Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

HAC Aims to Find Best Stuffed Quahog on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 @ 04:46 PM
DSC 1113 resized 600HAC's Deanna Bussiere chats with illustrator John Sullivan who created the logo for The Cape Cod Quahog Challenge. 

When it comes to food, perhaps no dish is as synonymous with Cape Cod as the stuffed quahog.

And that appetizer will be the centerpiece of a summer showdown in Hyannis, The Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, to help raise funds for HAC’s housing programs.

Scheduled for Sunday, August 2, from 1 to 4 pm, at Trader Ed’s, the challenge is intended to be a fun-filled day, complete with live music from Four Guys Cape Cod, that epitomizes what summer is all about.

To add some color to the event, HAC tapped local illustrator John Sullivan to create the logo featuring Cape Cod’s unofficial mascot Doug the Quahog.

The former teacher and head of the drama club at Barnstable High School, Sullivan has long had a passion for art. “When I was a small child, I would always be drawing,” he said.

That passion led him to Massachusetts College of Art and Design where he received his bachelor’s degree in illustration and filmmaking. After graduating from there in 1974, he returned to Mass Art to get his master’s in education, later parlaying that degree to his 34 years of teaching at Barnstable.

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During his time there, his drama club students actively took part in HAC’s Cape Walk to End Homelessness, an event no longer held, so Sullivan is quite familiar with the agency’s work. “I can’t think of a more worthy organization on Cape Cod right now because family is home and home is family,” he said. “If you don’t have a home, you can’t keep your family together.”

Because he identifies with the mission of HAC, Sullivan was more than eager to accept HAC’s invitation to lend his talents to the quahog challenge. And it was more than a fitting assignment for Sullivan who, along with former student Andrew Rapo, has created the Boston/New England Emmy-nominated children’s show, "Quahog Corner." 

Sullivan also crafted the lobster mascot for Cape Country (103.9) which is owned by Cape Cod Broadcasting, the media sponsor for the quahog challenge.

Though officially retired, Sullivan enjoys these types of assignments that let him express his creativity. “It just makes me smile when I’m drawing,” he said. 

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Tags: housing, Julie Wake, homelessness, Cape Cod Broadcasting, Cape Cod, Quahog, Quahog Challenge

HAC is on Instagram

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Sun, May 17, 2015 @ 09:15 AM

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During their time at HAC, Cornell students not only lent their voice to the agency’s monthly newsletter, but to its social media platform.

The group was responsible for helping HAC launch an Instagram account, adding to its current offerings on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. “We see this as a way to add a more youthful message to the work we are doing,” said Julie Wake, HAC’s director of communications and development. “The programs and services we provide have a serious bent to them, but by using Instagram we want to visually show that helping others is not only cool, but can be a lot of fun.”

To follow HAC on Instagram, click this link or search haconcapecod when on your smart phone. And make sure to use the hashtag #HAConCapeCod when posting photos or videos of our events.

Tags: Julie Wake, Cornell, alternative spring break, Cornell University, HAC, social media, Instagram

Dogs Bring Cheer to HAC Offices

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Sep 09, 2014 @ 11:57 AM
DSC 0170 resized 600Hobie, a yellow Labrador, spends some time with Tristan (left) and HAC's Peggy Konner.

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but not far behind on that list is HAC. For it is here in the hallways and offices at 460 West Main Street that one is as likely to encounter a four-legged animal as a two-legged one.

HAC’s proclivity to dogs began a little over a decade ago when its CEO Rick Presbrey adopted SCHENLEY, a Labrador-corgi mix.

This month Schenley, the senior canine at HAC, will celebrate her 13th birthday, spending the day seeking out treats from Marie Johnson, Dolores Barbati-Poore and Alison Reid - “long-term biscuit-ers,” who provide the dog with her daily nourishment, according to Presbrey.

She was born around September 11, 2001 and became a part of Presbrey and his wife Melanie Powers’ family a year and a half later.

“She’s been a valued member of our household ever since and for the last decade has been a part of HAC’s workforce,” Presbrey said.

describe the image      Nancy Davison showing Rufus some love.

Initially, Powers was the one bringing Schenley into work at IFAW in Yarmouth Port. But when Powers changed jobs Presbrey took over that responsibility. It marked a first in HAC’s history – the day a dog began to regularly punch in to work, nine to five, Monday through Friday.

Schenley was perhaps the best dog for what has become the norm at HAC. “She is a very gentle, accommodating, sweet dog,” Presbrey said.

RUFUS, a 10-year-old mutt that vice president of program operations Nancy Davison adopted from a kill shelter in Georgia, was the next to prance into HAC offices.

In his younger days, Davison said, Rufus was somewhat rambunctious so she only brought him in when working in manageable spaces like her current one in the HAC Energy department. “He is a good boy,” she said. “He likes to sleep underneath my desk and at lunch we go for a walk and then he sleeps in the afternoon.”

These days his worst habit is “eating all the tissues and papers” in the trash buckets at HAC, Davison said, attributing this to Rufus “looking for attention.”

At HAC getting that attention is relatively easy to come by. “I have people who like to come over and pet him and talk to him,” Davison said. “It gives people something to talk about and it opens the doors to other communications and relationships.”

describe the image   Schenley in her favorite spot: a soft dog bed in Rick's office.

Presbrey, who added another dog, GRAVY, a miniature Australian shepherd, to HAC’s ranks a little less than four years ago, agreed, adding that this benefit extends to the nonprofit’s clients. “Even though Gravy is really a shy dog he has an appealing appearance so lots of people coming in here for help with housing try to engage him,” Presbrey said. “He makes people feel welcome in the waiting room. Because often times their lives are in trauma having a dog there they can interact with is really a nice thing for a lot of people.”

Julie Wake, HAC’s director of communications and development, has seen the same types of interactions in the lobby with her dog HOBIE, a seven-year-old male yellow Labrador. “The clients trust him and it is almost like a nice distraction for what can be a stressful, daunting time in someone’s life,” she said.

Hobie, who goes by multiple nicknames – Hoberto Gonzalez the Embattled and Butters by his “surrogate mother” Cindi Maule – “is beloved by all,” Wake boasted, including her one-year-old son Soren. His first word? Hobie.

Though she is partial to her yellow Labrador, she said, “I like when other people’s dogs are here. It is very therapeutic to have dogs in the office.”

It is a similar sentiment from HAC accountant Nancy Sander who can be seen on daily walks in the parking lot with ADDIE, a one-year-old bichon frise. “I would have never got a dog if I couldn’t have brought her in here,” she said. “I can’t stand them being left at home all day because they are just like people.”

At HAC Addie is relatively quiet, usually staying inside her crate near her owner’s desk which is exactly what Sander prefers. “She is my family. I love having her with me,” Sander said. “It is pretty cool they let us bring our dogs to work.”

Addie 2 resized 600         Addie in the file room.

Tags: Julie Wake, dogs, Nancy Davison, HAC, Rick Presbrey, Nancy Sander

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