Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Enhanced Cape Housing Advocacy Training Set to Kick Off in February

Posted by Shawna Moos on Tue, Jan 15, 2019 @ 02:37 PM

Housing Advocacy3-7

Yarmouth Selectman Mark Forest talks about how residents can make a difference in their communities during last year's Cape Housing Advocacy Training in Hyannis. 

Next month, Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC) and Community Development Partnership (CDP) will launch the second iteration of the Cape Housing Advocacy Training, a collaborative effort between the two nonprofits to provide people throughout the region with the tools to support affordable housing in their communities. 

It is becoming increasingly well-known that there is shortage of 4,500 units of housing that is driving many working families and lower-income households, as well as the businesses and customers that rely on them, into crisis.

“More and more people on Cape Cod are understanding that to preserve our communities, we need to ensure that there is enough diverse types of housing to support our workforce, young professionals, and seniors who want to downsize. To meet this housing need, towns have to change their housing planning and policies. This workshop gives people the information and practice they need so that their message will be heard by decision makers in our region," Housing Assistance CEO Alisa Galazzi said.

Cape  Housing Advocacy-4

 

Stefanie Coxe talks to attendees at last year's Cape Housing Advocacy Training session in Falmouth. Stefanie is the principal of Nexus Werx LLC which provides Learn to Lobby trainings in Massachusetts. 

CDP and HAC will each host trainings in different areas of the Cape. The workshops are free and are geared toward anyone who wants to learn more about the housing crisis on Cape Cod and the Islands, and how they can make a difference.

Participants must pre-register and can do so by clicking this link

The workshop dates, times and locations are as follows:

  • Saturday, February 2, 9 am–2 pm, Wellfleet Preservation Hall at 335 Main Street, Wellfleet 
  • Saturday, February 23, 9 am–2 pm, Harwich Community Center at 100 Oak Street, Harwich
  • Snow Date for Lower and Outer Cape: Saturday, March 2, 9 am–2 pm, Harwich Community Center
  • Saturday, March 2, 1–4 pm, Yarmouth Council on Aging at 528 Forest Road, West Yarmouth
  • Monday, March 4, 5:30–8:30 pm, Mashpee Town Hall at 16 Great Neck Road, Mashpee
  • Thursday, March 14, 5:30–8:30 pm, Barnstable Town Hall at 367 Main Street, Hyannis
  • Snow Date for Upper and Mid-Cape on Saturday, March 23, 1-4 pm, Housing Assistance Corporation at 460 West Main Street, Hyannis

These workshops are designed to provide an overview of the housing crisis and how individual residents can make impact with an emphasis on practicing their advocacy skills with each other in a variety of simulated official and social settings. Attendees will learn:

  • Basics of the housing crisis
  • How public housing decisions are made
  • Opportunities to engage
  • Common arguments against housing (NIMBY: Not In My Backyard!)
  • Counter arguments to support housing (YIMBY: Yes in My Backyard!) 
  • Framing your message
  • Speaking with confidence

Participants on the Upper Cape and Mid-Cape are encouraged to register for the free trainings online at www.capehousinginstitute.org. Those on the Lower Cape and Outer Cape can do so by clicking this link

The Housing Advocacy workshops are generously supported by funding from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

Upper and Mid-Cape  Advocacy Training Register

Tags: housing advocacy, Cape Housing Advocacy Training, Advocacy Training, Cape Community Housing Partnership, Community Development Partnership, housing crisis, NIMBY, YIMBY

Editorial: Celebrating 45 Years Building Strong Communities Together

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Mon, Jan 14, 2019 @ 12:09 PM

 

45 Years Website Image 2

It is only with the sustained support of a vast network of donors, volunteers, towns, partner agencies, and of course, our dedicated staff, that Housing Assistance has reached more than 170,000 people on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket facing a housing crisis. Thank you for your support!

In 1974, Rick Presbrey founded Housing Assistance, operating the fledgling nonprofit out of a cramped West Yarmouth garage converted into an office. The agency had just one program, overseeing the state’s Chapter 707 Rental Assistance to provide affordable apartments to our region’s workforce, seniors and disabled residents.

Over 43 years of service, Presbrey, the organization, and our network of supporters developed myriad programs to help homeless, low-income and middle-income families achieve a stable housing foundation. When Presbrey retired in 2017, I was grateful for the opportunity to carry on this legacy of building strong communities through housing.

Home is where we make our dreams come true. Home is where we launch our lives. And it is the mission of Housing Assistance. I couldn’t agree more.

