who support the agency on an annual basis. More than 250 people turned out to the event on May 3 at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis, which was once again sponsored by Shepley Wood Products. Tony Shepley, founder and CEO, was on hand to greet those gathered for the Annual Dinner.

This year’s honorees for Volunteer of the Year were Bernadette and Richard Waystack of Harwich. The couple have participated in the Bob Murray Housing With Love Walk, walking the entire Cape, from Provincetown to Falmouth, for many years to raise funds for HAC.

Three awards all honored participants in the Big Fix. Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub earned the Business Partner Award for their annual efforts providing lunch for the hundreds of volunteers at the annual Big Fix over the past five years. 

Annual Meeting-2-9Mashpee Boy Scout Troop 36 received this year's Human Service Partner Award. 
Mashpee Boy Scout Troop 36 received the Human Service Partner Award for volunteering at the Big Fix for the past several years. Assistant Troop Leader John Cotton also participates in HAC’s annual Shelter Cape Cod Telethon. This year, he also participated in HAC’s new initiative, the Cape Housing Institute.

The Making A Difference Award went to Home Depot, which supported the Falmouth Big Fix by providing more than $20,000 in supplies to use at the homes of senior citizens, disabled people, and veterans. Home Depot also sent a large volunteer team to the Big Fix. In addition, the company has hired a number of clients from HAC’s Angel House shelter who are recovering from substance abuse.

HAC gave a special posthumous award, the Lifetime Benefactor Award, to Barton Tomlinson, who passed away last year. Mr. Tomlinson supported the Angel House shelter for many years with generous donations. The classroom space at Angel House where the clients heal from the trauma of addiction will be named the Barton Tomlinson Clinical and Classroom Space in his honor.

Tags: Housing with love walk, HAC Annual Meeting, HAC Volunteer Recognition, Annual Meeting, Richard Waystack, Bernadette Waystack, Angel House, Big Fix, HAC Volunteers, Bob Murray, 99 Restaurant, Falmouth Big Fix, Annual Dinner, Mashpee Boy Scouts, Home Depot

HAC's Annual Dinner Celebrates Those Making a Difference

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Mar 09, 2018 @ 03:38 PM
Home Depot-1.jpgThe 2017 Home Depot Big Fix team. HAC is honoring Home Depot with the Making a Difference Award at its Annual Dinner in May. 

HAC’s 44th Annual Dinner & Volunteer Recognition in May will have a decided Big Fix slant to it.  

Three of this year’s award winners have been heavily involved in the annual day of service in which HAC mobilizes over 200 volunteers to fundraise for the agency and to volunteer their time to make small home improvements for seniors, veterans and disabled homeowners in one town on Cape Cod every fall.

The Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub, the recipient of the 2018 Business Partner Award; Mashpee Boy Scout Troop 36, the recipient of the Human Service Partner Award; and Home Depot, the recipient of the Making a Difference Award, all have lent their support to the Big Fix over the years.

Also being honored are Bernadette and Richard Waystack of Harwich, who have been chosen for the Volunteer of the Year Award. Since 2014, the couple have participated in the annual Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk, walking one end of the Cape to the other over the course of one week each July, to raise funds for HAC’s housing programs.

The pair were humbled by the honor, saying it is a “reminder to us of all the hard work so many people have done for decades to raise awareness and support for homelessness and housing insecurity on the Cape. We have just been two small cogs in the wheels carrying on and joining the fight in the best way we could.”

99 Restaurant-2.jpg99 Restaurant & Pub staff cook burgers and hot dogs for Big Fix volunteers in Brewster.  The local restaurant is being recognized for its support of HAC with the Business Partner of the Year Award. 

Since 2013, when HAC brought its Big Fix to Mashpee, Jim Kiley, the regional vice president at the 99 Restaurant & Pub, has generously donated his staff’s time and talents to cook lunch for the hundreds of volunteers who show up to the event.

Those volunteers have annually included Troop 36, which also started its involvement in the Big Fix that same year.

