|As community leaders work to find a new location for a new shelter, HAC’s NOAH Shelter remains committed to serving those most in need on Cape Cod and the Islands.|
HAC continues to move forward with efforts to identify potential sites away from downtown Hyannis that could be used for a new homeless shelter that will eventually replace NOAH on Winter Street.
“I’m all for it because of two things,” HAC CEO Rick Presbrey told the agency at its all-staff meeting last month. “Our present facility is completely inadequate and two, we’re too visible.”
Presbrey is part of a small group of local leaders who sit on The Transitional Living Center of Cape Cod Committee that is working collaboratively to find a new location for a homeless shelter. Members of the committee include Barnstable Police Chief Paul MacDonald; Heidi Nelson, CEO of Duffy Health Center; Abbott “Sid” Davidson of the Lyndon Paul Lorusso Charitable Foundation; Deborah Krau, vice president of the Greater Hyannis Civic Association; Paula Schnepp, the regional network coordinator for the Cape & Islands Regional Network to Address Homelessness; and Elizabeth Wurfbain, executive director of the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District (BID).
“Moving into a less visible location is a good thing for us, a good thing for the clients and a good thing for the town,” Presbrey said, explaining that the move is being precipitated as a way to bolster the businesses in Hyannis.
He said HAC has a preferred site, but “I don’t know if everyone will agree with it. Will town counsel and will the town manager agree with it? And can we obtain it? Any site is going to be controversial.”
Despite those difficulties, he stressed that it is imperative that this gets done. Presbrey estimated that it will take at least three to four years to site, permit, construct or renovate a current structure to replace NOAH, which has been at its current location for more than three decades. “For 30 years, we have provided sanctuary, showers, beds and meals for the neediest of our population and done it successfully,” Presbrey said.
Today, Presbrey said NOAH “has never been better or healthier than it is now… There are lots of good and great things happening there.”