Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Housing Choice Bill Can Help Cape Cod Year-Rounders

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, May 15, 2019 @ 11:35 AM

Alisa Magnotta Galazzi, CEO Housing Assistance Corporation

Our CEO Alisa Magnotta Galazzi spoke at the State House hearing yesterday in favor of Governor Baker's Housing Choice Bill. It's an important step toward real improvements in access to affordable housing. 

Statement text:

I’m Alisa Magnotta Galazzi, CEO of Housing Assistance Corporation, the regional housing agency for the Cape & Islands.

For 45 years we have focused on serving the neediest amongst us. But we’re broadening the scope of our work because today we see stably employed workers with higher incomes being evicted because their rental is sold and becomes seasonal. In just 5 short years, Barnstable County lost 3,000 year-round homes and gained 5,000 seasonal homes. 

The heart of our housing crisis lies in our outdated zoning, which has inadvertently made it easier for summer people to obtain housing than year-rounders.

Right now, it’s easier to build a McMansion than a multi-family.

It’s easier to build an addition and rent seasonally than add an in-law apartment for a hard-working year-rounder.

This is a major threat to the leading employers in our region as well as the viability of our community. Unlike other areas of the state, we have geographic limitations. Once our workforce moves over the bridge, they won’t commute to Chatham in summer traffic for the same type of job that’s available closer to home.

As we highlighted in our report, Housing on Cape Cod, The High Cost of Doing Nothing, losing our workforce translates to higher prices for goods, decreased access to essential services, and increased traffic from a commuting workforce.

The Housing Choice bill levels the playing field for year-round Cape Codders. There is much more needed to make a dent in our housing crisis and I trust this will be the first of many bills passed. But we can’t let perfection be the enemy of the good and we simply can’t afford to wait:

The consequences of the housing crisis are becoming more pronounced. In March, the Cape Cod Times asked “Where are the children?”, as fewer families are able to afford housing, causing school enrollment to decline. Then in April, we learned that a year-round business is now having to buy housing for its employees. These are troubling trends.

Meanwhile, we’re running out of land. Less than 20% of the Cape is buildable and much of that is in flood zones. Right now, 82% of our housing stock are single family homes. We don’t need more single-family homes on lots the size of a football field. Dividing up the remainder of our land into one-acre zoning artificially drives up prices out of reach of Cape Codders.

We can’t build our way out of this problem under existing zoning, nor should we. We cherish our environment. The two biggest challenges to our region are housing and lack of wastewater infrastructure. Both can be improved by passage of the Housing Choice bill.

We need tools to provide housing and preserve open space and our environment. Density in village centers will offer the right size and type of housing while concurrently creating the economies of scale towns need to build wastewater infrastructure. Those options can become a reality with the swift passage of the Housing Choice Bill. 

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, housing assistance corporation, Housing on Cape Cod, housing inventory, year-round housing

Housing Assistance Joins Future Cape Cod Coalition

Posted by HAC Staff on Thu, Mar 07, 2019 @ 12:11 PM

Future Cape Cod (March 2019)

With Cape Cod towns set to receive an influx of revenue from the state's recent adoption of the short-term rental tax, Housing Assistance Corporation has joined together with three other organizations to ensure resources are allocated to fund the region's future infrastructure needs.  

Those organizations — Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC), Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors (CCIAOR) and Housing Assistance — have formed the Future Cape Cod Coalition. 

Together, they are asking each of the 15 towns on Cape Cod to direct at least 50% of the local option rooms excise tax to an Infrastructure and Community Investment Stabilization Fund. That fund would support housing, wastewater, broadband, transportation, and competitive marketing projects. 

The coalition has drafted a model bylaw for communities to adopt this spring. That bylaw would create a town-managed fund which will will be controlled exclusively by each town for projects it chooses at its own discretion. 

"Because of the efforts of the Cape Cod delegation, Cape Cod towns are posed to receive a once-in-a-generation revenue infusion thanks to the inclusion of short-term rentals in the new occupancy tax law," said Housing Assistance CEO Alisa Magnotta Galazzi. "We have one opportunity to ensure new revenue is used for long-agreed-upon, yet chronically underfunded infrastructure and community investment that Cape Codders need to thrive, now and into the future." 