This year, I’m asking all of you to join us in ensuring that all our neighbors have the opportunity to have a home. Today, more than ever, our region faces a critical housing shortage. Recent surveys have shown that we need at least 4,500 more small units to house our service workforce, our young professionals, and seniors wishing to downsize.

How You Can Help

It is going to take all of us, acting in many different capacities, to ensure that we are building a solid foundation of housing that can sustain our community into the future. We invite you to join us as we look toward the future and explore new ways we can support housing development that supports our people, respects our environment, and fits within our regional culture. At Housing Assistance, we are committed to expanding our impact on the region, though some exciting new initiatives:

We will train more citizens to advocate for housing solutions that work for their town. This means not just building more affordable housing developments, but also making sure our communities have appropriate housing for their local workforce, young professionals and seniors.

With citizen involvement, we can help towns update zoning laws to allow for more dense, walkable village centers and accessory dwelling units, like apartments in an existing home’s basement or over a garage. Ensuring the availability of appropriate, affordable housing for everyone in our community is the way we can build a strong foundation for our future.

We will develop more innovative partnerships. Through cooperation with other agencies such as job training providers and healthcare organizations, we can make donor dollars go further and increase the benefit we deliver to our most vulnerable neighbors.

And of course we will continue our core programs to help our neighbors in need:

  • We will build more housing for our workforce and the elderly.
  • We will shelter families living on the streets, in the woods, or in their cars.
  • We will educate people to take control of their financial goals and well-being.

Our region is changing, and the housing crisis could be the issue that prevents our region from prospering. Or if we all become part of the solution, housing can be the issue that unites us and makes us stronger. We hope you’ll join us throughout this year in advocating to build stronger communities.

Get Involved with Housing Assistance Corporation

Join us in celebrating our 45th anniversary by helping us move forward in addressing the region's housing crisis by: 

  • Serving as a HAC Volunteer (click here)
  • Serving as an Advocate for the housing needed on Cape Cod and the Islands (click here)
  • Serving as a HAC Donor to ensure we can continue to assist our neighbors in need (click here)

Tags: HAC 45th Anniversary, Alisa Galazzi, Editorial, Rick Presbrey, Housing Development, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, housing crisis, housing advocacy, Cape Housing Advocacy Training, zoning, workforce housing, Family Shelter, housing consumer education, HCEC

Convert Your Seasonal Rental to Year-Round

Posted by HAC Staff on Mon, Jan 07, 2019 @ 03:20 PM

 

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You can help solve Cape Cod's housing shortage, earn consistent income, and reduce the headaches of dealing with short-term seasonal renters.

Homeowners with units that are currently rented seasonally can join Rent 365 and receive a $1,000 signing bonus upon completing a year-round lease.

Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC) also provides homeowners exclusive access to our professional expertise in the rental industry and a solid understanding of best practices related to Massachusetts' landlord/tenant rules to guide homeowners every step of the way.

Learn more at www.capehousing.org.

Tags: Rent 365, year round rentals, rental housing, year-round housing, housing crisis, housing inventory

Get Trained to Advocate for Better Housing Solutions!

Posted by HAC Staff on Mon, Jan 07, 2019 @ 02:38 PM

 

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As part of last year's Cape Housing Advocacy Training, State Senator Julian Cyr talked about the importance of getting involved in housing issues in your community. 

In February and March, Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC) and Community Development Partnership (CDP) will offer free Cape Housing Advocacy Training, an interactive workshop that will provide people throughout the region with the tools to support affordable housing in their communities.

Register Today

Recent studies have shown that there is shortage of 4,500 units of housing in our region that is driving many working families and lower-income households, as well as the businesses and customers that rely on them, into crisis. To meet this housing need, towns have to change their housing planning and policies. This workshop gives people the information and practice they need so that their message will be heard by decision makers in our region.

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Christy Donovan provided last year's participants with tips on how to improve their public speaking when they want to speak up in favor of public housing initiatives in their town. 

HAC will be organizing free training sessions on the Upper Cape and Mid-Cape while CDP will be organizing sessions on the Lower Cape and Outer Cape. Participants must pre-register and can do so here

Tags: housing advocacy, Cape Housing Advocacy Training, Community Development Partnership, Cape Community Housing Partnership, housing crisis

Foreclosure Counseling Stabilizes Households on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Jan 07, 2019 @ 11:11 AM

 

Heidi and Betsie Foreclosure (January 2019)

Among the services that HAC Housing Counselors Heidi Archibald (left) and Betsie Rumbaugh provide is foreclosure counseling to homeowners on Cape Cod and the Islands. 

