Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Walk for Hope to Raise Prevention Funds

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, May 17, 2019 @ 01:38 PM

 

Walk Facebook Custom Share Image_Falmouthv2

On Sunday, June 2, you can take meaningful steps to prevent homelessness on Cape Cod and the Islands by taking part in Housing Assistance’s Walk for Hope.

The agency will be holding two walks, one in Hyannis and the other in Falmouth, that will help raise funds for the agency’s prevention programs. 

“With the cost of living and housing continuing to rise, many families in our region are one or two paychecks away from becoming homeless,” said Alisa Magnotta Galazzi, CEO of Housing Assistance Corporation. “This year’s Walk for Hope will allow participants to raise awareness of the issue and help address it.”

The Hyannis Walk for Hope will start and end at our Angel House shelter. The Falmouth Walk for Hope will start and end at the Falmouth Village Green. Both walks will consist of 5 miles and kick off with registration at 1 pm. The walks begin at 2 pm.

Participants are encouraged to register in advance and raise funds for Housing Assistance’s homeless prevention programs which provide one-time emergency funds to pay utility bills or rent or mortgage payments so individuals and families can stay in their homes. Last year, Housing Assistance supported 412 households on Cape Cod and the Islands through its homeless prevention funding. Since the program began in 1993, it has assisted approximately 10,000 clients in need.

The walk is ideal for church and community groups, civic organizations, youth groups, and businesses.  Individuals and groups interested in participating, can sign up by clicking the appropriate button below or register on-site the day of the walk.

Register for the Falmouth Walk

Register for the Hyannis Walk

Among those to already sign up for the Walk for Hope is Rabbi Elias Lieberman of the Falmouth Jewish Congregation as well as several of its members. “Falmouth Jewish Congregation feels privileged to support the Walk for Hope and the vital work of Housing Assistance Corporation,” Rabbi Lieberman said. “When we join the Walk for Hope this year, our feet will be praying a prayer of action and commitment to help address the housing needs on Cape Cod.”

Help Spread the Word! 

With your help, this can be a great community event that makes a difference in the lives of our neighbors in need. It starts with awareness so please invite your friends, family, and colleagues to our Facebook events: 

 

 

Tags: Project Prevention, homelessness prevention, homeless prevention, Community Service, Falmouth, Hyannis, Walk for Hope

Editorial: Celebrating 45 Years of Building Communities

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Tue, Mar 05, 2019 @ 04:28 PM

45th color logo

We have an exciting year ahead of us as we celebrate our 45 years of service. Over the years Housing Assistance has saved lives through our homeless shelter work; changed lives through our education and foreclosure counseling efforts; stabilized lives with our leased housing vouchers and weatherization; and launched dreams through our affordable sales and construction projects. We could not have achieved such success without your support. 

Now is the time for us to stand up again and lead the community to make strategic investments in our region’s infrastructure through the short-term rental tax revenue. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to set aside money to pay for big ticket items that property owners alone would have to foot the bill for otherwise. Together we can ensure that Cape Cod has a vibrant year-round community and remains a destination to visit. Now is the time to say yes to housing so we can preserve and protect our way of life on Cape Cod. For more information go to www.futurecapecod.org

I invite each of us to step up and get involved in not only helping to create housing opportunities for our year-round community but also advocating for town leadership to make investments with the new occupancy tax law. We also have work to do to change outdated and restrictive zoning that has added to the shortage of housing in our region. If we provide enough attainable housing for the people who work here so they can live here, then our local economy will become stronger and our community will continue to thrive. Housing is the linchpin that makes our economy and community work.

In the years to come, you can count on Housing Assistance to continue to provide a safety net for the homeless and people living one or two paychecks away from homelessness. And you can look to us for leadership in expanding housing options for people of all income levels. 

We invite you to attend our special 45th Anniversary Celebration on May 8th, become a housing advocate, or volunteer. If you own a seasonal rental, contact us about our Rent 365 program which offers a $1,000 incentive for homeowners who convert to year-round leases, and also provides additional landlord support. 

