HYANNIS – Housing Assistance Corporation’s annual Meeting & Volunteer Recognition event will have special significance this year.
The organization which addresses the region’s housing issues will honor its founder Rick Presbrey, who retired from the position of CEO in January.
Rick’s philosophy over the years was what services does the region need and how can HAC help provide them and that’s really what he’s done over the years,” said Laura Reckford, the director of fundraising and community development for HAC.
Presbrey founded HAC in 1974 to ensure all residents on Cape Cod and the Islands had access to safe, stable decent housing.
“Rick has grown this agency over those 43 years to have now more than 35 programs of all different types,” Reckford said.
The organization provides shelter for homeless families in Hyannis, Yarmouth, Bourne and Falmouth.
“Many people don’t realize that the largest increase in homelessness in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is actually among children,” Reckford said. “And our four family homeless shelters last year had 195 kids in those shelters.”
HAC is also developing affordable housing with the Sachem’s Path neighborhood on Nantucket and the Canal Bluffs rental development in Bourne.
“Rental housing, as we know, is something a lot of communities are looking to increase on the Cape,” Reckford said.
Another accomplishemt by Presbrey was starting foreclosure counseling after the Great Recession a handful of years ago.
“HAC stepped up and we provided free foreclosure prevention counseling to people on the Cape and Islands and we helped scores of people save their homes during that time from foreclosure,” Reckford said.
The energy crisis in the 1970s started HAC’s energy rehab programs that are still run today.
“We provide free energy audits for low income people for their homes,” Reckford said.
HAC’s new CEO Alisa Galazzi has taken over for Presbrey. She previously served as the COO at Gosnold and the executive director at Alzheimer’s Services of Cape Cod & the Islands.
The meeting Thursday, March 23 at the Cape Codder Resort and Spa in Hyannis will also honor individuals and other organizations who work to address the region’s housing and homeless issues.
The Volunteer of the Year Award will be given to Emerald Physicians, a medical group that has participated the last eight years in HAC’s Shelter Cape Cod Telethon.
The Human Services Partner Award will go to the Cape and Islands United Way. The organization has provided more than $200,000 in funding to HAC since 2005. The funds have been used to support HAC’s Angel House shelter in Hyannis and homelessness prevention programs.
Cape Save will receive HAC’s Business Partner Award. The company, based in South Yarmouth, insulates low-income homes for HAC’s Energy and Repair Department.
The Presbrey Public Service Award will go to Edgar Mangiafico, a HAC board member. He has served on the board since 2005.
By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter