As the summer season kicks into high gear on Cape Cod and the Islands many residents who provide services to visitors and second-home owners are struggling financially.
“Rising inflation is particularly devastating to our neighbors already living paycheck to paycheck,” Susan Johnson, executive director of the Cape Cod Times Needy Fund, said. “Almost all of their income goes to necessities — food, electricity, gas, housing — and these are the very same areas where we have seen the biggest jumps in pricing.”
“We don’t see that slowing down anytime soon,” she said, “add to that the Cape and Island’s housing affordability crisis and we have a perfect storm brewing.”
Today the Cape Cod Times Needy Fund kicks off its summer fundraising appeal, hoping to raise $150,000 between now and Aug. 14. The Needy Fund handled more than 6,500 requests for help during the past year — a 44% increase over the previous year — and provided help to more than 3,000 households. A contribution can help a family stay in their home, a service worker pay for child care and gasoline, a senior citizen to meet housing costs and a resident with transportation problems or health care issues.
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The Needy Fund provides short-term emergency assistance to Cape and Island residents so they can continue to go to work and/or stay in their homes.
The majority of requests for aid over the past year were for rental and mortgage assistance followed by help with energy and fuel costs, Johnson said.
Senior citizens on the Cape and Islands have also been heavily affected by the current financial conditions.
“We have seen an increase in housing instability for these folks, many of whom are on fixed incomes and who have told us they’ve never asked for help before but didn’t know where else to turn,” Johnson said. “We are grateful to be a resource for these neighbors and are doing whatever we can to assist them in staying in their homes, as safely and as independently as possible.”
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Assistance for seniors could include filling their oil tank, fixing their heating or water systems, minor car repairs to get to medical appointments and even helping to pay for the installation of grab bars and railings, she added.
To raise awareness about the summer appeal, the Cape Cod Times will feature a story each Sunday, which will be accompanied by a list of people who donated to the fund. The final story of the summer campaign will be published Aug. 21.
Applicants submit their requests for assistance to the Needy Fund, which in turn pays for the goods or services — a medical bill, for example — through a voucher system.
Donations, which are tax-deductible, may be made at needyfund.org. Checks can be made payable to the Cape Cod Times Needy Fund and mailed to Cape Cod Times Needy Fund, P.O. Box 36, Hyannis, MA 02601.
Those in need of assistance may contact the Needy Fund at 508-778-5661 or 800-422-1446.
“We are excited to kick-off the Needy Fund's Summer Appeal, which provides a smart way for seasonal Cape Codders and visitors to help those struggling with the high cost of living and working on Cape Cod,” Peter Meyer, president of the Needy Fund, said. “The Needy Fund helps Cape Cod residents facing temporary financial hardship by assisting them with the cost of rent, food, insurance, child care, medical expenses or any number of costs that could make it difficult for them to remain on Cape Cod. They will be grateful for your generosity and we will all benefit from a stronger community.”
Anne Brennan is the executive editor of the Cape Cod Times. Follow her on Twitter: @AnneBrennanCCT.