Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

HAC’s Cape Community Real Estate: ‘Market Very Lively’

Posted by Laura Reckford on Mon, Sep 16, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

Cape Community Real Estate

Cape Community Real Estate, Housing Assistance Corporation’s nonprofit real estate division, is buzzing. Deed-restricted homes that become available have been selling quickly through lotteries.

“The market is very lively,” according to Realtor Gael Kelleher, Director of Real Estate in HAC’s Consumer Education Department. “We are hoping there will be more inventory but they are selling quickly.”

For example, a deed-restricted house in Marstons Mills that the owners had purchased in 1989 for $68,000 and raised their family in the home, just sold for $148,000 to a new young family.

“We’re hoping for more of those,” Gael said.  “It’s exactly the way affordable housing is designed to work.”

The next deed-restricted resale opportunity is a home in the Pilgrim Pines subdivision in Bourne. Lottery opportunities are also coming in Chatham, Forestdale, Cotuit and Sandwich. These will be affordable, deed-restricted properties, so the prices will be right.

Check HAC’s website for new offerings.

To be first on the list for these deed-restricted homes, buyers need to be pre-approved from a lender. To get on the Ready to Buy Wait List, download the application, --Ready to Buy application

Bring your pre-approvals to HAC’s experienced real estate team, Gael Kelleher and Karen Davis, Sales Associate. They work with buyers from all economic levels.


Tags: HAC, housing assistance corporation, Housing on Cape Cod, Cape Community Real Estate

Golf Day To End Homelessness A Success At Bass River

Posted by Laura Reckford on Thu, Aug 15, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

Ken and Janice Lyman of Yarmouthport have long been supporters of Housing Assistance Corporation’s Project Prevention through their church, St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth, but the couple decided they could do more.

Mr. Lyman suggested this spring that his club, the Retired Men’s Club of Cape Cod, raise money for the cause through one of their golf tournaments. The club schedules about five tournaments every spring and fall to raise money for various charities.

The “Golf Day To End Homelessness—Closest-to-the-Pin Contest” was held Monday, May 20 at Bass River Golf Course. About 80 people attended, Mr. Lyman said.

The event raised $700 for Project Prevention.

Also involved in helping with the tournament, including the critical role of working at the tee and measuring the distance to the “pin,” were David Puchalsky of South Yarmouth and Paul and Marcia Karhu of Dennis, who are members of the Congregational Church of South Dennis, which, like St. Pius X is among the 13 churches that are part of Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH).

Paul Karhu had been involved for the past two years in running a similar golf tournament at Dennis Highlands. Success of the tournament was limited so he was interested in switching the fundraiser to Bass River Golf Course. Mr. Karhu has also participated over the years in HAC’s Walk to End Homelessness. He did his first walk in 1999.

Tags: housing, Homeless on Cape Cod, Homeless, DYECH, Project Prevention, Prevention, HAC, housing assistance corporation, Housing on Cape Cod

The Big Fix In Mashpee An Opportunity To Help Those In Need

Posted by Laura Reckford on Sun, Aug 11, 2013 @ 11:00 AM

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Help veterans, seniors, and disabled homeowners in the Town of Mashpee by joining The
Big Fix on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013.

Coordinated by Housing Assistance Corporation, The Big Fix sends teams of volunteers to
assist homeowners with clean-up, landscaping, and small home repair projects.
Since 2010, HAC has mobilized over 250 volunteers and assisted 40 households in
Barnstable, Sandwich and Dennis.

 Kick-off will be at Mashpee High School, and begins at 8:30 a.m. with coffee and donuts.
Most houses are finished by 1:00 p.m. Volunteers also receive lunch and a

Spend half a day and make a real difference in the comfort, safety, and quality of life for
those in need in our community.

 Volunteers should be physically able to perform tasks of moderate intensity, such as
pruning hedges, raking, hauling brush, cleaning gutters, and moving heavy/bulky
items to and from storage.

Basic home repair skills (painting, carpentry, electric, plumbing, masonry) are a plus but
not required.

Minors must be accompanied and supervised by a parent or guardian. Please, no pets.

Interested individuals and groups should sign up by Sept. 13
at www.haconcapecod.org/big-fix.

Get further information by contacting HAC Volunteer Coordinator, Mary Everett-Patriquin, at
volunteer@haconcapecod.org, or by phone at 508-771-5400, ext. 279.

