Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

HAC Seeks Recipients for Falmouth Big Fix

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Jun 28, 2017 @ 10:58 AM
Brewster_Big_Fix-18.jpgAmong the groups that regularly participate in the Big Fix is AmeriCorps Cape Cod. The organization helped HAC create the Big Fix in 2010 when it was held in Barnstable. Now in its eighth year, the day of service will be going to every town on Cape Cod. 

Last fall, 278 people volunteered their time to participate in HAC’s Big Fix in Brewster. It was a record turnout for the annual event in which volunteers spend a few hours making small home improvements for veterans, seniors and disabled homeowners in one town on Cape Cod.

On Saturday, September 16, the Big Fix will be coming to Falmouth. What can we expect this year? More of the same, according to HAC’s Director of Community Relations and Fundraising Laura Reckford. “We’re hoping for more in Falmouth,” she said. “As a Falmouth resident myself, I am really excited that for the eighth year of the Big Fix, it is in Falmouth. The town, through the Board of Selectmen, has already been very supportive and we have already had a number of people reach out to us to be volunteers.”

HAC is currently seeking Falmouth residents who are interested in becoming recipients of this year’s Big Fix. Applications can be found online at www.haconcapecod.org or at Falmouth Town Hall, the Falmouth Senior Center, and any of the public libraries in Falmouth. The deadline to apply is Friday, July 14.

Applicants must either be an income-eligible veteran, senior or disabled homeowner in Falmouth. HAC anticipates selecting anywhere from 12 to 15 homes for this year’s Big Fix.

The Big Fix began in 2010 in Barnstable. It has since been to Sandwich, Dennis, Mashpee, Yarmouth, Bourne, and Brewster.

Over the course of a few hours, volunteers help make small home improvements that can make a big difference in the lives of recipients. Projects typically include yard work, trash removal, repairing of fences and walkways, interior and exterior painting, and light carpentry and electrical work. Those interested in volunteering can sign up on HAC’s website at www.haconcapecod.org.

This year’s Big Fix will kick off at the Lawrence School in Falmouth with a light breakfast provided by Whole Foods Market and Beanstock Coffee before volunteers head to their assigned homes. Once all work is completed, volunteers will return to the Lawrence School for a free lunch provided by the 99 Restaurant.

If you are interested in becoming a recipient of this year's Big Fix in Falmouth, click the green button below. 

Big Fix Bourne Recipient Application

Tags: volunteering, Big Fix, HAC Volunteers, Falmouth, Falmouth Big Fix, home repair

Cotuit Church Gives Back to the NOAH SHelter

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Mar 17, 2016 @ 10:21 AM
Frank_Hallice_Bill_Johnson.jpgFrank Hallice (left) and Bill Johnson spent a few hours hanging new blinds at the NOAH Shelter in January. The blinds were paid for by the Cotuit Federated Church. 

Sometimes the smallest acts of charity can have the largest impact.

And so it is with the Cotuit Federated Church which has made minor upgrades to the NOAH Shelter in recent months that have helped improve the comfort of those staying there.

It started in November, when Bill Johnson of Mashpee was joined by several other church parishioners in putting up 60 coat hooks over all the beds at the shelter.

Johnson returned to the shelter in January when he was accompanied by Frank Hallice, also of Mashpee, as they installed 20 new blinds over the windows.

Greg Bar, NOAH director, expressed gratitude for the church’s willingness to assist the shelter and its guests in such a way. “It seems like this is a small kind of thing, but having blinds on the windows is a privacy issue and helps create a feeling of safety,” Bar said. “I think so highly of them for doing this.”

Both Johnson and Hallice deflected such praise, saying it was their way of giving back.

“I do it because I want to,” Hallice explained. “I don’t expect anything back. I guess it’s in my nature to help… Does it make you feel good? Yes. You’d be inhuman if you said it didn’t. It’s like shoveling an old lady’s walkway. You do it because you should.”

Donate to the NOAH Shelter

Tags: homelessness, NOAH Shelter, volunteering, HAC Volunteers

Spring Welcome Home Gift Basket Drive

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 @ 09:20 AM

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Each quarter HAC teams up with a local business and holds a drive for basic home goods for clients making the transition from shelter to permanent housing.

Currently, the folks at Sullivan & Sullivan Auctioneers of Sandwich, will be collecting a variety of new household items (towels, silverware, canned goods, paper goods, blankets, cleaning supplies, toiletries, gift cards, hats, gloves, winter coats) that will be placed into Welcome Home Gift Baskets for our clients. The drive runs from March through Friday, April 3.

Those wanting to take part in the gift basket drive and give our clients a fresh start in their new homes can do so by bringing donations to: 

Sullivan & Sullivan Auctioneers, LLC
148 Route 6A
Sandwich, MA 02563
Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm

In December, The Young Professionals Network, a subcommittee of the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors, organized the inaugural drive as a way to show our shelter clients how much the community cares and wants them to succeed once they transition out of shelter. 

To learn how your organization can get involved or for additional information contact Julie Wake at 508-771-5400 or jwake@HAConCapeCod.org

Tags: HAC, Cape Cod, Welcome Home Gift Basket Drive, CHAPA Regional Meeting Cape Cod, volunteerism, volunteering

Village at Cataumet Volunteers Exemplify Dedication

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Feb 16, 2015 @ 08:50 AM
DSC 7118 resized 600Falmouth's Betty Bailey (from left), Robert McIntire, Nancy Ledger and Tanya White at a meal they prepared and served at The Village at Cataumet in December.

Webster’s Dictionary may have its own definition of dedication, but at HAC it’s exemplified in volunteers like Dr. Robert McIntire of Falmouth.

Over the past decade, Dr. McIntire and several other members of the John Wesley United Methodist Church in Falmouth, have devoted one night every month to cooking meals for clients at The Village at Cataumet.

“It is nice to reach out and be able to meet these folks and hopefully bring a smile to their face,” said Nancy Ledger of Falmouth. “It means a lot to us and hopefully it means a lot to them.”

In December, Ledger joined Dr. McIntire, Tanya White and Betty Bailey, all of Falmouth, in making a meal of chicken with gravy, mashed potatoes, corn and apple crisp for shelter clients. Because it was the week before Christmas, the group also gave each client a small gift package that included candies and a Walmart gift card.

As Dr. McIntire handed out the packages, one client responded, “This is wonderful. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.”

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Having a chance to meet and interact with those staying at the shelter, Dr. McIntire said, has been the most rewarding aspect of his time spent volunteering at HAC. While all are grateful for the help they are given, he said, “It is pretty tough for small families having to live in a small hotel room, especially when you have two adults and two children. It’s not a holiday.”

“It is difficult,” said Brianne Gonzalez, who has been at the shelter with one of her two children since the middle of October. “I would probably say living so close to other people is the most difficult thing. And having to share things; you normally would have your own kitchen.”

“I’d rather have my own place,” said Richelle Green, a client who lives with her boyfriend Perikles (Perry) Karakostas. The two will be having a baby boy, due in April.

As the couple enjoyed the December meal cooked by relative strangers, Perry praised the group’s generosity. “They are saints,” he said. “It is so good to see nice people with everything that is going on in the world.”

This meal represented one of the few gifts he would receive this season. “Being in the situation we are in, it is hard to focus on the holidays,” he admitted.

It is why, Ledger said, the best part of their volunteer work is when the shelter’s clients are finally able to have a place to call home. “It is always sad to see young families who are homeless. It is tragic, especially at this time of year,” she said. “That is why you are so happy when you come here and they are gone because they have gone on to their own place.”

Tags: volunteers, Robert McIntire, nancy ledger, HAC, Village at Cataumet, volunteering, shelter

Sturgis Charter Public School Students Lend a Hand at HAC

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 @ 01:09 PM
describe the imageThe group of Sturgis Charter Public School students who volunteered their day at HAC.

Typically graduation is a time when students are the ones receiving gifts. But at the end of May, just three days before they were to receive their high school diplomas, a contingent of 11 Sturgis Charter Public School students spent their day giving back to the community by volunteering at HAC.

The group was one of 20 that used their second-to-last day as a high school student to make a positive difference in Hyannis – some cleaned up the town's beaches and others volunteered at the Salvation Army.

The students at HAC did basic office work: helping stuff donor letters in envelopes, moving boxes and compiling informational packets for the HAC Energy department.

And in the process they learned a little bit about what HAC does from several of its employees, prompting Lynn Kelley, a history teacher at Sturgis, to remark that this type of volunteerism can be rewarding for students, especially if it’s over a prolonged period of time. “When you get committed to an organization and start working with them you really feel like you are making a difference,” she said.

The time spent at HAC, Kelley said, was also valuable as it ties into the curriculum at Sturgis. “In terms of developing their self we want them to be active and productive members of the community,” she said.

With many of the students looking forward to college some such as Bridgette Isaacs, 18, and Skylar Beauregard, 18, are considering pursuing a career in the social services. 

Both revealed that they have had family members deal with substance abuse issues and were interested in becoming counselors to help those struggling with similar problems. “I think it is easy for someone who has been affected by it to be able to help others,” Skylar said. “And I’ve always enjoyed working with people.” 

Tags: volunteers, HAC, HAC Energy, volunteerism, volunteering, Sturgis Charter Public School

Volunteers the Lifeblood of HAC

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Sat, Jun 14, 2014 @ 08:30 AM
DSC 0006 resized 600Brian Rixham at the NOAH Shelter in Hyannis.

