Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Cape Realtors Association Pays it Forward

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 @ 02:30 PM
Cape_and_Islands_Edited_9216.jpg Sunny Fellman, chair of the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors Young Professionals Network, with the donations that her organization dropped off to HAC this month. They will eventually go to HAC clients who are transitioning out of shelter and into permanent housing. 

By themselves, backpacks, clothes hangers, towels, kitchen utensils, pillows and notebooks are relatively ordinary, everyday items. But to a select group of HAC clients they will represent a way to move forward with their lives.

At the beginning of September, these were just a few of the new household goods that Patricia Pry, marketing director for the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors, and Sunny Fellman, chair of the association’s Young Professionals Network, delivered to HAC.

The association collected the items as part of its latest drive for HAC’s Welcome Home Gift Basket Program. They will be given to families and individuals to help in their transition from shelter into permanent housing.

As part of the drive, Pry went to the Kmart in Hyannis to purchase some goods. While checking out, she struck up a conversation with a woman in line, explaining these items were going to HAC. That woman told Pry she had been a HAC client “and she may have been a recipient” of the Welcome Home Gift Basket Program, Pry said.

“We exchanged info and I had tears in my eyes,” Pry said. “It was a real pay it forward moment for me.”

“That is our ‘why’,” Fellman said, explaining why the association has conducted these drives in the past and will continue to do so in the future. “For us it is really touching to see the people benefitting from this.”

Those interested in donating to HAC’s Welcome Home Gift Basket Program can contact Mary Everett-Patriquin at volunteer@haconcapecod.org or at 508-771-5400, ext. 279. 

Tags: Welcome Home Gift Basket Drive, Philanthropy, volunteerism, CCIAOR, giving

Donation Provides Warmth for Cape's Homeless

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Sep 07, 2016 @ 01:31 PM
Yarn_Photo_Edited.jpgMary (left) and Ron Weishaar of A Great Yarn hold up one the donated blankets with HAC’s Deanna Bussiere. 

A spool of yarn doesn’t become a blanket, scarf or hat without a little time, care and devotion. Earlier this year, nearly 100 Lower Cape residents provided just that as part of a project aimed at supporting the region’s homeless population.

“A lot of love and a lot of creativity went into these,” said Ron Weishaar in May, when he and his wife Mary, dropped off 29 homemade blankets as well as several hats and scarves that went to those in HAC’s homeless shelters.

The Weishaars, owners of A Great Yarn in Chatham, allowed their customers to use their store space and unused yarn at the beginning of the year, to create the crafts as part of a community-wide knit-a-thon. In addition, they helped collect $1,500 that went to assist HAC in helping those most in need.

Support for the project came from those near and far, including second homeowners in California and Florida, who shipped panels, or individuals sections of the blankets, via mail. “This is one of the panels from California,” Mary said, holding up a finished blanket. “The reason I know that is this was a very dreary day when I opened this up and it just spoke sunshine.”

The Chatham store’s customers were more than eager to add a little brightness to the lives of Cape Cod’s homeless men and women. “They knew these people needed help,” said Mary. “And they were glad it was going to people on the Cape.”

The Weishaars said their only goal was to “whip up a lot of enthusiasm” and it was their customers who did the rest of the work in creating the pieces.

“You definitely succeeded,” HAC’s event and resource development coordinator Deanna Bussiere told the Weishaars. “This is amazing.”

After dropping off the donations, the Weishaars had a chance to visit the NOAH Shelter in Hyannis, to see who some of their gifts would benefit. “I know our clients will definitely appreciate this,” Bussiere assured them.

Support HAC's Homeless Shelters

Tags: homelessness, Philanthropy, donations, A Great Yarn

Crane Appliance Donates Refrigerator to NOAH Shelter

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, May 06, 2016 @ 12:49 PM


NOAH_Refrigerator1-small.jpgCrane Appliance's Eddy Guerrero and Angel Medina deliver a new refrigerator to the NOAH Shelter in March. 

Imagine having a refrigerator that sometimes stopped working. On the women’s side of the NOAH Shelter, staff and guests didn’t have to imagine because it was a reality.

“I’d get calls that it just wasn’t working,” said shelter director Greg Bar. “You’d have food in there warming up. The milk would be turning to cottage cheese.”

So in January, Bar put out a request for a new refrigerator that went to HAC staff. Deanna Bussiere, HAC’s resource development coordinator, reached out to several contacts to see if anyone would be willing to donate one.

In March, that request was answered thanks to the generosity of Crane Appliance in Falmouth, which donated a brand new, black refrigerator to the shelter. As delivery drivers Angel Medina and Eddy Guerrero worked to unload the appliance from their truck, Bar and Jan Rogers, direct care staff at the shelter, commented on how sorely needed the refrigerator was needed.

“This is very generous,” Bar said. “You know it sounds silly, but when people donate something really nice or new like this to the shelter, the people here feel a little more valued.”

This type of philanthropy is not out of the ordinary for Bob and Paula Crane, owners of Crane Appliance, who regularly support local schools on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. After receiving Bussiere’s letter and a follow-up phone call, Bob Crane said, “I felt like this was the right thing to do… You know at the end of the day it is about giving back to the community.”

Tags: homelessness, Philanthropy, NOAH Shelter, donations, Crane Appliance

Fifth Grader Gives Back to NOAH Shelter

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Apr 22, 2016 @ 01:17 PM
NOAH_Blessing_Bags_Cropped1.jpgRyan (from left), Jeff, Renee and Kristine Monast with NOAH Shelter Director Greg Bar.