Andrew Gottlieb, executive director of APCC, said "setting aside the new revenue before it gets absorbed into general operating budgets and before the ability to invest strategically in long-term municipal needs is lost, is critical." 

On the heels of Housing Assistance's new report, "Housing on Cape Cod: The High Cost of Doing Nothing", the Coalition pointed out the urgency that both residents and employers are facing with the housing crisis. "Businesses face a double-hit," said Cape Cod Chamber CEO Wendy Northcross. "Increasingly steeper housing costs are causing employers to pay more, passing that cost onto consumers; and year-round customers to have less disposable income to spend in the local economy.' 

"The market has not produced the type of housing our workforce needs, and we must invest in housing planning, re-zoning, and production to make that correction," Galazzi added. "Safe, attainable housing for all income levels and lifestyles is the key to our sustainability and could be the number one improvement to the health of our economy as a whole."  

SIGN THE OPEN LETTER TO LOCAL OFFICIALS

As a Cape Cod resident, you have the power to ensure your community invests in its long-term future. All you have to do is click this link, and sign the open letter asking that your local officials spend short-term rental money on long-term investments in your town. 

Visit www.FutureCapeCod.com and follow Future Cape Cod on Facebook (click here) for more info and to stay updated on our progress. 

 

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Housing on Cape Cod, CCIAOR, Alisa Galazzi, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, year-round housing, Future Cape Cod, occupancy tax law, short term rental tax, infrastructure, local option rooms excise tax

Editorial: Help Preserve the Cape and Islands Communities We All Cherish

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Wed, Dec 26, 2018 @ 04:49 PM

Galazzi_HACbeat (2017)

Living year-round on Cape Cod is not a place for the faint of heart or those who want to go fast. It’s a place where deep connections and a sense of community are sustained. It’s a place where awe-inspiring beauty surrounds us even in the most mundane of activities like commuting to work; where our great schools and community resources weave an enviable region-wide network of services. It’s a place where our unique history, the family legacies of generational Cape Codders, and a welcome stream of new residents form the foundation from which we all grow and prosper.

Preserving the year-round aspects of the Cape we all know and love is a worthy and challenging undertaking. It will take all of us working together in new ways to achieve it.

I frequently hear from other residents their desire to keep the Cape the same. I appreciate the sentiment. I, too, remember fondly the Cape of 2001 when I first moved here. There are many aspects of the Cape’s seemingly slow-to-change cultures and communities that is reassuring.

However, the fact is that external forces in the marketplace are changing faster than any of us expected, and those forces will change our communities for the worse if we don’t take new action. The advent of online rental platforms like Airbnb, coupled with the Cape being known as a safe investment to off-Cape investors, has put increased pressure on the year-round housing market.

We have seen a decrease of year-round rentals and an increase in seasonal rentals. Our year-round workforce is having a harder and harder time finding housing. The sooner we as a community accept the trend, the better decisions we will make to influence the outcome.

Impacting Our Region

Even though most of us reading this likely have a permanent residence on the Cape or may own a second home here, the hidden costs of a limited supply of year-round rentals presents a significant challenge for our region.

Lack of housing for our year-round workforce will influence our local businesses’ ability to innovate and our relevance as a tourist destination. Those of us stably housed will be impacted with higher costs of goods and services and ultimately by living in a museum—our current year-round friends and neighbors will be replaced by visitors from off-Cape.

So while we prepare to embark on a new year, let’s be grateful that each of us is in a position to influence changes necessary to preserve the place we live and love.

We can advocate at the town level to increase housing available to year-round residents. For example, towns can allow Accessory Dwelling Units by right; update zoning to permit denser, walkable neighborhoods in appropriate locations; and link wastewater planning with housing needs.