Assistant Scout Master John Cotton said the event is always among the most popular for those in the troop, which includes his son Christian. “It’s a rewarding feeling every time when we complete the project because the individuals we’re helping come out and tell us what it meant to them,” John said. “When you have 20 kids listening to [the homeowner] and no one is talking, you can see it in their faces. They are all choked up. It is intense and it is amazing.”

Home Depot is another organization that has lent its support to the Big Fix with employees from several of its Southeastern Massachusetts stores volunteering for the event. Last year, the Home Depot Foundation took that support a step further when it provided HAC with a $22,000 grant that went towards supplies for the Big Fix in Falmouth.

In addition to its involvement in the Big Fix, the Home Depot’s Hyannis store has served as a stepping stone for clients at HAC’s Angel House shelter to move forward in a positive direction. Several of the mothers who are recovering from substance abuse at the shelter have been hired at the store, giving them the confidence they need to help turn their lives around.

44th Annual Dinner & Volunteer Recognition

When: Thursday, May 3, 5-7:30 pm

Where: Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannnis

Cost: $20 per person (free for all 2017 volunteers)

Register for HAC's Annual Dinner

Tags: HAC Annual Meeting, HAC Volunteer Recognition, Annual Meeting, Richard Waystack, Bernadette Waystack, HAC Volunteers, volunteer, 99 Restaurant, John Cotton, Annual Dinner, Mashpee Boy Scouts, Home Depot

Annual Dinner to Honor Those Making Impact on the Cape

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Feb 09, 2018 @ 01:57 PM

HAC Annual Dinner Photo (February 9, 2018).jpg

HAC’s 44th Annual Dinner & Volunteer Recognition will be held on Thursday, May 3, from 5 to 7:30 PM, at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis. 

The event, which is being sponsored by Shepley Wood Products will honor individuals, businesses, and organizations making an impact in the community.

It is also a way for HAC to honor its volunteers who support the agency in a number of ways, from cooking meals at the agency’s family shelters to assisting with mailings to driving shelter clients to and from appointments to serving as childcare assistants in our shelters.

“The event is a special time for us to recognize our wonderful volunteers who give so much to our clients and staff throughout the year,” HAC’s Volunteer Coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin said. 

The theme of this year’s Annual Dinner is “Doing Great Things Together” and HAC will be using that concept in handing out the following awards: Volunteer of the Year; Business Partner; Human Service Partner; and the Making a Difference Award. HAC will be announcing award recipients later this month.

The Annual Dinner is free for all 2017 volunteers. There is a $20 entry fee for all other attendees.

Registration for the Annual Dinner will be available online at HAConCapeCod.org
starting Thursday, February 22. Click this link to read about last year's Annual Meeting. 

Tags: HAC Annual Meeting, Annual Meeting, Mary Everett Patriquin, volunteer, Annual Dinner

Annual Meeting Celebrates Rick Presbrey's Legacy

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Apr 06, 2017 @ 04:15 PM
2017 Annual Meeting-44-1.jpgHAC founder Rick Presbrey with new HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi. During her speech at HAC's Annual Meeting, Galazzi acknowledged Presbrey's efforts, saying, "None of us would be here if it weren't for you." 

Housing is the foundation upon which all of our endeavors stem from. “Home is where we make our dreams come true,” new HAC Board Chair Mark Forest said. “Home is where we launch our lives. And it is the mission of HAC.”

That mission and the man behind it – HAC founder Rick Presbrey, who retired at the end of January – were celebrated at the agency’s 43rd Annual Meeting & Volunteer Recognition held last month at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis.

Forest, who succeeds outgoing Chair David Augustinho, was one of several to recognize Presbrey’s contributions at HAC’s Annual Meeting. He relayed one story from the early 1980s when a group of people approached Presbrey wanting to create a nonprofit that eventually became the Community Development Partnership in Eastham.

“Rick’s response was, ‘Good idea. How can I help?’” Forest said. “If you went to Rick over the years that is what he would say, ‘Good idea. How can I help?’ For every one of his [accomplishments] we touch or reflect on tonight, there are dozens of others that people don’t even know about.”

New HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi spoke about the importance of her predecessor’s work as it relates to the agency’s services. “We all know that housing is where everything starts,” she said. “Nothing can be accomplished without having a safe, affordable house.”