When 10-year-old Renee Monast of Wareham, was writing her Christmas letter to Santa this past December, she did something unusual. She thought of those in need.

“She didn’t put anything on there for herself,” her mother Kristine said. “She only asked for things for the needy.”

So when Christmas came, Santa delivered a bag full of practical items – toothpaste, deodorant, lotion – that homeless men and women could use. Renee then filled up plastic bags for 10 men and 10 women that she brought to the NOAH Shelter during her school vacation in February. Inside each was a handwritten note from Renee.

She called the gifts blessing bags.

Joined by her father Jeff and brother Ryan, 12, Renee handed them out to those at NOAH, but not before shelter director Greg Bar introduced her and explained what she had done.

Several NOAH guests shouted out, “thank you,” and afterwards Bar commended the fifth grader attending Hyannis’ St. Francis Xavier Preparatory School for her thoughtfulness. “You know when I was 10 or 11 it was never even in my mind to help other people,” Bar said.

Her mother said she has come to expect this type of charitableness from Renee. “She’s always been a giver,” Kristine said.

“It makes me feel good,” Renee said, as to why she does it. And because she did not have enough bags for everyone at the shelter, she promised to come back with more.

A few minutes after the Monasts had left, John, a 47-year-old homeless man staying at the shelter, marveled at Renee’s generosity. “The world needs more kids like that,” he said. “For a child to come in and want to give to the less fortunate, that is phenomenal. You don’t see that nowadays.”

Support the NOAH Shelter

Tags: Philanthropy, NOAH Shelter, donations, blessing bags

Books Needed for HAC's Free Library

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 @ 05:04 PM


When HAC first moved into its offices on West Main Street in 1998, CEO Rick Presbrey’s goal was to make the reception area as inviting as possible.

Initially, staff put out toys before realizing that they would easily break, get dirty and have to be replaced. So instead, Presbrey created a library, a place where men, women and children could take a book or more to bring home.

“We decided the book thing made a lot more sense,” Presbrey said. “Our goal as an agency is to be a ‘Yes agency’ that wishes not to be judgmental and creates a welcoming place for people who come here for help.”

The library is just one example of that, a shelf stacked with books for those of all ages. “The miracle of it all is we’ve had books donated continuously through the years,” Presbrey said. “When we’re a little short people always respond.”

And so HAC is asking for people to donate once again as they have in the past. The library is in need of used books for children and adults. They can be dropped off Monday through Friday at 460 West Main Street in Hyannis, from 9 am to 4:30 pm.

Tags: Philanthropy, HAC Library, Books, donations

A Family Bond Inspires a Connecticut Teen to Give Back

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Oct 02, 2015 @ 02:01 PM


There is a power to music that is difficult to measure. It not only serves as a form of creative expression, but it moves people to do extraordinary things.

And in May, it did just that inside a home in Weston, Connecticut. There, far removed from Cape Cod, music inspired 45 people to donate $11,286 to HAC’s Angel House shelter.

The connection between Angel House and Weston, starts in Osterville, where longtime HAC supporter Margaret Mullin lives. Every summer Mullin’s 23 grandchildren visit, including her youngest, 17-year-old Thomas Rosiello.

For roughly three weeks during the past four summers, Thomas has become a familiar face at Angel House where he volunteers at the shelter’s play space, helping play and care for its children. “I function as an extra person, doing whatever is needed: playing with kids, cleaning up after snacks, anything that I can help with,” he said. “The best part for me is playing with the kids. It’s not only fun for them, but fun for me.”

He credited his grandmother, who he calls Greta, for motivating him to donate his time to HAC while on summer vacation. “I saw clearly that she was a large supporter of Angel House and it meant something to her,” he said. “With her being one of my heroes, I saw it as a great chance to do some good and support something which she clearly thought was special.”

When not visiting Cape Cod, Thomas spends his time in Weston, where he lives with his parents Barbara and Robert Rosiello. It is there that Thomas came up with an idea to extend his support of Angel House even further. He decided to organize a concert, performing with The Hopkins Harmonaires, an all-male acapela group at Hopkins School where he is currently a senior.

Thomas_Rosiello_Photo_2The Hopkins Harmonaires at this spring's Angel House fundraiser in Connecticut.

So this spring, Thomas invited friends and family over for an evening of music that included everything from classics to more modern selections like “Wagon Wheel” by Mumford & Sons and “Here We Go” by Dispatch.

Aside from his parents and grandmother, the nearly 75 people in attendance were unfamiliar with Angel House, a Hyannis shelter focused on providing treatment and support for mothers – all are homeless and overcoming some form of addiction – and their children. So Thomas gave a short speech, explaining the work being done there and his ties to the shelter and the people it serves.

And that is when people gave.

Encouraging such philanthropy is something that was instilled in Thomas at a young age. “It has always been a large focus,” Thomas said.

His experience at Angel House has only cemented those early childhood lessons and the importance of being civic-minded. “They sort of help you be happy,” he said of his motivation for this fundraiser: the children in the shelter. “Particularly at Angel House, with them being in such tough circumstances, when I show up, everyone puts a smile on my face.” 

Donate to Angel House

Tags: homelessness, Thomas Rosiello, Philanthropy, Community Service, Fundraising, Angel House