Dr. Kumara Sidhartha’s introduction to Housing Assistance occurred nearly eight years ago when he participated on a Telethon for Hope fundraising team with his colleagues. The spirit of the event struck him, coming at a perfect time of year and serving as a reminder that there are those on Cape Cod who struggle with housing insecurity.
“The cause is such an important one and it’s timed so well with the time of year that has significance on so many fronts,” Dr. Sidhartha said. “One is the idea of winter and the cold temperatures and the thought of somebody who may be homeless or living in a house, but home insecure and not being able to afford to pay for their heating bills.
“The other is the holiday season and the spirit of giving and gratitude,” he continued. “It is a perfect opportunity for donors, at the end of the year and during the holidays, to embrace the spirit of giving and reflect on the gratitude for what they have in their life and consider others who aren’t as fortunate.”
Since that time, Dr. Sidhartha has participated in the telethon on an annual basis, raising critical funds to support our mission to connect households on Cape Cod and the Islands to safe, stable housing. Dr. Sidhartha was hopeful that people would not only watch this year’s telethon, but consider supporting the event with a donation. “I would encourage people to think about the individuals you will be helping out and to be bold in their giving,” he said.
Why I Give: Spectrum of Services
Along with serving as a longtime telethon fundraiser, Dr. Sidhartha has sat on our Board of Directors over the past three years. The role has given Dr. Sidhartha, an Internist and Medical Director at Cape Cod Healthcare, a chance to delve even further into our work.
Research shows that housing is one of the social determinants of a person’s health. “It is very clear that for somebody who has an unstable housing situation, that their health outcomes are poorer and they could have a higher risk for long-term diseases,” Dr. Sidhartha said. “People’s priorities change which means their health, taking medication, and going to follow-up appointments, all of it, becomes a secondary priority so their healthcare takes a hit because it’s clearly affected by the bigger priority of their housing situation.”
He said Housing Assistance’s entire spectrum of services, from helping move homeless individuals into permanent housing to homebuyer education, is critically important.
He highlighted our agency’s initiatives to ensure the region’s workforce has access to safe, stable housing. “If housing is unstable, it changes the customer service dynamic at their work,” he said.
And then there are our policy efforts, working with towns to update zoning to allow for multifamily developments in the appropriate locations and partnering with organizations like the Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) to identify parcels where new affordable housing development can be constructed without negatively impacting the environment. “There is vital work being done by Housing Assistance Corp. It’s important for donors to consider the entire spectrum of their work when they give at this time of year,” he said.