Cape Codders are reaching out to help neighbors in need. The Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness, or DYECH, has been working on this problem for the past 15 years.
When a family on Cape Cod is facing a financial crisis because of an accident, illness, job loss or other unforeseen event, it is often impossible to meet rent or mortgage payments. If a family is given assistance at this time, homelessness can be prevented. DYECH raises money to provide these funds and works with the Housing Assistance Corp. to help the family. As we are all aware, state funds that used to be part of this effort have been cut, and the prevention project depends solely on organizations like DYECH to help families in crisis.
The good news is that the people on Cape Cod are recognizing the problem and responding generously. Since June of 2010, DYECH has raised $89,000. Housing Assistance reports that with this money, 187 families have been able to stay in their own homes despite the setback that threatened the stability of their lives.
This is one of their stories.
The family consisted of two working parents and three children. The mother fell, broke her pelvis, and was unable to work for several months. Even though she had health insurance, the expenses of copays, medication and loss of wages meant that the family fell behind on their rent. They applied to HAC for assistance, and funds for back payment of the rent were provided. The mother has now returned to her job, the crisis has been averted and the family is safe at home.
DYECH raises most of its funds through the sale of gift cards to local grocery and other participating stores. More and more people are purchasing these cards and finding satisfaction in knowing that they are helping to prevent homelessness on Cape Cod. Sales of the gift cards have almost doubled this year in Yarmouth.
Anyone on Cape Cod who shops at a grocery store, CVS or Dunkin' Donuts can become part of this prevention project. It costs nothing to participate, except your good will. A person receives full value for the card at the store.
The gift cards made be purchased at branches of TD Bank, the Cape Cod Five banks and the Cape Cod Cooperative banks in Dennis and Yarmouth, local churches, and at HAC, 460 W. Main St., Hyannis. You may also mail a request for cards to Box 507, Yarmouthport, MA 02675. (Click for more ways to buy grocery cards and gift cards.)
It costs you nothing to use the card, but 5 percent of what you spend is donated to the prevention program.
Be part of the good news. Make it better. More neighbors helping neighbors will make Cape Cod a better place for all of us.
Mary D. Joyce of Yarmouthport is a DYECH volunteer.