The AmeriCorps Cape Cod Program is one of two residential AmeriCorps programs in Massachusetts and one of a select few across the nation. AmeriCorps Cape Cod was created as a residential program for many different reasons including substantial community support, member service experience, ability to respond to community needs and economic feasibility for potential members.
Demonstrating powerful community support, Barnstable County has partnered with the Cape Cod National Seashore to provide housing for Corps members. The County also relied on community partners to help provide additional member housing during our one-year special initiatives.
The residential aspect of AmeriCorps Cape Cod offers Corps members an extremely unique and incredibly valuable experience. By living and serving together, Corps members who hold a common interest are able to share knowledge, skills, humor, successes, failures, insights, strengths, challenges and experiences that create opportunities for individual and group growth. Furthermore, Corps members residing together are better able to mobilize and respond to disasters and other community needs in an extremely efficient and timely manner.
The drastic population growth on Cape Cod has not only put pressure on its environment, it has also created an affordable housing shortage on the Cape. Finding affordable housing on Cape Cod is extremely difficult. By having guaranteed housing, Corps members avoid the challenge of paying housing costs and are able to focus almost entirely on the performance of service.
Members of the AmeriCorps Cape Cod program live in three houses, two located in the Town of Wellfleet, with the third in the Town of Bourne. The Bourne House and Wellfleet House are each home to thirteen members, while the six members of the FireCorps live in the Wells House in Wellfleet for the duration of the eleven-month program. The residential aspect of ACC provides a unique team building experience while the members live and serve together, which forms friendships that last a lifetime.
Room size varies from two to four members sharing a room. Each house has two shared bathrooms, except LeHac which has three full. All houses are outfitted with a washer and dryer for laundry, a computer and printer, a fully stocked kitchen, wifi (due to LeHac’s seclusion wifi service can be spotty at times), and a common room with a television.
Every Wednesday, the members of each house sit down to a group dinner to foster a positive environment in the residences, as well as to go over the upcoming service schedule. This allows members to take some time to bond with each other and to build a strong and inclusive community. The residential experience is designed to create a positive experience for the members, and to allow members to focus on service rather than paying the rent.