“I’ve worked here so long they finally gave me an office,” Brian Rixham says cheerfully as he slowly climbs the stairs to the second floor of the NOAH Shelter and walks into a relatively barebones room with a desk, phone and a filing cabinet.

Here Rixham, an East Dennis resident by way of Sheffield, England – he still maintains the accent despite moving to the United States in 1973 – assists shelter director Greg Bar once a week handling intakes, where he records basic information about NOAH clients searching for permanent housing.

“Today I mailed 25 housing applications for two different people,” he said, adding to the list of responsibilities he handles which also includes “a lot of paperwork.”

An engineer by trade the 79-year-old Rixham has been volunteering with those most in need since 1997 when the Reverend Bob Huff, the chaplain at the Salvation Army in Hyannis, visited St. David’s Episcopal Church in Yarmouth, dressed as a homeless man. “Bob came up and talked about the Salvation Army and the NOAH Shelter,” Rixham recalled.

That initially led to Rixham serving meals for the homeless at the Yarmouth church during the weekends before he expanded his volunteerism to the Salvation Army and eventually to HAC and the NOAH Shelter.

He now has spent 17 years volunteering at HAC and though admittedly difficult, Rixham finds his job working with NOAH staff rewarding. “There are really a lot of sad cases and all of the people have good reasons why they are homeless,” he said. “So a lot of this work is needed… This shelter is a wonderful place. It is a tough, tough situation, but there is housing out there if clients are willing to use our housing specialist.”

For him, he said, the benefits are less tangible, but still meaningful: “I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping people,” he said.

Importance of Volunteers

Volunteers like Rixham are an integral part of HAC’s organizational structure. “They enable us to do a lot of things we would otherwise be unable to do,” HAC CEO Rick Presbrey said. “Yes, they do stuff envelopes, but we are also using them to do things programmatically.”

They do so by cooking and serving meals at NOAH and making home repairs for needy residents during the annual Big Fix event. They also fill other necessary roles within HAC whether it be caring for children living in shelter, fundraising or serving on the board.

“We have over 800 volunteers,” Presbrey said. “So you can imagine the kinds of ways they provide quality to the things we do on a very tight budget.”

At HAC’s annual meeting in April volunteer coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin presented statistics for 2013 when 807 volunteers donated 12,865 hours towards everything from clerical work to soliciting donations during the Shelter Cape Cod Telethon in December.

Those numbers increased from 2012 when over 500 volunteers donated over 10,000 hours supporting HAC’s programs and services.

Everett-Patriquin called HAC’s volunteers “the lifeblood of a non-profit agency like HAC. Without them, we’d have no childcare or drivers at our family shelters, no dinner for our NOAH clients, no one to help with the mounds of paperwork at our main office.

“The list is really endless,” she continued. “Our volunteers gave 12,000 plus hours of service in 2013 which is truly remarkable. But they don’t just give time, they give hope and a way for our clients to start anew.”

Volunteer Statistics for 2013

NOAH Meals: 237 volunteers for 6,912 hours
Childcare: 68 volunteers for 1,800 hours
HACbeat Mailings: 22 volunteers for 258 hours
Fundraising: 206 volunteers for 608 hours
Big Fix: 188 volunteers for 1,029 hours

 

Click me

Tags: volunteers, HAC, volunteering, Brian Rixham

Making Connections at NOAH Shelter

Posted by Julie Wake on Tue, Mar 11, 2014 @ 07:30 PM
“A minimal amount of human contact can change a life,” said Greg Bar, manager of HAC’s NOAH Shelter, about a new volunteer project at NOAH Shelter. 
Bill Dado resized 600
One night Bill Dado had a dream he was working with the homeless in Hyannis.  “When I woke up I just had to go to the computer and Google shelters in Hyannis,” said Bill Dado.  Dado moved to the Cape two years ago and is a retired high school guidance counselor from Sturbridge, MA.   “The next thing I knew I was filling out an online application to volunteer for HAC, meeting with the volunteer coordinator and being quickly introduced to Greg Bar.”

Dado’s concept is to create a “pen pal” type relationship with NOAH clients and high school students.  Students would be connected to a client and would initiate a letter exchange as simple as, “I’m thinking of you and I care.”  Clients would receive a letter with just the student’s first name and vice versa. Letters would be managed through the school’s community service person.

In Dado’s previous career as a guidance counselor, he saw major benefits when “at risk” students were connected to a teacher on a one on one basis.  “I thought if we applied this to the homeless, even though the gesture is small, we might really make a personal impact on so many levels,” said Dado.

Sturgis West and Cape Cod Academy have signed on to be pilots for the program. 

