Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Cape Cod 5 Gives Shelter a Makeover

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Oct 02, 2018 @ 10:34 AM
CC5 Cataumet-4Cape Cod Five’s Joe Beasley (from left), HAC’s Maintenance Supervisor Keith Trott, Cape Cod Five’s Elaine Sweeney, and Paula Mallard, the facility director for the Village at Cataumet.

Over the course of one day at the beginning of last month, roughly 40 interns from Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank came together to give HAC’s Village at Cataumet a much needed facelift.

The group painted the exterior of the 18-unit family shelter from white to gray. Combined with new black doors and shutters, installed by HAC’s maintenance department and several contractors, the makeover provided the Bourne shelter with an entirely new appearance.

“This hasn’t been touched in 25 years,” said HAC’s Maintenance Supervisor Keith Trott of the shelter. “This is going to be quite a transformation.”

He made the statement on the morning the interns were about to begin their work. Before they did, he thanked them for their contributions to HAC. “This is probably a $40,000 paint job we’re going to try to knock out with all your help,” he said. “It goes a long way and lets us have funds to do other things with.”

CC5 Cataumet-3Approximately 40 Cape Cod Five interns spent a day painting the Village at Cataumet family shelter in Bourne.

Intern Alyssa Birchfield, a sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley, said, “it’s nice to be doing something for the community.”

Former intern Joe Beasley, who now works at the bank as a talent management administrative coordinator, said these types of community service projects are a key component of his company’s culture. “Cape Cod 5 really prides itself on giving back to the community and helping out those in need,” he said.

Tags: Village at Cataumet, The Village at Cataumet, Paula Mallard, Cape Cod 5, Philanthropy, Community Service, giving back, Keith Trott, Family Shelter

Donor Spotlight: Carolyn Crowell 

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Feb 26, 2018 @ 02:41 PM
Carolyn Crowell-1.jpgCarolyn Crowell knitting at her home in Sandwich. Over the years, her handmade mittens have made their way onto the hands of clients in our family shelters. 

This past October, Carolyn Crowell celebrated her 91st birthday. When asked what the secret is to a long, healthy, happy life, she said, “keep active for as long as you can.”

Despite the aches and pains that come with old age, Crowell has been able to do exactly that. She is a voracious reader. She is on the Board of Directors for Camp Farley; sits on the Sandwich Historical Commission; and clips news articles for the Town of Sandwich archives.

This January, Crowell stepped down as a volunteer at Plimouth Plantation where she initially portrayed the role of Elizabeth Warren, a Pilgrim from the 1600s, before taking a behind-the-scenes role, knitting costumes and other garments in the wardrobe department.

Crowell still continues to knit, primarily mittens which she regularly makes for the Unitarian Church of Barnstable’s annual craft fair. She has donated some of her mittens to HAC where they have made their way onto the hands of clients at Angel House in Hyannis and Carriage House in North Falmouth.

The two shelters both serve mothers and their children; Angel House’s adult clients are all overcoming addiction.

Crowell was proud of the fact that her handmade creations have been able to provide some much-needed warmth to HAC clients that are most in need. And she had high praise for HAC staff who work with this population who have all been homeless. “You’ve got to have a special skill to work with those people to convince them there is a chance things will get better,” she said.

Crowell, who has witnessed HAC grow in size, scope and stature over the three decades she has supported the agency, was impressed with the agency’s development over the years. “What struck me is the diversity of housing-related activities and the staff members who were acquainted with and can help everyone from the homeless to low-income residents to people trying to buy a home,” she said. “I’m sure when [HAC founder] Rick [Presbrey] started this, he never dreamed it would ever get to be this big, but it kept going and going.”

That growth may be the result of the need that exists here on the Cape. “The cost of housing on the Cape is quite expensive, especially where so much of our economy is based on tourism and so much of our service-related jobs don’t pay that well,” she said. “Therefore, we have many people who haven’t had the money or the good job to afford to buy a house. So they have to make do with substandard housing.”

