NEWS & BLOG

Want to find out the latest about HAC? Then you're in the right place. Here you will find stories about the people and programs that make HAC unique. You can start by clicking on our blog which features articles from our monthly newsletter HACbeat as well as stand-alone pieces for the Internet. Click here to read current and past PDFs of HACbeat. If you want to subscribe to digital HACbeat, simply put your email address into the box in the left sidebar and click subscribe. 

For more in-depth research on housing issues facing Cape Cod and the Islands, check out HAC's Housing Research page which features white papers published by HAC's Housing Information Department. 

Scroll down to read archives featuring HAC in the news. 

HAC in the News

HAC'S foreclosure counselors provide a help desk for Cape homeowners in peril

Posted on Sun, Jan 23, 2011

HYANNIS — Lined up along one wall of Carla Roy's compact office are seven filing cabinets, each with four drawers. And all of those 28 drawers, she said, are filled with files, each representing a household she is trying to help stave off foreclosure.

"I have more than 1,000 clients in various stages of getting their mortgages modified or other actions," she said, pulling open a drawer to reveal file after file of tightly packed paperwork.

Roy is a foreclosure prevention counselor, one of three who work at the Housing Assistance Corp., or HAC, in Hyannis.

And for the past couple of years, her job has been a very busy one.

Over the past two years, nearly 2,900 households on Cape Cod have had foreclosure proceedings begun against them, according to numbers from Boston-based real estate data firm The Warren Group. And many more have been struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments.

Roy's job is to help them assess their options and pursue the one that is best for their individual financial situations, hopefully saving their homes in the process.

"My goal is to have everyone that leaves my office leave with their dignity and a better understanding of all of their options regarding their mortgage and the foreclosure process," she said.

The services are open to anyone who is concerned about his or her ability to pay the mortgage, even if no formal foreclosure proceedings have started. HAC is approved to conduct this counseling by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and its services are free of charge. The foreclosure prevention program is funded by federal grants.

On a recent Wednesday, Roy began her day by leading a one-hour group information session with six people worried about possible foreclosure. The group meetings were instituted this month, as a way of getting basic information to potential clients more efficiently.

But they have also proven to have another impact, Roy said.

"It's like group therapy," she said before the meeting.

"You realize you're not alone in the process," she told that morning's attendees. "I don't want anyone to be embarrassed or ashamed."

The meeting included households in all stages of the foreclosure process. One woman was still current on her mortgage payments, while other participants had already received early warnings of pending foreclosure from their banks. One household landed in trouble when its home value dropped precipitously, eating up nearly $100,000 in equity.

Roy told participants that their situations were largely due to circumstances outside their own control: plummeting home values, soaring unemployment and reduced earnings. At the same time, however, she refused to lash out at lenders.

"I do not throw the banks under the bus," she repeated several times.

The goal, she said, is practical solutions and saving clients' homes, not blame and anger.

During the meeting, Roy explained the available options. Refinancing, repayment plans, forbearance and short sales are all possibilities, she said, but the most promising route is usually a mortgage modification.

Many lenders, she said, are participating in the federal Making Home Affordable program, which allows qualified households to reduce their monthly payments to 31 percent of their monthly gross income.

A few attendees said they had already tried to get a modification but had hit dead ends. Roy explained that small errors or omissions on the modification application could trigger a denial. "That's not going to happen anymore on my watch," she promised.

She also emphasized the importance of avoiding unnecessary spending and eschewing credit cards.

"You need to get rid of that addiction, and that addiction is spending," she said.

As she wrapped up the meeting, she set times for each of the participants to come back for a one-on-one meeting to address their individual cases. Most of the appointments were set for the first week of February.

This quick turnaround is a point of pride for Cheryl Kramer, program coordinator for the Housing Assistance Corp.'s Housing Consumer Education Center.

"Our counselors are typically seeing people within two to three weeks," she said.

Following the morning meeting, Roy meets with individual clients. She doesn't take a lunch break, which she says would impair her focus on the work.

The individual meetings involve collecting and reviewing a lot of paperwork: insurance statements, tax returns, pay stubs, utility bills.

To prevent clients from getting lost in the maze of paper, Roy makes them careful lists of what items they still need to find and bring in. She calls it their "homework."

She is matter-of-fact with her clients, offering neither pity nor criticism. She tells clients what they need to so, but expects them to do it themselves, she said.

"I am not going to call the bank for you," she said. "I am always putting the ball back in their court."