In addition, we invite seasonal homeowners to consider renting their home year-round through our Rent 365 program. Learn more about the financial incentive and details of our Rent 365 program and download a copy of our recently published report on the impact of insufficient year-round housing at www.CapeHousing.org

We have an opportunity to maintain the competitiveness of Cape Cod as a vacation destination, a retirement community, and a place for year-round families to thrive—but only if we have housing for our year-round workforce.

This effort will take community-wide involvement. Please contact us if you have ideas, questions, or comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Tags: Housing on Cape Cod, Report, Alisa Galazzi, Editorial, Accessory Dwelling Units, housing crisis, Rent 365, Airbnb, housing advocacy, seasonal rentals

Editorial: The High Cost of Doing Nothing

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Wed, Nov 07, 2018 @ 02:11 PM

 

Housing Study-2 (October 24, 2018)

At Housing Assistance Corporation, we have been on the frontlines of providing affordable housing since 1974. Today, our challenges have never been greater. The shrinking supply of year-round housing is getting worse. It is impacting families, businesses, and municipalities. It is a threat to the health of our economy and the very character of Cape Cod. 

The reasons behind this crisis are simple. Since Cape Cod is a desirable location to live and vacation, non-residents and investors are increasingly buying existing year-round properties and converting them into short-term rentals or keeping them for their own occasional use. The stock of year-round housing is rapidly depleting and therefore, prices are out of reach for Cape Cod residents. 

As the regional housing agency on Cape Cod, we decided to take a step back and analyze the internal and external causes of the region’s housing shortage, its impact and possible solutions. We started with two simple questions — what would happen if we did nothing? What more can we do?

Those questions formed the basis of a white paper, “Housing On Cape Cod: The High Cost of Doing Nothing”, that our agency released last month. 

For this report, we relied on the analysis of numerous sources. We interviewed business and community leaders about the effects of the housing crunch. The research and conversations shaped our thinking and recommended strategies. For example, in addition to developing affordable housing units, Housing Assistance Corporation is now investing in the development of market-rate units that will help alleviate the housing shortage. More year-round housing will change the supply dynamic in the marketplace and add more options for all income groups. 

Additionally, HAC is launching Rent 365, a pilot program that incentivizes homeowners to convert their seasonal or vacation homes into year-round rentals. 

This is a challenging time for our region. Low-income families suffer first and most acutely if we do nothing, but they are not alone. Uniting and finding purposeful strategies that mitigate and eventually solve our housing crisis will be of great benefit to our region. If we keep approaching housing in our region with the same old strategies, we will only continue to feed the worsening and self-perpetuating housing shortage for year-round residents. 

Let’s try some new ideas. 

I welcome your thoughts and your suggestions on how we can meet this challenge together.

Housing on Cape Cod: The High Cost of Doing Nothing

Visit www.capehousing.org to read HAC's new report which identifies new strategies for addressing the region's housing crisis. 

 

Tags: Housing on Cape Cod, white papers, housing research, Alisa Galazzi, rental housing, Editorial, housing crisis, Rent 365

Donor Spotlight: Paul Hebert

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jan 26, 2018 @ 03:48 PM
Paul Hebert-1.jpgMatt Pitta (left), co-host of last month's Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, interviews longtime HAC supporter Paul Hebert about the region's housing issues. 

When Paul and Carolyn Hebert arrived on Cape Cod in 1981 with their three daughters Aimee, Mary and Meg, finding a home was difficult. “We had to rent for two years because we couldn’t find housing we could afford,” he said. 

Fast forward 36 years later and Paul admitted the situation is even worse. “It was unreasonably high to buy a house back then, but now for people earning basic wages it is nearly impossible and getting more difficult every day,” he said.

It is for this reason that the Heberts have given to HAC for 20 years, highlighted by their most recent $1,000 donation to the agency at its 14th Annual Shelter Cape Cod Telethon last month. Paul made the donation on-air on behalf of the couple’s company, Charitable Redemption Partnership in Yarmouth, which utilizes proceeds from redeemable cans and bottles to support local charities on the Cape such as HAC.

“As a town councilor in Barnstable, I look to Housing Assistance Corporation as the best prepared to care for the least among us who need housing,” Paul said of his longtime support of the agency.

