Housing Assistance Case Manager Deborah McDonnell

Since July 2017, Deborah McDonnell has helped stabilize housing for Falmouth residents at risk of homelessness.

Since our inception in 1974, Housing Assistance has had a strong connection to Falmouth, serving individuals and families in need in that Upper Cape community. Over the past two years, we’ve been able to reach even more Falmouth residents through Case Manager Deborah McDonnell’s efforts.

Thanks to a three-year grant from the Town of Falmouth, McDonnell has held office hours two days a week at Falmouth Human Services, connecting individuals and families who are at risk of homelessness to the services they need to stabilize their housing.

That funding has enabled McDonnell to provide support to those who may find it difficult to make the trek to Housing Assistance’s Hyannis office.

Currently, McDonnell has a caseload of roughly 40 clients. “When I first started, the caseload was 80 and I had to start a waiting list,” McDonnell said.

“To me it is very, very rewarding to help someone and see them no longer have to worry about their housing.” – Deborah McDonnell

The demand ebbs and flows with the seasonality of the region’s economy. In the winter when businesses close, seasonal employees will come in seeking help. Those seeking assistance, McDonnell said, are often in the midst of a crisis – financial, health, or personal – that has turned their lives upside down.

One 62-year-old single man she is currently helping recently had a heart attack and has fallen behind on his rent. “He can’t go back to work yet and he’s struggling to keep up,” McDonnell said. Another client with young children has early-onset Parkinson’s disease. Working with the Falmouth Housing Authority, McDonnell was able to secure her housing.

Getting to know each client and helping them successfully navigate life’s difficulties are the joys of her job. “To me it is very, very rewarding to help someone and see them no longer have to worry about their housing,” she said. “They shouldn’t have to be without a house, without a home, and without a bed.”