Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Editorial: The High Cost of Doing Nothing

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Wed, Nov 07, 2018 @ 02:11 PM

 

Housing Study-2 (October 24, 2018)

At Housing Assistance Corporation, we have been on the frontlines of providing affordable housing since 1974. Today, our challenges have never been greater. The shrinking supply of year-round housing is getting worse. It is impacting families, businesses, and municipalities. It is a threat to the health of our economy and the very character of Cape Cod. 

The reasons behind this crisis are simple. Since Cape Cod is a desirable location to live and vacation, non-residents and investors are increasingly buying existing year-round properties and converting them into short-term rentals or keeping them for their own occasional use. The stock of year-round housing is rapidly depleting and therefore, prices are out of reach for Cape Cod residents. 

As the regional housing agency on Cape Cod, we decided to take a step back and analyze the internal and external causes of the region’s housing shortage, its impact and possible solutions. We started with two simple questions — what would happen if we did nothing? What more can we do?

Those questions formed the basis of a white paper, “Housing On Cape Cod: The High Cost of Doing Nothing”, that our agency released last month. 

For this report, we relied on the analysis of numerous sources. We interviewed business and community leaders about the effects of the housing crunch. The research and conversations shaped our thinking and recommended strategies. For example, in addition to developing affordable housing units, Housing Assistance Corporation is now investing in the development of market-rate units that will help alleviate the housing shortage. More year-round housing will change the supply dynamic in the marketplace and add more options for all income groups. 

Additionally, HAC is launching Rent 365, a pilot program that incentivizes homeowners to convert their seasonal or vacation homes into year-round rentals. 

This is a challenging time for our region. Low-income families suffer first and most acutely if we do nothing, but they are not alone. Uniting and finding purposeful strategies that mitigate and eventually solve our housing crisis will be of great benefit to our region. If we keep approaching housing in our region with the same old strategies, we will only continue to feed the worsening and self-perpetuating housing shortage for year-round residents. 

Let’s try some new ideas. 

I welcome your thoughts and your suggestions on how we can meet this challenge together.

Housing on Cape Cod: The High Cost of Doing Nothing

Visit www.capehousing.org to read HAC's new report which identifies new strategies for addressing the region's housing crisis. 

 

Tags: Housing on Cape Cod, Alisa Galazzi, white papers, housing research, rental housing, Rent 365, Editorial, housing crisis

Celebrating the Completion of High Meadow Townhomes

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Oct 30, 2018 @ 01:51 PM
High Meadow-1-1Melissa Harris and her two children, Isaiah and Arianna, help cut the ribbon to mark the completion of High Meadow Townhomes which HAC developed with POAH in Bourne. The Harris family are one of 44 families who will soon call High Meadow home. 

Since 2012, Melissa Harris has lived in a two-bedroom apartment at the Residences at Canal Bluffs in Bourne, where she is raising her two children all while balancing a job at Cape Cod Healthcare and studying for her nursing degree.

Next month, her family will move into a more spacious three-bedroom apartment at nearby High Meadow Townhomes. “I don’t think there’s anybody more excited today than us because we have been in a two-bedroom,” Melissa said during a ribbon cutting earlier this month to celebrate the completion of the project which will add 44 mixed-income housing units to the Upper Cape community. “We’re so excited and so incredibly thankful that you all took the time to design such beautiful homes.”

HAC CEO Alisa Magnotta Galazzi said Melissa is, “an example how safe, affordable housing is the foundation from which dreams and hope grow… Melissa is an example of our mission in action and really, truly, the reason we are all here and the reason this works.”

High Meadow Townhomes represents the third and final phase of a project that has brought 117 mixed-income apartments to a 19-acre parcel located off MacArthur Boulevard.

High Meadow-9HAC CEO Alisa Magnotta Galazzi talks about how having a safe, affordable home serves as the foundation from which hope and dreams can flourish. 

Originally slated for use as an office building for a tech startup, it was purchased by businessman William Zammer of Mashpee who eventually sold it to HAC to develop as rental housing.

HAC partnered with Preservation Of Affordable Housing (POAH) on the project which started with 28 affordable apartments at the Residences at Canal Bluffs, completed in 2009, and followed by 45 individual, family, and senior affordable apartments at Clay Pond Cove, completed in 2012.

The final apartments are significant because of the impact they will have on the 44 families that will move into them in November. “These 44 townhouses and 117 homes and residences that are here for people will be a success story that will drive not only a more successful Bourne community, but something we need on Cape Cod as well,” said Congressman William R. Keating, one of several public officials to attend the ceremony.

State Senator Vinny deMacedo echoed the Congressman’s comments, saying that, “there is nothing more important than being able to provide someone with a roof over their head and a safe and a warm place to go that is affordable.”

High Meadow-25

Tags: High Meadow Townhomes, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Housing Development, affordable housing, Preservation Of Affordable Housing, Aaron Gornstein, Alisa Galazzi, POAH, Bill Keating, Canal Bluffs, rental housing, year round rentals

Applications Available for High Meadows Townhomes in Bourne

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jul 13, 2018 @ 09:34 AM
High Meadow-1High Meadows Townhomes represents the third and final phase of a 117-unit affordable housing project in Bourne that includes Canal Bluffs and Clay Pond Cove. 

