Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Donor Spotlight: Paul Hebert

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jan 26, 2018 @ 03:48 PM
Paul Hebert-1.jpgMatt Pitta (left), co-host of last month's Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, interviews longtime HAC supporter Paul Hebert about the region's housing issues. 

When Paul and Carolyn Hebert arrived on Cape Cod in 1981 with their three daughters Aimee, Mary and Meg, finding a home was difficult. “We had to rent for two years because we couldn’t find housing we could afford,” he said. 

Fast forward 36 years later and Paul admitted the situation is even worse. “It was unreasonably high to buy a house back then, but now for people earning basic wages it is nearly impossible and getting more difficult every day,” he said.

It is for this reason that the Heberts have given to HAC for 20 years, highlighted by their most recent $1,000 donation to the agency at its 14th Annual Shelter Cape Cod Telethon last month. Paul made the donation on-air on behalf of the couple’s company, Charitable Redemption Partnership in Yarmouth, which utilizes proceeds from redeemable cans and bottles to support local charities on the Cape such as HAC.

“As a town councilor in Barnstable, I look to Housing Assistance Corporation as the best prepared to care for the least among us who need housing,” Paul said of his longtime support of the agency.

Paul’s history with HAC goes back to the mid-1980s when he convinced former CEO and founder Rick Presbrey to open the NOAH Shelter in Hyannis to provide emergency shelter for homeless individuals.

In 1991, the Heberts took their activism a step further when they started CHAMP Homes to care for homeless adolescents. “We realized there was more to be done and came to understand that there was this next group that was not being served,” Paul explained. “It was the young people, around 18 years of age, who were sleeping in various places in the community whether it was teaming up six to an apartment or couch surfing or sleeping in cars or the woods just to survive.”

The Heberts spent the next 24 years at CHAMP Homes and were recognized for their efforts with the Presbrey Public Service Award in 2006 at HAC’s Annual Meeting.

Though Paul and his wife stepped down from CHAMP Homes in 2015, he remains as passionate about housing issues as he did when he was first introduced to HAC three decades ago. And he views HAC as a pivotal player in addressing those issues on Cape Cod. “I believe Housing Assistance Corporation is a standard bearer,” Paul said. “They hold the flag to deal with this battle so we have to keep supporting them.”

Why I Give: Paul Hebert

As a Barnstable Town Councilor, Paul Hebert paints a grim picture of the housing reality on Cape Cod. “Living on Cape Cod is not a realistic dream for most people,” he said. 

This is why he believes housing development – building more affordable rentals and homes for the Cape’s workforce – is the region’s primary need. “We know Barnstable is short 1,200 rental units,” he said.

Hebert supports HAC because he understands it is best suited to address this need. “We have to build so many rentals and we are so far behind. I don’t know of any other organization that can do a better job and has the capacity to help than Housing Assistance Corporation,” he said.

With the completion of Sachem’s Path on Nantucket, HAC has developed more than 500 units of affordable housing since its inception. It is in the midst of constructing 44 apartments in Bourne and is in the planning stages of building eight affordable and workforce apartments in Hyannis.

Through the Cape Community Housing Partnership, a joint initiative between HAC and Community Development Partnership in Eastham, it is also providing community leaders and residents with the tools to boost affordable housing that is sorely needed in the region.

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Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, homelessness, Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, Rick Presbrey, Housing on Cape Cod, Paul Hebert, CHAMP Homes, Charitable Redemption Partnership

Community Leaders, Clients Featured at Annual Telethon

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 @ 05:39 PM
Shelter Email-1.jpgTwo Angel House clients, Samantha (second from right) and Jeana (right), had an opportunity to share their powerful, touching stories on-air at HAC’s Shelter Cape Cod Telethon.

Since last January, 30-year-old Samantha has been at HAC’s Angel House where she lives with her six-month-old son. “Angel House, I would say, has given me, me back,” she said during last month’s 14th Annual Shelter Cape Cod Telethon which was televised on cable access channels Cape-wide. 

Samantha was one of several clients who told their story during the telethon. The annual event raises funds for the agency’s programs and brings awareness to the work HAC is doing to provide housing services and solutions to those most in need on Cape Cod and the Islands.

The telethon raised nearly $75,000. The funds will allow HAC to help those like Samantha who had struggled with addiction for roughly 15 years. “I am 16 months clean today,” she said. “It has been a really long ride and it’s been really difficult… Last year I was in a sober house and became pregnant early in my sobriety. I made the decision to move to Angel House. Coming to Angel House was probably the best decision I have ever made in my entire life.”

