Area housing has been nearly unaffordable and increasingly hard to find for years. The pandemic exacerbated this crisis, pushing the number of clients seeking help from HPC to never-seen-before levels. The people struggling to find a place to live include seniors, working parents, families, and locally employed professionals. What do we hear? “My rental has been sold and I have to be out within 30 days. Where can I go and how can you help me?” The answer is a gutting one: There simply are very limited rentals on the Lower and Outer Cape.
Solving this problem—which is both serious and escalating—requires the involvement of both seasonal and year-round residents. We need creative input from residents, local businesses, realtors, housing developers, community agencies, and our towns. We need to develop short-term solutions quickly while we work on longer-term sustainable plans. The only way to profoundly change this trajectory is for all of us, including new homeowners, to act.
You can help by donating to HPC to support our work, or by visiting www.lowercapehousing.org, our joint resource center with the Community Development Partnership, which provides information about a variety of free services related to the housing crisis.
Client stories have happy endings...
"Mom! MOM! That's our number. They called our number, FOUR," said Kurtc. With that, Maritess slowly realized that her family would have a home of their own. She and her daughter Kurtc wept with joy.
Four days earlier, Maritess learned from HPC that a two-bedroom Habitat for Humanity home was up for resale in Chatham. These homes rarely become available, and when they do, one must act fast to participate in the lottery. Maritess had been through this many times before. She had been connected with HPC for 12 years, and with HPC by her side, she learned what to do.
Maritess is a food service worker in an elder care facility. Over the years, HPC has worked closely with Maritess to get the services in place that they qualified for, including fuel assistance, the holiday Adopt A Family program, and Backpack to School program. The family moved often, seeking more affordable rental housing while they applied for numerous homeownership opportunities.
HPC was there for every move, every life event, as we worked to help keep this family housed. Maritess never gave up, nor did HPC Senior Case Manager Maureen Linehan, who always looked for the next miracle. "We did impossible things to keep this family housed," Maureen explained.
On the day of the lottery, the family was astonished when they heard, "Will number four please stay afterwards." The disbelief meshed with the joy of knowing they would have a home for the holidays. It was overwhelming news for Kurtc and her parents. That evening they called Maureen to share their incredible news. For Maureen, moments like these are why HPC matters. "We're like family," she said. "They are part of HPC's fabric and have been for over a decade. This is the reason we do what we do.