Hyannis family evicted, a casualty of Cape Cod’s housing crisis
HYANNIS — Alessandra Dabliz, 50, guided her brother’s wheelchair out of her 51 Dunns Pond Road home of almost four years.
It was the last item still in the house following the pair’s Wednesday morning eviction, overseen by the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office. Blankets, fans and other belongings were loaded into a rental truck.
“We have no place to go,” said Dabliz in an interview one day before the eviction.
Dabliz said her landlord, Jack Cardarelli, told her he was selling the house last summer and needed them to leave the property. She and her brother struggled to find housing and Cardarelli eventually began the eviction process, Dabliz said.
But Cardarelli’s lawyer, Mark Boudreau, disputes that.
Cardarelli has not indicated he will sell the property, Bourdreau said. Dabliz was 11 months behind on rent, he said. She also brought in her brother, George Peznola, and another tenant to sublet without the landlord’s permission, Bourdreau said.
Dabliz told the Times she had notified Cardarelli about her brother moving in.
A message left for Cardarelli at his business was not returned.
“The matter went through mediation through the Housing Court,” said Boudreau. “The tenants agreed to move out by July 1. When that did not happen, we simply followed through with the court order to have them evicted.”
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In exchange for them agreeing to move out, Cardarelli waived the back rent, said Boudreau. The lease began in 2018 and they became at-will tenants in 2020, he said.
“My client is a property owner who deserves to be paid rent,” said Boudreau.
Housing crisis on the Cape
Katherine Wibby, the chief executive officer of Lower Cape Outreach Council, which is based in Orleans, called it “no secret” the region is facing a housing crisis.
“People that have lived on Cape Cod their whole lives are finding it really difficult to stay here,” Wibby said.
The 15 towns that make up Cape Cod are desperate for housing. Year-round residents are struggling with both a red-hot real estate market and low housing stock.
In Barnstable, the median price of a single-family home ballooned to $665,000 in June, up from $550,000 in June 2021, a 20.9% increase, according to the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors.
Meanwhile, more people moved to the Cape during the pandemic. Barnstable was fourth in the nation in the percentage of in-migration in 2020, according to the New York Times, which analyzed U.S. Postal Service change of address statistics.
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Evictions can impact a person’s ability to find housing afterward, said Wibby.
The record of an eviction is a public record that anyone can ask for and inspect.
“Often times one of the questions on applications is: ‘Have you ever been evicted?’ I can only assume that will have a negative impact,” said Wibby.
People who are facing homelessness should definitely ask for help, said Hadley Luddy, the chief executive officer of the Homeless Prevention Council in Orleans.
“It’s really critically important that people get connected with local organizations,” Luddy said.
The Homeless Prevention Council or Housing Assistance Corporation are two places to try, she said.
Pandemic exacerbates housing instability
Dabliz acknowledged that she had fallen behind on rent payments. She has been a hairdresser for 32 years, but had to stop when the COVID-19 pandemic began.
She then brought her brother, who lived in Pennsylvania, to Cape Cod so she could care for him. Due to lung issues of her own and her brother’s care, she said she could not go back to work.
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With unemployment payments ending, Dabliz said she has applied to a state program called Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children. The program provides cash and medical assistance due to a disability, older age, taking care of a child or a disabled adult and a few other circumstances, according to the state’s website.
Dabliz also accepts that she agreed to leave the Dunns Pond Road house by July 1. She thought she’d found a place in Pennsylvania, but that plan fell through in May and the search for housing was back on.
“I’m very upset, I can’t sleep, I can’t eat,” said Dabliz. “I’ve been doing all of this stuff myself.”
The experience has been very overwhelming, she said, “knowing we have to be out of here.”
Brother facing health problems
Complicating matters is Peznola’s health.
Peznola, 54, is blind, has stage 4 kidney failure, type 2 diabetes, and is on dialysis three times a week. He also cannot walk. He uses a wheelchair, and relies on Dabliz as his full-time caretaker.
“My brother’s doctors are all here,” said Dabliz.
Due to those circumstances, the two need housing that meets specific needs — on the first floor and with entryways and a floor plan for someone who is blind and using a wheelchair.
Dabliz has now found housing at a rental complex in West Yarmouth, she said, but paperwork such as criminal background checks still needs to be completed before the move is official. She and her brother also have his Section 8 voucher, which pays up to $1,879 for a two-bedroom.
“It’s a matter of days,” said Dabliz, who has lived on Cape Cod for 28 years. “My brother and I are going to be sleeping and staying all day in a U-Haul rented vehicle.”