Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

HAC Seeks Volunteers for Falmouth Big Fix

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Aug 08, 2017 @ 03:23 PM
Big_Fix_Brewster_-_1.jpgHAC is seeking volunteers for its 8th Annual Big Fix which is coming to Falmouth on Saturday, September 16. 

If there was ever a question as to the need for the Big Fix, it was erased when HAC received a record 65 applications from Falmouth homeowners.

“There was a huge response,” said HAC’s Director of Community Relations Laura Reckford. “Now we need volunteers so that we can help as many applicants as possible.”

Now in its eighth year, the Big Fix relies on volunteers to make small home repairs for income-eligible veterans, seniors and disabled homeowners in one town on Cape Cod. It started in Barnstable in 2010 and has since been to Sandwich, Dennis, Mashpee, Yarmouth, Bourne, and, last year, Brewster. This year’s Big Fix is scheduled for Saturday, September 16.

“The Big Fix is volunteer-powered,” said HAC’s Volunteer Coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin. “There would be no Big Fix without the volunteers.”

HAC is seeking both skilled and unskilled volunteers who will tackle such projects as landscaping; trash removal; repairing stairs, fences, decks, and outdoor walkways; interior and exterior painting; roofing; light carpentry; and basic plumbing and electrical work.

Volunteer for the Falmouth Big Fix

  • You can sign up as a Volunteer or,
  • Sign up as a Fundraising Volunteer (either as a team or individually) or,
  • Do both!

The deadline to register is Friday, September 1. Click the green button below to get started!

Register To Volunteer

The Big Fix will kick off with registration at 8 am at the Lawrence School on Lakeview Avenue in Falmouth. A light breakfast will be provided by Whole Foods Market in Hyannis and Beanstock Coffee in Wellfleet. Following a short ceremony, volunteers will depart to their assigned homes by 9 am. The majority of the work will be completed by noon at which time all volunteers are invited back to the Lawrence School for a lunch provided by 99 Restaurants in Falmouth.

Satisfaction from Helping Others

Everett-Patriquin said one of the most rewarding aspects of the Big Fix is that volunteers get to see the fruits of their labor almost immediately. “I think people get a deep sense of satisfaction from the knowledge that they’ve helped someone in need,” she said. “And I think another part of it is that people get a lot of satisfaction out of the teamwork aspect of it. Sometimes people are serving with a group and it’s a real bonding experience for them.”

This year, HAC has added an opportunity for volunteers to enhance their impact even further by signing up as fundraisers as part of the first-ever Fix-a-Thon.
Funds raised will not only help to offset the nearly $50,000 it costs to organize the Big Fix, but to help address the need witnessed by the large number of recipient applications HAC received.

The Fix-a-Thon will support HAC’s efforts to keep residents in their homes through the agency’s homelessness prevention program, and bolster its foreclosure and reverse mortgage counseling as well as its weatherization program for low-income households. It will also allow HAC to expand its home repair program which would enable the agency to cast a wider net in helping the types of people the Big Fix serves on a year-round basis.

Volunteers who raise $250 or more will receive a special prize and be recognized at the Big Fix kickoff on September 16.

Tags: Mary Everett Patriquin, Fundraising, Big Fix, HAC Volunteers, 99 Restaurant, Falmouth, Laura Reckford, Falmouth Big Fix, Whole Foods, Fix-A-Thon

Cornell Students Learn Alongside HAC Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, May 04, 2017 @ 01:19 PM
Cornell-1.jpgHAC Volunteer Coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin (left), HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi (third from right), and HAC Board Member Paul Melville (far right) with Cornell University’s Alicia Yang (from left), Piragash Swargaloganathan, Crystal Pascal, Luna Oiwa, Keenan Ashbrook and Sean Allen. 

At the beginning of last month, six Cornell University students spent four days learning about the importance of journaling, how to play the ukulele, and the basics of African dance and drumming, alongside HAC clients.

It was all tied to Cornell’s alternative spring break; for the past 13 years the Ivy League college has sent a small contingent of students to Cape Cod to learn about HAC’s work while helping to further the agency’s mission. This year the group took part in a collaborative learning process with clients at HAC’s Hyannis office as well as two of its family shelters, Carriage House in North Falmouth and the Village at Cataumet.

