Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

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

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.

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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

Volunteer Mollie Reis: ‘A Force For Good’ At Carriage House

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

MollieMollie Reis (1933-2013)

By ALISON ALEWINE

When I think of Carriage House, I think of Mollie Reis. If she were not there from day one, it was soon after. She made sure that this shelter was a lovely welcoming home to all the women and children who passed through the doors.

She started out as an extra pair of hands doing whatever was needed but soon began to let us know what was needed and that she was going to meet those needs. A handicapped accessible bathroom was a need and we were (by Mollie’s standards) not responding fast enough, so she did it! That year at HAC’s Annual Meeting among the awards given was one to Mollie Reis: the Golden Toilet Award!--a small, gold replica of a toilet to acknowledge her achievement.

If you have been to Carriage House or seen a picture of it, you know it appears more like a Bed & Breakfast than a shelter. Mollie made sure for 20 plus years that the inside matched the veneer. She got decorators to donate time and materials to make each bedroom special for each guest. Paint, paper, rugs, pictures, comforters – each room could have been featured in Better Homes and Gardens.

Whenever things began to look less than fresh, Mollie did each one over again. Remodeling the kitchen was a favorite activity. Always done in hues of blue and purple (Mollie’s colors!) and the walls were filled with special touches to make the area look both homey and tasteful.

The fitness center at Carriage House is another of Mollie’s gifts. She realized that physical activity was a necessary component of life especially for stress relief. Who could be more in need of stress relief than single mothers of small children who were struggling and homeless. Her friends always knew about the needs and assisted Mollie in meeting them. Saying no to Mollie or her plan was not an option.

Mollie’s oversight and fundraising and gifts to Carriage House were each special but her persona was the teaching tool for clients and staff. No Pollyanna but more of a Mary Poppins, Mollie was a force for good to be reckoned with, and her HAC family will miss her.

Tags: Homeless on Cape Cod, HAC Volunteer Recognition, housing assistance corporation, Carriage House, HAC Volunteers, Molly Reis

Don’t Miss the Annual Meeting & Volunteer Recognition

Posted by Julie Wake on Tue, Apr 16, 2013 @ 07:00 AM
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There’s still time to register for Housing Assistance Corporation’s 38th annual meeting and volunteer recognition dinner, to be held 5-7 p.m. April 25 at the Cape Codder Resort and Spa, 1225 Route 132, Hyannis.

The Rev. John Terry of the Federated Church of Hyannis will be presented with the Presbrey Public Service Award in recognition of his service to those in need on Cape Cod.

Other honorees include the Cape Cod Community Media Center (the Business Partner Award) and the Barnstable Police Department (the Human Services Partner Award). Scott Barron and Bob Zibbell, longtime drivers at the Village at Cataumet, are this year’s Volunteers of the Year.

This year’s annual meeting and volunteer recognition is sponsored by Shepley Wood Products (shepleywood.com), a Hyannis-based company that received HAC’s Business Partner Award in 2012.

Dinner will be served and a cash bar will be available. RSVP by April 22 by visiting www.HAConCapeCod.org.

Tags: HAC Annual Meeting, HAC Volunteer Recognition, Volunteer Cape Cod, housing assistance corporation, Housing on Cape Cod, HAC Volunteers, Shepley

Annual Meeting Honorees Named

Posted by Julie Wake on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 @ 11:30 AM
Housing Assistance Corporation’s annual meeting and volunteer recognition dinner will be held 5-7 p.m. April 25 at the Cape Codder Resort and Spa, 1225 Route 132, Hyannis.
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Among those being honored at HAC’s 38th annual meeting will be the Rev. John Terry of the Federated Church of Hyannis, who will be given the Presbrey Public Service Award in recognition of his service to those in need on Cape Cod.

This year’s recipient of the Business Partner Award is the Cape Cod Community Media Center, whose staff and volunteers go beyond the call of duty in putting together a live showing of the NOAH Telethon every December.

The Barnstable Police Department will receive the Human Services Partner Award in recognition of the department’s sensitivity in dealing with the Cape’s homeless population.

Scott Barron and Bob Zibbell, longtime drivers at the Village at Cataumet, will be this year’s Volunteers of the Year recipients.

This year’s annual meeting and volunteer recognition is sponsored by Shepley Wood Products, a Hyannis-based company that received HAC’s Business Partner Award in 2012.

Dinner will be served and a cash bar will be available. RSVP by April 11.
describe the image This event has been generously sponsored by Shepley!

Tags: HAC Annual Meeting, HAC Volunteer Recognition, Volunteer Cape Cod, housing assistance corporation, Housing on Cape Cod, Shepley