Please join us in creating a better tomorrow for our neighbors and our communities.  

 CELEBRATE OUR 45TH ANNIVERSARY

Join us on Wednesday, May 8 at the Cape Cinema and Cape Cod Museum of Art as we come together to celebrate 45 years of building strong communities on Cape Cod and the Islands. 

Click this link to purchase tickets as we work together to create a better tomorrow for all in our region. 

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Click the button below to get started!

Sponsor the 45th Anniversary Celebration

 

Tags: homelessness prevention, shelter, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Weatherization, Alisa Galazzi, rental housing, foreclosure prevention, Rent 365, HAC 45th Anniversary, Future Cape Cod, occupancy tax law

Secure Jobs Initiative Now Offered at HAC's Office

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Jan 02, 2019 @ 03:10 PM

HAClogoltrhd4cNoYellowGOOD

Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC), and SER-Jobs for Progress, Inc. (SER-Jobs) are pleased to announced a partnership that will locate Secure Jobs Initiative services within Housing Assistance offices at 460 West Main Street, Hyannis.

“People in housing crisis who are homeless or living just one or two paychecks away from disaster really struggle with issues of transportation as they work to stabilize their work and family living situation. Locating our services at Housing Assistance will make it much easier for clients in housing crisis to participate in the classes and services they need to land a job and build self-sufficiency,” said Maria Ferreira-Bedard, Executive Director of SER-Jobs.

The Secure Jobs Initiative is funded by the Department of Transitional Assistance and has as its overarching goal to help clients get on the path to self-sufficiency and ensure they have work that enables them to afford market rate housing for their families. Eligible families are referred to the program by their case manager or a program manager familiar with the clients and must be receiving Emergency Assistance, RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition), or HomeBASE benefits.

“The Secure Jobs program offers critical support for formerly homeless people in terms of training, resume writing, job search, transportation coordination, child care assistance, and even work clothes—all of which are necessary for clients to rebuild their lives so they can support themselves and their families,” said Alisa Magnotta Galazzi, CEO of Housing Assistance Corporation.

Housing Assistance is excited to be able to connect its clients with Secure Jobs programs in Hyannis. In the last year, Housing Assistance prevented more than 1,000 people becoming homeless through its family shelters, prevention and outreach programs, and it helped stabilize more than 2,600 people through housing vouchers, family self-sufficiency programs, weatherization and affordable housing development.

The Secure Jobs Initiative program is scheduled to begin providing services on Cape Cod on January 14. To make referrals or for more information, please contact program coordinator, Lubelia Raposo, at 508-676-1916.

Tags: homelessness, homelessness prevention, Alisa Galazzi, housing crisis, job training, Maria Ferreira-Bedard, SER-Jobs, Secure Jobs Initiative

Preventing Homelessness on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Sep 10, 2018 @ 03:15 PM

dsc_8630-resized-600

When it comes to money, $500 may not seem like much. But at HAC, it often is the difference between keeping a client in their home and them becoming homeless.

Over the past 25 years, HAC’s Project Prevention has worked to prevent homelessness through one-time emergency funds that go to pay utility bills, rent or mortgage arrears for individuals and families on Cape Cod and the Islands.

“A relatively small amount of money can resolve a really big problem,” said HAC’s Information and Client Services Manager Liz Belcher who assists individuals at risk of becoming homeless. Monica Mitchell, HAC’s family services supervisor, assists families at risk of becoming homeless.

Among Belcher’s recent clients is a woman in her 30s who holds a Section 8 voucher and was unable to work due to an injury. While she filed for unemployment and an adjustment on her rent, Belcher said, “both of those take time” so HAC used $439 from Project Prevention funds to cover her rent.

