HECH’s main mission is to develop compassionate solutions to homelessness problems for families
– especially those with children – living in Harwich and the surrounding communities of Cape Cod.
HARWICH ECUMENICAL COUNCIL FOR HOUSING
HECH was founded in 1990 by a group of caring residents and concerned clergy to address the crisis of homelessness in Harwich and the surrounding towns. In its early years, volunteers donated time and money to locate housing for families facing imminent homelessness and to provide solutions to other housing challenges. Much of the support for their efforts was generated from the Housing with Love Walk which was created by founding Board Member, Bob Murray. Hundreds of local residents walked from Provincetown to Falmouth every July for 25 years to ensure that the needs of year-round families continue to be heard and addressed. The Walk has been scaled back recently to include Harwich and Chatham, remaining a critical source of funding for operations.
Since its creation, HECH has grown into a professionally managed, multi-service organization, while still maintaining its grassroots commitment to low and moderate income families. HECH has developed affordable housing providing both rental and homeownership opportunities to stabilize Cape communities. Today, HECH self-manages a portfolio of 44 rental units. It also administers rental assistance programs funded by local municipalities; oversees town funded housing rehabilitation programs for emergency home repairs for qualifying residents; manages the Libby Arnold Stevens Resident Stabilization Fund providing emergency assistance to residents of Barnstable County; and continues to actively help families’ access affordability resources and assistance from a variety of sources.
In 1993, HECH founded The Children’s Center, located on Sisson Road in Harwich. This successful year-round early education/preschool program serves 27 families from Wellfleet to Yarmouth each year and is an important affordability resource for working families. HECH administers the Libby Arnold Stevens Scholarship Fund for Working Families and the Libby Arnold Stevens Endowment Fund for The Children’s Center, both of which help The Children’s Center carry out its mission of providing affordable childcare solutions for working families.