Tags: volunteers, housing assistance corporation, Housing on Cape Cod, volunteering, Big Fix

Housing With Love Walk: Miles & Smiles

Posted by Laura Reckford on Fri, Aug 09, 2013 @ 11:00 AM

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More than 200 people, more than 30 cases of water, 104 miles and lots of sweat and smiles.

The 21st Annual Bob Murray Housing With Love Walk ended Sunday July 21 with a party at
Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub in Falmouth as walkers celebrated another year of fundraising and fellowship.

Bob Murray, 73, started the walk 21 years ago when he worked at Housing Assistance Corporation. His health prevented him from walking this year, but he was represented at the party by his wife Judy and his daughter Carol, as people gave updates and sent prayers and accolades. “Bob Murray is an inspiration to us all,” Deanna Bussiere, HAC’s Event Resource and Development Coordinator, said. “All the people he has helped over the years is amazing.”

The Housing With Love Walk course is designed to be tough, scheduled as it is on the hottest time of the year, said HAC’s Margaret Benaka, and this year did not disappoint. Margaret, who, with Deanna, drove the support van for the entire seven-day walk, said the biggest challenge this year was the heat. The temperature was in the 90s on six days of the seven day walk and may have made it up into the low 100s in the heat of the day, as walkers journeyed the mostly unshaded highways of the Cape.

In honor of Bob Murray, Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank sent teams of people for every day of the walk beginning on the first day when Dorothy Savarese, bank president, and David Willard, director of community relations, started off in Provincetown.

The most miles the walkers traveled in one day was 19.6, on Wednesday, July 17, when the walkers traveled from Chatham to Yarmouth along Route 28.

Two women, Laurie Sexton of Harwich and Patricia Goggin of West Dennis and Whitehouse Station, New Jersey walked the entire walk. DJ Sullivan, 77, has walked the entire route in past years, set out to do the same this year, but had to stop on Thursday because of the heat and blisters.

The walk is a fundraiser for 12 Cape Cod housing agencies. One anonymous donor stopped by and gave $50 to one of the walkers. Housing Assistance Corporation raised more than $27,500 through the walk with money still coming in. The agency’s goal is $30,000.

Pastor Christian Holleck of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church of Harwich, in a sermon about the walk, said, “It wasn’t about the number of miles I did, but connecting with people, learning more about some of the efforts to work for affordable housing, being inspired by people who care.” He said what the walk is really all about is, “helping people get on their feet, helping them find stability, a home, work, health, dignity. . . .”

Tags: housing, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Housing with love walk, housing assistance corporation, Housing on Cape Cod

Editorial: Hershey's Kisses

Posted by Laura Reckford on Mon, Jun 03, 2013 @ 04:01 PM

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The following is excerpted from a speech made at HAC’s annual meeting and volunteer recognition dinner

Most people on the Cape and islands don’t know much about HAC.

Hershey Chocolate Company in Hershey, Pennsylvania has the opposite problem. Everyone knows what Hershey does: makes chocolate. People value chocolate and get instant

gratification from it.

HAC doesn’t provide instant gratification. But like Hershey’s,

HAC produces useful products. They make lots of chocolate and we make lots of peoples’ lives better.

Here are 10 of the many things that HAC does:

1. Foreclosure Help

For more than six years we have had three people working on foreclosures full time, serving well over 3,000 Cape and islands homeowners. We still average 13 new cases each week!

Our data shows that we have had successful outcomes in nearly 2/3 of our cases. We have never charged a penny.

2. Energy Services

For four decades we have made homes owned and rented by lower income Cape and islanders safer, more comfortable, less expensive to operate and more energy efficient.

Hundreds are helped each year and thousands have been helped overall. And we replaced or repaired 288 failing heating systems last year at no charge, not to mention the 442 we cleaned and tuned!

3. Section 8 Assistance

We have nearly 1,000 rental units where we assist the occupants. Many receiving help are elderly or disabled and many are families with jobs that just don’t pay enough. About 10% a year are able to opt out of the program.

4. Family Self-Sufficiency

Family Self Sufficiency participants get long term counseling to help them build employment skills and increase financial literacy. We have about 50 families now working to earn more, improve their credit, save enough money to buy a house or get more education, and to make progress towards moving away from public assistance.

5. Housing Development and Facility Maintenance

HAC has built well over 100 single family homes and more than 300 apartments, all of which are affordable. We have also built housing for people with disabilities. We have nearly 200 units in various stages of pre-development right now.