Paul’s history with HAC goes back to the mid-1980s when he convinced former CEO and founder Rick Presbrey to open the NOAH Shelter in Hyannis to provide emergency shelter for homeless individuals.

In 1991, the Heberts took their activism a step further when they started CHAMP Homes to care for homeless adolescents. “We realized there was more to be done and came to understand that there was this next group that was not being served,” Paul explained. “It was the young people, around 18 years of age, who were sleeping in various places in the community whether it was teaming up six to an apartment or couch surfing or sleeping in cars or the woods just to survive.”

The Heberts spent the next 24 years at CHAMP Homes and were recognized for their efforts with the Presbrey Public Service Award in 2006 at HAC’s Annual Meeting.

Though Paul and his wife stepped down from CHAMP Homes in 2015, he remains as passionate about housing issues as he did when he was first introduced to HAC three decades ago. And he views HAC as a pivotal player in addressing those issues on Cape Cod. “I believe Housing Assistance Corporation is a standard bearer,” Paul said. “They hold the flag to deal with this battle so we have to keep supporting them.”

Why I Give: Paul Hebert

As a Barnstable Town Councilor, Paul Hebert paints a grim picture of the housing reality on Cape Cod. “Living on Cape Cod is not a realistic dream for most people,” he said. 

This is why he believes housing development – building more affordable rentals and homes for the Cape’s workforce – is the region’s primary need. “We know Barnstable is short 1,200 rental units,” he said.

Hebert supports HAC because he understands it is best suited to address this need. “We have to build so many rentals and we are so far behind. I don’t know of any other organization that can do a better job and has the capacity to help than Housing Assistance Corporation,” he said.

With the completion of Sachem’s Path on Nantucket, HAC has developed more than 500 units of affordable housing since its inception. It is in the midst of constructing 44 apartments in Bourne and is in the planning stages of building eight affordable and workforce apartments in Hyannis.

Through the Cape Community Housing Partnership, a joint initiative between HAC and Community Development Partnership in Eastham, it is also providing community leaders and residents with the tools to boost affordable housing that is sorely needed in the region.

Make A Donation

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, homelessness, Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, Rick Presbrey, Housing on Cape Cod, Paul Hebert, CHAMP Homes, Charitable Redemption Partnership

HAC Offers Free HCEC Classes

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Aug 10, 2016 @ 03:21 PM
CCYP_HCEC_1-1.jpgHAC's Cheryl Kramer with CCYP Board Member Ryan Castle. 

Housing is one of the obstacles preventing young professionals from moving to Cape Cod and staying here. The Cape Cod Young Professionals (CCYP) is trying to change that by “moving the needle” in a positive direction as its board member Ryan Castle said at the organization’s 5th Annual Community Breakfast held in June at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa.

To that end, the CCYP Giving Circle Fund of The Cape Cod Foundation presented HAC’s Cheryl Kramer with a $2,500 grant at the breakfast that will allow residents in the region to take classes offered by the agency’s Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) for free. Those classes are Rebuilding Your Credit, Creating a Budget and Community Resources.

“Our hope is this is going to strengthen people’s financial knowledge of their own budgets, incomes and expenses and assist them in making decisions so their financial stability is a little bit stronger,” said Kramer, who manages the HCEC for HAC.

Those interested in taking advantage of this opportunity can opt to take one class or all three, depending on space. The following is the class schedule (click on the titles of each class to download the registration form) for the remainder of the year:

People must download and fill out the registration form, returning it to Cheryl Kramer at 460 West Main Street, Hyannis, MA 02601. You can also pick up hard copies of the application at HAC’s offices at 460 West Main Street.

Tags: HCEC, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Housing on Cape Cod, affordable housing, CCYP, housing consumer education

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

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

Santander Bank Shows Support for HAC

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Jun 30, 2014 @ 01:06 PM
DSC 0090 resized 600Santander Bank officials present HAC's Julie Wake (third from right) with a $1,000 large mock-up check last week. On hand to present her with the check were bank manager Mwanyota Allen (from left), tellers Schericia Barber, Gerry Bowen and Laura Lacina, bank manager Autumn Banks and bank senior vice president Brian Devaney.