Yarmouthport resident Steve Gallant was referred to Roy by his attorney when Gallant filed for bankruptcy last year. After trying to obtain a modification on his own, he came in to meet with Roy in December.

"I feel like I have known her for years now," he said.

His modification seemed to be on track last week; his lender needed just a few more documents to approve the arrangement.

Following her afternoon meetings, Roy planned to enter client updates into the computer system and answer e-mails.

Opening her inbox, she revealed dozens of new messages, most of which were from clients. And, she said, she expected to stay until she had answered all of them. "I try not to leave the office until I answer every e-mail," she said.

Often, Roy said, she doesn't leave the office until 7 or 8 p.m. Despite the long hours and extensive paperwork, she said, she loves her job.

"It is pretty uplifting," she said, "because there is a light at the end of this tunnel."

- - - - -

Counseling and Education at HAC

Foreclosure prevention counseling
Reverse mortgage counseling
Homebuyer education classes
Financial literacy workshops
Rebuilding credit classes
Smart tenancy workshops

More information is available at www.haconcapecod.org or by calling 508-771-5400.

Grocery gift cards can fight homelessness

Posted on Fri, Jan 21, 2011

Cape Cod Times / Letter to the editor

Grocery gift cards can fight local homelessness

Rachel Carey-Harper's Jan. 11 My View, "Judged by how we treat homeless," surely awakened the consciousness of many of your readers. She brought the plight of the homeless in our community vividly to our attention. She called on us to help.

I remind readers of a practical, no-cost way they can join in preventing the problem. The Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical Council to Prevent Homelessness sells gift certificates for most grocery stores. Five percent of what is spent is donated to the Housing Assistance Corp., which assists families at risk of losing their homes.

These cards can be purchased at the Cape Cod 5 banks, the Cape Cod Cooperative Banks and the TDBanks in Dennis and Yarmouth, as well as at many local churches. When you buy a card, you receive full value at the store where you shop. A $25 certificate buys $25 of groceries. It costs you nothing to use these gift certificates. But you are participating in a 15-year-old program that has raised over $1 million and saved hundreds of families from homelessness.

If readers make the effort to shop in this thoughtful way, we can help to build a community we can be proud of.

Mary D. Joyce

Yarmouthport

"Hyannis homeless shelter to downsize" (Cape Cod Times)

Posted on Wed, Jan 12, 2011

HYANNIS — Housing Assistance Corp. of Cape Cod has pledged that it will reduce the number of beds available at its Hyannis shelter for homeless people by one-third, from 60 to 40, by the summer of 2012.

"Six months is way too short, a year doesn't seem quite enough," said Rick Presbrey, president and CEO of the housing agency. "Eighteen months seemed like a reasonable compromise."

The number of emergency beds required at the shelter can be reduced by lowering the number of homeless people from off-Cape, sending people who need short-term housing to transitional facilities instead of emergency ones, and moving the chronically homeless into permanent housing, Presbrey said.

"It's not a question of us having control over the need, it's us responding in better ways to the needs that exist," he said in a phone interview Tuesday.

The plan was the product of a 14-person committee comprised of local business and nonprofit leaders and social service providers who worked for more than a year. They proposed seven specific actions that they say will improve services and reduce the need for emergency shelter within 18 months, Presbrey said.

The NOAH Shelter, whose name is an acronym for No Other Available Housing, has been a source of community tension in the last year or so.

Local merchants argue that homeless people loitering on the Village Green and wandering in and out of shops discourage tourists, while social service providers say social justice and compassion for the poor required the shelter to run at full capacity. But for now, business leaders and social service providers are singing the same optimistic tune about the plan.

"We want to help the people in our community who have problems," Elizabeth Wurfbain, the executive director of the Main Street Business Improvement District, said. "Everybody does."

"We're not trying to make places worse for the work we do," Presbrey said. "We try to make it better for the work we do."

The plan requires shelter visitors to receive evaluations by the Duffy Health Center within one business day. It also calls for the housing agency to hire additional staff to develop more transitional housing, and specifies changes to the way the nonprofit works with other agencies and presents information to the public.

"It creates a disciplined, more effective response on our part and on the part of other organizations," Presbrey said of the proposed changes, some of which are necessary to improve relations with the community as well as to provide better services for the homeless.

"I do this out of some desperation," he said of making the changes and the process that led to them.

The Cape Cod Foundation gave Housing Assistance Corp. a $25,000 grant to begin the work of helping the homeless people in their care get jobs or job training, but stakeholders cautioned that the plan will work only if there are concrete actions to support it.