Because of the difficulties facing many Cape Codders, Crowell understands supporting an agency like HAC is crucial to addressing the region’s housing issues.

Why I Give: Carolyn Crowell 

In 1923, newlyweds David and Dorothy Crowell celebrated their marriage by purchasing Crow Farm in Sandwich, building a home on the 45-acre property where they raised their three children, Howard, Carolyn and Eleanor.

That home still stands today and is owned by the Crowell’s middle child, Carolyn, who was born three years after it was built. At 91, she has lived the majority of her life there, first as a child and then when she returned home in 1978 after stints off-Cape in New Hampshire, Michigan, and New Jersey where she worked primarily as a 4-H county extension agent.

Her home – its longevity and the stability it has provided in her life – may be one reason why Crowell has been such a longtime, passionate supporter of HAC. Over the past three decades, she has been an annual donor to HAC and served as a volunteer, helping with everything from mailings to serving on an advisory committee for one of HAC’s properties.

She explained her commitment to HAC in this way: “Organizations like HAC can do things I can’t do that need to be done. I can help other people who have the expertise and inspiration to carry on.”

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Tags: HAC donors, Donor Spotlight, Carolyn Crowell, Carriage House, Angel House, Philanthropy, charitable giving, knitting, Sandwich

Donor Spotlight: Jim and Helen Wick

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Dec 28, 2017 @ 06:32 PM
The Wicks-1.jpgJim and Helen Wick have been supporters of HAC for over 25 years.

By the time Jim and Helen Wick moved to West Dennis in 1983, they were officially retired. Fast forward nearly 35 years later and the couple could not be busier.

“When you retire, you don’t retire from living,” Helen explained at the end of last month inside their condo at Mill Hill Residence in West Yarmouth. “It frees time to participate in things you are really interested in.”

“I’ve been retired more than I’ve worked,” her husband of 65 years added. “Retirement is kind of like a second career… When you’ve been retired for 35 years, you want to keep your life kind of meaningful. One of the ways you can do it in a good way is associating with nonprofits.”

The Wicks have a list of several nonprofits on Cape Cod – the Dennis Conservation Trust, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Cape Symphony, and CHAMP Homes – that align with their passion for giving back to the community they live in.

HAC is one of those nonprofits at the top of this list. “I think HAC is probably one of the most innovative nonprofits I have ever witnessed,” said Jim. Over the past 25 years, the Wicks have backed up their belief in HAC’s mission by donating thousands of dollars to support the agency’s work.

Whether it’s developing affordable housing, providing educational workshops to first-time homebuyers, or offering shelter to young mothers facing homelessness, the Wicks had high praise for the wide-range of programs HAC offers that benefits those of all income ranges on Cape Cod.

Jim, who served on the Dennis Housing Authority for several years, has long maintained an interest in housing. Having the ability to support an agency like HAC whose focus is on this sector has been rewarding for him and his wife.

“There’s such a shortage of affordable housing here and young people are moving out,” said Jim, who will be turning 93 on Christmas Day.

At their age, the Wicks are showing no signs of slowing down. They hope they will inspire others to find ways they can give back, whether it’s through donations of time, money or talent. “If this encourages somebody else to donate, that would be great,” Helen said.

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Why We Give: The Wicks

In the early 1990s, Jim and Helen Wick attended a fundraising dinner organized by the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH), serving as their first introduction to HAC.

That dinner was where they met HAC founder Rick Presbrey and began to learn about the agency’s work which encompasses everything from operating four shelters for homeless families to developing affordable housing for low- and middle-income residents.

While the couple expressed an affinity for HAC’s broad expanse of programs, it was homelessness prevention that was the entrée for the Wick’s longtime support of the agency.

Since 1993, DYECH has raised more than $1.5 million that has provided one-time emergency funds for families, allowing them to stay in their homes and off the streets.

In addition to organizing dinners and concerts, DYECH sells gift certificates to participating grocery stores such as Shaw’s, Stop & Shop, CVS, and Whole Foods which help prevent homelessness on Cape Cod. DYECH also sells gift cards to a variety of popular stores – Amazon, iTunes, Target, Gap, and more – that raises funds for HAC’s prevention efforts.

