Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

A Recipe for Housing Success

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Oct 12, 2018 @ 04:23 PM
DSC_6679In accepting his fourth straight Quahog Challenge trophy, Ron Winner (right) of The Shepley Stuffers took time to acknowledge the work HAC does to provide safe, affordable housing to those on Cape Cod and the Islands throughout the year. 

Since 2015, HAC volunteer Ron Winner has cooked up the perfect recipe that has garnered him the victory in the Amateur Division of the agency’s annual Cape Cod Quahog Challenge.

After Winner and his team, The Shepley Stuffers, took home the amateur title for the fourth year in a row in August, he acknowledged the underlying reason for the event – it raises funds to support HAC’s housing programs on Cape Cod and the Islands. “We just want to thank Housing Assistance Corporation for all the great work they do all year long,” Winner said in accepting the trophy. “They’re a fabulous organization that does so many great things for Cape Cod. I don’t know where we’d be without them.”

Sesuit Harbor Café of Dennis, a newcomer to the competition, took home top honors in the professional division. When co-host Matt Pitta of Cape Cod Broadcasting asked chef Peter Liimatainen the secret ingredient in his prize-winning stuffies, he replied, “TLC.”

DSC_6715Sesuit Harbor Cafe chef Peter Liimatainen proudly holds up his first place trophy from this summer's Quahog Challenge. 

A total of eight competitors took part in this year’s challenge held at Trader Ed’s in Hyannis. The waterfront restaurant was joined by Fresh Ketch in Hyannis, which took home the second place trophy, and the Baha Brothers’ Sandbar Grill in Taunton, which came in third. Also competing were Cape Tip Seafood Market of Truro, Sea Dog Brew Pub of South Yarmouth, and Chad Lohr of Project Buddha Belly.

“It definitely has been a beautiful day,” co-host Cathy Summers of Cape Country 104 said at the conclusion of the event. “Hopefully, we have just raised a ton of money for a great organization that does great work locally on Cape Cod.”

Quahog-2-1Chefs Jeff Briggs (left) and Bobby Rand of Baha Brothers' Sandbar Grill of Taunton which placed third in this summer's stuffed quahog competition. 

Tags: Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, Quahog Challenge, Quahog, Ron Winner, Matt Pitta, Cape Cod Broadcasting, Trader Ed's, Hyannis, fundraiser, Fundraising, HAC Events

Compete in HAC's Quahog Challenge

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jun 14, 2018 @ 11:58 AM

 

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For the fourth straight year, HAC is searching for the best stuffed quahog on all of Cape Cod.

If you're a chef or a restaurant owner who thinks you have the perfect stuffie recipe, then contact HAC Event Coordinator Deanna Bussiere at dbussiere@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 270 to compete in this year's Quahog Challenge.

The competition takes place on Sunday, August 5, 1-4 pm, at Trader Ed's in Hyannis. Tickets are $30 per person ($35 at the door) and $5 per person for those 10 and under. Click this link to purchase tickets.

Funds raised will go to benefit HAC's housing programs on Cape Cod and the Islands.

Tags: Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, Quahog Challenge, Quahog, Trader Ed's, Hyannis, fundraiser, HAC Events, Deanna Bussiere

Items Needed for HAC Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jun 08, 2018 @ 04:04 PM

 

HAC Items Needed (June 2018)

In a few short weeks, HAC will move 5 formerly chronically homeless adults into a home in Hyannis. We are currently in need of a variety of small home furnishings for the house, including: 

  • A kitchen table with 6 chairs 
  • 5 XL twin bed frames
  • 5 XL twin mattresses (new)
  • 5 dressers
  • 5 small night stands
  • 1 leather/vinyl couch
  • 1 TV stand
  • 1 area rug
  • 1 microwave

We ask that these donated items either be new or gently used. 

Those able to donate should contact HAC Director of Community Relations Laura Reckford at either lreckford@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 273. 

NOTE: This post has been updated (6/11/18 at 11:30 am) with items still needed in bold. All other items have already been donated. 

Tags: homelessness, Hyannis, homeless shelters, Homeless, Homeless on Cape Cod, donations, HAC donors

Music Therapy for HAC Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jun 07, 2018 @ 04:59 PM

 

group2

Initially, they drummed to their own beat. But once musician Sam Holmstock had concluded his one-hour session with nearly a dozen children living at Village Green II, a workforce housing development located in Hyannis, they were drumming together in unison.