"It (improvement) will come if the community maintains a healthy interest in the project," said Bob Ciolek, a member of the Hyannis Civic Association who worked on the committee.

The committee's work reflects improved relationships among stakeholders, officials said.

"I think it's less confrontational," Barnstable assistant town manager Thomas K. Lynch said of the dynamic surrounding the NOAH shelter, which some at the housing agency refer to as the NOAH "center."

"Everyone has a much clearer understanding of the complexity of the problem," Lynch said.

HAC wins contract to develop 27 units in Dennis

Posted on Tue, Jan 04, 2011

DENNIS — When the town purchased Melpet Farm in 2001, local residents had no idea their dream of turning the property into affordable housing would be deferred for nearly a decade.

But after years of problems that led to a turnover in housing authority management, a state audit and a decision by the state Supreme Judicial Court, the property finally has a developer.

Last month, the Dennis Board of Selectmen awarded the nonprofit Housing Assistance Corp. of Hyannis a $6.4 million contract to construct a 27-unit, 52-bedroom affordable housing complex on the now-vacant Route 134 property.

The complex will include eight New England-style buildings containing one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, said Gisele Gauthier, director of housing development for HAC.

"We feel we're turning a corner here and really doing something terrific and productive with the land," she said.

"It's finally going to happen," Selectman Sheryl McMahon said. "We need affordable rental units for the town."

The project architect, Brown, Lindquist, Fenuccio and Raber of Yarmouthport, will maintain a family-friendly and community feel on the acreage now dominated by paddocks, white fences and a red barn, Gauthier said.

The apartments will stand in a ring with the road outside and a green field inside so children can run out their back doors and play in a safe space, Gauthier said.

Except for the barn, all of the buildings, including a vacant apartment building, will be torn down, said Dennis Town Administrator Richard White.

The goal "is to keep the aesthetics of the property as intact as possible," White said.

The town has put out a separate request for proposals to develop some type of farm where the former stable now stands. White said an earlier request to encourage agricultural use of the property wasn't specific enough, so it's going out to bid a second time.

When town meeting members agreed to purchase Melpet Farm for $2 million more than nine years ago, they prevented the 20-acre property from being developed into an A&P supermarket.

The original plan was to replace Melpet's 14 existing apartments with double that number to increase sorely needed affordable housing in town, after setting aside 12 acres for conservation land.

But a combination of bad luck and financial mismanagement almost resulted in foreclosure.

Contractors hired without the benefit of a formal bidding process by former Dennis Housing Authority commissioners gutted apartments to the walls and left them empty, as revealed in an investigation by the Cape Cod Times.

Former housing authority Executive Director Kathy Barrasso ended up quitting suddenly in October 2002, leaving the authority holding the bag for a $400,000 Citizens Bank renovation loan.

A state audit in 2007 commended the housing authority for making financial and ethical reforms in the wake of the mess, but the investors holding the loan, Faneuil Investment Group, threatened to foreclose on the 6.4 acres intended for affordable housing.

The town responded by taking ownership of the property from the housing authority in 2008, saying it was authorized to do so under a "reverter clause" as a result of the misdeeds of the previous housing authority officials.

Faneuil Investment Group challenged the move but the state Supreme Judicial Court decision sided with the town in a decision handed down in September.

Town officials wanted to make sure the court case was decided before finally awarding a bid, McMahon said.

The apartments will be available to people earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income, Gauthier said.

At today's rates, a one-bedroom apartment would rent for about $650 a month and a two-bedroom for about $850, she said.

The median household income in Barnstable County from 2005 to 2009 was $60,096, according to the U.S. Census.

It will take about two years to complete the project. In the meantime, McMahon is asking her fellow selectmen to consider enlisting the help of townspeople to rename the property.

"This is a new project, new beginning, new year," McMahon said. "I think it should have a new name."

Sandwich affordable housing gets financial boost

Posted on Thu, Dec 30, 2010

By George Brennan
gbrennan@capecodonline.com

Link to article on The Cape Cod Times website 

SANDWICH — Just before the Christmas holiday, Housing Assistance Corp. got a present that's been on the wish list for more than a decade.

Last week, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston announced that the agency's Community Green project in Sandwich had been awarded $436,306 to build the first phase of its mixed-use affordable housing development once known as Dana's Fields.

"We're really excited because it gives us the leverage to work with the state to get the remaining money that we need," said Gisele Gauthier, director of housing development for the Hyannis-based nonprofit.

