Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Donor Spotlight: Meg Chaffee

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Aug 01, 2018 @ 11:58 AM

 

Meg Chaffee Photo

She has worked at HAC for more than 17 years, but Meg Chaffee’s connection to the agency goes back even further when she was once a client.

“I left a domestic violence situation and was allowed to go into one of HAC’s shelters,” she said. At the time, it was only her and her son, Justus, whose name is a combination of two words – “just” and “us” – that defined all the two had when they sought help from HAC.

In HAC, Meg and her son found the necessary support and resources to make their way through that difficult period in their lives. “There’s a lot HAC has helped me with,” she said, which included providing her with two cars from the agency’s now-defunct Wheels to Work Program. “I used to take the B-Bus with my son in Hyannis. Sometimes it would take an hour and a half to get to work when I worked at Toys R Us. When I got the car, it was nice because I could go to the grocery store and laundromat on my own.”

When Chaffee left the shelter, she received a Section 8 voucher that has provided her with financial assistance in paying her rent on Cape Cod.

In 2001, HAC had an opening for a Section 8 program representative which she applied to because she wanted to find a way to give back to those in need. “I wanted to help other people,” she explained.

A Commitment to HAC

While she has done that in her role, helping to administer HAC’s Section 8 vouchers, she has taken her commitment a step further – as a HAC donor.

In May, she was one of several longtime donors to be recognized at HAC’s Annual Dinner & Volunteer Recognition as part of the agency’s Loyalty Circle. She has donated annually to HAC for over 10 years in a row.

At $10 a month, it is admittedly not a lot, but she knows that she is doing her part so the agency can help others in need. She has her monthly donation taken directly out of her biweekly paycheck.

She hopes her giving will inspire her fellow HAC employees – the agency has a total of 111 full- and part-time staff – to do the same. “I’d like to challenge all of our employees, if they’re not already donating, to make that donation,” she said.

That challenge is coming during a significant milestone in her life. Last month, she gave up her housing voucher and is now able to pay her full rent. Chaffee is just one example that the agency’s programs provide tangible results.

When asked what HAC does best, she laughingly asked, “one thing?” before answering in this way: “It makes a better community.”

Why I Give

Along with her monthly donation to HAC, Meg Chaffee participates in the agency’s Cape Cod Caring Cards program, regularly purchasing Shaw’s gift certificates which result in donations that help keep individuals in their homes and off the streets.

Organized through the Barnstable Interfaith Council (BIC), the program allows the public to purchase gift cards at face value to participating stores and restaurants, including Lambert’s; Shaw’s/Star Market; Stop & Shop; Ring Brothers; Peterson’s Market & Fancy’s in Osterville; Roche Brothers; Country Garden; Cape Cod Natural Foods; Whole Foods; CVS; 99 Restaurant & Pub; and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Because the stores sell the gift certificates to BIC in bulk, they are discounted, which allows five percent of every purchase to go towards HAC’s Project Prevention for individuals, a program to prevent homelessness.

While it does not cost her anything extra, Chaffee said, purchasing the gift cards gives her the satisfaction of knowing that she may be helping an individual who may need emergency financial assistance to either stay in their home or to find a new, more stable place to live.

Gift certificates for BIC can be purchased at HAC’s office at 460 West Main Street in Hyannis. Click here for more info on the Cape Cod Caring Cards program. 

Tags: Project Prevention, Family Shelter, homelessness prevention, homeless prevention, HAC staff, HAC donors, Donor Spotlight, Meg Chaffee, Barnstable Interfaith Council, BIC

Century 21 Office Donates Holiday Meals

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Dec 22, 2017 @ 01:07 PM
Thanksgiving Realtors-1.jpgCentury 21 North Shore Cape Cod Realtor Joanne Stephenson (second from right) with HAC Volunteer Coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin, Event Coordinator Deanna Bussiere, and Family Self-Sufficiency Coordinator Jan Nelson. 

With a number of HAC clients, the ability to have the Thanksgiving they want, let alone the one they need, is difficult. But thanks to the generosity of Century 21 North Shore Cape Cod, HAC was able to provide 14 of them with a basket full of food – potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, vegetables, and more – so they could have the Thanksgiving they deserve. 


