Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Annual Meeting Celebrates Those Making a Difference

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, May 16, 2016 @ 12:47 PM
Annual_Meeting_16-Web6.jpg2016 Volunteer of the Year Ron Winner (second from left) with Tony (from left) and Lorraine Shepley and Ron's wife Wendy Winner.

Nearly five years ago Diane Barry came to Cape Cod at one of the lowest points in her life. She was homeless and struggling with substance abuse.

Her destination was HAC’s Angel House shelter in Hyannis. “I was looking for a new start,” Barry told nearly 300 attendees at HAC’s 42nd Annual Meeting & Volunteer Recognition last month. “At Angel House I got the support that I needed and I was loved when I couldn’t love myself.”

Today, Barry is happily married, with three children, including a daughter she was able to reconnect with thanks to the support of Angel House. She will be five years sober in November. And she lives in a HAC-owned apartment in Hyannis, calling herself “blessed to be able to stay here on Cape Cod.”

Last year, HAC helped hundreds of people not unlike Barry, making a difference in their lives when they needed it most. At its Annual Meeting, HAC took time to honor those assisting the agency in that effort.

“We help everybody,” CEO Rick Presbrey said in speaking about the importance of HAC’s work. “We spend time with them. We care about them. We try to show them they are important to us and they are important to themselves and they have lots of potential and there are solutions to their problems.”

To that end, 784 volunteers donated 17,835 hours assisting staff in showing clients that they matter. One of those volunteers, Ron Winner, has done so by preparing meals at HAC’s NOAH Shelter and for mothers and their children at Angel House.

HAC recognized Winner with the Volunteer of the Year Award. “Ron shows other people he cares and that gives them hope,” HAC’s Deanna Bussiere said in presenting the award. “Sometimes hope is just what people need to try to change their lives.”

A Challenge to Others

This year’s Business Partner Award was given to Bill and Linda Zammer, owners of Cape Cod Restaurants, who have been longtime supporters of HAC. Mr. Zammer challenged other businesses to step up and help those in need. “That is what it’s all about,” he said. “It’s about us doing it.”

In presenting John and Kathy Ohman, co-founders of FORWARD (Friends Or Relatives With Autism And Related Disabilities) with the 2016 Human Services Partner Award, HAC’s Housing Development Project Manager Kate Ferreira said, “What I admire most about Kathy and John, among other things, is their commitment to their community and their perseverance in seeing things through.” HAC is working with FORWARD to build housing for adults with autism or related disabilities in Dennis. Two of the Ohmans three children are on the autism spectrum.

Annual_Meeting_16-Web11.jpgJohn  (left) and Kathy Ohman (second from right) with HAC CEO Rick Presbrey and HAC Housing Development Project Manager Kate Ferreira. The Ohmans were the recipients of the 2016 Human Services Award.

The Transitional Living Center Committee was the recipient of the Make a Difference Award. The committee is working to find a new site for the living center that will eventually replace HAC’s NOAH Shelter. Its members include Chair Elizabeth Wurfbain, executive director of the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District (BID); Deborah Krau, vice president of the Greater Hyannis Civic Association; Barnstable Police Chief Paul MacDonald; Heidi Nelson, CEO of Duffy Health Center; Paula Schnepp, the regional network coordinator for the Cape & Islands Regional Network to Address Homelessness; Abbott “Sid” Davidson of the Lyndon Paul Lorusso Charitable Foundation; and HAC’s Rick Presbrey.

“We all wanted to recognize this group for the work they’ve done so far and say, you know, let’s keep this going,” Presbrey said. “Let’s keep plowing along and get it done and let’s get something we’re all happy with.”

The meeting ended with HAC paying tribute to former employee and volunteer Mitzi Holmes who passed away at the end of last year. Mitzi’s sister-in-law Margaret and sister Johanna were in attendance with the latter proudly saying, “my sister talked nonstop about HAC and her passion for your work.”

Click this link to see more photos of this year's Annual Meeting & Volunteer Recognition. 

Tags: HAC Annual Meeting, Annual Meeting, NOAH Shelter, Housing on Cape Cod, The Transitional Living Center, Transitional Living Center of Cape Cod Committee

Rick Presbrey's Editorial: A Moral Imperative

Posted by Rick Presbrey on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 @ 04:59 PM

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There are about 400 people each year who spend one or more nights at the NOAH Shelter. On an average night there are about 50 people staying in the facility. My guess, and it is only a guess, on an average night, and it does vary by season, there are about 35 people sleeping outside in the Hyannis vicinity.

For about the past 18 months, I have been meeting at least every other week as a part of a group (click here for more info) seeking to move the facility out of downtown Hyannis. The group has come together around a mission to provide expanded and improved wrap-around services for clients and to reduce the negative effect of homelessness on Hyannis businesses. Excellent progress has already been made by opening the facility during the day and developing policies and procedures which improve the quality, quantity and consistency of services. In addition, plans have been made for improved operations within the new facility.

