Since 1993, the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) mission has been clear: to raise money for HAC’s homelessness prevention programs. The mission, by all accounts, has been a resounding success. More than $1.3 million has been raised, and hundreds of Cape Cod families have been helped.
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Last month, David Akin, a deacon at St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth and past president of DYECH, presented a check for $25,000 to HAC CEO Rick Presbrey. The gift came from an anonymous donor and is the largest single donation ever to DYECH.

The donor gave the gift in honor of his mother, an 80-year-old resident of Yarmouth who rides her bike each day to St. Pius. When he wanted to pay tribute to her, he asked Akin to suggest a worthy fund.

In February, DYECH also presented Project Prevention with a donation of $8,500, funds raised through a holiday concert and the sale of grocery and retail gift cards.

“DYECH continues to be the greatest support for family homelessness prevention that we could ever hope for,” said Allison Alewine, HAC vice president of operations.

HAC’s Project Prevention stops homelessness in its tracks by preventing it from happening in the first place, providing short-term financial assistance to people at risk of homelessness. It is also a program that saves money; family homelessness costs the taxpayer more than five times the cost of prevention ($10,000 as opposed to about $1,500).

An update on BIC clients

Just as DYECH supports HAC’s efforts for family homelessness prevention, the Barnstable Interfaith Council (BIC) raises funds for individual homelessness prevention. In a recent letter to BIC supporters, Greg Bar, HAC’s individual housing search specialist, described some of his clients who had been helped recently with Project Prevention funding.

• Brett and Arlene paid a past due electric bill so they can move forward after job loss and illness.
• Cindy is 60 years old and lives on Martha’s Vineyard with her 18-year-old son. She works, but got behind on rent because her hours were temporarily reduced.
• Dennis and Emily are two former NOAH Shelter clients who struggled to get a stable life and have succeeded. They wanted to move into a safer apartment and needed some financial help.
• Irene is a mason in her 30s. Work got light the past couple of months and she got behind on rent. BIC funds helped her stay in her apartment.

DYECH and BIC support Project Prevention through the sale of grocery and other gift cards. When you purchase gift cards through this program, merchants give a percentage of the sale (usually 4 to 8 percent, but in some cases as much as 18 percent) to homelessness prevention. For example, if you buy a $25 gift card for the Gap, your gift card is worth the full $25 – but the Gap donates 14 percent ($3.50) to Project Prevention.

To purchase grocery or retail gift cards, go to and click on “grocery cards for prevention” or “gift cards for prevention.”