Mary LeClair makes a habit of carrying a few small pieces of rose quartz wherever she goes. The stone is considered a sign of universal love, and LeClair gives stones to people she encounters.

A long-time champion of housing issues on Cape Cod and a former board member at Housing Assistance, LeClair was honored on May 31 at the groundbreaking ceremony for LeClair Village Apartments, a new three-building complex in Mashpee featuring 39 affordable rental units. At the ceremony, Housing Assistance CEO Alisa Magnotta presented LeClair with a small sculpture of a tree with rose quartz leaves.

“It seemed very fitting to me to have a project of this magnitude represent Mary and all that she has done for our community and our region,” said Magnotta. “The thing about Mary is it’s not just about making systemic change. With her, it’s about helping individuals, the people who are lost in the cracks or who have lost their way. They need someone to reach out and give them a helping hand and help them find their way again. I have personally seen Mary do that many times.”

LeClair said that she believes that with every honor, there’s a responsibility. “We’re required to participate, to volunteer, and to be actively involved in our communities,” she said. “We are required to show leadership by example. We’re required to be accurate and fair to advocate and educate with knowledge and truth, through collaboration and compromise. Simply put, we are required to care for and help one another in our community.”

Michael Jackman, district director for U.S. Rep. Bill Keating, presented LeClair with a certificate of special congressional recognition during the ceremony. Rep. Keating’s duties in Washington, D.C., kept him from attending the ceremony, but he expressed his admiration for LeClair in a statement.

“By naming this new development in honor of Mary LeClair, we are recognizing the many contributions she has made to the Cape Cod community,” he said. “Her work as an elected official and a volunteer has made a difference, just as LeClair Village Apartments will make a difference in the lives of the dozens of families who will live there.”

Also speaking at the event were State Rep. Kip Diggs; State Rep. Steven Xiarhos; Thomas O’Hara, Mashpee Select Board Vice Chairman and member of the Affordable Housing Trust; Yongmei Chen, Senior Vice President, Eastern Bank; and Rev. Thomas Wyndham, a longtime friend of Mary LeClair.

LeClair Village Apartments is under development through a partnership between Housing Assistance Corporation and Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc. (POAH). When completed by the summer of 2024, LeClair Village will feature 14 one-bedroom apartments, 21 two-bedroom units, and 4 three-bedroom apartments. The apartments, which are on town-owned land, will serve low- and moderate-income households.

“Today represents a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of risk, a lot of people, a lot of expertise,” said Magnotta. “LeClair Village will change the lives and futures of the families lucky enough to live there. Today is cause for celebration, as we recognize the decades of service Mary LeClair has done on behalf of the people of Cape Cod, but it is also a reminder that much work remains to be done to achieve her goal and ours of every family and individual on Cape Cod having a safe and stable place to live.”