For the past several months, the committee has been researching possible sites for the new facility mostly in the greater Hyannis area. Hyannis is the preferred area because it is the only place on the Cape where all services are within walking distance. In addition, successful permitting for the new location is more likely in the Town of Barnstable because the town wants the facility to move out of the center of the downtown area. One roadblock after another has hindered the effort, including federal regulations for any future funding requiring that the facility not be within 2,500 feet of airport property. Our search guidelines have eliminated all sites near schools and sites in or abutting a residential neighborhood. Recently, objections to at least one site that the committee has agreed on have come from town hall. There are still a couple of sites in play, but no likely site has yet been found.

The search for money to fund the purchase and construction costs is also underway. Eventually, we believe that funding will come from some combination of public and private sources.

This is and has been a very difficult process. What makes me think it might succeed is the high level of commitment of the committee members. What will stop the project is objections from those who want to see it fail because they either insist that the facility be out of town or that the shelter close its doors altogether. Up until now the HAC board has taken the position that providing this sanctuary for the neediest of our citizens is a “moral imperative.”

If our efforts are successful, services will be dramatically increased, including outreach, and the negative effect on Hyannis will be greatly reduced. I am sure of it.

Tags: homelessness, NOAH Shelter, The Transitional Living Center

HAC Annual Meeting Recognizes Community Leaders

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 @ 01:12 PM
Bill_and_Linda_Zammer_small.jpgWilliam and Linda Zammer will be recognized with HAC's 2016 Business Partner Award. 

Next month, HAC’s 42nd Annual Meeting & Volunteer Recognition will usher in an entirely new award that recognizes those making a positive impact on Cape Cod.

The Transitional Living Center of Cape Cod Committee will be the first recipient of this honor which has been named the Make a Difference Award. The committee consists of local leaders working to find a location and model for a new homeless shelter outside of downtown Hyannis.

The committee is an offshoot of one created a few years ago that helped launch the Day Center at NOAH, a program that started in May 2014 as a way to provide shelter and services to the region’s homeless during the day. Members of The Transitional Living Center of Cape Cod Committee include Elizabeth Wurfbain, executive director of the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District (BID); Barnstable Police Chief Paul MacDonald; Heidi Nelson, CEO of Duffy Health Center; Paula Schnepp, the regional network coordinator for the Cape & Islands Regional Network to Address Homelessness; Abbott “Sid” Davidson of Centerville; Deborah Krau, vice president of the Greater Hyannis Civic Association; and HAC CEO Rick Presbrey.

The 2016 Business Partner Award will go to longtime HAC supporters William and Linda Zammer, owner of Cape Cod Restaurants, Inc. which includes the Coonamessett Inn and The Flying Bridge Restaurants in Falmouth, as well as Tugboats Restaurant in Hyannis and Clancy’s in Dennis Port. The couple funded the establishment of the Institute for Hospitality and Culinary Studies, named in their honor, at Cape Cod Community College. Over the years, homeless and formerly homeless individuals have received free culinary arts training at the institute.

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Kathy and John Ohman (photo above, left), co-founders of Friends or Relatives With Autism or Related Disabilities (FORWARD) are the recipients of this year’s Human Services Partner Award. The Dennis couple have three sons, two of whom are on the autism spectrum.

HAC is currently partnering with FORWARD to build housing for autistic adults on 4.9 acres of land on Hokum Rock Road in Dennis. The current proposal calls for eight units of housing. “We’re grateful to HAC and the Town of Dennis for recognizing the need for housing for developmentally disabled adults,” said Kathy, president of FORWARD. “We would not be able to do this without the support and generosity of HAC and the town.”

The final honoree at this year’s Annual Meeting is Ron Winner (photo above, right) who is being recognized as HAC’s Volunteer of the Year. Winner, who works at Shepley Wood Products, is a familiar face at both the NOAH Shelter and Angel House, where he regularly serves meals to clients.

Over the past two years, he has organized a cookout at the end of summer for women and their children staying at Angel House. He also has put together a holiday meal at the shelter, showing his compassion for those HAC serves.

Winner’s cooking skills were on full display to the public when he took part in HAC’s inaugural Quahog Challenge last summer, bringing home first place in the amateur category with Shepley colleague Kenny Mansbach.

HAC's 42nd Annual Meeting & Volunteer Recognition

When: Thursday, April 7, 5-7:30 pm

Where: Cape Codder Resort & Spa at 1225 Iyannough Road, Hyannis

Networking begins at 5 pm with the program starting at 5:30 pm. To register for the event, click this link.  

Tags: Annual Meeting, Ron Winner, The Transitional Living Center, FORWARD at the Rock