“We thought this would be a great way as we enter the holiday season to give back to the community and those less fortunate than ourselves,” said Realtor Joanne Stephenson, who dropped off the donations last month.

About a dozen of her colleagues participated in the drive which also included giving another 10 baskets to Cape Cod veterans in need. The ones donated to HAC went to clients receiving Project Prevention, HomeBASE and Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) funding, which provide assistance to families and individuals experiencing a housing crisis.

Make A Donation

Tags: Project Prevention, HomeBASE, holiday giving, RAFT, Residential Assistance For Families in Transition, Thanksgiving, Century 21 North Shore Cape Cod

Gift Cards Help Prevent Homelessness

Posted by HAC Staff on Wed, Nov 22, 2017 @ 04:22 PM

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Do you plan on buying a gift card for a loved one this holiday season? If so, you can help prevent homelessness on Cape Cod by purchasing them through the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH).

Every year, DYECH sells gift cards to over 100 stores, restaurants and movie theaters – Best Buy, Amazon, Target, Starbucks and more – that raise funds for HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts.

To purchase gift cards this holiday season visit www.shopwithscrip.com. The enrollment code to support DYECH and HAC is 561B698219989.

Cards can be picked up at Yarmouth Appliance Clinic at 61 White’s Path in Yarmouth one week after you place your order. Make sure to place your order early so you have the cards in time for the holidays!

If you have questions about the program, please email DYECH at dyech@comcast.net

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, Prevention, homelessness prevention, Cape Cod Caring Cards, Gift Cards for prevention

DYECH Celebrates Fundraising Milestone

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Apr 07, 2017 @ 11:26 AM
DYECH Edited.jpgAt its meeting last month, DYECH presented HAC's Cassi Danzl with an $8,000 check which pushed its fundraising total to $1.5 million since the group's inception. The money has been used to prevent families on Cape Cod from becoming homeless.

In the grand scheme of things, $8,000 may seem like a relatively small amount of money, but in the beginning of March, it represented a major milestone for a group of residents committed to helping their neighbors in need.

When that donation was given to Cassi Danzl, HAC’s director of Family and Individual Services, it pushed the group, better known as the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH), over $1.5 million raised since it was formed in 1993.

HAC founder Rick Presbrey said the genesis of DYECH was “to prevent people from entering shelters and motels and keep them in housing,” an effort spearheaded by the late Bob Murray in conjunction with parishioners and staff at Christian churches in Dennis and Yarmouth that had reached out to HAC asking how they could support the agency.

And so DYECH was born. Golf tournaments, ham and bean dinners, chicken pot pie suppers and community concerts are just a few of the ways they have raised money to prevent homelessness on Cape Cod and the Islands over the past 24 years.

DYECH has also been able to raise funds from the bulk purchase of gift certificates to participating stores such as Shaw’s, Stop & Shop, Whole Foods and CVS. It then sells those gift certificates at face value to those in the community. For every dollar spent, DYECH receives five percent that goes directly to HAC’s homelessness prevention efforts for families.

Debbie McDevitt-Hayes of Yarmouth, who has been involved with DYECH since the beginning, recalled that the late Art Kimber, a member of the clergy at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Yarmouth, and Deacon David Akin of St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth, were instrumental in the launch of DYECH and bringing neighboring churches into the fold.

DYECH’s Early Days
“Those early days were exciting days for sure,” she said, noting that it was less about the money raised and more about the number of families they were able to help. “HAC was good at keeping us posted as to putting a personal face on what was happening. Sometimes you’d meet some of the clients that you helped which was really exciting.”

As to DYECH reaching this fundraising milestone last month, she said, “I’m sure if we put the faces on that $1.5 million it would have a huge impact.”

Akin said the reason for the continued dedication to DYECH is simple: there are people in need. “They say that for 60 or more percent of Cape Codders, if one or two paychecks don’t come, the party is over,” he said. “There is a real hand-to-mouth economy for the have nots.”

“I think we all have to help each other,” said Yarmouthport’s Barbara Lussier, who manages the gift certificate program for DYECH. “Some of us are more fortunate than others, but I think it’s important for us to give back.”

While all agreed there is still more to do, current DYECH President Steve Sozanski was proud of all the group has accomplished. “It’s mind-boggling to think we’ve raised that much money organizing meals and concerts three or four times a year and buying and selling gift cards in bulk,” he said.

