Gov. Deval Patrick stopped for coffee and a chat with clients at the NOAH shelter in Hyannis Monday afternoon.

Gov. Deval Patrick stopped for coffee and a chat with clients at the NOAH shelter in Hyannis Monday afternoon.

Patrick took a tour of the 60-bed facility, helped fold some sheets and sat down with residents in the shelter’s kitchen with a cup of coffee and a cookie to hear why the residents needed the services NOAH offers.

“I was in construction and got laid off,” said one client. “It just slowed down so much I couldn’t pay my rent. These wonderful people helped me out before so I came back,” he explained.

Earlier this month, the governor announced plans to restore $40,000 in funding for the shelter, which will help the operator of the facility, the Housing Assistance Corporation, to reestablish its work incentive program.

“The whole idea is to allow them to stay here all day and work on their housing search and finding work,” said HAC spokeswoman Virginia Ryan.

The restoration of the money to the state’s day shelters prevented the NOAH shelter, The Carriage House shelter in Falmouth and The Village at Cataumet in Bourne from experiencing devastating cuts to programming.

“The first thing I do is just sit with them and try to figure out their situation and then we work on figuring out both short-term and long-term solutions,” said Greg Bar, an individual housing search specialist for HAC. He said most of the clients placed in housing find a permanent solution.

HAC President Rick Presbrey said there is still a lot of work to be done to really make a difference in the homeless population.

“We have 535 different people who stay here every year. We’ve been housing about 100 a year, but 100 a year doesn’t really make a difference. We need to do at least 200 to begin to affect the population,” said Presbrey.

Tammy Schenk, facility coordinator for NOAH, told the governor women are becoming more and more susceptible to homelessness.

“I’ve seen a lot more women at risk. When I started here 20 years ago we had maybe five women. The most I’ve seen here is 27,” said Schenk. Sunday night 19 women were in the shelter.

Regardless of whether the clients are men or women, Schenk said the NOAH shelter provides clients the boost they need to get back on their feet.

“The biggest thing I see is that when people move out they have a purpose; they have a sense of self.”

The Register