Telethon co-host Matt Pitta told viewers that these types of stories are an important reminder of “how the money you folks have donated over the years has made a huge difference, a real difference, in people’s lives.”

2017-Shelter-Telethon.jpgTelethon Co-Host Mindy Todd interviews State Representative Sarah Peake who reminded the audience that housing is not a town issue, but a Cape-wide issue that is affecting the entire region. 

HAC has made a difference, CEO Alisa Galazzi said, by providing clients with safe, stable housing. “That is what our mission is: keep them safe, get them housed, but really help take them to the next level in their life.

“You’ve got to have housing,” she continued. “It’s a basic human need, and from housing we can talk about jobs. We can talk about health care. We can talk about living the life you want to live.”

This year’s telethon allowed not only HAC clients to tell their story, but HAC staff, including homeless outreach specialists Derick Bussiere and Deborah McDonnell, and Paula Mallard, the facility director at the Village at Cataumet.

The telethon also featured an array of guests – State Senator Julian Cyr, Duffy Health Center CEO Heidi Nelson, and Paula Schnepp, coordinator for the Cape and Islands Regional Network to Address Homelessness, among others – who are taking steps to address the region’s housing needs.

State Representative Sarah Peake was one of those guests who underscored the importance of that work. “I can’t tell you, especially at this time of year when it gets cold, how many people are either homeless or one rent check away from becoming homeless,” she said. “I’m here to make the point for the people who are watching that this is not a Mid-Cape issue. This is not an Upper Cape issue. This is a Cape-wide issue.”

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Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, Mindy Todd, Angel House, Matt Pitta, affordable housing, Alisa Galazzi, Sarah Peake

MacCready Says Farewell to HAC

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Sun, Dec 31, 2017 @ 04:00 AM

Bob MacCready.jpg

Over the past nine years, Robert MacCready has headed up HAC’s finance department, but at the end of this month he will step down from his role at HAC where he first served as the agency’s director of finance and then its Chief Financial Officer. Stephen Ferris of Brewster has been hired to succeed him.

MacCready entered the world of housing nonprofits in 2001 after more than 24 years’ experience in the financial sector. He was hired as the director of finance by Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corp., a position he took because of his interest in affordable housing issues and the ability to affect change, particularly for those facing financial difficulties.

In 2004, MacCready and his spouse of 36 years, Linda Cebula, moved to Harwich full-time. Four years later, he joined HAC, shortening his commute and allowing him to make an impact on the region’s housing issues.

In his role at HAC, MacCready has overseen a department that he characterized as “a great group that diligently makes sure all of the agency’s financial activities, from budgets and contracts to bills and payments, have been handled appropriately and any issues are resolved.” He believes the department has played a critical role in the improved financial condition of HAC during his tenure.

MacCready’s commitment to housing issues extended far beyond his 9-to-5 duties at HAC. Not only was he a regular participant during the annual Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk and a volunteer at HAC’s Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, but he was a member of the Harwich Community Preservation Committee for roughly nine years. He currently is in his 12th year on the Harwich Housing Authority.

These activities represent his “interest in affordable housing issues,” he said. “And also the feeling that it is good for residents to be involved in their community.”

MacCready is looking forward to life’s next chapter which will allow him and his spouse to continue exploring unique parts of the world. Avid travelers, they plan on visiting Egypt in the spring.

In reflecting on his time at HAC, he said he has enjoyed the opportunity to make a positive difference when it comes to housing on Cape Cod. As to what he will miss about HAC, he was quick to respond. “The people,” he said. “That is what I will miss the most.”

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Housing with love walk, Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, Harwich, Chief Financial Officer, Robert MacCready, Community Preservation Committee

Shelter Telethon Embodies the Holiday Spirit

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Nov 02, 2017 @ 01:38 PM

HACbeat Email Photo.jpg

There’s a moment every year when Cape Cod Broadcasting’s Matt Pitta truly gets into the spirit of the holiday season. It always happens at the same event – HAC’s annual Shelter Cape Cod Telethon – which Pitta co-hosts with WCAI’s Mindy Todd.

“The vibe and the atmosphere in the studio all night is kind of electrifying,” he said. “That’s when I get into the holiday spirit – when I see people giving back to the community. That is the true spirit of the holidays right there.”

This year’s telethon, now in its 14th year, will take place on Thursday, December 14, from 5-9 pm. The show is broadcast live from Cape Cod Community Media Center and airs on local cable access channels throughout the Cape.

The telethon will feature HAC staff, elected officials, and community leaders working to help those most in need on Cape Cod and the Islands, placing a spotlight on the region’s housing and homelessness issues.

Funds raised from the telethon go to support HAC’s programs, including homeless outreach as well as its four family shelters – Angel House in Hyannis, the Village at Cataumet in Bourne, Carriage House in North Falmouth, and Scattered Sites in Hyannis.

“I do think every year that it gives a special meaning to Christmas,” said HAC volunteer Wayne Bergeron of Dennis who assists with the event.

Pitta said the telethon serves as an opportunity for people “to make a difference in the community. And that’s really what the holidays are all about.”

Support the Telethon

Sponsor the Telethon, an event that epitomizes the true meaning of the holiday season! Contact HAC Event Coordinator Deanna Bussiere at dbussiere@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 270.

HAC relies on volunteer phone fundraisers at the Telethon to raise funds to ensure we can continue to support the region’s most vulnerable residents. You can register by clicking this link. If you have questions, please contact HAC Volunteer Coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin at volunteer@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 279 to sign up.

You can also donate to the Telethon by clicking this link

Tags: Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, NOAH Telethon, Mindy Todd, Fundraising, Matt Pitta, Christmas, Wayne Bergeron, holiday giving

Shelter Telethon Puts Face to Cape's Housing Issues

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jan 20, 2017 @ 04:24 PM

Telethon Thank You Email.jpg

Holding a microphone in her right hand and a handwritten essay on a piece of paper in the other, Autumn Rivieccio’s words came out slowly and softly. “When I slept in my car one night with my mom and dad I really learned what homelessness was,” she started.

Perhaps no moment during last month’s Shelter Cape Cod Telethon was more poignant than that one; the moment when a 10-year-old student at the Nathaniel H. Wixon Innovation School in South Dennis, spoke about her experience of sleeping in a car and living in motels.

There were “six or seven motels” to be exact. Perhaps the worst part, Autumn said, is that “we couldn’t have friends over.”

In September, that changed when Autumn and her parents moved into a home in West Yarmouth. “I feel like an actual family because friends and family can come over,” she said, adding that, “my favorite thing is my own room that I can decorate.” Her favorite decoration is a poster with a white kitten holding onto a rope; on it are three simple words: “Hang in There.”

Now in its 13th year, the telethon not only raised awareness to the region’s housing issues, it helped put a face to those impacted by them. People like Autumn Rivieccio and Cathy Gibson, the chair of HAC’s Constituency Committee.

Gibson, a former client, praised HAC for assisting her, first through its voucher program and then its Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. “The programs run by housing assistance really need to be exactly what they are intended to be: a leg up to be able to set yourself on a path that leads towards self-sufficiency,” she told co-host Matt Pitta of Cape Cod Broadcasting.

Throughout the night, both Pitta and co-host Mindy Todd of WCAI, spoke to those within the agency as well as those outside HAC about ways they are working to address the Cape’s housing issues.

The event also served as a way forward, raising nearly $80,000 for HAC in support of its mission to ensure that all on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket have access to safe, secure housing.

Since 1974, when CEO Rick Presbrey founded the agency, it has been committed to that work. At the end of the night, Pitta took a moment to ask Presbrey about his legacy as he will be retiring in March. “The organization is going to continue. It’s helped 160,000 people and that’s going to continue,” Presbrey said. “I have tried to establish very positive values in how to treat people, how to be honest, and essentially to always be respectful to others, and I think that will stay and I feel good about that.”

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Tags: housing, Homeless on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, homelessness, Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, Mindy Todd, Fundraising, Rick Presbrey, Matt Pitta

Shelter Telethon Addresses Homelessness on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 @ 10:00 AM
Matt Pitta and Lin Rohr-1.jpgTelethon host Matt Pitta from Cape Cod Broadcasting Media interviews Lin Rohr, the director of HAC's Angel House shelter. Pitta will be returning, along with WCAI's Mindy Todd, to serve as hosts of this year's telethon. 

For the 13th straight year, HAC will be holding its Shelter Cape Cod Telethon during the season of giving. The telethon, which takes place on Thursday, December 8, from 5 to 9 pm, at the Cape Cod Community Media Center in Dennis Port, helps place a spotlight on the region’s housing and homelessness issues. It also raises funds to support HAC’s homelessness programs which include its three family shelters – Angel House in Hyannis; Carriage House in North Falmouth; and The Village at Cataumet in Bourne – as well as its scattered site units, homelessness prevention for individuals and families and its outreach services for the homeless living in the streets and woods of Cape Cod.

Laura Reckford, HAC’s director of community relations and fundraising, said the lineup will be similar to last year’s, featuring HAC staff, board members and volunteers as well as public officials and representatives from a variety of businesses and organizations that are working to address homelessness and improve housing on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Those interested in sponsoring the telethon should contact Deanna Bussiere, HAC’s event and resource development coordinator, at dbussiere@haconcapecod.org or at 508-771-5400, ext. 270.

