Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

DYECH Presents Its Largest Gift to Project Prevention

Posted by Julie Wake on Sun, Mar 17, 2013 @ 09:00 AM
Since 1993, the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) mission has been clear: to raise money for HAC’s homelessness prevention programs. The mission, by all accounts, has been a resounding success. More than $1.3 million has been raised, and hundreds of Cape Cod families have been helped.
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Last month, David Akin, a deacon at St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth and past president of DYECH, presented a check for $25,000 to HAC CEO Rick Presbrey. The gift came from an anonymous donor and is the largest single donation ever to DYECH.

The donor gave the gift in honor of his mother, an 80-year-old resident of Yarmouth who rides her bike each day to St. Pius. When he wanted to pay tribute to her, he asked Akin to suggest a worthy fund.

In February, DYECH also presented Project Prevention with a donation of $8,500, funds raised through a holiday concert and the sale of grocery and retail gift cards.

“DYECH continues to be the greatest support for family homelessness prevention that we could ever hope for,” said Allison Alewine, HAC vice president of operations.

HAC’s Project Prevention stops homelessness in its tracks by preventing it from happening in the first place, providing short-term financial assistance to people at risk of homelessness. It is also a program that saves money; family homelessness costs the taxpayer more than five times the cost of prevention ($10,000 as opposed to about $1,500).

An update on BIC clients

Just as DYECH supports HAC’s efforts for family homelessness prevention, the Barnstable Interfaith Council (BIC) raises funds for individual homelessness prevention. In a recent letter to BIC supporters, Greg Bar, HAC’s individual housing search specialist, described some of his clients who had been helped recently with Project Prevention funding.

• Brett and Arlene paid a past due electric bill so they can move forward after job loss and illness.
• Cindy is 60 years old and lives on Martha’s Vineyard with her 18-year-old son. She works, but got behind on rent because her hours were temporarily reduced.
• Dennis and Emily are two former NOAH Shelter clients who struggled to get a stable life and have succeeded. They wanted to move into a safer apartment and needed some financial help.
• Irene is a mason in her 30s. Work got light the past couple of months and she got behind on rent. BIC funds helped her stay in her apartment.

DYECH and BIC support Project Prevention through the sale of grocery and other gift cards. When you purchase gift cards through this program, merchants give a percentage of the sale (usually 4 to 8 percent, but in some cases as much as 18 percent) 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.

To purchase grocery or retail gift cards, go to www.HAConCapeCod.org/donate and click on “grocery cards for prevention” or “gift cards for prevention.”

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, Gift Cards for prevention, grocery cards for prevention

Prevention: A Better Solution to Housing the Homeless

Posted by Julie Wake on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 @ 07:00 AM
Faith toy B&W resized 600Massachusetts will phase out a program that places homeless families in hotels and motels at taxpayer expense when there is no room in emergency shelters. Statewide there were 1,700 families in hotels last month – a practice that is not followed on Cape Cod.

HAC does not house families in local motels because the regional network of shelter providers have, so far, had the capacity to meet the demand, according to Allison Alewine, vice president of program operations for HAC. Part of the reason why HAC has been able to keep homeless families out of hotels is Project Prevention.

Developed in 1993, Project Prevention stops homelessness in its tracks by preventing it from happening in the first place. It is also a program that saves money – family homelessness costs the taxpayer more than five times the cost of prevention ($10,000 as opposed to about $1,500).

Last year, 1,300 new families and 2,500 new individuals contacted us for help because their housing was at risk. HAC responds to the complexities of each case through referrals inside and outside of HAC, informal mediation with a landlord, referrals to community resources for money, in addition to small, tightly controlled HAC-generated grants. As it stands, we can only help about 1/3 of the families and 1/10 of the individuals who contact us, entirely due to a lack of financial resources. This is a tsunami of need which crashes over onto the greater community. To contribute to Project Prevention is an opportunity to assist virtually every other human-services institution on Cape Cod and the Islands.

“Motels provide a roof over the head but little else,” said an editorial in the Enterprise newspapers. “There are no cooking facilities, there is no place for children to play and in some cases visitors are not allowed. They are far from an ideal solution. … The better solution is to keep families in their homes to begin with. It can be done with less money than the state pays for motel rooms and, better yet, it makes for healthier families. Homeless prevention is where the state should put its money.”

Much of the funding for Project Prevention comes from the Barnstable Interfaith Council and the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Homeless.

DYECH and BIC support Project Prevention through the sale of grocery and other gift cards. When you purchase gift cards through this program, merchants give a percentage of the sale (usually 4 to 8 percent, but in some cases as much as 18 percent) to homelessness prevention. For example, if you buy a $100 gift card for Stop & Shop, your gift card is worth the full $100 – but Stop & Shop donates 5 percent ($5) to Project Prevention.

You can buy grocery gift cards at HAC’s main office at 460 West Main Street, Hyannis. For more information on other locations where they can be purchased, click the “donate” link on HAC’s website, www.HAConCapeCod.org.

To purchase other gift cards, go to www.shopwithscrip.com. The enrollment code to help DYECH and HAC is 561B698219989.

Tags: Homeless on Cape Cod, Project Prevention, Food Certs, Prevention