Over the past 21 years, HAC has helped countless families and individuals stay in their homes through foreclosure counseling. HAC is the only agency certified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to offer this service to residents on Cape Cod and the Islands.

“I think it helps stabilize families and keeps their kids in the same school district which provides regularity and stability for children,” said Cassi Danzl, HAC’s Director of Family and Individuals Services. “For older, elderly populations, it allows them to age in their homes where people are typically on a fixed income and can’t afford the rents here.”

HAC currently has two housing counselors – Heidi Archibald and Betsie Rumbaugh – who offer one-on-one counseling for homeowners at risk of foreclosure. Cheryl Codair, HAC’s Director of Education and Engagement, provides group-based support through the agency’s financial literacy classes which include pre- and post-purchase workshops.

Since November 1, HAC has fielded 24 phone calls from homeowners seeking information about foreclosure counseling.

The process, Rumbaugh said, can be overwhelming. “I’ve had people walk in and they are very stressed and afraid about the future,” she said. “They are starting to become aware of the housing issue on Cape Cod and how difficult it is to find an alternative place to live if they lose their home.”

Counseling is aimed at building trust and providing solutions to addressing a household’s current financial situation. “We guide them to pick up the pieces so they can move forward,” Rumbaugh said.

Archibald said the sooner a homeowner can come to HAC, the better. HAC has several internal programs that can support clients, including offering one-time financial assistance to those who may have fallen behind on their mortgage payments due to unforeseen circumstances such as loss of a job, illness, or divorce.

Despite the emotional nature related to foreclosures, both Archibald and Rumbaugh said they enjoyed being able to help clients stabilize their housing. “I love working with the community and contributing to helping people stay in their homes,” Rumbaugh said. “I think the fact that there is such a shortage of housing available on Cape Cod makes housing counseling very important to the community.”

HAC's Foreclosure Counseling 

Those in need of foreclosure counseling, should contact Betsie Rumbaugh at either brumbaugh@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 285.

Tags: Foreclosure, foreclosure prevention, HCEC, Cassi Danzl, Betsie Rumbaugh, Heidi Archibald, housing counselors, Cheryl Codair, housing consumer education

Donor Spotlight: Margaret Hogan and Tony Rhodes

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jan 04, 2019 @ 05:02 PM

 

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Dr. William "Tony" Rhodes and Margaret Hogan have been longtime supporters of HAC, understanding the importance a home can have on one's health.  

Though he was never homeless, there was a time during Dr. William “Tony” Rhodes’ childhood when he experienced what it meant to be poor.

“I lived in pretty low-income housing because my parents had gotten divorced,” he said. “It was just survival and there wasn’t any money for anything frivolous. You were lucky to get a new shirt or something like that every once in a while. It gave me an appreciation that you can have the best world and all of the sudden” it can change.

That lesson has stayed with Dr. Rhodes, who has lived in Brewster with his wife Margaret Hogan for nearly 33 years. Because of his experiences as a child, the couple have supported HAC’s work for nearly a decade.

The pair were introduced to the agency through Dr. Rhodes’ practice, Brewster Medical Associates, which served some patients who happened to be clients of HAC.

Though the pair are now retired – Margaret worked as a nurse with her husband before assuming the role of a full-time grandmother – they are still committed to helping those in need as HAC donors.

“I’ve been very fortunate to be successful in my life and I think we owe society a debt to help folks who can’t help themselves or just to help folks who are not as fortunate,” Dr. Rhodes said.

Margaret agreed, saying there is a reward one gets from giving to agencies like HAC which are focused on making an impact at the local level. “When you do something like get involved with your agency, you feel like you’re benefitting people you might know,” she said.

For Dr. Rhodes, who served as a police officer before he pursued a career in medicine, there was a parallel between his work and the services HAC provides – it is all about helping others. “You were dealing with people,” he said. “The skills I learned as a police officer in seeing problems, as a doctor now I could do things about those problems… I put 32 years into doing that, but it was worth every minute.”

Why We Give: Margaret Hogan and Tony Rhodes

With their medical backgrounds, Dr. William “Tony” Rhodes and Margaret Hogan know the importance housing has on one’s health and well-being.

“What helps is stabilizing someone’s living situation so they have an incentive to take care of themselves,” said Dr. Rhodes. “That is where Housing Assistance Corporation comes in. It doesn’t have to be all people who are homeless. It can be people who get depressed or anxious or whatever. Because their situation is out of control, I think what HAC does is stabilize their environment so at least they can get their hands on the edge of the pool.”

