FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is homelessness a significant issue on the Lower Cape?
Yes, homelessness is a hidden but persistent issue on the Lower Cape. There are multiple reasons for this, including the rural nature of our towns and the lack of a homeless shelter in our region. Every year, the Homeless Prevention Council works with well over one hundred actively homeless families and individuals, and closer to two-thousand families and individuals who are facing the threat of homelessness.
How do you work to prevent homelessness?
We work with clients to make sure that they can either maintain the housing they live in or can move to affordable housing that suits their needs. Unfortunately, the extreme scarcity of affordable housing in our community can make this a very difficult task. When clients come to us, our most immediate concern is typically budgeting to make sure that they avoid becoming homeless. This can often include applying for programs to assist with necessities like food, housing, clothing, fuel, medical assistance, and more. While we set up a plan to make sure that clients remain stably housed, we help them to apply to waitlists for affordable or subsidized housing. If they are homeless, we help them to find housing and access to other necessities as quickly as possible.
In addition, our case managers advocate for clients, and connect them to other community resources to assist with their specific needs. You can learn more about the organizations we partner with here.
I have a home and I’m not in danger of losing it. Does the housing crisis still affect me?
Even beyond humanitarian concerns, if you are a Cape Cod resident the housing crisis has a dramatic practical effect on you. This is true regardless of the state of your personal finances. The lack of affordable housing on Cape Cod prevents people who play important roles in our community from living here. Service sector workers, manual laborers, social service workers, and people in so many other professions are finding it difficult to settle down in our towns. As these people leave or are turned away, our economy suffers, and, in relation, our general quality of life. Our towns need service sector employees to staff restaurants and stores, manual laborers to maintain the quality of our personal and public resources, and social service employees to work with residents of all ages, from children to seniors. Overall, we need to be able to accommodate a diverse range of households with different skillsets to maintain a healthy community. The housing crisis prevents this kind of stability from developing.
What are the biggest reasons for housing instability on the Cape?
There are many reasons for housing instability on the Cape, but the primary driver is our current housing crisis. While a lack of affordable housing characterizes most housing markets today nation-wide, we face some unique issues on Cape Cod that exacerbate our housing shortage. These issues include our seasonal economy, our large percentage of single-family homes, and our status as a common retirement destination.
Do you serve all Lower Cape towns equally?
We serve every town on the Lower and Outer Cape, from Orleans and Chatham up to Provincetown. In addition to our office hours, we offer case management at satellite locations every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, at the Harwich Community Center COA, Eastham Public Library, and Provincetown United Methodist Church and Stable Path Community Room, respectively. See below for more outreach information, including our hours at each outreach location.
How can I help?
Our organization relies on donations from community stewards like you. Please consider donating if you are able, to make sure that all our neighbors can live stable and self-sufficient lives in our community.
We are also always looking for volunteers! We have a constant need for volunteer receptionists (no experience necessary). Other volunteer opportunities are dependent on programs and needs throughout the year. If you are interested in program-based volunteer opportunities, be sure to join our listserv to hear when opportunities become available.