Presbrey agreed, calling DYECH’s work “amazing, actually. For them to do it all these years is impressive and also the energy with which they do it. They’ve kept up the program and prevented people from being homeless and keeping them in their current housing. It’s been a huge thing, really.”

To learn more about ways you can help prevent homelessness simply by purchasing a gift card to a local supermarket, store or restaurant, click this link.

You can also purchase gift cards at HAC's office at 460 West Main Street in Hyannis. Contact Margaret Benaka at 508-771-5400, ext. 272, or at mbenaka@haconcapecod.org for more information. 

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, homelessness prevention, Steve Sozanski, homeless prevention, Rick Presbrey, Gift Cards for prevention, David Akin, St. Pius X School, Cassi Danzl, Barbara Lussier, Debbie McDevitt-Hayes

Painting a Picture of Hope for HAC Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 @ 03:50 PM

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In her spare time, Dolores Barbati-Poore likes to paint. She has over a dozen original paintings in her Bourne home, the result of the popular paint nights that allow friends to socialize, all while nurturing their creativity.

If Dolores were to create a painting that epitomized her nearly 28 years at HAC, it would most likely represent a picture of hope. “Dolores brought compassion, empathy and she never really gave up on people, some of whom were our toughest clients,” HAC’s AnnMarie Torrey said in describing her coworker. “She took a person at face value. There was never any judgment. She was always trying to save people, trying to help people.”

On the Friday before Thanksgiving, Dolores said farewell to a career spent helping people get the housing services they needed to move forward with their lives. Her time now will be spent with her husband, Edward, a retired glass artist, and her family. She has two children, John and Kara, who live in Bourne, and he has two children, James and Mary Ann.

Dolores first started with HAC in February 1989, processing Chapter 707 certificates with Michael Sweeney, before becoming an assistant to Allison Alewine. Her role at HAC quickly expanded; over the years, she was the family shelter director, helping the agency start the Village at Cataumet in Bourne. She retired as director of the agency’s Project Prevention program which provides emergency funding for those at risk of homelessness due to illness, loss of job or family crisis.

“If the agency was an arrow, she would represent the very tip of it,” said HAC CEO Rick Presbrey. “She is the one that penetrated the target and was able to provide counsel and assistance to even the most difficult clients to get them into housing.”

Having a job where she could affect real change was the most rewarding aspect of her time at HAC. “I’ve been so lucky to have a job where I can help people and get paid for doing it because I like helping people progress in life,” Dolores said.

Give Hope to a HAC Client

Tags: Project Prevention, homelessness, HAC, Rick Presbrey, hope, Michael Sweeney, Dolores Barbati-Poore

Prevent Homelessness on Cape Cod While Doing Your Holiday Shopping

Posted by HAC Staff on Wed, Nov 30, 2016 @ 06:30 AM

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The Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH), which supports HAC’s Project Prevention, has gift cards available for purchase to over 100 stores, restaurants and movie theaters (from Amazon to Zappos). When you purchase gift cards through this program, merchants give a percentage of the sale to homelessness prevention. For example, if you buy a $25 gift card for the Gap, your gift card is worth the full $25, but the Gap donates 14 percent ($3.50) to Project Prevention.

All of the money raised through this program is given directly to families in need, providing them with emergency funds so they can remain in their homes and off the streets. To purchase gift cards, go to www.shopwithscrip.com. The enrollment code to help DYECH and HAC is 561B698219989.

Cards can be picked up at Yarmouth Appliance Clinic at 61 White’s Path in Yarmouth one week after you place your order. Don’t forget to place your order early!

If you have questions about the program please email DYECH at dyech@comcast.net

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, homeless prevention, Gift Cards for prevention, holiday shopping

DYECH Approaches Major Milestone

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 @ 05:10 PM

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Success does not happen overnight. And neither does change. But the Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) has achieved both through a commitment to helping those most in need on Cape Cod.

The council, now in its 23rd year of existence, is closing in on a major milestone that directly impacts HAC clients: $1.5 million raised for the agency’s Project Prevention program, which provides short-term financial assistance for those at risk of homelessness.