A frequent request, Belcher said, is individuals seeking money to prevent their utilities from being shut off. “Usually anywhere between $150 and $450 we give as a down payment on someone’s utility arrearage,” said Belcher. “And then we get them on a payment plan. It is really a leg up.”

homeless-prevention

On average, Belcher said, she sees at least 15 clients a week who need funds to keep them in their homes or apartments.

That funding comes from two sources – the Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) and the Barnstable Interfaith Council (BIC).

DYECH’s funding supports HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts for families while BIC’s funding goes towards individuals in danger of becoming homeless. Both raise funds for HAC through the sale of gift certificates to local supermarkets and restaurants that are sold at face value to the public. Because the faith-based groups purchase those certificates in bulk, they receive a discount, allowing five percent of each purchase to go towards HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts.

Since it was formed in 1993, DYECH has raised over $1.5 million to help keep local families in their homes and apartments and off the streets. BIC has raised nearly $400,000 for individuals.

For roughly 20 years, Deacon David Akin of St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth, has been involved in DYECH’s efforts to support HAC’s Project Prevention. “It is good for the soul,” he said of his involvement. “You’re doing something good for another human being or family.”

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Cash for Causes-1

If you shop for food at a supermarket, then you can help prevent homelessness on Cape Cod. It’s that simple.

HAC sells gift certificates at face value to the following stores: Lambert’s; Shaw’s/Star Market; Stop & Shop; Ring Brothers; Peterson’s Market & Fancy’s in Osterville; Roche Brothers; Cape Cod Natural Foods; and Whole Foods as well as Country Garden; CVS; 99 Restaurant & Pub; and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Because the Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) and the Barnstable Interfaith Council (BIC) purchase those certificates in bulk, they receive a 5 percent discount on them. For each certificate sold, that 5 percent goes to HAC to prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless.

Deacon David Akin of St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth said, “it should be a no-brainer” for people to participate in the program. “We are supposed to support our neighbors.”

Those interested in purchasing gift certificates to support HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts can do so at our office at 460 West Main Street in Hyannis.

Along with selling gift certificates, DYECH organizes free concerts twice a year where they collect donations on behalf of Project Prevention. It also works with local restaurants who donate a portion of their patrons’ checks to Project Prevention several times a year. Visit www.dyech.org for details on upcoming fundraisers.

 

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, Liz Belcher, homelessness, homelessness prevention, homeless prevention, Gift Cards for prevention, grocery cards for prevention, David Akin, Barnstable Interfaith Council, BIC

Donor Spotlight: Meg Chaffee

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Aug 01, 2018 @ 11:58 AM

 

Meg Chaffee Photo

She has worked at HAC for more than 17 years, but Meg Chaffee’s connection to the agency goes back even further when she was once a client.

“I left a domestic violence situation and was allowed to go into one of HAC’s shelters,” she said. At the time, it was only her and her son, Justus, whose name is a combination of two words – “just” and “us” – that defined all the two had when they sought help from HAC.

In HAC, Meg and her son found the necessary support and resources to make their way through that difficult period in their lives. “There’s a lot HAC has helped me with,” she said, which included providing her with two cars from the agency’s now-defunct Wheels to Work Program. “I used to take the B-Bus with my son in Hyannis. Sometimes it would take an hour and a half to get to work when I worked at Toys R Us. When I got the car, it was nice because I could go to the grocery store and laundromat on my own.”

When Chaffee left the shelter, she received a Section 8 voucher that has provided her with financial assistance in paying her rent on Cape Cod.

In 2001, HAC had an opening for a Section 8 program representative which she applied to because she wanted to find a way to give back to those in need. “I wanted to help other people,” she explained.

A Commitment to HAC

While she has done that in her role, helping to administer HAC’s Section 8 vouchers, she has taken her commitment a step further – as a HAC donor.

In May, she was one of several longtime donors to be recognized at HAC’s Annual Dinner & Volunteer Recognition as part of the agency’s Loyalty Circle. She has donated annually to HAC for over 10 years in a row.

At $10 a month, it is admittedly not a lot, but she knows that she is doing her part so the agency can help others in need. She has her monthly donation taken directly out of her biweekly paycheck.

She hopes her giving will inspire her fellow HAC employees – the agency has a total of 111 full- and part-time staff – to do the same. “I’d like to challenge all of our employees, if they’re not already donating, to make that donation,” she said.

That challenge is coming during a significant milestone in her life. Last month, she gave up her housing voucher and is now able to pay her full rent. Chaffee is just one example that the agency’s programs provide tangible results.

When asked what HAC does best, she laughingly asked, “one thing?” before answering in this way: “It makes a better community.”

Why I Give

Along with her monthly donation to HAC, Meg Chaffee participates in the agency’s Cape Cod Caring Cards program, regularly purchasing Shaw’s gift certificates which result in donations that help keep individuals in their homes and off the streets.

Organized through the Barnstable Interfaith Council (BIC), the program allows the public to purchase gift cards at face value to participating stores and restaurants, including Lambert’s; Shaw’s/Star Market; Stop & Shop; Ring Brothers; Peterson’s Market & Fancy’s in Osterville; Roche Brothers; Country Garden; Cape Cod Natural Foods; Whole Foods; CVS; 99 Restaurant & Pub; and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Because the stores sell the gift certificates to BIC in bulk, they are discounted, which allows five percent of every purchase to go towards HAC’s Project Prevention for individuals, a program to prevent homelessness.

While it does not cost her anything extra, Chaffee said, purchasing the gift cards gives her the satisfaction of knowing that she may be helping an individual who may need emergency financial assistance to either stay in their home or to find a new, more stable place to live.

Gift certificates for BIC can be purchased at HAC’s office at 460 West Main Street in Hyannis. Click here for more info on the Cape Cod Caring Cards program. 

Tags: Project Prevention, Family Shelter, homelessness prevention, homeless prevention, HAC staff, HAC donors, Donor Spotlight, Meg Chaffee, Barnstable Interfaith Council, BIC

Donor Spotlight: Jim and Helen Wick

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Dec 28, 2017 @ 06:32 PM
The Wicks-1.jpgJim and Helen Wick have been supporters of HAC for over 25 years.

By the time Jim and Helen Wick moved to West Dennis in 1983, they were officially retired. Fast forward nearly 35 years later and the couple could not be busier.

“When you retire, you don’t retire from living,” Helen explained at the end of last month inside their condo at Mill Hill Residence in West Yarmouth. “It frees time to participate in things you are really interested in.”

“I’ve been retired more than I’ve worked,” her husband of 65 years added. “Retirement is kind of like a second career… When you’ve been retired for 35 years, you want to keep your life kind of meaningful. One of the ways you can do it in a good way is associating with nonprofits.”

The Wicks have a list of several nonprofits on Cape Cod – the Dennis Conservation Trust, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Cape Symphony, and CHAMP Homes – that align with their passion for giving back to the community they live in.

HAC is one of those nonprofits at the top of this list. “I think HAC is probably one of the most innovative nonprofits I have ever witnessed,” said Jim. Over the past 25 years, the Wicks have backed up their belief in HAC’s mission by donating thousands of dollars to support the agency’s work.

Whether it’s developing affordable housing, providing educational workshops to first-time homebuyers, or offering shelter to young mothers facing homelessness, the Wicks had high praise for the wide-range of programs HAC offers that benefits those of all income ranges on Cape Cod.

Jim, who served on the Dennis Housing Authority for several years, has long maintained an interest in housing. Having the ability to support an agency like HAC whose focus is on this sector has been rewarding for him and his wife.

“There’s such a shortage of affordable housing here and young people are moving out,” said Jim, who will be turning 93 on Christmas Day.

At their age, the Wicks are showing no signs of slowing down. They hope they will inspire others to find ways they can give back, whether it’s through donations of time, money or talent. “If this encourages somebody else to donate, that would be great,” Helen said.

Make A Donation

Why We Give: The Wicks

In the early 1990s, Jim and Helen Wick attended a fundraising dinner organized by the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH), serving as their first introduction to HAC.

That dinner was where they met HAC founder Rick Presbrey and began to learn about the agency’s work which encompasses everything from operating four shelters for homeless families to developing affordable housing for low- and middle-income residents.

While the couple expressed an affinity for HAC’s broad expanse of programs, it was homelessness prevention that was the entrée for the Wick’s longtime support of the agency.

Since 1993, DYECH has raised more than $1.5 million that has provided one-time emergency funds for families, allowing them to stay in their homes and off the streets.

In addition to organizing dinners and concerts, DYECH sells gift certificates to participating grocery stores such as Shaw’s, Stop & Shop, CVS, and Whole Foods which help prevent homelessness on Cape Cod. DYECH also sells gift cards to a variety of popular stores – Amazon, iTunes, Target, Gap, and more – that raises funds for HAC’s prevention efforts.

To learn more about how you can purchase a gift card to support HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts email dyech@comcast.net

Tags: DYECH, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, homelessness prevention, Philanthropy, donations, charitable giving, HAC donors, Jim and Helen Wick

Gift Cards Help Prevent Homelessness

Posted by HAC Staff on Wed, Nov 22, 2017 @ 04:22 PM

HAClogoltrhd2C.jpg

Do you plan on buying a gift card for a loved one this holiday season? If so, you can help prevent homelessness on Cape Cod by purchasing them through the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH).

Every year, DYECH sells gift cards to over 100 stores, restaurants and movie theaters – Best Buy, Amazon, Target, Starbucks and more – that raise funds for HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts.

To purchase gift cards this holiday season visit www.shopwithscrip.com. The enrollment code to support DYECH and HAC is 561B698219989.

Cards can be picked up at Yarmouth Appliance Clinic at 61 White’s Path in Yarmouth one week after you place your order. Make sure to place your order early so you have the cards in time for the holidays!

If you have questions about the program, please email DYECH at dyech@comcast.net

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, Prevention, homelessness prevention, Cape Cod Caring Cards, Gift Cards for prevention

Dine at the 99 Restaurant

Posted by HAC Staff on Wed, Oct 25, 2017 @ 03:28 PM

99logotag.jpg

Several times a year the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) offers an easy opportunity to keep families in their homes and off the streets.

They will do so once again tomorrow (October 26), when they invite you, your family and friends to dine at the 99 Restaurant at 14 Berry Avenue in West Yarmouth. From 11 am to 8 pm, the restaurant will be donating 15 percent of your guest check to prevent families on Cape Cod from becoming homeless.

In order to participate, you must present your server with this flier

You can make your impact go even further by paying for your meal with a gift certificate to 99 Restaurant purchased through the Cape Cod Caring Cards program. By doing so, DYECH will earn an additional 13% which will go towards our homelessness prevention efforts.

There is no extra cost to purchase a 99 Restaurant gift certificate through the Caring Cards program which helps ensure families and individuals, who are struggling with their bills, can remain in their homes. To learn more about the program or to purchase a gift certificate contact HAC’s Margaret Benaka at mbenaka@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 272.

Tags: Homeless on Cape Cod, DYECH, homelessness prevention, 99 Restaurant

Helping Tackle the Vineyard's Housing Issues

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Oct 23, 2017 @ 12:33 PM

Rebecca Jamieson-1.jpg

Having been born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard, Rebecca (Townes) Jamieson knows there is a lot to love about the Island.

But HAC’s new Homeless Case Manager on Martha’s Vineyard also understands it’s a community that is not devoid of its problems. “There definitely are struggles and issues we have here,” she said. “One of the biggest issues right now we face is homelessness.”

