This has been a year of extremes, from the tragedy and suspense of COVID-19 and its effects on the world to the shortages and accompanying price increases that started with toilet paper but also hit the lumber market, real estate, autos, boats, and left most of us gasping. Intensity like we have seen this year sucks the oxygen out of the room and leaves even the fittest of us short of breath.
What to do? Get cracking and get creative. Looking at the entire economy, there may be little that we as individuals can do to make a difference. But, looking at smaller parts of the big picture though, may offer us some opportunities to help. The biggest part of any family’s budget is housing expense; either rent or mortgage payments. Last March as COVID-19 seriously threatened our national and local economy, our long term friend and client, Brian Dacey of Bayside Building Company in Centerville asked what we could do to help our local workers stay safely housed. It was a heartfelt suggestion that made instant sense. The core of any family’s safety and well being is the roof over their heads. Nationally, mortgage and rent delinquency is over now hovering over 8%, which is an alarming percentage. States like Mississippi, Louisiana, Hawaii, New York, and Florida have the highest delinquencies (as high as 13% in Mississippi) and it is the lower priced housing that is in the greatest trouble. People living from paycheck to paycheck don’t have the savings to get past the type of financial turbulence we have experienced in the past 6 months.
Combining forces with the Housing Assistance Corporation, and with contributions from many members of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Cape Cod, we have been able to build a coalition (The Workforce Housing Relief Fund) to raise money and awareness to help keep people in their homes, whether rented or owned. Housing Assistance Corporation was a natural fit, already being a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, an expert on housing need, and having the resources to not only help financially but to provide counseling on how to manage personal finances and to work out of a threatening rent or mortgage challenge.
At Shepley, we have always viewed our way of addressing our community’s needs as paying our “Civic Rent”. Why shouldn’t we give back to the community who supports us in our business? When COVID-19 forced us to re-deploy some of our traditional fundraising efforts away from crowd based events, it made us think of different ways to help.
It made us think of introducing a beer to 1) raise money for housing on the Cape and Islands through The Workforce Housing Relief Fund, 2) raise awareness, and 3) bring people together in supporting the cause. With Barnstable Brewing, we have brought to market a new craft beer we call Civic Rent. It is available for purchase at Barnstable Brewing in Hyannis and Cape Cod Package Store, Gordon’s Liquors, Kappy’s, Lukes of Cape Cod, Wines & More, and Murray’s Beverage on Nantucket.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of every can of Civic Rent will go to The Workforce Housing Relief Fund, thanks to the combined effort of Barnstable Brewing, the participating package store partners, and Shepley. It is a group effort from the brewing, canning, packaging, distribution, marketing, and selling of Civic Rent.
What can you do to help? Enjoy the clean, crisp, fresh lager beer of Civic Rent. We say “Pay it forward with every pint.” Although it tastes great, we believe it feels even better. Civic Rent is one thing to feel good about, despite the headlines! Please help us spread the good news and ask for Civic Rent by name at your package store. Cheers!