Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

HAC Intern Has Passion for Helping Others

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 @ 04:50 PM
Ashley Intern PhotoAshley McCloud (second from left) with HAC’s Margaret Benaka (from left), Ruth Bechtold, Suzanne Smith, Jo Ann Cournoyer and Mary Everett-Patriquin on the final day of her internship.

When she graduates from Wheaton College next May, Ashley McCloud plans to get her master’s degree in business administration and then “be able to create my own company where I can be able to help reduce poverty.” 

Though she has long had a desire to help others, Ashley witnessed how HAC is working to disrupt poverty on the Cape and Islands as part of a summer internship which ended last month. 

“What I love about HAC is that each department here has a role and is contributing to people that need help,” she said. 

Over the course of two months, Ashley assisted several HAC departments, including HAC Energy, its Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC), and Family and Individuals Services. 

She helped Cassi Danzl, director of family and individuals services, on a safety policy and procedure for three of the agency’s family shelters – Scattered Sites, Carriage House and the Village at Cataumet. 

Ashley worked closely with Ruth Bechtold, manager of HAC Energy, in creating a standard operating procedure for invoicing. “She is very smart and also has a good sense of humor. She fit really well into our group,” Bechtold said of McCloud. “She is going to go places.” 

For Ashley, who grew up on Nantucket and lives in Hyannis, her career goals are rooted in her background. Her parents were born in Jamaica and during several trips there, Ashley has seen how insufficient housing, education, and healthcare have negatively impacted those on the Caribbean island. 

“I have a passion for helping people,” she said. “If you help someone, that person can then help the next person. It is about sending positive energy into the world.”

Tags: Interns, Wheaton College, Ashley McCloud, HCEC, housing consumer education, HAC Energy, Ruth Bechtold, Cassi Danzl, Family Shelter

HAC Energy Assessments in High Demand

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 @ 10:36 AM
HAC Energy-1.jpgThe HAC Energy team includes Jim Ames (from left), Suzanne Smith, Jo Ann Cournoyer and Ruth Bechtold.

Typically on Cape Cod this is a slow time of year, but don’t tell that to HAC’s Energy Department which is busier than ever. “We are in high demand,” Suzanne Smith, HAC Energy’s intake/outreach coordinator, said.

Smith and Ruth Bechtold, who manages the Energy Department, attributed that demand to the frigid temperatures which have left its mark on the Cape this winter. Because of the weather, residents are looking for ways to keep their home warmer and reduce their energy costs.

Working with Cape Light Compact, HAC offers free energy assessments throughout the year to low-income residents living in single-family and multi-family homes on Cape Cod and the Islands, as well as Wareham. Those who receive fuel assistance or are eligible to receive fuel assistance or discounted utility rates can qualify for a HAC energy assessment.

HAC’s energy auditors, Jim Ames and Joshua Trott, conduct the assessments, which include replacing all inefficient light bulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs and checking refrigerators, freezers, window air conditioning units, dehumidifiers, and washing machines to determine if they are eligible for replacement.

As part of the assessment, they will inspect a home’s heating system to see whether it should be repaired or replaced. In some instances those services can be performed through HAC’s HEARTWAP (Heating Emergency Assistance Retrofit Task Weatherization Assistance Program).

The auditors also look at whether a home can benefit from insulation and air sealing which “seals up all the air pathways,” Smith said.

“If all air leaks are not sealed, it can be like having an open window in your house,” Bechtold explained. “Sealing all those cracks makes sure no warm, humid air escapes into the attic where it can create moisture issues.”

HAC’s weatherization measures can also include the installation of vents which allows an attic to properly breathe and helps to minimize issues with moisture that can lead to mold.

Both Smith and Bechtold agreed that the work HAC’s Energy Department does is not only important, but rewarding.

“We’re helping people save money, save energy and increase the overall comfort of the home, and in doing so we’re also staying true to what the agency’s values are,” Smith said. “We really enjoy and get a lot of satisfaction out of helping those who need our services the most.”

Schedule an Energy Assessment Today

You can schedule an energy assessment by calling Cape Light Compact at 800-797-6699. 

HAC Energy provides no cost energy assessments and weatherization measures to income-eligible homeowners and renters. If you receive fuel assistance or a discounted utility rate, or you are income-eligible for fuel assistance, you will receive these services through HAC. 

Tags: Energy Audit, Energy Assessments, HAC Energy, saving energy, Cape Light Compact, Ruth Bechtold, Suzanne Smith, Jim Ames, Joshua Trott, energy efficiency, Weatherization