Last year at this time, HAC and the Preservation Of Affordable Housing (POAH) took part in a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off the construction of 44 affordable townhouse apartments the two nonprofits are building in Bourne as part of High Meadows Townhomes.

Now, HAC is accepting applications for those 2- and 3-bedroom apartments which will go to those in three separate income categories: those earning 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Barnstable County ($20,700 for a 2-person household; $23,300 for a 3-person household); those earning 60% AMI ($41,400 for a 2-person household; $46,560 for a 3-person household); and those earning 75% AMI ($51,750 for a 2-person household; $58,200 for a 3-person household).

Applications are currently available online by clicking this link as well as at HAC’s office at 460 West Main Street in Hyannis; Bourne Town Hall at 24 Perry Avenue in Buzzards Bay; Jonathan Bourne Public Library at 19 Sandwich Road in Bourne; and Clay Pond Cove at 101 Harmony Hill Road in Bourne.

HAC’s Cape Community Real Estate department will be conducting the lottery for those units and has already witnessed a high demand for people seeking to live there. “They are brand new, have air conditioning, are going to have very low utility costs, and have plenty of parking,” said Gael Kelleher, HAC’s real estate director. “This is really a beautiful project.”

She encouraged residents to “get your application in as early as possible and include all of the documentation that is required.”

For those who may be unsure about their eligibility, she said, “when in doubt, apply.” Applications must be received by 5 pm on Wednesday, August 15.

Kelleher anticipated that the lottery to create the list of eligible tenants will be done at some point in September, depending on the number of applications received. POAH will oversee the tenant selection process.

Apartments should be occupied at some point in the fall, Kelleher said.

Those with questions about the application or lottery process should contact Gael Kelleher at either ccre@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 284. Click this link for more information or to download a lottery application.

Tags: Canal Bluffs, High Meadows Townhomes, POAH, Preservation Of Affordable Housing, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, affordable housing, rental housing, year round rentals, Gael Kelleher, Cape Community Real Estate

Editorial: A Need for Rental Housing

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Tue, Jul 03, 2018 @ 03:37 PM

 

House For Rent Photo-1

We’re all concerned about maintaining the vibrancy of our local community and economy. The lack of year-round rentals in the region is having a dire effect on the Cape and Islands, an issue reinforced by the Cape Cod Commission’s recent Regional Housing Market Analysis. The problem is only going to get worse. By 2025, the report forecasts the Cape’s housing unit gap will be more than 33,000 homes.

“Cape Cod’s housing supply is heavily skewed towards single family homeownership, resulting in a historically narrow supply of rental housing in our market,” said Cape Cod Commission Affordable Housing Specialist Heather Harper. “Nationally, 30% of the housing is supplied by the rental market. On Cape Cod, we are below the national average with less than 20% of stock provided as rentals.”

Many in our region are working on this problem. At HAC, we are developing rental units; promoting accessory apartments as a zoning change; and holding workshops at our Cape Housing Institute and Advocacy Training with our partner Community Development Partnership.

Another solution is to convert seasonal rentals to year-round use. According to the commission, roughly 58,500 of the Cape’s nearly 160,000 homes are used seasonally. If we can convert some these to year-round use, it will be a step forward to solving the Cape’s lack of rentals.

Unfortunately, this won’t be easy. Realtor Margo Pisacano, owner of Margo & Company, said today’s real estate market is encouraging landlords to sell rather than rent when leases terminate, only serving to exacerbate the problem.

Pisacano has been in the real estate industry since 1992 on Cape Cod, calling recent years “the worst housing shortage I have seen.”

HAC Can Help

Addressing the Cape’s lack of rentals is so important that we at HAC are willing to walk homeowners and investors through the process of converting a seasonal rental into an affordable unit.

We are not naïve about this multi-faceted problem. It is complicated by our seasonal economy and low wages which negatively affect the ability of Cape Codders to afford a rental. Additionally, wealth earned off-Cape allows people to pay exorbitant prices to buy houses on Cape which artificially raises the cost to both purchase a home and rent one.

High prices are forcing our year-rounder workforce out of the market and will eventually force them off Cape Cod. This will have a negative impact on employers. As Matthew Cole, CEO of Cape Associates, said, “the available pool of workers suffers as a result of a lack of housing.”

Using our existing inventory for more year-round rentals makes financial sense for the community, for property owners, for businesses, and the local economy. There is a perception that short-term rentals are more lucrative, but our research shows this is not the case. If you are interested in renting your property to a year-round renter, call me today at 508-771-5400 ext. 225 and we can help you get started.