6. HCEC Services

We provide time and advice to help anyone facing housing crises. In 2012 we served 3,850 households one-on-one in this way.

7. Classes and workshops

We have held evening workshops for nearly 20 years on subjects such as Creating a Budget, Rebuilding Your Credit, Home Forever for homeowners, and Homebuyer Education.

In 2012 we had 363 people complete one or more of these workshop series.

8. Shelter

Each night, 365 nights and days a year our family and individual shelters provide a safe environment for people who have nowhere to go. We wish shelters weren’t needed, but until they are not, we try to help people make the most of their time in shelter. Counseling, employment services, and education, are all part of daily shelter life.

9. Project Prevention

It is better for the household, and far less expensive, to help prevent people from losing their homes. Often, for as little as $500, we can keep someone from facing the crisis of homelessness. Prevention served 344 households in 2012.

10. Big Fix

Going into its fourth year, the Big Fix is a community outreach project where we organize volunteers, professionals and staff to help repair homes on one weekend in one town each year. So far, a total of 40 homeowners have been helped in the towns of Barnstable, Sandwich and Dennis by the Big Fix through the work of 469 volunteers! This year, the Big Fix goes to Mashpee on September 28th.

Often those we help are elderly and unable to do many of the daily tasks around their homes.

When you bite into a handful of Reese’s Pieces, a Hershey’s Chocolate Bar, a Kiss, or a Mr. Goodbar, think of HAC. Hershey’s is a well loved company but it may just be the case that the work we do at HAC is more important.

Come take a tour of our “making lives better factory” right here in Hyannis. There’s no charge and you may even get a Kiss!

Tags: Energy Assessments, housing assistance corporation, NOAH Shelter, Housing on Cape Cod, MA Rental Voucher Program, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Cape Community Real Estate

HAC Client Speaks Out At State House

Posted by Laura Reckford on Mon, Jun 03, 2013 @ 03:14 PM

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On Monday, March 11, 2013, Marieh Azari along with housing counselors from Housing Assistance Corporation and South Shore Housing headed to Boston for the annual Regional Housing Network Legislative Meeting.

This meeting provides an opportunity for the nine member agencies of Regional Housing Network to meet with individual legislators and aides. The goal of this meeting is to promote the programs and services offered through the various agencies assisting residents to find and stabilize their housing situation throughout the state of Massachusetts, and to secure the continued voting support of our legislators.

In 2002, after escaping from domestic abuse with her then two-year-old son, Benjamin, Marieh found herself homeless in the city of Boston.

“The HCEC person, Kathy Facchini, worked quickly to get me and my son into transitional housing at New Hope Shelter for Women in Attleboro,” Marieh said, explaining how she eventually used the resources around her to get the help she needed.

While in shelter Marieh attended Blaine School for Hair and became a hairdresser by day. By night she was filling out housing applications, “at least 10-20 every single day.” South Shore Housing’s Consumer Education staff walked her through the daunting process.

By 2004, thanks to South Shore Housing, Marieh and her son received a housing unit subsidy in Bourne. “We were literally dropped off on the front steps of a condo with all that we owned, which filled two small suitcases. We both cried out of relief as well as fear. South Shore had connected me to Referral to Resources for clothing, child care and food,” Marieh said.

Marieh and her son lived in this Bourne condo for about 8 years. During this time she was able to go back to school and she became a nurse. She continued to maintain a very close relationship with her South Shore HCEC “family.” “Those eight years took a real toll on my Benjamin. The trauma of what we both had been through with his dad, living in shelter and then living in what most people would call the ‘projects’ of Bourne had stolen his childhood. His self-esteem was low, his grades were horrible and he was physically not growing,” Marieh explains.

By 2011 Marieh graduated from the nursing program and had dreams of owning her own home. South Shore referred her to Housing Assistance Corporation’s HCEC contact, which led her to the First Time Homebuyers Program.

“I then worked with HAC’s real estate office, Cape Community Real Estate, and in 2012, purchased a beautiful new home in Sandwich. I’m now an official Cape Codder. My Benjamin has come out of his darkness and sorrow. He’s gone from a D student to an A student. He’s physically growing. I see the changes every day since the first day of homeownership,” describes Marieh.

Marieh also describes, “I would not have been able to get out of a bad cycle without the constant connection to both HCEC teams. Not only did they keep me moving through a horrible situation, but they motivated me to move up and out.”

To learn about HAC’s Housing Consumer Education Center, please visit us online at www.HAConCapeCod.org or call 508-771-5400.

Tags: Homeless, housing assistance corporation, Housing on Cape Cod

HAC Free Energy Assessments

Posted by Laura Reckford on Thu, May 02, 2013 @ 04:22 PM

Enhanced Residential Program (60% of median income):

  • FREE high efficiency lighting
  • FREE refrigerator replacement (if existing model is inefficient)
  • FREE insulation, air sealing and other weatherization (up to $3,000 in value)
  • Potential heating system upgrade (if existing system is determined to be highly inefficient)

If you currently receive NSTAR’s  Discount Rate and/or household income below 60% of median income, you are eligible for a free home energy assessment, which may include the installation of conservation measures all at no cost. If you would like more information, please call Cape Light Compact at (800) 797-6699.

To determine your income level, please review the 2013 INCOME GUIDELINES.

Your income level and household size may qualify you for a variety of programs including:

  • Fuel assistance
  • Reduced utility rates
  • Free weatherization and energy efficiency services


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To apply for fuel assistance:
South Shore Community Action Council
Call (508) 778-0870, Hyannis office only during the winter months
Call (877) 383-5243, year round office in Plymouth

To inquire about electric discount rates:
Call NSTAR at (800) 566-2080

For help managing past due electric bills:
Call NSTAR at (866) 315-2496 and ask about their new Arrearage Forgiveness Program

To inquire about gas discount rates:
Call National Grid at (800) 532-9600

For more information about energy assistance programs available to Massachusetts residents:
Visit Citizens Energy

Tags: Energy Assessments, Cape Light Compact, housing assistance corporation, Housing on Cape Cod, saving energy, utility bills, Energy Audit

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

Editorial: Finding Nemo by Rick Presbrey

Posted by Julie Wake on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 @ 09:00 AM
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For those of you who don’t know, HAC has a farm. It is a small farm, in Sandwich, where there is a 44-plot community garden, a 1.5-acre market garden, three goats and 22 chickens. The caretaker, who lives in the Curio House on the property is Jim MacDougall. Jim takes care of the complicated zero-net-energy house, the land, the gardening equipment and various improvements. This year he will be building an equipment storage barn, for example. Jim also has five years of professional experience taking care of chickens and recently attended “goat” school in Maine. Jim, as you can tell, is a skilled and versatile guy.

On Feb. 7, the day before this winter’s big blizzard, Jim was preparing for the animals to be safe and secure. He was disturbed to note that one of the chickens, who had become increasingly sickly during the few days prior, was not eating and could barely walk. He had been concerned for the chicken, but with the storm coming he felt that there was no way that the chicken would survive. With the resolve of a professional chicken farmer, Jim did something that he had done many times when working on a large chicken farm. He put the chicken out of its misery by breaking its neck. Since the ground was frozen, he temporarily disposed of the body in a square plastic compost bin behind the goat house. It was the second chicken that had been lost (the other was run over by a car) and each one was a loss for Jim, but he reasoned only losing two over the course of two years was not too bad.

The farm is an uncomfortable place in the winter. The sky is gray, the ground is barren with the refuse from last year’s crops, making people huddle inside by the warmth of the hearth, and animals huddle in the coop and goat house, sharing the warmth from each other.

The storm, winds and cold came as predicted followed by a second snow storm. After the second storm tapered off, on Feb. 18, Jim was cleaning up the coop and the goat house and went to put some material in the composter.

Farmers know that compost “cooks.” Deep in the center of any compost pile, if it is working as we expect, it is warm. And within that compost pile, the ingredients that eventually become nourishing soil are breaking down.

When Jim went to add to the compost, he expected a little warmth, but what he didn’t expect was a healthy energized chicken! His neck-breaking skill must have eroded over the years, leaving a sick but alive chicken in the protected warmth of the nourishing compost for about 11 days. Jim, who loves his chickens, had fortuitously put the chicken in the intensive care unit of his farm. The bright golden brown chicken, now known as Nemo, is now happy and healthy and back to the business of laying eggs.

Too often, perhaps, we give up on each other, when a little warmth and nourishment may make all the difference.

Tags: HACbeat, Community Green, housing assistance corporation, Housing on Cape Cod

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