Held during April’s spring break, the activity was organized by HAC Case Manager Jacqueline Smith as a way to offer these at-risk youth a fun, relaxing opportunity to let loose by banging their hands on the drums on a sunny spring day.

This is the second time that Smith, who provides case management to 15 households who have housing vouchers at Village Green II, had brought in Holmstock, owner of Drum Strategies for Healing, to lead a drumming circle for children.

It may have appeared like a simple music class filled with repetitive motions, but it was much more than that. It was therapeutic. “Just smacking their hands on this drum stimulates neurotransmitters in the brain,” Holmstock said. “Generally speaking, although it’s not obvious walking out of that room, it generally calms people down… On one level it’s moderate physical exercise, but more than that it’s stimulating the brain.”

It’s something Smith has noticed by observing the two sessions held at Village Green II this year. “You can see how much calmer they are after doing it,” she said.

Holmstock, who co-founded the band Entrain, now focuses his musical talents on using drumming as a healing mechanism for a host of groups, from at-risk youth to incarcerated teens to those with Alzheimer’s to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Sam Holmstock and Jacqueline SmithSam Holmstock with HAC's Jacqueline Smith following April's drumming session at Village Green II. 

It allows Holmstock to use his talents to reach populations that can truly benefit from music therapy. “Just giving them this opportunity and being able to sort of reach them on a certain level,” he said is part of the reward. “Maybe they don’t even realize in their thinking brain that there are positive things going on when they’re just banging on the drums.”

Tags: music, music therapy, Jacqueline Smith, Village Green II, Hyannis, Sam Holmstock, drum circle, Drum Strategies for Healing, Family and Individual Services Department, Leased Housing

New Case Manager Helps Tenants at Hyannis Development

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 @ 09:48 AM
Jacqueline Smith-1Jacqueline Smith, HAC's new case manager, works with clients at Village Green II in Hyannis.

Tenants in a recently completed affordable housing development on Independence Drive in Barnstable are benefitting from the support of a new case manager at HAC.

The program is part of a contract HAC has with HallKeen Management, the property manager for Village Green II, a 60-unit development that was built by Dakota Partners for the region’s workforce. 

Since the start of February, HAC has been providing case management two days a week to 15 clients who hold Section 8 or Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) vouchers that help stabilize their rent.

Jacqueline Smith, who earned her master’s degree in social work from Simmons College last May, has been responsible for working with those 15 tenants, as well as any others at Village Green II seeking support, to connect them to the necessary resources that allow them to maintain their housing, improve their community connections, and work towards self-sufficiency.

The majority of her work so far, she said, has been focused on assisting clients with budgeting.

During February vacation, Smith organized a drumming circle led by Sam Holmstock, a family friend and co-founder of the band Entrain. “I knew Sam and he goes around to nursing homes and does drumming circles and works with at-risk youth,” Smith said. “I said why not try it here and let’s see what comes of it.”

Sam will be returning to Village Green to lead a similar exercise for families during April vacation. Smith has related ideas – yoga, meditation, and fitness – to add a holistic layer to the current offerings she is providing to clients at Village Green II.

Her underlying goal, she said, is to point these clients to the services “they need to help them grow.”

“She has kind of jumped in with both feet,” said HAC’s Director of Family and Individuals Services Cassi Danzl. “She is really committed and looking at what resources are available to make sure tenants in this development have access to them.”

Tags: Jacqueline Smith, Hyannis, Village Green II, case management, Section 8, Leased Housing, MRVP, Cassi Danzl, Family and Individual Services Department

Editorial: Lofts at 57 a New Development Model for HAC

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 @ 10:29 AM
Ridgewood Plans-2 (February 2018).jpg A street elevation rendering of the Lofts at 57 from Ridgewood Avenue. 

Funding for affordable housing has long depended on federal tax credits, a complicated, time-consuming and unreliable method. Using tax credits meant years of waiting “in line” for the funding. With our shortage of affordable housing at a crisis point in our region, we simply don’t have the time to wait.

That is why Housing Assistance Corporation’s Housing Development Department has come up with a new housing development model and a new way to fund it. We call it “pocket neighborhoods,” modeled after historic examples like the gingerbread cottage colony in Oak Bluffs. Our pocket neighborhoods will have a mix of affordable and market rate units; will not rely on federal government funding; and will be able to meet the needs of locals at all income levels.