With programs that include operating four family shelters, preventing families and individuals from becoming homeless, conducting energy audits on low-income households to reduce their utility costs, and conducting workshops to enable first-time homebuyers to purchase a home on Cape Cod, HAC supports those of all income levels in our region.

When asked which of these programs is most vital to the region, Dr. Rhodes said, “there is a role for everything you do… from people who are homeless to families trying to get into housing at a lower rent, these are all things that are so important.”

Tags: Donor Spotlight, HAC donors, giving back, charitable giving, health care, Tony Rhodes, Margaret Hogan, Brewster, Brewster Medical Associates

New Affordable Home for Sale

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jan 04, 2019 @ 02:11 PM

 

Deer Pond Photo (January 2019)

Are you a first-time homebuyer seeking to become a homeowner on Cape Cod? Applications are currently available for a new 3-bedroom, 2-bath single-family home that Falmouth Housing Trust is building at 72 Deer Pond Road in East Falmouth.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for someone to establish their roots in a great neighborhood," said Falmouth Housing Trust Executive Director Karen Bissonnette. "With the high price of homes, this project will keep a member of our region's workforce here in Falmouth which is vital to maintaining a vibrant community."

HAC is overseeing the lottery application process for the 1,600-square-foot home which is priced at $195,000 and comes with an affordable housing deed restriction. Eligible applicants must be first-time homebuyers, with certain exceptions; earn no more than 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Barnstable County; and have no more than $75,000 in household assets.

Lottery applications are available online (click here) and in-person at HAC's office at 460 West Main Street in Hyannis; Falmouth Housing Trust's office at 200 Main Street, Suite 212; Falmouth Town Hall; and the Falmouth Public Library.

The deadline to return applications to HAC is Friday, January 18 at 5 pm.

Those with questions can contact HAC Director of Real Estate Gael Kelleher at 508-771-5400, ext. 284 or ccre@haconcapecod.org.

More Homes for Sale

Visit www.CapeCommunityRealEstate.org for a full listing of real estate offerings and upcoming lotteries on Cape Cod. 

Tags: Cape Community Real Estate, Falmouth Housing Trust, Falmouth, real estate listings, Gael Kelleher, homes for sale, affordable homeownership, Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, affordable housing, Karen Bissonnette

Secure Jobs Initiative Now Offered at HAC's Office

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Jan 02, 2019 @ 03:10 PM

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Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC), and SER-Jobs for Progress, Inc. (SER-Jobs) are pleased to announced a partnership that will locate Secure Jobs Initiative services within Housing Assistance offices at 460 West Main Street, Hyannis.

“People in housing crisis who are homeless or living just one or two paychecks away from disaster really struggle with issues of transportation as they work to stabilize their work and family living situation. Locating our services at Housing Assistance will make it much easier for clients in housing crisis to participate in the classes and services they need to land a job and build self-sufficiency,” said Maria Ferreira-Bedard, Executive Director of SER-Jobs.

The Secure Jobs Initiative is funded by the Department of Transitional Assistance and has as its overarching goal to help clients get on the path to self-sufficiency and ensure they have work that enables them to afford market rate housing for their families. Eligible families are referred to the program by their case manager or a program manager familiar with the clients and must be receiving Emergency Assistance, RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition), or HomeBASE benefits.

“The Secure Jobs program offers critical support for formerly homeless people in terms of training, resume writing, job search, transportation coordination, child care assistance, and even work clothes—all of which are necessary for clients to rebuild their lives so they can support themselves and their families,” said Alisa Magnotta Galazzi, CEO of Housing Assistance Corporation.

Housing Assistance is excited to be able to connect its clients with Secure Jobs programs in Hyannis. In the last year, Housing Assistance prevented more than 1,000 people becoming homeless through its family shelters, prevention and outreach programs, and it helped stabilize more than 2,600 people through housing vouchers, family self-sufficiency programs, weatherization and affordable housing development.

The Secure Jobs Initiative program is scheduled to begin providing services on Cape Cod on January 14. To make referrals or for more information, please contact program coordinator, Lubelia Raposo, at 508-676-1916.