Presbrey, who started HAC in 1974, said his was a career that was focused on helping people. “We never said no to a need ever,” he said. “We helped as many people as we could. The number now is over 160,000 people. Every one of those that we helped is incredibly important.”

Annual Meeting-10.jpgIn his speech, HAC founder Rick Presbrey (center) acknowledged longtime HAC staffers Michael Sweeney and Nancy Davison who both retired in the past year. 

That work continues under Galazzi’s leadership and guidance. During the night, she called on the community’s support, stressing that “it is going to take all of us” to address Cape Cod’s housing issues.

Among those heeding that call are businesses and organizations like the Cape and Islands United Way, Emerald Physicians and Cape Save which were all honored at HAC’s Annual Meeting.

“The incredible amount of work that goes on through the employees of HAC and its programs is an essential prescription for the health of our community,” said Dr. Kumara Sidhartha, who accepted this year’s Volunteer of the Year Award on behalf of Emerald Physicians.

Barbara Milligan, president of the United Way which was the recipient of the Human Services Partner Award, eagerly accepted Galazzi’s challenge. “Let’s get this problem solved,” she said. “Let’s work on it together.”

HAC also honored Michael Princi, who has served as the agency’s lawyer for 40 years and organized a holiday gift basket party for children in shelter for the past 25 years, as well as longtime board member Edgar Mangiafico, who was the recipient of this year’s Presbrey Public Service Award.

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Cape Save was the recipient of the Business Partner of the Year Award. The Yarmouth-based company insulates low-income homes for HAC's Energy and Repair Department. 

Tags: HAC Annual Meeting, HAC Volunteer Recognition, HAC Energy, Michael Princi, Rick Presbrey, HAC Volunteers, Alisa Galazzi, Ed Mangiafico, Cape and Islands United Way, Cape Save, Emerald Physicians

Annual Meeting Recognizes Those Making an Impact on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Feb 03, 2017 @ 12:07 PM
Rick Retirement-3.jpgThis year's Annual Meeting will be a celebration of Outgoing CEO Rick Presbrey's legacy. Presbrey, who founded the agency in 1974, is retiring this year. Incoming CEO Alisa Galazzi, who started in January, is replacing him. 

HAC’s 43rd Annual Meeting & Volunteer Recognition in March will be a seminal one, representing a changing of the guard as we celebrate Outgoing CEO Rick Presbrey and welcome Incoming CEO Alisa Galazzi. Presbrey is retiring after 43 years with the agency; in 1974 he founded HAC to oversee the state’s rental voucher program on Cape Cod.

The meeting, which will be held on Thursday, March 23, from 5 to 7:30 pm at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa, will also recognize individuals and organizations that are working to make a positive impact in the community.

The event is also a way to thank the more than 750 volunteers who support HAC in its mission of ensuring all on Cape Cod have access to safe, secure housing. One of those volunteer groups, Emerald Physicians, will be the recipient of HAC’s Volunteer of the Year Award.

The medical group has served as phone fundraisers, filling more than a dozen seats for a half hour at HAC’s Shelter Cape Cod Telethon for the past eight years. “They have been so extraordinary every year,” said HAC Volunteer Coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin, who noted that Emerald Physicians and HAC often serve the same clientele. “I feel so blessed we work together in helping those in need on Cape Cod.”

The Cape and Islands United Way has been chosen for HAC’s Human Services Partner Award. Since 2005, the nonprofit has provided HAC with more than $243,000 in funding that has gone to support the Angel House shelter in Hyannis, homelessness prevention for families and individuals and homeless efforts on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. “Providing housing stability and affordable housing for our residents is a priority for our organization,” said Barbara Milligan, the CEO of the Cape and Islands United Way. “We’re honored to have been able to partner with and support the outstanding work that HAC has done for many years.”

The Business Partner Award is going to Cape Save of South Yarmouth, which has been insulating low-income single-family and multi-family homes for HAC’s Energy and Repair Department for more than a decade. “They definitely deserve it,” said Al DiMuzio, interim director of the energy department. “They have a mindset much like HAC.”

