Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Editorial: Threats to HCEC Funding

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 @ 11:02 AM

Galazzi_HACbeat (2017).jpg

Since I arrived at HAC in January, I have been struck by the number of people that our agency is able to help on a daily basis. Last year alone we provided over 5,600 clients with the housing services they needed to move forward with their lives in a positive direction.

Of that number, more than 1,200 people were served through our Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC). HAC’s HCEC is one of only nine in Massachusetts, and the only one that exists for those on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Due to recent budget cuts made by Governor Charlie Baker, these nine HCECs are being threatened, which will directly impact a large number of clients we serve at HAC. These are our neighbors - teachers, plumbers, electricians, firefighters, waiters, certified nursing assistants and more - who need help, support and housing stability to remain here on Cape Cod.

At HAC, our HCEC conducts client intake, determining whether there is an internal HAC program that can assist them or we need to refer them to an outside agency. Our HCEC also assists clients with housing search, working with them to find safe, secure housing in the region; provides foreclosure and reverse mortgage counseling; and offers financial literacy workshops for low- and middle-income residents.

Maureen Fitzgerald, executive director of the Regional Housing Network, which is made up of the nine HCECs throughout the state, recently wrote that, “the HCECs continue to be one of the Commonwealth’s most effective, impactful, and far-reaching housing and homelessness prevention programs. In an environment where resources are so narrowly targeted, the Centers fill in the gaps, ensuring that the right people get to the right resources at the right time.”

The statement was made as part of a letter written in light of Governor Baker’s proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget which had $320 million worth of vetoes, including a $600,000 reduction in funding for HCECs statewide. This will negatively affect agencies like HAC’s HCEC which is working with individuals and families at risk of homelessness, facing eviction, and seeking to find affordable rentals.

Because of this threat, I have spent time at the State House in Boston this month, meeting with our legislators to urge them to restore both the $800,000 vetoed in Line Item 7006-0011 and the language directing support to the state’s HCECs. We must ensure that the proper state funding is in place so agencies like HAC can continue to serve these clients in an effective and efficient manner.

Tags: HCEC, housing consumer education, Alisa Galazzi, Governor Charlie Baker, State budget, Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts

Editorial: Working with our Legislators to Tackle the Cape's Housing Challenges

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Tue, May 16, 2017 @ 10:50 AM

Julian-3.jpgState Senator Julian Cyr (second from left) with HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi (from left), Director of Leased Housing Cindi Maule, Director of Family and Individual Services Cassi Danzl and Chief Operating Officer Walter Phinney. 

I have been spending my first few months as CEO of HAC getting to know the leaders in our community. It has been particularly gratifying to meet members of our legislative delegation and to learn of their passion to help all the residents of our region.

When State Senator Julian Cyr stopped by HAC’s offices recently, he said housing has been one of the main issues at the forefront of his constituents’ minds.

During his visit, Senator Cyr told us, “Housing and access to housing that is affordable is a top issue for us on Cape Cod, on Martha’s Vineyard and on Nantucket. Our real estate market is so aggressive here that most anyone who is a middle-income wage earner, including working families, is struggling to make it here… We really need to have housing that meets our needs.”

Meeting the needs of those in the region when it comes to affordable housing has always been a major focus for HAC and it will continue to be so in the coming years.

I was pleased to learn that even prior to becoming a State Senator in November, Senator Cyr said, he has long admired HAC’s work on the Cape and Islands. “HAC is just one of those organizations that is a real pillar of the community. HAC has been doing work for generations to make sure our most vulnerable have housing.”

After taking a tour of HAC’s offices and meeting the staff on the front lines of delivering housing services for HAC, the Senator gave his impressions of the meeting. “I was just really impressed with the scale and scope of how HAC helps people realize housing on Cape Cod and the Islands, from the most vulnerable people who are homeless living in the streets to helping people improve the energy efficiency of their homes. I have a renewed appreciation for how much HAC does.”

We’re looking forward to partnering with Senator Cyr and the rest of the Cape and Islands delegation on strategic regional issues, and having our voice and mission loudly and clearly represented at the State House.

It is through these partnerships between HAC, our legislators and other leaders in the community, that we can add more resources for our clients and do more to help them succeed.

Tags: State budget, Julian Cyr, Alisa Galazzi, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, homelessness

CHAPA Regional Meeting Scheduled for Cape Cod

Posted by Julie Wake on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 @ 03:37 PM

Join HAC at the September 19th CHAPA (Citizens Housing and Planning Association) community meetings:

  • Meet Brenda Clement, CHAPA’s new Executive Director!
  • Recap of the highlights of CHAPA’s 2011-2012 initiatives and key changes in state housing policy!
  • Share your ideas about local affordable housing and community development!

Each year, CHAPA staff travel across Massachusetts for a series of meetings with housing professionals and advocates, community members , elected officials, and other stakeholders that want to expand access to affordable housing.  We use this as an opportunity to share updates with members in each region of the state and more importantly, to hear what you would like us to focus on in our public policy advocacy, research, and programs.  Please take this opportunity to meet Brenda, share your thoughts and ideas, and help inform our collective agenda for the coming legislative session and year ahead.  Light refreshments will be served. Please select a meeting and register online at http://www.chapa.org/event?month=2012-09

Tags: Homeless on Cape Cod, Housing on Cape Cod, CHAPA Regional Meeting Cape Cod, State budget, Affordable Development on Cape Cod

State Finalizes Housing Budget

Posted by Julie Wake on Sat, Jul 28, 2012 @ 10:00 AM

In early July, Gov. Deval Patrick finalized the Fiscal Year 2013 budget.

The Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless offered this summary of the budget’s housing/homeless provisions, which include:

– A $6 million increase to the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP);

– An $8.5 million increase for the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) homelessness prevention program;

– A $2 million increase for state-funded public housing operating subsidies;

– Language establishing the special commission on unaccompanied youth homelessness;

– Full funding of $11.3 million for the transportation of students experiencing homelessness back to their schools of origin;

– Critical language requiring the Administration to notify the Legislature at least 60 days before implementing eligibility changes or benefits reductions in the Emergency Assistance (EA), HomeBASE, Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC), and Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children (EAEDC) programs.

The Governor also sent back positive amendments on several sections related to the electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card changes proposed by the Legislature. In so doing, he said: “I’m not going to do anything that makes vulnerable people beg for their benefits. This notion of humiliating poor people has got to be separated, and quite frankly disposed of, from how we make a program work and work well and with integrity.”

The Governor also filed a supplemental budget request, which includes a recommendation for additional funds to address family homelessness in FY’13. He is asking for $15 million more for the Emergency Assistance family shelter and services line item. If approved, this would bring EA shelter and motel funding up to $111.7 million, still significantly lower than the FY’12 funding level of $137.5 million. In his letter to the Legislature that accompanied his request, Governor Patrick said:

“I am also proposing $15 million for projected funding needs for emergency housing services for low-income families. While the reforms in the emergency family housing program included in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget will save millions of dollars for taxpayers and get better outcomes for families, the current funding level provided in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget is not sufficient to meet projected costs for the entire year.”

Tags: housing, housing assistance corporation, State budget