While driving down Bank Street or Oak Street in Harwich, you’ve likely seen signs for Pine Oaks Village. Pine Oaks Village I, II and III represent 163 units of exceptional senior housing in the Town of Harwich.
In 1975, Reverend Al Ronander, known as Parson Al, at the First Congregational Church of Harwich took a group of church leaders aside and disclosed to them a strong need for low-income housing for seniors and handicapped in the town of Harwich. The Social Action sub-committee was started by President John Nelson and Vice President Paul Doane. This committee was charged with developing plans and seeking financing to create affordable housing in town.
In 1975 Mid-Cape Church Homes, Inc. (MCCH) was formally incorporated, separated from the First Congregational Church, and established and adopted its own formal bylaws. The purpose was to provide low income housing for qualified seniors and handicapped persons. MCCH searched for land for several years that would allow for more dense multi-unit housing and found a site owned by Carl and Doris Clapp off Grassy Pond.
Finding the land was just the beginning. This would be the first multi-family development in the town. The committee then had to go in front of the Town of Harwich’s Planning Board and Town Meeting to get the project endorsed by the Town. The project was endorsed, and Pine Oaks Village I located on a 30-acre site off Bank Street at 61 John Nelson Way in Harwich began construction. This phase consisted of 60 apartments and was opened in 1980. The second phase was Pine Oaks Village II which opened in 1990 providing an additional 38 units on the John Nelson Way property.
In February of 2003, Pine Oaks Village III opened which consisted of 65 apartments located on a 12-acre site off Oak Street at 300 Leighton’s Lane in Harwich. This parcel was acquired from the Town of Harwich.
To live in Pine Oaks I, II and III you must be 62 years of age or older and have an annual income below 50% of the area median income for your household size. Pine Oaks Village I & II accepts applicants of any age who are handicapped or disabled. However, at Pine Oaks I a qualified elderly applicant (62 or older) would be placed before a non-elderly disabled person. At Pine Oaks II there is a preference that applies to individuals displaced by government actions. The rental subsidy assistance means that residents pay only 30% of their income in rent.
These units represent 49% of the Town of Harwich’s affordable housing stock. The purchase and building of these properties was made possible through The Rural Development Assistance Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (formally Farmers Home Administration), HUD, The Massachusetts Community Development Assistance Corporation and the Cape Cod Commission.
It was important to MCCH, that Pine Oaks Village was a community for it’s residents. Each property has a clubhouse, personal gardening spaces, farmer’s porches, patios and beautiful manicured grounds and landscaping. Each of these quaint and comfortable apartments are approximately 600 square feet in size. The day-to-day management and the processing of all applications has been handled HallKeen There is normally a waiting list of 150 or more persons. On average an apartment becomes available every two months.
In 2023, Mid-Cape Church Homes, Inc. a 501(c)3 is doing business as Pine Oaks Village Homes. The name change better reflects a few things already known about the organization. Since our founding in 1975, Mid-Cape Church Homes, Inc. has built three communities. Although starting as a committee of the First Congregational Church of Harwich, it has been operating as an independent corporation focused on affordable housing. Looking to the future, it was decided a new brand was in order. The official corporate name and board of directors remains the same.
Gregory Winston, President
Forrest A. Eaton, Jr., Treasurer
Phyllis Cushlanis, Secretary
Joseph Della Morte
Robert Doane, Vice President
Debra Bassett, Asst. Treasurer
Joyce K. Williams