HAC Leader Gives Update on Affordable Falmouth Home Lottery

HYANNIS – Housing Assistance Corporation CEO Alisa Magnotta gave insight on an upcoming lottery the group is overseeing for an affordable East Falmouth home and spoke about the organization’s systemic approach to addressing the region’s housing crisis.

Magnotta said that the Falmouth Housing Trust purchased the home at 33 Pheasant Lane from a developer and has made it deed-restricted, with HAC supervising the lottery.

Applicants with qualifying income have to apply before March 8 to be entered. Magnotta explained how the lottery process works. 

“We will pull the names and in the order that they come out, we will re-certify and re-qualify, ensuring that they meet the income guidelines and then be able to move forward with a sale for that family or that household,” she said. 

She noted that HAC has about six other affordable resales in the pipeline. 

HAC was one of the partnering agencies that helped launch Housing to Protect Cape Cod last year. The group shared a report that found about 50% of the region’s workforce commutes from another county. 

Magnotta said that rentals are selling or property-owners aren’t renewing leases, factors that are pushing more people off-Cape or into homelessness with the lack of local inventory.

“That means our businesses have to entice their workforce to drive over the bridge and come to work everyday by paying higher wages, paying a gas differential, whatever it is,” she said.

She added the situation won’t end unless workforce housing is developed in places with infrastructure and community support. 

The same report found that the Cape’s GDP has been declining as a result of the housing crisis and Magnotta said the current trends are not sustainable. 

“Right now, it’s a threatened community. It’s a really crucial time in our history for us to be paying attention to the housing but (also) the reason and the rationale for the housing that impacts all of us.” 

Although Barnstable County has plans for $11 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds that will address the housing sector, Magnotta said the crisis is still a “dire situation.”

“You would be shocked at the number of people that we know living in their car now and trying to go to work and trying to manage their situation, waiting for a rental to open up,” she said. 

Although a recent update from Barnstable County Register of Deeds Jack Meade said the Cape’s housing boom from the previous two years has started to cool off, Magnotta said that those numbers don’t indicate much hope for the crisis. 

“Even though the prices at the high end might be softening, we still know there’s not enough inventory. There’s less inventory now than ever under $500,000.”

Magnotta said a family needs to be making upwards of $200,000 to buy a house in the area, so the group is continuing to focus on addressing the Cape’s missing middle and expanding workforce housing.

The housing leader outlined HAC’s goals for 2023, stating it will focus on addressing the Cape’s zoning laws that limit multi-family housing projects, standing up to the opposition of affordable housing initiatives, and advocating for more funding to complete projects.

By Brian Engles, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.

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