The people have spoken and collectively they have chosen HAC as a local non-profit worthy of backing. That message was sent by patrons of the two Hyannis branches of Santander Bank.

Santander, which purchased Sovereign Bank last year, recently held a competition at each of its branches on Cape Cod, asking customers to vote for a charity it believed should be awarded $500 to support its programs and services.

In downtown Hyannis and on West Main Street, Hyannis, bank customers voted for HAC. Last Wednesday at the West Main Street branch bank officials presented Julie Wake, director of communications and development for HAC, with a mock-up check for $1,000 – as well as a real $1,000 check – that showed the community’s appreciation for the work being done at the non-profit.

“It is a great organization,” Brian Devaney, senior vice president for Santander, said of HAC.

Several of his fellow employees including Autumn Banks, the manager for the downtown branch, and bank teller Laura Lacina, have benefitted from HAC programs over the years.

Banks took the first time homebuyers class and took advantage of the down payment assistance program, using that as the foundation for purchasing a home in Yarmouth two years ago.

And Lacina purchased a three-bedroom condo in Marstons Mills in 2005 through a HAC housing lottery. There she raised her two children, and found a supporting environment in the condo complex. “The 30 homes there, we are more than a community. We are like a family,” she said.

Lacina serves as a beacon of hope for those currently waiting to find affordable housing on Cape Cod. She had put her name into the lottery three times prior to 2005. “It does work,” she said of the process.

Tags: Julie Wake, HAC, Housing on Cape Cod, Santander Bank

HAC's New Board Chair Sets Sights on Cape Cod's Workforce Housing

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Sun, May 25, 2014 @ 09:15 AM

david augustinho headshot resized 600

Over the past 13 years David Augustinho has aimed to address the needs of the region’s private sector as the executive director of the Cape & Islands Workforce Investment Board.

To ensure those needs are being met Augustinho realizes there must be adequate workforce housing to properly fill the seasonal and year-round jobs available on Cape Cod. “One of the issues we face with workforce development is worker housing,” he said. “It is an area, since I’ve been involved in workforce development, that I’ve been invested in and I think that we as a community need to address because there is somewhat of a mismatch between the cost of housing and the wages available in the region.”

Augustinho’s interest in this housing-related issue is what led him to the Housing Assistance Corporation’s (HAC) board of directors two years ago. At HAC’s Annual Meeting in April he took the leap from board member to chair of the executive committee, replacing Joan Bassett who has served in that capacity for the past three years.

In his new role, Augustinho said he wants to continue to place an emphasis on developing housing that meets the needs of Cape Cod’s labor force.

He also had high praise for the work HAC does with the homeless and hopes that efforts to address this segment of the Cape’s population remain a top priority. “I know a lot of homelessness is driven by substance and mental health issues,” he said. “Personally, I enjoy working on those issues. And as a society we’ve made decisions that have exacerbated the homelessness issue such as deinstitutionalizing the mental health population without really providing a range of services that meets the needs of those individuals.”

That is why, he said, HAC plays a vital role in the community, particularly to those who are homeless or on the verge of homelessness. “I think HAC provides hope,” he said.

Augustinho also was complimentary of HAC staff and their enthusiasm for tackling what are admittedly difficult issues. “You can really sense the positive energy throughout the organization,” he said. “Management and staff at Housing Assistance Corporation understand how important their work is and in my experience show an empathy for the clients they serve.”

He was eager to build upon the strong foundation the board has laid in the past three years under Joan Bassett’s chairmanship.

Bassett has a long history with HAC, having been a client and then an employee before becoming a board member in 2002. She will remain on the board as its clerk.

Prior to his current role with the Cape & Islands Workforce Investment Board, Augustinho served as the business retention specialist for the Fall River Office of Economic Development. He has also worked as the director of operations for the Bristol County Convention & Visitors Bureau and spent nine years as the staff director for former State Representative Joan M. Menard.

Tags: housing, HAC, Housing on Cape Cod, David Augustinho, workforce housing