Ed Mangiafico Photo.jpg
The final honoree is longtime HAC board member and former board chair Edgar Mangiafico (pictured above) of Chatham, who is the recipient of this year’s Presbrey Public Service Award. 

HAC’s Annual Meeting & Volunteer Recognition
March 23 ~ 5 to 7:30 PM

Cape Codder Resort & Spa,
1225 Rte. 132 Hyannis

Tags: HAC Annual Meeting, Rick Presbrey, HAC Volunteers, Alisa Galazzi, Ed Mangiafico, Cape and Islands United Way, Cape Save, Emerald Physicians

Annual Meeting Celebrates Those Making a Difference

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, May 16, 2016 @ 12:47 PM
Annual_Meeting_16-Web6.jpg2016 Volunteer of the Year Ron Winner (second from left) with Tony (from left) and Lorraine Shepley and Ron's wife Wendy Winner.

Nearly five years ago Diane Barry came to Cape Cod at one of the lowest points in her life. She was homeless and struggling with substance abuse.

Her destination was HAC’s Angel House shelter in Hyannis. “I was looking for a new start,” Barry told nearly 300 attendees at HAC’s 42nd Annual Meeting & Volunteer Recognition last month. “At Angel House I got the support that I needed and I was loved when I couldn’t love myself.”

Today, Barry is happily married, with three children, including a daughter she was able to reconnect with thanks to the support of Angel House. She will be five years sober in November. And she lives in a HAC-owned apartment in Hyannis, calling herself “blessed to be able to stay here on Cape Cod.”

Last year, HAC helped hundreds of people not unlike Barry, making a difference in their lives when they needed it most. At its Annual Meeting, HAC took time to honor those assisting the agency in that effort.

“We help everybody,” CEO Rick Presbrey said in speaking about the importance of HAC’s work. “We spend time with them. We care about them. We try to show them they are important to us and they are important to themselves and they have lots of potential and there are solutions to their problems.”

To that end, 784 volunteers donated 17,835 hours assisting staff in showing clients that they matter. One of those volunteers, Ron Winner, has done so by preparing meals at HAC’s NOAH Shelter and for mothers and their children at Angel House.

HAC recognized Winner with the Volunteer of the Year Award. “Ron shows other people he cares and that gives them hope,” HAC’s Deanna Bussiere said in presenting the award. “Sometimes hope is just what people need to try to change their lives.”

A Challenge to Others

This year’s Business Partner Award was given to Bill and Linda Zammer, owners of Cape Cod Restaurants, who have been longtime supporters of HAC. Mr. Zammer challenged other businesses to step up and help those in need. “That is what it’s all about,” he said. “It’s about us doing it.”

In presenting John and Kathy Ohman, co-founders of FORWARD (Friends Or Relatives With Autism And Related Disabilities) with the 2016 Human Services Partner Award, HAC’s Housing Development Project Manager Kate Ferreira said, “What I admire most about Kathy and John, among other things, is their commitment to their community and their perseverance in seeing things through.” HAC is working with FORWARD to build housing for adults with autism or related disabilities in Dennis. Two of the Ohmans three children are on the autism spectrum.

Annual_Meeting_16-Web11.jpgJohn  (left) and Kathy Ohman (second from right) with HAC CEO Rick Presbrey and HAC Housing Development Project Manager Kate Ferreira. The Ohmans were the recipients of the 2016 Human Services Award.

The Transitional Living Center Committee was the recipient of the Make a Difference Award. The committee is working to find a new site for the living center that will eventually replace HAC’s NOAH Shelter. Its members include Chair Elizabeth Wurfbain, executive director of the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District (BID); Deborah Krau, vice president of the Greater Hyannis Civic Association; Barnstable Police Chief Paul MacDonald; Heidi Nelson, CEO of Duffy Health Center; Paula Schnepp, the regional network coordinator for the Cape & Islands Regional Network to Address Homelessness; Abbott “Sid” Davidson of the Lyndon Paul Lorusso Charitable Foundation; and HAC’s Rick Presbrey.