To learn more about how you can purchase a gift card to support HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts email dyech@comcast.net

Tags: Jim and Helen Wick, HAC donors, donations, Philanthropy, charitable giving, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, DYECH, homelessness prevention

Falmouth Big Fix a Display of Community

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 @ 11:51 AM
Big Fix-17-5.jpgClifford Long repairs a front step during the Big Fix in Falmouth last month. 

With one knee on the ground, Falmouth’s Clifford Long hammered a nail into a piece of wood, repairing the front steps leading into John Martin’s North Falmouth home.

“I think this is something we should do more of,” said Long, taking a short break as dozens of other volunteers around him removed brush from Mr. Martin’s yard. In the back a crew from Home Depot was staining Mr. Martin’s deck. “So many people, we could make their homes affordable if we all put a little love and attention into them.”

About 20 feet away, Mr. Martin sat in a wheelchair inside his home. An Army veteran who served two years in Korea, Mr. Martin marveled at the kindness of complete strangers like Clifford Long. “You know what this is like? You hear people talking about neighborhoods. If this isn’t a sign of a neighborhood, I don’t know what is.”

What Mr. Martin calls a neighborhood, others call community, and in the middle of last month, there was plenty of that on display during HAC’s 8th Annual Big Fix in Falmouth. A total of 340 volunteers – a record for the Big Fix – showed up to make small improvements to 18 homes owned by veterans, seniors and disabled residents in the Upper Cape community.

If that wasn’t enough, one small group dedicated their time to beautifying the Falmouth Senior Center.

Big Fix-17-6.jpgBig Fix recipient Tina Barr (left) with Rev. John Terry of the First Congregational Church in Sandwich and HAC's Meg Chaffee. Rev. Terry, an advocate for affordable housing, organized a group of volunteers, the "First Fixers", from the church. 

“This is really the meaning of community service and it’s what makes the Cape and Islands so special,” said Falmouth Selectman Megan English Braga during the kick-off to the Big Fix at the Lawrence School.

At the kick-off, HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi took a moment to praise the work the volunteers were doing. “It really means a lot to be able to have this community support and to come out and help these [people],” she said. “This helps them stay in place.”

These were people like 91-year-old Jim Crossen who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. At his home, a small crew of volunteers repaired his garage door while his daughter Jamie spoke about what the Big Fix meant to her. “What I think is really great is that knowing my dad, he has given so much to the community and volunteering his time, and now it’s nice it comes full circle and people are doing the same for him,” she said.

“I never could do this myself,” West Falmouth’s Valerie Tillman said outside her home where volunteers were clearing brush, removing weeds, and mulching her flower beds.

It was a similar scene at Dorothy Sgarzi’s home in East Falmouth, where volunteer Dana Robert remarked, “It is amazing how much work you can do with so many hands” after crews had finished beautifying her yard.

While the calendar may have read September 16, Christine (Tina) Barr of East Falmouth said the Big Fix actually felt like a holiday. “It was like Christmas morning,” she said. “This was much more than I could have ever imagined.”

Donate to the Falmouth Big Fix 

 

Tags: Falmouth Big Fix, Big Fix, Falmouth, veterans, Philanthropy, HAC Volunteers, volunteerism

Barnstable Sunrise Rotary Donates to Children in Need

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Sep 29, 2017 @ 04:01 PM
Barnstable Rotary-1.jpgBarnstable Sunrise Rotary Club members Norman Wilson (from left), Wylton Hampton and Randy Gold dropped off 10 backpacks filled with basic school supplies for HAC clients.

Backpacks and back-to-school supplies are a necessity for every student. But for some HAC clients struggling just to get by, they are a luxury they can’t afford.

Thankfully, HAC has generous donors like the Barnstable Sunrise Rotary Club which fill that need. At the end of August, three of its members – Randy Gold, Wylton Hampton and Norman Wilson – dropped off 10 backpacks filled with basic school supplies that will go to children in HAC shelters and those just out of shelter.