Tags: rental housing, year round rentals, affordable housing, Housing Development, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Heather Harper, Cape Cod Commission, Cape Associates

Building a Community in Bourne

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Aug 10, 2017 @ 04:01 PM

Canal Bluffs-22.jpg

Those who attended last month's groundbreaking included Julie Creamer (from left) of POAH; State Representative Randy Hunt; POAH CEO Aaron Gornstein; U.S. Representative Bill Keating; Greg Janey, owner of Janey Construction; MassHousing Executive Director Timothy Sullivan; State Senator Vinny deMacedo; HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi; and Chrystal Kornegay, undersecretary for the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.

When HAC and the Preservation Of Affordable Housing (POAH) completed Clay Pond Cove in Bourne five years ago, Nancy Nygard became its first resident.

Since then, she has found it to be more than a home. It’s a community where her neighbors have become her friends. “It is wonderful,” she said. “Everyone cares for each other.”

During last month’s groundbreaking for what will be the final of three phases of a mixed-income housing development HAC and POAH are building at this 19-acre site, property manager Karen Kelley of POAH Communities said this is an example of what residents really cherish here. “A lot of people want a home to be a nice, safe place, and for there to be a strong sense of community,” she said. “Those things are really important to people.”

That is what the residents living in the 28 affordable apartments at Canal Bluffs and the 45 individual, family and senior apartments at Clay Pond Cove have experienced. And that is what HAC and POAH hope to provide with the remaining 44 affordable and market rate townhouse-style apartments that will be built over the next year as part of Canal Bluffs III.

When complete, Canal Bluffs will have allowed “117 families who get to live here an opportunity to come home, put their groceries away, and have a safe place to rejuvenate where their children can launch their dreams and where families can live their lives on beautiful Cape Cod,” said HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi.

Canal Bluffs-4.jpgNancy Nygard (left) with Cathie Michel, friends and neighbors who have discovered a sense of community at Canal Bluffs. 

She and several other speakers credited HAC founder Rick Presbrey, who attended the ceremony, for making the project possible. The site was once slated to become an office building for a failed dot com company before businessman Bill Zammer of Mashpee, purchased it in the hopes of turning it into a housing development.

That plan never came to fruition. Presbrey was able to work out a deal with Zammer for HAC to purchase the property for $2.1 million. Presbrey then came to an agreement with the town that allowed HAC and POAH to turn the site into an affordable housing development that has added to the Cape’s rental stock.

“And to you, Rick, for what you have done over 43 years in this region providing housing for people that is one of the most basic needs we can have in our lives and understanding the significance of that,” State Senator Viriato (Vinny) deMacedo said. “You have left a huge legacy . . . and I apologize that people will not even know who made that difference for them, but for those of us today we know it was you and we thank you so much for your efforts on all these people’s behalf.”

U.S. Representative William Keating said the project fills a critical need for moderate and affordable housing on Cape Cod, allowing people who work here to live here. He said it was a project made possible through the cooperation of federal, state, local, and nonprofit agencies all coming together towards a common aim.

State Representative Randy Hunt said projects like this are a critical piece to preserving the character of Cape Cod. “I’m glad people are really united in getting in front of [these issues] and are starting to put more of this type of housing into the market which will allow the working class people to live here,” he said.

Tags: Bourne, Canal Bluffs, Alisa Galazzi, Bill Keating, POAH, Rick Presbrey, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, rental housing

HAC's Melpet Farm Recognized with National Award

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Mar 07, 2017 @ 10:02 AM

Melpet Farm-2.jpg

A little more than a year after the Melpet Farm Residences was completed, the HAC project is in the national spotlight for its quality design and construction. In January, the development received a Silver Award from the National Association of Home Builders Best in American Living Awards program in the category of affordable, multi-family.

Consisting of 27 affordable apartments on 6.4-acres of land adjacent to Melpet Farm on Route 134 in Dennis, the development was a joint collaboration between HAC, the Preservation Of Affordable Housing (POAH), Brown, Lindquist, Fenuccio & Raber Architects, Delphi Construction, Horsley Witten Group and the Town of Dennis.

“We believe the overall team commitment to the design and implementation of high-performing building techniques to assist residents with control of their utility costs played a key role in the success of this project,” said Christine Howard, the director of business development for Brown, Lindquist, Fenuccio & Raber Architects. Melpet Farm was designed to be a net zero project, meaning it produces as much energy as it uses thanks to green measures such as solar panels.

The town purchased the property in 2001 in an effort to increase its affordable housing stock. It was not until 10 years later that HAC was selected by the town to develop the land into 27 units of affordable housing.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Melpet in October 2015 and shortly thereafter residents moved in. “This was truly a community partnership and the beneficiaries are living there now,” said HAC’s director of housing development Sandy Horvitz. “The real winners are the families that have an opportunity to thrive in this beautiful, rustic setting that has an amazing look and feel, adjacent to a working horse ranch.”

The Best in American Living Awards is the residential building industry’s premier awards program, recognizing the most creative and talented builders, remodelers, architects, designers, developers, land planners and interior designers who have redefined design excellence for homes and communities throughout the nation and the world.

Tags: Melpet Farm Residences, Melpet Farm, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Sandy Horvitz, POAH, rental housing, Best in American Living Awards