Housing Assistance needs about $1 million more to begin construction, which is scheduled for this summer, Gauthier said. "The state is committed to projects like this," she said.

There were 58 applicants for the Federal Home Loan Bank grants, and the Sandwich project was among 10 throughout New England that received funding, said Kenneth Willis, the bank's vice president and director. The bank uses 10 percent of its net earnings from the previous year to fund affordable housing initiatives, he said.

Housing Assistance Corp. applied for the money in partnership with Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank and met the criteria for the grant, Willis said.

"It was focusing on homeless individuals, and that set it apart for us as a project," Willis said about Community Green. Along with housing, Community Green will also provide jobs on an organic farm to give individuals life skills for a fresh start, something Willis said was a "really cool" part of the application.

Community Green, located on 46 acres near the Sandwich Industrial Park, has been down a long, challenging road. It went through a protracted permit and legal process that started while Bill Clinton was still president.

Early next month, a young couple will move into the Curio House, an energy-efficient one-bedroom house on the site, to act as caretakers for the property.

But it's the grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank that provides funding for 10 single-occupancy apartments to be constructed at the site that really meets the project's long-term goals.

"These units are the ones being built with the intention of working with formerly homeless people looking to get back into mainstream life," Gauthier said. The 10 apartments will be located in a two-story building that will also include common space where residents can attend support group meetings and receive job training.

Homeless individuals from the NOAH Shelter in Hyannis who are ready to get back out on their own will be set up in the housing and given jobs working on the community garden or caring for the chickens that will be part of the Community Green farm, she said.

The idea is to bring them a "step closer to independent living," she said.

Construction could begin this summer. The first occupants could be moving in by 2013, Gauthier said.

The Sandwich project will eventually include more than 50 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments offered for rent and sale at affordable rates. A community center is also planned, along with four single-family homes accompanying the Curio House.

"Community Green really has been a long time coming," Gauthier said.

"This is a big step."

Praising generous people in tough times

Posted on Fri, Dec 24, 2010

It's Sunday and I've just returned from watching Dance Designs' Dancing for a Cure. Over the weekend, they've run three programs and raised an estimated $40,000 for breast cancer research. What a neat thing for kids to know they've turned their talents into such powerful assistance ... and for their parents to see them do it.

You can't get outcomes like this without dedicated adults. Students at my school have challenged themselves to fill 1,000 bags of groceries for the food pantries of our Council of Churches. We're closing in on 200 so far. Naturally, to make this work, we need parents willing to do this too — and we have lots.

Here's a strategy we all can do: when we go to market, fill an extra bag to give away. It doesn't have to be expensive stuff, just something useful. But if all of us did do it, even once a month, no one would have to go hungry. To locate pantries, call 508-775-5073.

Imagine if the Pentagon had to run bake sales to buy each bomber? Given the number of Americans in trouble and the collapse of state and federal budgets, trying to meet the needs is like holding a million bake sales. That's what Americans are doing — and that's what people on Cape are doing, too. Let me count the ways.

The Needy Fund, sponsored by this paper, meets emergency needs. It's not welfare; it's temporary critical assistance. Applicants for assistance are carefully screened to determine the genuineness of the need. The money goes directly to pay landlords, utility providers and hospitals, not as cash grants to individuals. This is a tremendous undertaking. It's fair to say thousands of people have been kept off the streets through the generosity of donors like you. Call 508- 778-5661.

Housing Assistance Corporation delivers housing and employment services that help put Cape and Islands residents into safe and stable housing. They run public workshops on such practical subjects as "rebuilding your credit," do free energy audits for home-owners — and HAC runs a cluster of adult shelters, a last resort for people who would otherwise be on the streets. Their object is to move people from street to shelter — and into permanent housing. Call 508- 771-5400.

The Salvation Army provides meals for the hungry, clothes for those who need them, and emergency assistance at disasters around the world. If you can, just stuff a dollar into their kettles every time you pass one.

Cape Cod Council of Churches' Homeless Outreach programs: Includes food pantries, baby center, residence for women just released from prison, and homeless outreach people who actually scour the woods to bring in the hard case homeless for shelter and treatment. Many of their member churches open their doors at night to the homeless, provide food and all-night company and advice. They're always hurting for funds. Contact 508-775-5073.

Cape and Islands Veterans Outreach Center (508-778-1590) and the Hyannis Vet Center (508-778-0124) both offer a wide range of assistance to those who've served our country in uniform. A quarter of all America's homeless are vets, and those returning from combat today are running into a depressed economy.