A portion of the funds DYECH raises comes from relatively small, meaningful fundraisers like these upcoming ones:

  • Big Band Concert on Tuesday, September 27 at 7:30 pm at St. Pius X Life Center at 21 Barbara Street in Yarmouth. The concert is free and there will be a good-will offering.
  • The 99 Restaurant at 14 Berry Avenue, West Yarmouth, will be donating a portion of your check to DYECH on Thursday, October 13 from 11:30 am to 9 pm. You must present your server with this flier in order to participate in the fundraiser.

These are fun, simple ways you can help DYECH reach its fundraising milestone, all while ensuring your neighbors on Cape Cod can remain in their homes.

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, fundraiser

Jazz Ensemble to Perform for DYECH Fundraiser

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

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For more than 15 years, the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) has organized a free concert twice a year, all in an effort to support those in need. 

DYECH will do so once again tomorrow (Tuesday, June 28) at 7:30 pm when the Cape Cod Conservatory Jazz Ensemble performs at the St. Pius X Life Center in South Yarmouth. It's an event that demonstrates the power of music in opening up people's hearts, helping to raise funds for HAC's Project Prevention program which ensures residents struggling with their bills are able to remain in their homes and off the streets. 

"We usually raise about $1,000 a concert," said DYECH's Steve Sozanski. That money is raised through a free-will offering. 

Sozanski said the concert is always well-attended, giving residents and tourists alike the opportunity to listen to "music you won't hear on the radio. It is the old classic music that makes you tap your toes like Benny Goodman and Count Basie. It is really good and the people who attend it really love it. Sometimes people will even break out into dancing on the floor." 

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, homeless prevention, Cape Cod Conservatory Band

Support HAC's Project Prevention Program This Holiday Season

Posted by HAC Staff on Mon, Nov 30, 2015 @ 12:19 PM

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Do you plan on purchasing gift cards for your loved ones this holiday season? Then there's a way for you to do so that will prevent families on Cape Cod from becoming homeless without costing you anything extra. 

The offer is being run by the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Homeless (DYECH) which raises funds directly for our Project Prevention program.

DYECh has a limited amount of gift cards available for purchase to over 100 stores, restaurants and movie theaters (from Ace Hardware to Zappos). Click here for the full list of participating businesses.

When you purchase gift cards through this program, merchants give a percentage of the sale to homelessness prevention. For example, if you buy a $25 gift card for the Gap, your gift card is worth the full $25, but the Gap donates 14 percent ($3.50) to Project Prevention. All of the money raised through this program is given directly to families in need, allowing them to remain in their homes and off the streets and out of shelter. 

You can either purchase gift cards using the form above or go directly to www.shopwithscrip.com. Follow the instructions to register and note you must use the following enrollment code (copy and paste it) to support DYECH and HAC: 561B698219989. 

Certificates can be picked up at Yarmouth Appliance Clinic at 61 White’s Path in Yarmouth one week after you place your order. Because this is a popular program, it is recommended you place your orders early. 

If you have questions about the program please email DYECH directly at dyech@comcast.net.

Tags: Project Prevention

Taking Steps to Prevent Homelessness on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jun 05, 2015 @ 02:21 PM

Dining for a Cause (June 2015) resized 600

Homelessness is a serious issue, but finding ways to combat it can be enjoyable.

That’s exactly DYECH’s (Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Homeless) approach to the issue on Cape Cod. Over the next two months, the organization will be holding fundraisers for HAC’s Project Prevention program that keeps people off the streets and in their homes. We are confident you’ll find these events will be pleasing to your stomach and pleasing to your ears while ultimately filling your heart with the satisfaction that you helped your neighbors in need.

It starts on Thursday, June 11, from 11 am to 8 pm, when the 99 Restaurant in West Yarmouth will donate 15 percent of your total bill to DYECH. Simply print out the voucher about and present it your server that night. 

On Tuesday, June 30, the Cape Cod Conservatory Jazz Band will be playing a free concert at the St. Pius X Life Center on Barbara Street in South Yarmouth, at 7:30 pm.  And on Sunday, July 5 at 2:30 pm, you can continue with the holiday spirit by attending a free patriotic concert at the St. Pius X Church.

There will be a free will offering at both concerts to raise funds for HAC’s homelessness prevention programs.  

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, homelessness prevention, HAC, housing assistance corporation, 99 Restaurant, Cape Cod Conservatory Band