Editorial by Alisa Magnotta
If you visited our website earlier this year, you may have noticed an update at the top of the homepage: a new version of our logo with a conspicuous number, the “big five-oh.”
Housing Assistance is proudly celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024. We have a number of special initiatives and events in the works to mark this milestone, including a celebratory event in the fall. We will share more information in the near future.
Our organization has started the year strongly on two fronts – here on the Cape, with the announcement of a comprehensive plan to consolidate our family shelter operations in Dennis; and in Boston, where we testified in support of the governor’s Affordable Homes Act, a bill packed with proposals and funding that would go a long way toward solving our persistent and seemingly intractable housing crisis.
The new shelter operation at One Love Lane will take the place of a shuttered nursing home – one that closed, in part, because there was no available housing for its workers – and provide stable, supportive housing for families, many with deep roots on Cape Cod. As part of the plan, we will repurpose existing shelter sites to create urgently needed year-round housing units for individuals and families.
At the State House hearing, we warned legislators how the housing crisis is crushing the dreams of many who want to live and work on the Cape and Islands. We are optimistic about the proposed legislation, as it features a variety of adaptable tools that different regions of the state can use to address housing needs. For example, the creation of a Seasonal Communities Designation could help jumpstart year-round rental and homeownership developments in key Cape communities.
Solutions to the housing crisis are at hand. However, the same voices of opposition that we heard five decades ago are still at it. These voices may seem louder today because they reverberate from town meetings out across social media, but we can find comfort in the knowledge that they are not actually stronger than the concerned and supportive community that has gathered together with us and continues to fight for change and progress.
We were founded in 1974 as a pilot project that provided rental vouchers to help secure housing for year-round workers on Cape Cod. And look how far we’ve come! We now serve more than 6,500 households across the region. We operate shelter, rental assistance, and stabilization programs; we provide housing education and weatherization; and we build high-quality, attainable homes that strengthen our diverse communities. In fact, we currently have 250 units in the construction pipeline, including 40 units dedicated to home ownership.
Now, more than any time in our history, we need your support. We must remain steadfast and resolute in the face of the opposition that seeks to divide us and stop our progress. We are the champions for our families, our businesses, and a thriving future for the Cape and Islands. On behalf of all my colleagues, we thank you and appreciate all that you are able to do to help us bridge the gap between homelessness and homeownership. Together we will keep our momentum strong!