HAC also relies on volunteers to serve as phone fundraisers to ensure the agency can continue to address the region’s homeless issues. The event is ideal for businesses or groups, serving as a way for them to give back to the community in a meaningful way during the holiday season. To sign up, click the Santa icon below. 

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Tags: homelessness, Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, Fundraising, Matt Pitta, volunteerism, Laura Reckford

Community Leaders Gather at HAC's Shelter Telethon

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jan 07, 2016 @ 12:42 PM
Today_Real_Estate.jpgThe team from Today Real Estate were adorned in festive outfits at last month's telethon. 

The twelfth time was a charm for the Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, bringing in a record $100,000 in donations and pledges that will go to support HAC’s shelter programs.

While the total raised was significant, HAC CEO Rick Presbrey noted at the end of the four-hour long telethon, “It’s not about the money. It’s what we can do to improve the services for the families and individuals who are homeless.”

Cape Cod Broadcasting’s Matt Pitta who hosted the last two hours of the telethon – WCAI’s Mindy Todd hosted the first two – called the event “a very important night, one of the most important each year for Housing Assistance Corporation as we get together with the community, from one end of Cape Cod to the other, Provincetown to Bourne, and all spots in between.”

Though the focus of the telethon is fundraising, it also places a spotlight on the homelessness and housing issues facing the region, mixed in with lighter fare that included musical performances from elementary school students at the St. Pius X Catholic School, Sarah Swain of Harwich and a live, acoustic rendition of “Away in a Manger” by NOAH Shelter director Greg Bar.

There were five eighth graders from Cape Cod Academy who spoke about their portrait project in which they interviewed people at HAC’s NOAH Shelter as well as at CHAMP Homes and Homeless Not Hopeless, helping put a face to Cape Cod’s homeless. “What I learned is that these are real people with real stories they want to share with the community,” said eighth grader Maeve Lonergan about the project.

On-air guests included Paula Mallard, the facility director at The Village at Cataumet; Jay Coburn, executive director of the Community Development Partnership in Eastham; and Paula Schnepp, the coordinator for the Regional Network on Homelessness.

All spoke about the housing challenges facing Cape Cod, starting with Rick Presbrey who pointed out in the first minutes of the telethon that “there’s a big gap between what people earn on Cape Cod and what housing costs.”

For individuals, he said, the housing challenges can be even more cumbersome when someone becomes homeless.

Mindy_Todd_and_Billy_Bishop.jpgWCAI's Mindy Todd talks with Billy Bishop, founder of Homeless Not Hopeless, about the homeless issue on Cape Cod. 

Homelessness is an issue that affects those of all ages. Gina Hurley, director of student services for Barnstable Public Schools, said there are 140 students in her district that are homeless. “How does it affect their learning?” she asked.

Anne Van Vleck, executive director of CCYP, spoke about the importance of having affordable housing for young professionals. “Housing is an issue for all of the Cape,” she said. “And the homelessness issue which you are doing such important work here tonight is really something that needs people’s attention and focus.”

To provide some perspective of its impact on Cape Cod, Dr. Nate Rudman, an emergency room physician at Cape Cod Hospital, said that 91,000 ER hours were dedicated to those who are homeless in 2015, equaling roughly 10 beds per day. And for those suffering from an illness or disease, he said, homelessness can exacerbate the problem. “Imagine having pneumonia and not having a home to go to,” he said.

Billy Bishop, former president of Homeless Not Hopeless, has a firsthand knowledge of how difficult homelessness can be. He spent more than a decade living on the streets. “There are nights you can’t stay outside. You will die,” he said. He credited HAC’s NOAH Shelter for keeping him safe. “They saved my life,” he said, repeatedly.

The solution to many of the problems related to homelessness, said Gosnold CEO Raymond Tamasi is collaboration among the region’s social services agencies. “The networking of those services has the potential to lift people out of homelessness and, more than that, hopelessness,” he said. 

Tags: Shelter Cape Cod Telethon

HAC's Telethon to Address Region's Homelessness Issues

Posted by HAC Staff on Thu, Dec 03, 2015 @ 12:08 PM
telethon01-1.jpgHannah Carrita sings as David Kuehn of Cotuit Center for the Arts accompanies her on piano during last year’s Shelter Cape Cod Telethon. 

Join us for one of our most festive events of the year – the 12th Annual Shelter Cape Cod Telethon – that embodies the spirit of the season.