The club, which has 10 members, meets every Monday morning for breakfast. In the middle of last month, HAC’s Director of Community Relations Laura Reckford met with the group, giving info on the agency’s shelters, including Angel House which serves mothers overcoming addiction and their children.

After that meeting, the group elected to do something to give back to children in shelter. “We are hands-on. When we see a need, we fill it,” Gold said. “We do small projects like this and we like to help where we can.”

Tags: Barnstable Sunrise Rotary, back to school, backpacks, charitable giving, Philanthropy

Sandwich Church Holds Donation Drive for Angel House

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Jul 05, 2017 @ 02:55 PM
First Church-Edited.jpgMarilyn Dexter (left) and Judy Coppola with a few of the donations that First Church in Sandwich donated to HAC's Angel House shelter. 

Giving comes in all forms, shapes and sizes. This past spring, it arrived at HAC in several bags full of diapers, baby wipes, pillows and blankets.

These gifts, all courtesy of First Church in Sandwich, were collected and donated to Angel House and the mothers and their children the HAC shelter serves. Each year, the church’s outreach committee selects a handful of local causes it wants to support; this year, they chose Angel House.

“It’s so important to give back to the community you live in,” said Marilyn Dexter, chair of the committee, who was joined by Judy Coppola in delivering the donations.

“Everything that you give, you get back,” Coppola added.

The church wants to continue supporting Angel House and has plans to plant a small garden there this summer.

Donate to Angel House

Tags: Angel House, First Church Sandwich, Philanthropy, Fundraising, Family Shelter

Cotuit Church Gives Back to Village at Cataumet

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, May 11, 2017 @ 12:08 PM
Cataumet Easter-18.jpgMary Kjendal (from left), Mircea Dumitrescu and Lindsay Clough were a few of the parishioners from St. Michael the Archangel Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cotuit who organized an Easter-themed party for children at The Village at Cataumet last month. 

To someone living in shelter, a few moments of normalcy can be a gift. And once a month at the Village at Cataumet, a group of parishioners from St. Michael the Archangel Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cotuit, share that gift to children living in the Bourne shelter.

It comes in the form of a few hours of play.

Last month, the itinerary looked like this: decorating Easter-themed cookies followed by a visit from the Easter bunny followed by an Easter egg hunt outside. If it sounds like fun, that’s because it was.

“They do such a great job and organize such fun activities,” said Paula Mallard, facility director at the Village at Cataumet. “It is fun for the families and a nice change of pace for them.”

Over the past year, the church has been scheduling monthly activities at the shelter which are geared towards children. Last summer, they organized a cookout for the clients. And in February, each child decorated a picture frame with their picture in it which was given to their parents.

“I like interacting with the kids,” said nine-year-old Mary Kjendal from St. Michael. “It is really fun making them happy.”

As he hid Easter eggs outside, Sturgis Charter Public School sophomore Mircea Dumitrescu said he enjoys the church’s monthly visits to the Village at Cataumet because they give him an opportunity to help others.

His mother, Soraya Bandeli, said the monthly outings teach the children a key life lesson – don’t judge others.

Perhaps most importantly, she said, it allows the church to offer a brief respite for what is often a chaotic time for those in shelter. “It’s a nice atmosphere where it is just pure joy for the kids,” she said. 

Support The Village at Cataumet

Tags: The Village at Cataumet, St. Michael Archangel Antiochian Orthodox Church, Philanthropy, Family Shelter, Paula Mallard

Home Builders Association Goes Bowling for HAC

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 @ 04:59 PM
DSC_1952 - Copy-1.jpgAmong the teams that returned for this year’s Bowling for Beds fundraiser was Shepley Wood Products. On the sleeves of their shirts were the words, “Vinny’s Team” in honor of  Daniel Vincent, a 15-year Shepley employee who passed away in a car crash at the end of January.

For the third straight year, local banks, builders, architects and building supply companies came together for a night of bowling to benefit HAC.

Organized by the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Cape Cod (HBRACC), the Bowling for Beds event was held at the beginning of last month at The Lanes Bowl and Bistro in Mashpee Commons, bringing together 20 teams vying for the right to be called the best. That honor went to Wood Lumber Company of Falmouth, which took home the top prize, besting Beacon Marine Construction of Mashpee, and Coastal Engineering Company of Orleans, which took home second and third, respectively.

Together, they helped raise more than $4,300 that went to support HAC’s housing programs on Cape Cod and the Islands. “Our mission is to support homeownership on Cape Cod and its trade members, through legislative, educational, business and civic endeavors,” said Christine Duren, executive officer of HBRACC. “And what better way to demonstrate our members’ commitment to making homeownership and safe, quality shelter accessible to all than supporting the good works of HAC.”

Tags: Home Builders & Remoders Association of Cape Cod, HBRACC, Bowling for Beds, fundraiser, Philanthropy, Christine Duren

Mother's Day Photo Sessions to Benefit Angel House

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 @ 12:24 PM

Mother's Day Portrait Event.jpg

At the end of this month, two Harwich photographers will celebrate Mother’s Day a few weeks early, all in support of clients at HAC’s Angel House shelter in Hyannis.

The pair – Jen Clark, owner of PhotoJenic Studio, and Rebecca Sher, owner of Rebecca Sher Photography – are offering $100 mini-sessions for mothers and their children on April 30, from 10 am to 2 pm, at Local Color Art Gallery in Chatham. All proceeds from the event, titled “You Are My Sunshine,” will be donated to Angel House, which serves mothers in recovery and their children.

“I thought of Angel House as a beneficiary because I know how difficult it is to be a young mother under ordinary circumstances,” Sher said. “I understand that the mothers in need of support from HAC are facing extraordinary hurdles and circumstances.”

Sher is joining Clark, who has organized similar fundraisers in recent years for local nonprofits, including the Boys & Girls Club of Cape Cod. “It’s a lot of fun,” Clark said of the sessions that allow her to give back to the community through the use of her talents.

As to why she typically does these fundraisers in advance of Mother’s Day, Clark said, “Portraits are very important for our family history. A lot of times moms don’t exist in many pictures because they are the ones taking them. I’m really pushing this for Mother’s Day so moms can be in the photos in a totally stress free environment.”

Because space is limited to only 12 sessions, appointments must be booked ahead of time. You can do so by calling Jen Clark at 508-432-5083 or Rebecca Sher at 617-721-1202.

Tags: Angel House, Mother's Day, Philanthropy, Rebecca Sher, Jen Clark

Realtors Provide HAC Clients with Fresh Start

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Apr 06, 2017 @ 03:56 PM
Welcome Home Edited.jpgHAC's Mary LeClair (from left) and Deanna Bussiere with Sunny Fellman, chair of the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors Young Professionals Network which recently organized a drive for the agency's Welcome Home Gift Basket Program. 

The start of the new year always represents a chance at a fresh beginning. And in January, the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors provided HAC clients with just that when they donated six laundry baskets filled with a variety of basic home goods that will go to them when they make the transition from homelessness to permanent housing.

Since 2014, the association’s Young Professionals Network has spearheaded several drives in which they have collected a variety of household goods ranging from bath and kitchen towels to pots and pans to oven mitts to sponges to soap that provide our clients a solid foundation once they move into their new homes. The drives are tied to HAC’s Welcome Home Gift Basket Program.

In January, Sunny Fellman, chair of the Young Professionals Network, and Patricia Pry, sales and marketing director for the realtors association, dropped off the donations to HAC. “This is the right thing to do for our community,” Pry said of her organization’s involvement in these drives. “We want to keep this going, absolutely.”

Those interested in learning more about the gift basket program or donating to it, can contact Mary Everett-Patriquin at either volunteer@haconcapecod.org or at 508-771-5400, ext. 279.

Tags: Welcome Home Gift Basket Drive, Cape Cod & Islands Associaton of Realtors, Deanna Bussiere, Mary LeClair, donations, Philanthropy, charitable giving