With the U.S. Supreme Court reversing the CDC’s eviction moratorium yesterday, Cape Codders who are struggling to pay their rent are now at risk of losing their housing.
“At a time when Covid cases are rising and our homes are essential to our health and safety, it’s important that we do all we can to help people stay housed at this time,” Housing Assistance CEO Alisa Magnotta said. “The good news is there is financial assistance available for Covid-impacted households. I’m proud that Housing Assistance is leading the state in the shortest average processing time for clients who have fallen behind on their rent and need support to remain in their homes.”
“Unfortunately, if people are evicted, there’s almost no place for them to move on the Cape. There is little to no rental inventory and with the current real estate market, purchasing a home is close to impossible for the average worker in our region,” said Magnotta. “It speaks to a larger problem on Cape Cod – the lack of affordable and attainable housing for our region’s workforce, families, young professionals, and seniors living on a fixed income. Each community on the Cape needs to double down on its efforts to build more affordable housing, encourage the building of Accessory Dwelling Units, and update zoning that allows multi-family properties in the appropriate locations.”
For help paying past-due rent or mortgages, residents are encouraged to contact Housing Assistance at 508-771-5400 or email@example.com. In-person support is available Monday through Friday, 9 am to 1 pm, at our primary office at 460 West Main Street in Hyannis and on Monday, 9:30 am to 1 pm, at our satellite office at the Lower Cape Outreach Council at 19 Brewster Cross Road in Orleans.
While much of the nation has been slow to provide relief to renters struggling to stay housed, Housing Assistance has embraced its role as the regional administrator for federal and state financial assistance programs, including ERAP (Emergency Rental Assistance Program), ERMA (Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance), RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition), and Barnstable County HOME Funds, all of which provide critical rental assistance to prevent homelessness and keep individuals and families stably housed.
Since March 23, 2020 through August 20, 2021, Housing Assistance has awarded just under $4.3 million in rental assistance to 868 households in every town on Cape Cod as well as Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The average financial award has been nearly $5,000 per household.
The agency is first in Massachusetts in terms of timely distribution of financial assistance, with a three-week average, from when a client submits their request to when funds are approved to cover past rent.
“Our team is fielding a tremendous number of requests. We’re tired, but we all get a lot of satisfaction out of knowing that we are helping people,” said Cassi Danzl, Housing Assistance Vice President of Programs and Client Services. “At this point, financial assistance is the cornerstone of the region’s economic recovery. The amount of money we’ve given out is huge and it shows the huge hole that has had to be filled.”
“I’ve been very impressed with the speed and efficiency with which Housing Assistance has administered its rental assistance program on the Cape,” said Heidi Nelson, CEO of Duffy Health Center which serves many of the same clients as Housing Assistance. “This is a really important, life-saving federal program. We’ve heard of problems across the country and it’s great to know that people living on Cape Cod are getting the support they need to maintain their housing.”
Along with financial assistance, Housing Assistance has a host of other programs that can assist residents access safe, stable housing at this time. If you need help, contact Housing Assistance Corporation at 508-771-5400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.