“We all wanted to recognize this group for the work they’ve done so far and say, you know, let’s keep this going,” Presbrey said. “Let’s keep plowing along and get it done and let’s get something we’re all happy with.”

The meeting ended with HAC paying tribute to former employee and volunteer Mitzi Holmes who passed away at the end of last year. Mitzi’s sister-in-law Margaret and sister Johanna were in attendance with the latter proudly saying, “my sister talked nonstop about HAC and her passion for your work.”

Click this link to see more photos of this year's Annual Meeting & Volunteer Recognition. 

Tags: HAC Annual Meeting, Annual Meeting, NOAH Shelter, Housing on Cape Cod, The Transitional Living Center, Transitional Living Center of Cape Cod Committee

Rick Presbrey's Editorial: Just a Start

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Sat, Jan 17, 2015 @ 08:33 AM

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Two weeks ago, New Year’s week, I took off. My son is home from college and my daughter, her husband and their three kids were here from North Carolina for the week. My son started his car restoration project, which I am a part of, planning to work on it most of the month of January until he goes back to school. I also watched lots of football and started watching last year’s episodes of “Fargo” with Melanie.

Being away from work for 12 days in all, Christmas included, without taking a trip gave me a real escape from thinking about work 24/7. Today is my first day back at work and it is hard to get back into the swing of things. There is a lot to do, but the day-to-day continuum has been broken and I have to reorganize.

Instead of reorganizing first, I just jumped into getting a couple of things done, including writing this, and I have an uncomfortable feeling that I am forgetting a lot of things.

What was going on that needed attention way back in the week before Christmas?

One thing was working on nominees for the Annual Meeting this spring. Another was our strategic planning work to plan for the agency’s future and the retirement of several senior employees, including me. We are also planning the full development of the Day Center at the NOAH Shelter and we have a new facility director starting at Angel House today.

Plus, we will have a new governor soon take office and a new director of the state housing agency, DHCD. And I have to get back to fundraising which involves meeting with lots of people to talk about ways they can support our efforts. And last, on this list anyway, is looking to see how we did financially during the first six months of our fiscal year.

Having now, with your help, thought through this I’d better start planning my work for this year. And today is the day to do it, the first work day for me in January 2015.

Next month, I will let you know what the highlights of this year are going to be.

Tags: HAC Annual Meeting, HAC, Rick Presbrey, Day Center at NOAH

Finding a Home on Cape Cod Thanks to the NOAH Shelter

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 @ 02:10 PM

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Sit down with Tracey Dalton for even a minute and you will encounter someone who is largely positive, and considers herself blessed. “I’ve never been happier in my entire life,” she says honestly.

But it was not always this way. Less than a decade ago Dalton was lost, emotionally, physically and spiritually. For a seven-year period Dalton bounced around Atlanta, Miami, Maine and Cape Cod, a woman without a home or a purpose.

Her bed was wherever she could lay her head. On some nights it was in her Ford pick up truck. On other nights it was in an abandoned warehouse in less than ideal neighborhoods. Then there were the nights when she would sleep on the back porches of homes owned by complete strangers.

Alcohol and drugs were common, partially the result of two major car accidents that left her with a brain injury.

Her plight became so bad that she was losing that which meant the most in her life – her children, twins Heather and Sara Read, 32, of Miami, and Jessica Read-Feeley, 31, of Yarmouth. “I really just had the clothes on my back,” she said.

From that abyss, Dalton was able to find herself. Hers is a story of redemption, one that happened here on Cape Cod, where she moved to be closer to her youngest child. Dalton credits a number of organizations that starts with Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC) and includes Cape Cod Hospital and Duffy Health Center, among others, for providing a light at the end of what had been a dark tunnel.

None of this was easy. In fact, Dalton admits, the most difficult moment of her life was the day she walked into NOAH, HAC’s homeless shelter in Hyannis. It was the first time she had ever entered a homeless shelter during her seven years of homelessness.

“It was the most horrific and terrifying and traumatic decision I have ever had to make,” she said.

This type of reaction is one that Greg Bar sees frequently in his capacity as the shelter manager. “Nobody wants to be there,” he said.

