Realtors from the Cape & Islands Association of REALTORS dropping off donations for the Welcome Home Gift Basket Program

In December 2014, Housing Assistance launched its Welcome Home Gift Basket Program which provides essential home goods to our clients who are making the transition from shelter to permanent housing.

That year, the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS (CCIAOR) organized a drive to support the program, collecting laundry baskets filled with everything from pots and pans to toasters to kitchen utensils to bath towels to blankets and pillows.

CCIAOR has continued the tradition ever since, growing it to the point that last month its members donated a record 50 laundry baskets full of items that will give our most vulnerable clients a step up once they leave shelter.

The drive is one of several ways the association has increased its support of Housing Assistance in recent years. In December, its members raised $10,825 for our Workforce Housing Relief Fund which provides emergency financial assistance to households who don’t qualify for public funding, but are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage due to lost wages or jobs caused by the pandemic. CCIAOR matched $10,000 towards the fundraising effort, donating a total of $20,825 to the relief fund.

“Because real estate has done really well during the pandemic, we wanted to help those who aren’t doing well because of COVID,” said CCIAOR CEO Ryan Castle. “The pandemic has really widened the gap between those who are doing well and those who are struggling.”

Through the eviction moratorium, Castle said, it is imperative that as much be done to help landlords, homeowners, and tenants keep their housing. Especially with real estate inventory so low, it is putting an even bigger strain on first-time homebuyers trying to enter the market and could serve as an incentive for landlords whose tenants aren’t paying their rent to sell their homes.

That is why, he said, CCIAOR wanted to throw its support behind the Workforce Housing Relief Fund last month because it is so critical to stabilizing housing in our region. “It was really an effort for our members to pay it back to our industry and those who need help at this time,” he said. “I think we have enough government programs and enough private help through the Workforce Housing Relief Fund to be able to get us through the situation we’re in.”

CCIAOR CEO Ryan Castle headshotWhy We Give: Policy Leadership

While the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS (CCIAOR) has backed a number of Housing Assistance initiatives for those of all income levels, its CEO Ryan Castle said, our work in educating municipal officials “around issues with housing affordability and how communities can achieve it through policy is really impactful and really matters.”

CCIAOR has worked to support these efforts by serving as a sponsor and a host of our Cape Housing Institute which provides resources, education, and tools for municipal officials to boost the affordable housing needed in their towns. Castle has also spoken at the Cape Housing Institute in the past.

The creation of more housing is needed, Castle said, for low- and middle-income residents in our region. “I think we have a long road to go before we have a healthy real estate market,” he said. “We don’t have enough inventory and I think it will take quite a bit of time to build the housing we need or for enough homes to come up for sale to balance the market.”