Tags: job training, SER-Jobs, Secure Jobs Initiative, Alisa Galazzi, Maria Ferreira-Bedard, housing crisis, homelessness, homelessness prevention

Editorial: Help Preserve the Cape and Islands Communities We All Cherish

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Wed, Dec 26, 2018 @ 04:49 PM

Galazzi_HACbeat (2017)

Living year-round on Cape Cod is not a place for the faint of heart or those who want to go fast. It’s a place where deep connections and a sense of community are sustained. It’s a place where awe-inspiring beauty surrounds us even in the most mundane of activities like commuting to work; where our great schools and community resources weave an enviable region-wide network of services. It’s a place where our unique history, the family legacies of generational Cape Codders, and a welcome stream of new residents form the foundation from which we all grow and prosper.

Preserving the year-round aspects of the Cape we all know and love is a worthy and challenging undertaking. It will take all of us working together in new ways to achieve it.

I frequently hear from other residents their desire to keep the Cape the same. I appreciate the sentiment. I, too, remember fondly the Cape of 2001 when I first moved here. There are many aspects of the Cape’s seemingly slow-to-change cultures and communities that is reassuring.

However, the fact is that external forces in the marketplace are changing faster than any of us expected, and those forces will change our communities for the worse if we don’t take new action. The advent of online rental platforms like Airbnb, coupled with the Cape being known as a safe investment to off-Cape investors, has put increased pressure on the year-round housing market.

We have seen a decrease of year-round rentals and an increase in seasonal rentals. Our year-round workforce is having a harder and harder time finding housing. The sooner we as a community accept the trend, the better decisions we will make to influence the outcome.

Impacting Our Region

Even though most of us reading this likely have a permanent residence on the Cape or may own a second home here, the hidden costs of a limited supply of year-round rentals presents a significant challenge for our region.

Lack of housing for our year-round workforce will influence our local businesses’ ability to innovate and our relevance as a tourist destination. Those of us stably housed will be impacted with higher costs of goods and services and ultimately by living in a museum—our current year-round friends and neighbors will be replaced by visitors from off-Cape.

So while we prepare to embark on a new year, let’s be grateful that each of us is in a position to influence changes necessary to preserve the place we live and love.

We can advocate at the town level to increase housing available to year-round residents. For example, towns can allow Accessory Dwelling Units by right; update zoning to permit denser, walkable neighborhoods in appropriate locations; and link wastewater planning with housing needs.

In addition, we invite seasonal homeowners to consider renting their home year-round through our Rent 365 program. Learn more about the financial incentive and details of our Rent 365 program and download a copy of our recently published report on the impact of insufficient year-round housing at www.CapeHousing.org

We have an opportunity to maintain the competitiveness of Cape Cod as a vacation destination, a retirement community, and a place for year-round families to thrive—but only if we have housing for our year-round workforce.

This effort will take community-wide involvement. Please contact us if you have ideas, questions, or comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Tags: Alisa Galazzi, Editorial, Rent 365, Housing on Cape Cod, Report, Accessory Dwelling Units, housing advocacy, housing crisis, seasonal rentals, Airbnb

Osterville Club Donates Sneakers to Angel House Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Dec 26, 2018 @ 02:25 PM

 

Angel House Sneakers-2

Angel House clients show off their new sneakers, donated to them by the Osterville Men's Club. 

In the late spring, several of the mothers at HAC’s Angel House shelter in Hyannis set out on a short walk.

And with that, the Angel House Running Club was formed.

It marked the first steps towards improving their health, and another step in their process of recovery and becoming the parent and person they want to be.

Initially, progress was slow. “The first couple of times people were walking in sandals and flip-flops,” said Angel House Facility Director Lin Rohr.

Today, the club meets twice a week, every Tuesday and Friday, gathering for a morning run that can be anywhere from 1.5 to 3 miles long. After the runs, one of the mothers said, “I feel energized and motivated.”

Angel House Sneakers-1

Recently, the group received a boost from the Osterville Men’s Club which donated 13 new pairs of sneakers to the mothers at the shelter. The women were fitted for the sneakers by Kevin Petrovek, owner of Hanlon Shoes in Hyannis, which provided the shoes at cost.

"I know these ladies need mental and physical help so it was a win-win situation for us," said Petrovek. "If you get into that mode when you regularly exercise, you start feeling good... That's what we're all about here." 

The sneaker donation is just the latest example of the Osterville Men’s Club giving back to the HAC shelter which assists mothers in recovery and their children. “They have 200 people cheering them on,” said Paul Ruane of his fellow Osterville club members and their ongoing support of the shelter’s clients.

Support Angel House

Tags: Angel House, Osterville Men's Club, Hanlon Shoes, Kevin Petrovek, running, Physical Fitness, Lin Rohr