Finding Comfort at NOAH

Despite that initial hesitation Dalton grew to find comfort at NOAH, through its staff and Bar’s guiding hand.

“It is a non-judgmental zone,” she said, emphasizing the importance of having this type of atmosphere in what can be a stigmatizing environment. “They were compassionate to people and loving, and it really made me feel better.”

And she returned that positivity to those she took shelter with at NOAH. “I’d walk in there and the first thing I’d say is, ‘It’s all about the love!’ and they would start laughing,” she said.

Dancing to music – Sister Sledge and the Pointer Sisters were favorites – and watching movies became ways for Dalton to bond with those at NOAH who all shared similar experiences of life on the streets. And it created a sense of home when she had long been without one.

“Tracey always had a brightness about her,” Bar said. “She was bright intellectually, but she also had a bright disposition and she was eager to improve her situation.”

And eventually she did, landing a rental apartment in Orleans through that town’s housing authority after spending several months at NOAH and navigating the mountain of paperwork that comes with subsidized housing.

“It looks like something out of the Bahamas,” Dalton says of her apartment which has given her not only security, but hope. This is her piece of paradise, here on Cape Cod.

Today she has turned her life around to the point she is helping others. She volunteers with the Eastham and Orleans councils on aging, the Wounded Warrior Project and she maintains her sobriety by attending regular AA sessions.

Most importantly, she has reconnected with her three daughters, and is the proud grandmother to four healthy and happy grandchildren.

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Dalton shared her story of success with HAC staff and supporters at its annual meeting earlier this month as proof that no matter what the circumstance “you can rebuild your life,” she said. “Now I have a new soul.”

She is just one example of many, Bar said, that homelessness is not permanent, noting that when he previously served as a housing search specialist in HAC’s Individual Services Department he would help find homes for at least 10 people a month who had been in similar situations to Dalton. “We hope that everybody comes to that point and we do what we can to get to that point. When somebody has lost hope you ask, ‘How do you help them find hope again?’” he said. “It is a question we are always trying to find the answer to.”

Tags: Homeless on Cape Cod, Homeless, HAC Annual Meeting, NOAH Shelter, NOAH, Greg Bar, Tracey Dalton

A Fun Night at HAC's 40th Annual Meeting

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 @ 02:05 PM

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HAC’s annual meeting could be summed up in one word – celebration.

In fact, that is exactly how the evening’s festivities kicked off: with a celebratory video in which HAC staffers, a few volunteers and some clients, danced and lip synced to Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration,” to the delight of the more than 350 in attendance at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis.

Rick Presbrey, CEO of HAC, jokingly assured the crowd the video is not indicative of what really goes on at HAC under his watch. “Whenever I’m away you get the kind of scene you got there and I was away last week and I do know what the staff was doing,” he said to laughter. “I saw little shreds of confetti and stuff on the floor, and I knew there’d been trouble.”

Presbrey used the video to highlight the positive culture that pervades the non-profit. “We have low turnover at the agency. We really do and I think there are some pretty good reasons why and that [video] is one of them: people are having a good time,” he said.

The positive nature of the event, which was sponsored by Shepley Wood Products of Hyannis, was a theme throughout the night, something that WXTK radio personality and the night’s host Matt Pitta alluded to in his opening remarks: “We are here tonight to celebrate your 40 years of making lives better for people and families here on Cape Cod,” he said.

Presbrey, one of the founders of HAC, credited his staff for helping the non-profit reach this milestone, noting they “really believe in the mission and really work uniformly towards the same goal like a team,” calling that aspect of his work over the past four decades immensely satisfying.

HAC took time to honor several individuals, groups and organizations that have helped it achieve that mission over the past year.

Volunteers Recognized

Among those were the 807 volunteers who donated 12,685 hours in 2013, prompting HAC’s Mary Everett-Patriquin to remark, “Right now I feel like the luckiest volunteer coordinator on the planet. You are such an inspiration.”

In exchange for those volunteer efforts, she said, HAC was taking $500 it had earmarked for the annual meeting and moving it into programs and services for its clients. “Five hundred dollars is a whole lot of good,” she said. “It is enough to keep a family from going into shelter and becoming homeless.”