Community Action Committee of Cape Cod and the Islands achieves its mission through a variety of programs and services designed to help low- and moderate-income families and individuals manage their limited budgets and provide opportunities to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Help them and support the Safe Harbor shelter for battered women and Children, the Pilot House, and a wide range of assistance and counseling for low income families. Call 508-771-1727.

There are far more worthy organizations than there is room to describe — or name — in a column. Independence House (508-771-6507) and Children's Cove (508- 375-0410) serve victims of domestic violence. Champ House (508- 771-0885) and Homeless Not Helpless (508-957-2334) offer shelter and experienced guidance. The United Way (508- 775-4746) supports a whole galaxy of good work, including several organizations mentioned here.

The Cape's churches — working through the Council and independently — do wonderful work. The Catholic Church runs an enormous charitable operation, too.

We all run a risk of "donor burn-out." Everywhere we turn, even stores are asking us to make a contribution. We can only do so much. Meanwhile, in spite of all that we all are doing, neighbors are going under all around us. But seeing those children dance to packed houses filled me with gratitude and admiration. We'll have to give until it hurts — but we'll get each other through this. Jesus once asked who our neighbor is. God bless us all for knowing the answer.

Lawrence Brown teaches humanities at Cape Cod Academy in Osterville. Respond to his Friday columns at columnresponse@gmail.com.

NOAH shelter changes in the works

Posted on Fri, Dec 17, 2010

A community advisory committee planned to meet today (Dec. 17) to settle on a final draft of a plan for the evolution of the downtown Hyannis shelter for men and women.

HAC gets approval to build 27 affordable units in Dennis

Posted on Thu, Dec 16, 2010

Link to article on wickledlocal.com.

SOUTH DENNIS — The Housing Assistance Corporation will construct a $6.4-million affordable housing complex on the Melpet Farm property on Route 134 in South Dennis.

Dennis selectmen awarded the bid Tuesday night (Dec. 14) for a 27-unit, 52-bedroom development, including eight residential buildings and a community center to HAC, the Hyannis-based non-profit that has been providing housing assistance on the Cape for 35 years.

Of the 27 units, 85 percent will be affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of area median income, which is $75,000 on the Mid-Cape. Fifteen percent will be affordable to households earning at or below 50 percent of area median income.

On behalf of the Dennis Municipal Housing Trust, consultant Alice Boyd of Bailey Boyd Associates recommended awarding the bid to HAC, to which selectmen unanimously agreed. The town will enter a long-term lease with HAC, which will be responsible for constructing the project and its ongoing management.

Karam Financial Group and The Resource Inc. also submitted bids for the project. Karam’s 28-unit/52-bedroom proposal carried a total cost of $8.8 million, and TRI offered a $6.8 million, 26-unit/52-bedroom proposal.

The Melpet redevelopment will also include an agricultural component to be discussed early in the new year.

Project particulars

“HAC’s vision is a community where everyone has a safe, stable and decent place to live,” said Gisele Gauthier, director of housing development. “We have been working toward this vision for 35 years and look forward to the opportunity to do what we do best in the town of Dennis.”

Architect Chris Raber of Brown, Lindquist, Fenuccio and Raber Architects has designed three distinct yet compatible building types that are consistent with the South Dennis neighborhood. Each two-story, wood-framed building will incorporate a passive solar design. Each contains one unit equipped for handicapped and or hearing or visually impaired tenants.

“We left as much open space as possible, and have placed a gazebo and playground area in the central space to invite shared activity,” Raber said.

Each unit will be oriented toward the shared central space with a view of the agricultural field and has access to an exterior patio or deck.

“Use of a simple linear loop road for efficient vehicular circulation and perimeter parking minimizes impact to the site and provides central open space where existing tree groupings have been retained, as well as a safe play area for children,” Raber said.

Green building and sustainable design principles have been incorporated into the planning and construction of similar projects, and HAC will apply these to the Melpet project.

HAC plans to hire MB Management of Braintree, which has been successfully managing affordable, multi-family rental housing for 35 years.

The projected development schedule calls for submission of the comprehensive permit application early next spring, with completion expected in late spring/early summer, and submission of a tax-credit application next fall. Following the awarding of all available funding, construction is expected to begin in August 2012, with the first certificate of occupancy issued in October 2013 and full occupancy by January 2014.

Nicole Muller can be reached at nmuller@cnc.com.

Three events to benefit NOAH Center

Posted on Fri, Dec 10, 2010

Two concerts and a telethon will raise funds for the NOAH Center, Cape Cod's only emergency shelter for homeless individuals.

Solar-powered house soaks up the Cape's sun

Posted on Thu, Dec 02, 2010

A collaborative project between Tufts and Boston Architectural College (BAC) last month unveiled the solar-powered centerpiece for a new sustainable housing development on Cape Cod.

The energy efficient home, which was originally built last year, marks the first complete living installment at the new development, Community Green in Sandwich, Mass., and will be the centerpiece of the development once it is finished, according to Colin Booth, the project manager of the Tufts-BAC group, called Team Boston.

The Curio House was designed and built by a team of Tufts and BAC students called Team Boston for the 2009 U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon.

It made its debut on Nov. 18 at Community Green, a 46-acre development project created by the Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC), a Cape Cod-based nonprofit. The organization aims to provide sustainable low- and middle-income housing that will also offer community educational programs and services to help improve the lives of residents.

AmeriCorps employee Becca Wolfson and Billy Traverse, network administrator for Barnstable County, will occupy the house and serve as the caretakers of the development.

Team Boston competed against 19 other houses in the 2009 Decathlon, which judged each house in 10 contests measuring the success of each house's solar power and design by both objective and subjective criteria.

The Decathlon is held every two years, and last year was the first time Tufts had ever participated, Associate Provost and Professor of Mechanical Engineering Vincent Manno, who partook in the project, said.

Antje Danielson, administrative director of the Tufts Institute for the Environment, cut the ribbon on the house at the unveiling event, which group members attended.

"Seeing the house actually in a development now, as kind of the core of this development and serving exactly the purpose they built it for, was, I think, a very emotional moment for them," Danielson said.

"I think the whole event was just like that," she said. "It was friends coming together to celebrate that this project has come to a really positive ending."

Other Tufts attendees included George Kosar, associate director of corporate and foundation relations at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and senior Arlin Ladue. Kosar spearheaded Tufts' fundraising for the Decathlon, while Ladue is working on a documentary about the project, according to Danielson.

Community Green will consist of 57 rental units, an agriculture program and an Enterprise Center geared toward economic development, according to its website.

Individuals in the community will be able to participate in job training in the areas of culinary arts, landscaping, green construction, organic agriculture, weatherization and clean energy, the website says.

Ben Steinberg, chair of the project's policy committee, said the team met with the cities of Boston, Medford and Somerville as well as commercial developers to discuss a location for the house.

Medford was interested in acquiring the house but lacked the funding to pay for it, according to Steinberg.

"They had the land, but they had no money to give us, and we needed to subsidize the cost of our project," Steinberg said.

The U.S. Department of Energy provides each team with $100,000, but Team Boston's total project costs reached $800,000, a typical amount, according to senior Matthew Thoms, the project's head engineering and photovoltaic consultant.

The dean of BAC, Jeff Stein, in 2009 met a representative from the HAC who expressed interest in buying the house, Danielson said.

Steinberg said the nonprofit paid $150,000 for the house. The remainder of the money came from fundraising.

Thoms said that Community Green was a good location for the house.

"We felt that Community Green was a better fit for the goals of the project in terms of trying to make the most impact on people who are going to be pushing the green movement," Thoms said.

"It's a sustainable community, and also it's a community that involves not only providing housing, but training and outreach to people who are in employment transitional situations," Manno said.

He said that Community Green had hoped to install the house in the spring but ran into permit delays.

Houses from the Solar Decathlon usually do not become private residences, Booth said.

"This is pretty unusual," he said. "As far as I know, there aren't any other houses from the 2009 Decathlon that have been sold to private owners."

Team Boston aimed to create a functioning, livable house, though this was not necessarily a requirement of the competition, Manno said.

"We knew from the beginning that we wanted to make a house that was marketable and could be sold," Thoms said.

Booth said the houses are often too expensive to be appealing to private buyers. "People typically wanted to sell them for as much as it cost to build them," he said.

Steinberg said that Team Boston emphasized affordability when designing and building the house. He said sustainability should not be limited to wealthy consumers.

"If you look at the green movement nowadays, a lot of it caters to the upper class," he said. "If we're not responsible and trying to solve problems for everyone in this world, then we really aren't doing our job."

"We couldn't be prouder for where it's going," he said, "because it really speaks to the mission of social equality and looking out for everyone."