Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

HAC's Carriage House Opens New Play Space

Posted by Laura Reckford on Tue, Aug 13, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

Children at Carriage House enjoy the new place space.

Staff from the agency Horizons for the Homeless Children refurbished the play space at
Carriage House in June and a ribbon-cutting at the space on June 13 served as
an opportunity for the children and adults to get a first look at the new

Carriage House Facility Director Anne Holmes saidof Horizons, “You guys are absolutely
amazing. The things you do. . . and you ask for nothing in return. You just
bless the kids.”

The new space is divided into five development areas: arts and crafts; a dramatic play area with puppets and a dollhouse for fine motor skills; an area with activities for gross motor skills; a gated infant area; and a literacy area. Six of the children staying at Carriage House attended the ribbon cutting and tried out the new play equipment and toys.

Horizons Playspace Programs Director Meghan Schafer  and Playspace Programs Manager Jessica Dalzell were both on hand for the ribbon-cutting.

Horizons is a private non-profit that was founded in 1988 and operates statewide with a main office in Roxbury. The mission of the agency is to improve the lives of young homeless children in Massachusetts and support early childhood education.

Ms. Schafer said, “Jess and I love what we do. The kids are our passion in life.” She added, “We love our volunteers.”

The playspace at Carriage House was a reinstall, because the group had worked on the same space in 2005. She said the re-install at Carriage House cost about $3,000 to $3,500, paid for through donations and from the agency’s budget.

About 65% of Horizons funding comes from donations and the rest through state and federal grants. The group has about 50 volunteers on the Cape who give about two hours per week for six month periods helping at shelters like Carriage House by playing with the children. There are trainings for volunteers twice a year, in April and October.

 On hand at the ribbon cutting are HAC Family Housing Services Compliance Manager Pat Caron.

On hand at the Carriage House ribbon-cutting are HAC Family Housing Services Compliance Manager Pat Caron and her son, Matt Caron, 13, HAC Project Prevention Director Delores
Barbati-Poore, Carriage House Facility Director Anne Holmes, Meghan Schafer and
Jessica Dalzell of Horrizons for Homeless Children and Carriage House Case
Manager Katie Geissler.


Tags: housing, Homeless, volunteers, Horizons for Homless Children, housing assistance corporation, Carriage House, Horizons for Homeless Children

Cataumet Shelter Given Gift of Playspace

Posted by Julie Wake on Thu, Jun 07, 2012 @ 02:18 PM

Playspace 051712 HAC 012 web

The little girl looked around the room filled with new games, books, puzzles and blocks. “Will this be here tomorrow?” she asked.

“Yes, this is all staying here for you to play with for a long time,” answered Meghan Schafer, Playspace programs southeast region director for Horizons for Homeless Children.

On May 17, Horizons for Homeless Children (HHC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of homeless children in Massachusetts, installed a Playspace (educational and recreational space) for children living at the Village at Cataumet, a family shelter in Bourne operated by Housing Assistance Corporation. The Playspace provides children at the shelter with a fun, safe and stimulating environment in which to learn, grow and play, and comes equipped with books, play equipment and art supplies.

“It’s so moving to see the kids enjoy it,” said Kaja Masdalen, a staff member at the Village at Cataumet. “The mix of toys gets their imagination going.”

“I love it. It’s wonderful,” said Latoyia, one of the mothers staying at the Village at Cataumet. “It’s a nice variety of toys for children of all ages. The children play well together and learn about sharing.”

With over 100,000 Massachusetts children experiencing homelessness, half under the age of six, family shelters are always filled with children. Just like young children living in homes, young homeless children need access to educational and recreational opportunities that allow them to develop their physical, social, emotional, and pre-academic skills.
HHC has previously installed Playspaces at two other HAC family shelters, Carriage House in Falmouth and Angel House in Hyannis. The new playspace is the second one at the Village at Cataumet. The first one was designed for children of school and preschool ages; the new one has toys and games for infants and toddlers.

The new Playspace is adjacent to the shared kitchen and dining room at the Village at Catuamet. “To have a place where the children can play while the parents are cooking is cozy and safe and good for everyone,” said Sarah Fujiwara, chief Playspace program officer for HHC.

HHC also recruits, trains, and places volunteers in the shelter Playspaces to supervise and engage the children in fun, educational play so that they can grow and develop, as all children should. More than 1,400 trained volunteers known as Playspace Activity Leaders (PALs) participate in educational play activities with children each week in approximately 140 family shelters in Massachusetts. This gives the parents a chance to take classes or take time for other personal needs.

Horizons for Homeless Children is touching the lives of more than 2,200 children each week in Massachusetts through the Playspace Programs. At HAC’s recent annual meeting, HHC was given the Human Services Partner Award.

Tags: Homeless on Cape Cod, Family Shelter, Horizons for Homless Children