Since the beginning of September, Jamieson has been helping HAC tackle that problem on the Island on a part-time basis, Monday through Wednesday, working out of the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority on State Road in Vineyard Haven. Her position is currently being funded through a grant from the Cape and Islands United Way.

In her role, she is responsible for providing intensive case management to families and individuals experiencing housing instability on Martha’s Vineyard. These are people who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness.

HAC Director of Family and Individual Services Cassi Danzl said that until January 2016, when the state earmarked money to cover the costs of a similar position, there was “no other existing case management services for individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness” on the Vineyard. That is why the role, she said, is so critical to this community.

And that is why Jamieson applied for the position. “I want to help the people here who are struggling,” she said. “I think that this is a place where there is so much wealth and amongst all of that wealth, we have a significant population who has little, if anything.”

Prior to coming to HAC, Jamieson served as a case manager with Arbour Counseling Services in West Yarmouth. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ashford University and a master’s of science in professional counseling from Grand Canyon University.

“She brings a really great skillset to this position,” said Danzl, adding that having lived on the Island most of her life, “she has a really clear understanding of the struggles and stressors that come with being a resident of the Vineyard.”

While still new to HAC, her hiring represents a whirlwind few months for Rebecca who was married in August to Jonathan Jamieson. She has two adult children, Kayla, 24, and Dorian, 20, as well as a six-year-old stepdaughter Laiah.

Having the opportunity to live, work and raise her own family on the Vineyard is rewarding for Jamieson. “I love the small community. I love its beauty. I love that we have wonderful weather in the summertime and snow in the winter,” she said. “Most of my family is here so it is very comforting, and a very familiar and lovely place.”

House Needed on Martha’s Vineyard

HAC is currently seeking a year-round home to rent or buy on Martha’s Vineyard that would house 5 chronically homeless adults. The home should have between 4 and 5 bedrooms and can consist of one or two structures on the same property.

Rent will be paid utilizing a grant HAC received earlier this year from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Those with a potential home should contact HAC’s Cassi Danzl at cdanzl@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 253.

Tags: homelessness, Martha's Vineyard, homelessness prevention, affordable housing, Cape and Islands United Way, Rebecca Jamieson

Wells Fargo Grant Helps Prevent Homelessness

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 @ 04:23 PM
Wells Fargo Photo-1.jpgWells Fargo’s Kristine Sullivan (from left), Briana Curran and Robert Sullivan present HAC’s Laura Reckford (middle) and Cassi Danzl with a $5,000 grant. 

It can take as little as a few hundred dollars to keep HAC clients, who may be struggling to get by, in their homes and off the streets. And thanks to the generosity of Wells Fargo which recently awarded HAC a $5,000 grant, a number of families on Cape Cod and the Islands will be able to avoid the trauma and indignity of homelessness.

“This money will allow us to assist a larger number of families this year with avoiding a housing crisis,” said Cassi Danzl, HAC’s director of family and individual services. “Many families on the Cape are one crisis or missed paycheck away from homelessness. This money will help bridge that gap and allow those families to stay in stable housing.”

Danzl was joined by HAC’s Director of Community Relations Laura Reckford in accepting a $5,000 check from Wells Fargo to support the agency’s Project Prevention program. Robert Sullivan, first vice president of investments at Wells Fargo Advisors, Kristine Sullivan, a senior registered client associate at Wells Fargo Advisors, and Briana Curran, vice president of communications and community relations for Wells Fargo, delivered the check to the pair at HAC’s West Main Street office in Hyannis.

HAC was one of 18 nonprofits in Massachusetts that were awarded nearly $250,000 in grants from Wells Fargo and the only one on Cape Cod.

“HAC provides critical services to families on Cape Cod and the Islands at risk of homelessness so they can avoid entry or re-entry into the shelter system, and I’m so proud Wells Fargo can support this important work,” said Robert Sullivan.

Tags: homelessness prevention, Laura Reckford, Cassi Danzl, Wells Fargo, grant