“Your questions and interest in HAC really invigorated the staff in ways we could not have predicted,” HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi told the group at their farewell dinner. “I really feel like the future is bright with you in it.”

That sentiment was reciprocated by the students who left impressed with the dedication and compassion that HAC staff showed towards their work. “Just seeing the passion for the work and the joy your staff has for helping people with knowledge, professionalism, and a warm heart is so inspirational to me,” Cornell freshman Alicia Yang said.

Trip leader Piragash Swargaloganathan, a sophomore at Cornell agreed, saying that the time spent at HAC was proof that people can affect positive change by pursuing a career in the social services.

Teaching Moments
The students said the specific workshops they took, from journaling to puppetry to playing the ukulele, had practical implications that could be applied to HAC’s programs. The group used puppets, for example, as a mechanism to teach children to read at the Village at Cataumet. “We found it was a bridge where we can go into their world,” Alicia said.

The ukulele, freshman Luna Oiwa said, “is an incredible stress reliever” and connected the Cornell students with the clients at Carriage House, as they came together, singing and strumming in harmony.

These specific moments spoke to a larger and more important lesson - “that we are all equal beings,” Piragash said.

“All the things we do are really universal,” something that freshman Keenan Ashbrook said he and his classmates learned through the journaling workshop taught by former Cape Cod Community President Kathleen Schatzberg.

Mary Wilson, who led the puppet workshop, also hosted the students with her husband at their Marstons Mills home. “I was able to witness a community come together,” she said of the week spent with the students. “Thank you for doing something for nothing. You are inspirational, thoughtful and socially-minded. I didn’t really know what I was expecting, but I’ve been so incredibly impressed with you.”

Tags: Cornell, alternative spring break, Cornell University, Family Shelter, Mary Everett Patriquin

Staff Take Advantage of HAC Services

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, May 15, 2015 @ 01:19 PM

 

By CORNELL STUDENTS

One of the qualities HAC employees are known for is their compassion for the people they serve. That compassion may lie in the fact that occasionally staffers are clients, and therefore understand the emotions one goes through when seeking help from HAC.

Ann Rebello, HAC’s accounts payable clerk, is a prime example. A few years ago, she was struggling to afford the high costs of rent on Cape Cod so she moved in with her daughter to lessen the financial blow. When her daughter eventually moved out, Rebello looked to colleague Cheryl Kramer, manager of HAC’s Housing and Consumer Education Center (HCEC), for guidance.

“I wanted to see if I could get a consolidated loan to pay my bills so maybe I could afford a little more (rent),” Rebello said. “But when Cheryl saw my credit, she said, ‘Why don’t you try to buy?’ I didn’t think I could afford to buy, but she told me that mortgages are less than rent.”

That one meeting led Rebello to work with Gael Kelleher, the director of real estate for HAC’s Cape Community Real Estate (CCRE), in 2013 to find an affordable home she eventually purchased in South Yarmouth. “Being able to buy a house at my age with my income is nothing short of a miracle,” Rebello said.

Today, Rebello could not be happier. At the end of July, she will be celebrating her second anniversary as a homeowner on Cape Cod.

At HAC, Rebello is not alone. Volunteer coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin and her husband, who moved to Massachusetts in the spring of 2008, ran into financial complications while trying to sell their previous home in Arizona in the midst of one of the worst economic recessions in recent history.

As a result, the couple moved in with Everett-Patriquin’s mother, saving money to afford their own place. During that time, she was hired by HAC’s communications and development team, and enrolled in the nonprofit’s Homebuyer Education class.

Afterwards, she utilized HAC’s services as Kelleher acted as their real estate agent and was able to find them a condominium in Yarmouth that the couple moved into about a year and a half ago. Like Rebello, Everett-Patriquin could not be more pleased with the assistance she received as a client.

And both agreed that one of the most satisfying aspects of their home purchases was that it was able to generate a profit for HAC. As a nonprofit real estate company, CCRE supports itself and generates funds for HAC programs every time they help a client buy or sell a home. For Kelleher that is the strength of her department. “We don’t make it for profit,” she said. “We make it to do good.”

Tags: alternative spring break, HACbeat, Cornell University, HAC, Mary Everett Patriquin, Gael Kelleher, Ann Rebello