Dennis Selectman Wayne Bergeron, his wife Janine and their children Rebecca and Michael were singled out for their philanthropy, receiving the Volunteers of the Year Award. The family has long been a fixture at HAC events, including the Housing with Love Walk, the Big Fix and the Shelter Cape Cod Telethon.

In accepting the award, Michael relayed a story from his childhood about the first time he helped his father deliver food to the homeless in Hyannis. The message he received that day was one he has not forgotten. “My father said, ‘Mike, no one plans on being homeless,’” he said. “We’ve been so blessed throughout our lives and the opportunity to give back is one of life’s true pleasures.”

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The Town of Mashpee received this year’s Business/Organization Partner Award for its role in pulling off the biggest Big Fix to date, along with its support of Great Cove which will bring 10 rental units of affordable housing to the Upper Cape community this spring.

“What we try to do is go to towns that are enthusiastic about [the Big Fix],” Presbrey said. “Well, we had no idea how enthusiastic a town could be until we ran into the likes of Mashpee.”

Mashpee Assistant Town Manager Tom Mayo downplayed the efforts made by his fellow employees and residents. “It was such an important project and it never seemed like we were doing anything special because it was so important,” he said.

Last year’s recipient of the Presbrey Public Service Award, the Reverend Dr. John Terry of the Federated Church of Hyannis, presented that award to the Reverend Lawrence Brown of Hyannis, a humanities teacher at Cape Cod Academy in Osterville.

Edied Lawrence Brown2

Mr. Brown was joined by two of his students, juniors Emily Brady and Katie Bailey, who have helped organize their school’s coffee houses and the Shelter from the Storm concert at Cape Cod Community College, both of which feature high school artists and which raise money for area charities including HAC’s NOAH Shelter in Hyannis, the Duffy Health Center and the region’s homeless veterans.

“This past year I was the student-manager and MC of one of the concerts and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” Brady said. “I can’t believe the program that he created and how much it has helped people on Cape Cod. This year it raised over $10,000 and that will help fund a Stand Down this summer and allow us to give extra money to organizations such as the Interfaith Council [for the Homeless] and HAC.”

Mr. Brown followed up his students’ comments by pointing out the hope they represented. “I mentioned we’re getting older and the question is: who is going to do the work when we’re gone?” he said. “Who is going to care the way that you care and who is going to do the things that you do? The answer is – this is the good news – they will.”

Emotional Moments

Though the night was markedly positive there were several emotional moments, including a speech from one of HAC’s clients, Tracey Dalton of Orleans, who spent seven years homeless, but found hope and recovery through the NOAH Shelter.

And Cyndy Jones, joined by her husband Ken, had many in tears as she spoke about the creation of Heroes in Transition, a Mashpee-based non-profit formed after the loss of their son, US Marine Corps Captain Eric A. Jones, in 2009 in a helicopter collision while he was serving in Afghanistan.

“We’re here because four years, five months and 23 days ago we received a knock on the door,” Ms. Jones said. “From that time we have decided to honor our son.”

The couple has done so through Heroes in Transition which has helped raise over $500,000 since 2010 that goes to support veterans, whether it be through providing therapy dogs, modifying homes, offering transitional support group therapy or financial support.

Last year Heroes in Transition helped fund improvements to several homes owned by Mashpee veterans as part of HAC’s Big Fix, and helped keep Afghanistan, Vietnam and Korean War veterans, all of whom have fallen on hard times, in their homes on Cape Cod. The non-profit was the recipient of this year's Human Services Partner Award. 

“It’s been an absolutely wonderful marriage with Heroes in Transition and HAC,” Ms. Jones said. “We’ve just loved working with HAC because of all the organizations and collaborations we’ve done with other groups, HAC is really the closest to my heart.”

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Tags: HAC Annual Meeting, HAC Volunteer Recognition, Cyndy Jones, Lawrence Brown, Rick Presbrey, Matt Pitta, Big Fix, Heroes in Transition, Tracey Dalton, Wayne Bergeron