Set for Wednesday, December 9, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Cape Cod Community Media Center in Dennis, this event will be co-hosted by WCAI’s Mindy Todd and Cape Cod Broadcasting’s Matt Pitta and will showcase holiday entertainment mixed in with nearly 40 guests discussing the housing issues facing Cape Cod.

On-air guests will include local politicians, business leaders and people in the field of human services, many of whom work on the front lines of the homelessness issue.

Tune in the night of the event to watch all or part of the show on cable access Channel 98 or online at www.CapeMedia.org.

Those unable to watch live can still support the telethon and HAC’s shelter program by clicking this link and making a tax-deductible donation.

Your generosity will allow us to continue providing temporary shelter for those most in need in our community so we can ultimately move them into safe, stable housing. 

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Tags: Shelter Cape Cod Telethon

HAC's Shelter Cape Cod Telethon Returns for 12th Year

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 @ 10:28 AM


There are some who think that our world will always have poor people.

If that’s the case, NOAH Shelter director Greg Bar said it begs the question, “What will we do about it?”

HAC’s Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, he said, “is a direct response to that [question],” funding the agency’s shelter program which is aimed at helping the homeless get the services they need to get back onto their feet and into safe, decent housing.

In addition to the NOAH Shelter, beneficiaries of the telethon include HAC’s Carriage House in North Falmouth, The Village at Cataumet in Bourne and Angel House in Hyannis.

Funds raised help provide the homeless a warm bed to sleep in at the NOAH Shelter, engages individuals and families with housing, employment or health specialists and ultimately “helps them pick up the pieces to move ahead in their lives,” Bar said.

Paula Mallard, director of the Village at Cataumet, said the telethon “highlights the needs of the most vulnerable Cape Codders.” And it gives the community a chance to help them at a time of year, the holidays, when it is needed most.

Filmed at the Cape Cod Community Media Center in Dennis, the evening features live and pre-taped musical performances and interviews with HAC staff, volunteers and supporters as well as experts familiar with the region’s housing issues.

Terry Duenas, executive director of the media center, said the telethon, now in its 12th year, “is a great community event that brings together so many diverse folks from our community that are dedicated to the one cause of eliminating homelessness.”

“It helps us all be reawakened to the idea that there is a need all around us and there’s something we can do to help alleviate the need,” Bar added.

This year’s telethon will take place on Wednesday, December 9 from 5-9 pm and can be viewed on local cable access channel 98 or streamed live on the web at www.CapeMedia.org. Learn more about the telethon by clicking this link

Help Eliminate Homelessness on Cape Cod

Volunteer as a telethon phone fundraiser by contacting Volunteer Coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin at 508-771-5400 ext. 279 or volunteer@HAConCapeCod.org.

Want to become a telethon sponsor? Contact Deanna Bussiere at ext. 270 or dbussiere@HAConCapeCod.org.

Tags: Shelter Cape Cod Telethon

Longtime HAC Employee Honored for Her Work

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Aug 18, 2015 @ 10:52 AM
Deanna Bussiere resized 600Terry Duenas (left) with HAC’s Deanna Bussiere and her husband David at Cape Cod Community Media Center’s Annual Meeting.

Inside the relatively dark studio at the Cape Cod Community Media Center, the spotlight shone brightly on HAC’s own Deanna Bussiere at the end of June.

The media center is a familiar place for Bussiere, who helps organize HAC’s shelter telethon which is held there every December. And because of her work on the telethon, the media center honored Bussiere with the Barbara Bird Community Impact Award. The award is named after a longtime producer at the media center whose outside activities included volunteering at HAC’s NOAH Shelter in Hyannis.

“The recipient of this year’s award is a really special person,” Terry Duenas, executive director of the media center, said in recognizing Bussiere’s accomplishments.

While he acknowledged HAC’s team that helps to put on the telethon, Duenas singled out Bussiere at the media center’s annual meeting: “They have one person who is
absolutely a stand out because I think they give her the jobs that no one else will do and she gets them done.”

Duenas went even further in an e-mail to Bussiere, who first started working at HAC in 2001, letting her know she had been chosen for the award. “Your amazing behind the scenes work for years with the Shelter Cape Cod Telethon and many other outreach projects make you a great candidate for this award,” he wrote. “You are a consummate team player who wants no personal credit, but is always a supportive and dedicated member of the Housing Assistance Corporation staff.”

Along with the award, which hangs proudly in Bussiere’s office, she was given a bouquet of flowers from her coworkers. Elias Benaka, whose mother Margaret works in the same department as Bussiere, presented her with the gift.

Tags: Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, Cape Cod Community Media Center, HAC, Deanna Bussiere, Terry Duenas