A 95-year-old World War II veteran and his daughter who became homeless after losing their Yarmouth rental. A married couple with disabilities who were sleeping in their jam-packed car as the cold winter temperatures moved in. These are just a few of the people Housing Assistance was able to help, thanks to funding from the Eastern Bank Foundation, a supporter of the agency for nearly 20 years.
In late 2022, as needs for elderly and disabled transitional housing were becoming more and more pressing, staff from Housing Assistance’s Resource Development Department reached out to Eastern Bank Foundation (EBF) leadership to discuss the rising needs of the Cape & Islands community. Housing Assistance then submitted an application to EBF for $50,000 in funding to help. It was the largest request Housing Assistance had ever made to Eastern outside of pandemic relief.
“This was a ‘big ask,’ but the funds were needed to pay for hotel rooms due to the dire shortage of affordable rentals,” said Patricia Mitrokostas, senior director of strategic funding initiatives and foundation relations at Housing Assistance. Funders, particularly foundations, usually prefer to support initiatives that have longer term goals. But Eastern Bank Foundation’s strategy is meant to be focused yet flexible when crisis strikes, and their leadership understood how immediate and dangerous homelessness can be in the winter. “Eastern stepped up to help in a big way, allowing us to meet an immediate need that literally saved people from sleeping on the streets in encampments and other places not meant for human habitation,” said Mitrokostas.
The Eastern Bank Foundation funds helped some of Housing Assistance’s most vulnerable clients: elderly residents who had lost their permanent housing.
This includes a 72-year-old man from Hyannis who was sleeping in his truck, a 59-year-old disabled man from Brewster who found himself homeless after the breakup of a long-term relationship and a 74-year-old disabled woman from Falmouth who could no longer afford her rent and was living in her car.
“As Cape and Islands housing costs continue to be out of sight and inventory for reasonable rentals stays very scarce, it is crucial that Housing Assistance continues to help people afford to live and work on the Cape and for the elderly and disabled community members to be protected, “ said Nancy Huntington Stager, President & CEO, Eastern Bank Foundation.
The Eastern Bank Foundation has been a Housing Assistance supporter since 2005, contributing more than $260,000, primarily through event and corporate sponsorships. EBF also awarded $65,000 in pandemic relief funds in 2020.
Eastern Bank Foundation celebrates exceptional nonprofit leaders with their annual Community Advocacy Award. Housing Assistance CEO Alisa Magnotta was one of the 2023 recipients recognized for her work securing safe and affordable housing for the Cape and islands.
“Eastern Bank Foundation has been proud to work with this gem of an organization over many years as Alisa and her team continue to take on the important and challenging issue of creating and preserving access to more and better safe, affordable and quality housing,” said Stager.