HAC has purchased a .7-acre lot on Ridgewood Avenue in downtown Hyannis, a centrally located spot near the Hyannis Transportation Center; on the sewer line; and in the Growth Incentive Zone (GIZ). Because of the lot’s location in the GIZ, we were encouraged by the Barnstable Planning and Development Department to pursue a higher density development.

We plan to build eight rental apartments on the property, six of which would be market rate and two of which would be affordable for those earning 80 percent or less of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Barnstable County.

Ridgewood Front Elevation Photo (February 2018).jpg A rendering of the front elevation of one of the triplexes which features a wrap-around porch.

Titled the Lofts at 57, the project represents a new development model for HAC and one we hope to replicate throughout our region.

Since last fall, HAC has been working with the Town of Barnstable to vet the project. It has already received approval from Barnstable’s Site Plan Review committee and will next go before the Barnstable Planning Board on February 12. If the proposal receives support from the Planning Board, the final stage will be to obtain Barnstable Town Council’s blessing.

The development would be unique for HAC in that it is a mixed-income community. The rents from the market rate units will support the development costs of the affordable units.

When complete, the Lofts at 57 will be targeted to the Cape’s workforce and is tied to the economic redevelopment of downtown Hyannis, because it is situated on an old abandoned lot with a deteriorated foundation. About 15 years ago, someone tried to build a large single-family home there and never finished it. It’s an eyesore.

In its place will be three structures, consisting of two triplexes and one duplex, that will use modular construction technology, reducing the overall time and cost needed to build them.

Instead of facing outward, the structures will all be facing a shared open space. The intention of the pocket neighborhood is to encourage interaction with neighbors and create a sense of community. We hope to build more of these projects in the coming years, using redevelopment to revitalize our village centers and to bring much-needed “attainable” housing to the region.

Tags: Lofts at 57, Ridgewood Avenue, Hyannis, Housing Development, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, pocket neighborhood, Alisa Galazzi

HAC's Down Payment Program Helps Working Family

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Dec 27, 2017 @ 04:06 PM
Lashaunda Shepherd-1.jpgThanks to HAC's support, Lashaunda Shepherd was able to spend the holidays with her husband and their two children in a new home.

The Down Payment and Closing Cost Program that HAC administers for Barnstable County is one of the region’s best kept secrets—but it shouldn’t be!

The program uses federal funds to help income-eligible residents become first-time homeowners.

This year, seven HAC clients have been helped through the program, including Lashaunda and Martin Shepherd, a married couple who between them are working four jobs in order to make a living on Cape Cod.

Lashaunda is a rural postal carrier and a certified nursing assistant for two health care agencies and Martin is employed as a floor technician at a local nursing home.

In October, HAC was able to help the couple, who have two children, land the home of their dreams in Hyannis thanks to $5,000 they received from the agency’s Down Payment and Closing Cost Program.

The Shepherds worked closely with HAC Housing Counselor Karin Bar who helps manage the federally-funded program, which provides financial support to income-eligible residents looking to become first-time homeowners, on behalf of Barnstable County.

Without that financial assistance, Lashaunda said. “I don’t think we would have purchased a home… That was a pretty big lifesaver for us.”

The program gives leverage to those like the Shepherds, who had been renting a home in Brewster for the past four years, so they can become homeowners. That is something which has become increasingly difficult in today’s strong housing market. “It is really tough for first-time homebuyers right now,” said Bar.

Still, HAC has been able to assist seven clients this year who have been able to make their dreams of homeownership become a reality. Bar is working with another two currently.

Bar was pleased to see that the Shepherds, who both took HAC’s first-time homebuyer class earlier this year, were among those to benefit from the program.

Now the Shepherds have a home of their own which, “means a lot. It means happiness. It means in the years to come my family can come visit,” said Lashaunda, who is from South Carolina and whose husband is from Jamaica.

Though not originally from here, the Shepherds are proud to call Cape Cod their home “Since I moved here I feel like I’ve been on the right path,” Lashaunda said. “I feel like this would be a perfect place to raise a family. The schools are great. The jobs are great. We are very comfortable here… We love it here on the Cape.”

To learn more about HAC’s Down Payment and Closing Cost Program, click this link.

 

Tags: Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program, First-Time Homebuyer workshop, affordable homeownership, homeownership, Karin Bar, HCEC, homeowner, Hyannis, Barnstable County HOME Program