Tags: Homeless on Cape Cod, Homeless, HACbeat, volunteers, Volunteer Cape Cod, Volunteer coffee hour, housing assistance corporation, NOAH Shelter, NOAH, volunteering

Mashpee Big Fix An Opportunity To Help Those In Need

Posted by Laura Reckford on Fri, Sep 13, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

Mashpee Big Fix

Spend half a day and make a real difference in the comfort, safety, and quality of life for those in need in our community.

Housing Assistance Corporation is looking for volunteers for The Mashpee Big Fix on Saturday, September 28. Not all the work requires heavy lifting. Besides yard work and light repair work at the houses, we need volunteers to help out with sign-in duties and lunch service.

The Big Fix sends teams of volunteers to assist homeowners with clean-up, landscaping, and small home repair projects. Since 2010, we’ve mobilized over 250 volunteers and assisted 40 households in Barnstable, Sandwich and Dennis.

Kick-off on September 28 will be at Mashpee High School, and begins at 8:30 a.m. with coffee and donuts. Most houses are finished by 1:00 p.m. Volunteers also receive lunch and a T-shirt.

Volunteers helping at the houses should be physically able to perform tasks of moderate intensity, such as pruning hedges, raking, hauling brush, cleaning gutters, and moving heavy/bulky items to and from storage. Basic home repair skills (painting, carpentry, electric, plumbing, masonry) are a plus but not required. Please note that minors must be accompanied and supervised by a parent or guardian. Please, no pets.

Interested individuals and groups should sign up by Sept. 13 at  www.haconcapecod.org/big-fix. You can also get further information and sign up by contacting our Volunteer Coordinator, Mary Everett-Patriquin, at volunteer@haconcapecod.org, or by phone at 508-771-5400, ext. 279.

Tags: volunteers, Volunteer Cape Cod, housing assistance corporation, volunteering, Big Fix

The Big Fix In Mashpee An Opportunity To Help Those In Need

Posted by Laura Reckford on Sun, Aug 11, 2013 @ 11:00 AM

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Help veterans, seniors, and disabled homeowners in the Town of Mashpee by joining The
Big Fix on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013.

Coordinated by Housing Assistance Corporation, The Big Fix sends teams of volunteers to
assist homeowners with clean-up, landscaping, and small home repair projects.
Since 2010, HAC has mobilized over 250 volunteers and assisted 40 households in
Barnstable, Sandwich and Dennis.

 Kick-off will be at Mashpee High School, and begins at 8:30 a.m. with coffee and donuts.
Most houses are finished by 1:00 p.m. Volunteers also receive lunch and a
T-shirt.

Spend half a day and make a real difference in the comfort, safety, and quality of life for
those in need in our community.

 Volunteers should be physically able to perform tasks of moderate intensity, such as
pruning hedges, raking, hauling brush, cleaning gutters, and moving heavy/bulky
items to and from storage.

Basic home repair skills (painting, carpentry, electric, plumbing, masonry) are a plus but
not required.

Minors must be accompanied and supervised by a parent or guardian. Please, no pets.

Interested individuals and groups should sign up by Sept. 13
at www.haconcapecod.org/big-fix.

Get further information by contacting HAC Volunteer Coordinator, Mary Everett-Patriquin, at
volunteer@haconcapecod.org, or by phone at 508-771-5400, ext. 279.

Tags: volunteers, housing assistance corporation, Housing on Cape Cod, volunteering, Big Fix

HAC Shelters In Cataumet, North Falmouth Seek Volunteers

Posted by Laura Reckford on Mon, Jun 17, 2013 @ 12:29 PM

Housing Assistance Corporation of Cape Cod will be holding a Volunteer Information Session on Wednesday, June 26 from 1:30 to 2:30 PM at Falmouth Public Library in the Trustees Room on the lower level.

The library is located at 300 Main Street in Falmouth center. Light refreshments will be served.

 The meeting is to inform Cape residents about volunteer opportunities connected with Housing Assistance Corporation, including opportunities at its family shelters in North Falmouth and Cataumet.

Volunteers assist residents of the shelter with child care and transportation.

Information will also be given at the session about the Housing With Love Walk, a Cape-wide walk and fundraiser, which travels through Falmouth on Sunday, July 21. Anyone can join the walk, which helps raise money to prevent homelessness on Cape Cod.

Another topic of the meeting is The Big Fix, a one-day session in September in which volunteers help repair the homes of seniors, veterans and disabled people. This year’s event takes place in Mashpee on Saturday, September 28.

Anyone interested in finding out more about volunteering for HAC is encouraged to attend this session.

RSVP to Mary Everett-Patriquin at 508-771-5400 ext. 279 or by email at volunteer@haconcapecod.org.

Tags: volunteers, Housing with love walk, Volunteer Cape Cod, housing assistance corporation, Village at Cataumet, volunteering, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod