It is with much sadness that we announce the passing of our good friend and colleague Bill Minkle, who died on Sunday, August 2, 2020.
A passionate advocate, Bill dedicated his life to uplifting people from unfortunate circumstances. Throughout his career in positions at South Middlesex Opportunity Council, Inc. (SMOC), Montachusett Opportunity Council, Inc. (MOC) and Ecumenical Social Action Committee, Inc. (ESAC), Bill worked tirelessly to create a better future for some of the most vulnerable citizens across Massachusetts, especially those who were victims of domestic violence. He was instrumental in shaping housing and workforce development policies and programs to address homelessness and support thousands of individuals and families each year.
He was a recipient of the “Building a Better Boston” Award from the University of Massachusetts Boston Center for Collaborative Leadership; recognized for “making significant contributions to advancing the community through his work as a convener and collaborator.”
Bill concluded his career as the Executive Vice President at RCAP Solutions, where he was a strong champion for diversity and inclusion. In his six years as a member of the organization’s leadership team, he served as a trusted supervisor, passionate communicator, and supportive mentor.
In this role, Bill created powerful partnerships that were instrumental to RCAP Solutions’ acclimation into the city of Worcester. Most recently, he was recognized by Worcester Mayor Joe Petty in his “Heroes Among Us” presentation for Bill’s extensive work with the City and his support of the homeless population during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bill was a champion for housing and a voice for the voiceless. His legacy will continue to have a positive influence for many years throughout the Commonwealth.
Bill’s full obituary can be found here: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/telegram/obituary.aspx?n=william-minkle&pid=196591207&fhid=7029
Notice to Local Boards of Health, Restaurants, and other Hospitality Associations about Beer Waste
The closure of restaurants, bars, and other venues due to the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in an abundance of beer and other food waste going stale in these establishments. Beer, in particular, has a very high Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), making it what is referred to as “high strength wastewater”, which also has a very low pH. The combination of the beer’s high BOD and low pH, make disposing of stale beer in the sewer system extremely problematic, with the potential to cause damaging conditions within the sewer system and to potentially overwhelm the receiving wastewater treatment plant. Given the current volumes of stale beer and other food waste across the Commonwealth, it is imperative that it is disposed of properly. MassDEP and MWRA recommend:
- Stale beer and other food waste should not be disposed of down the drain.
- Restaurants, bars, and other venues should work with distributor to collect full and partially full kegs.
- Through MassDEP or RecyclingWorks, distributors and other venues can explore options for disposal at anaerobic digestion facilities. More information can be found here. For assistance, contact RecyclingWorks at 888-254-5525 or email email@example.com.
RCAP Solutions is pleased to offer new financial assistance programs for Worcester County families impacted by the recent Covid-19 pandemic and state of emergency. The Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) program funded by the Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development provides up to $4,000 of direct funding to eligible households.
ERMA can help to fund payments with rent or mortgage arrears accrued no earlier than April 1, 2020 or upcoming rent or mortgage payments.
In order to be eligible for ERMA, a household must:
- currently rent or own housing as a primary residence in Massachusetts
- have a gross household income that is between the 50% and 80% Area Median Income (AMI)
- have a housing emergency due to a financial hardship related to or exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis
Please click here for our flyer: ERMA_Flyer
Households can assess their eligibility by looking at the income levels for Worcester County, found here: Income limits listing.
Questions & How to Apply:
Please note, the office is closed to the public at this time and visits are by appointment only.
AmazonSmile customers can now support RCAP Solutions in the Amazon shopping app on iOS and Android mobile phones! Simply follow these instructions to turn on AmazonSmile and start generating donations.
- Open the Amazon Shopping app on your device
- Go into the main menu of the Amazon Shopping app and tap into ‘Settings’
- Tap ‘AmazonSmile’ and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process
If you do not have the latest version of the Amazon Shopping app, update your app. Click here for instructions.
Our national affiliate, The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), recently released a survey that shows the major impacts of COVID-19 on small and rural systems. The survey received more than 1,100 unique responses from systems in 49 states and Puerto Rico.
The staggering data revealed that under current conditions, 31% of systems cannot sustain current financial losses for more than 6 months. In addition, more than 43% of systems surveyed said they rely on one full-time operator or less to operate their system (many rely on part-time staff, operators or volunteers), and many respondents indicated a concern over the health of their operators in the maintenance of the system. To view the full survey findings, click here.
RCAP also released state-specific data that can be shared with policymakers in each state to advocate for the continued need of future COVID-19 response funding for small water and wastewater systems. Below are the one-pagers for our service areas. More states will continue to be added.
RCAP Network COVID-19 Survey Reveals Small Water and Wastewater Systems’ Financial Outlooks
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has issued guidance regarding the issue of stagnant water in buildings as people head back to the office and other facilities. Please see the message below or click on this link.
Make sure water in your pipes is fresh
During the COVID-19 pandemic some buildings and facilities have little or no water running through the pipes and fixtures for an extended period of time. These stagnant water conditions can result in discolored water, lower chlorine levels, higher concentrations of lead and copper and even the proliferation of Legionella, under certain building conditions. Fresh water should be drawn into the building water systems and stagnant water flushed out before the buildings are reopened.
EPA and MassDEP recommend that building owners and managers take proactive steps to protect public health by minimizing water stagnation during closures and taking action to address building water quality prior to reopening.
Use the following steps to get fresh water into your building:
- Review and understand the plumbing configuration and water usage in your building.
- Inspect the plumbing to ensure it is functioning properly and is in good condition.
- Contact your water utility if you have questions on water use and quality in in your area. For a list of Massachusetts public water suppliers click here.
- Maintain any water treatment systems used in the building, such as any point-of-entry or point-of-use filters or water softeners.
- Maintain the hot water system, including keeping the temperature at or above 120°F per CDC guidance to prevent Legionella growth. See CDC’s guidance for reopening buildings for additional information, referenced in the Resources section below.
- Flush the building’s plumbing system regularly. See instructions for flushing in the Resource section below.
- Maintain all non-drinking water building water systems and devices according to the manufacturer’s specifications, such as: sprinkler systems, eye-wash stations, and safety showers, decorative fountains/water features, spas, hot tubs, pools, and cooling towers, etc.
- Consider developing a water management program for your building water systems and all devices that use water. See CDC instructions for developing a water management program in the Resource section below.
Dear Valued Colleague,
The COVID-19 response from RCAP Solutions is intended to keep our customers, and staff isolated from exposure and potentially stem the spread of the virus. We are still open for business with staff available for phone and remote web-based meetings. Staff travel to meetings is postponed during this time period as well; if they were scheduled to attend an in-person meeting, they would be in touch to coordinate remote participation.
We have the tools and resources to meet with you remotely; please be in touch with your contact to reschedule any meetings scheduled until April 21st. On trainings and workshops scheduled in all our states and territories, look for updates in the next few weeks with either links for online workshops or postponement plans. Our National partner is negotiating Training Contact Hours for web-based training vs. the required in-person trainings, and we will communicate when we have more information.
We have included a World Health Organization technical briefing on water, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management for the COVID-19 virus as well as the latest information from the USVI Department of Health, which has guidance on mitigation strategies.
Thank you for your understanding and assistance as we take these steps.
The RCAP Solutions Team
USVI Department of Health Alert
What you need to know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019
Handwashing: Keeping Your Family Healthy
Stay Healthy. Wash Your Hands.
Share Facts About COVID-19
Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick
Stop the Spread of Germs
Estimados Colegas Valiosos, Compañeros de Trabajo y Comunidad:
La respuesta de RCAP Solutions al COVID-19, tiene como objetivo mantener a nuestros clientes y al personal aislados de la exposición y potencialmente detener la propagación del virus. Estamos abiertos para asuntos de los negocios con personal disponible para contestar llamadas y reuniones remotas vía internet a través del portal. Viajes del personal a reuniones, están pospuestos durante este período de tiempo, así como también las reuniones programadas en persona, por lo que se pondrán en contacto para coordinar la participación remota.
Tenemos las herramientas y recursos para reunirnos con usted de forma remota. Por favor, póngase en contacto con el proveedor de asistencia técnica para reprogramar cualquier reunión pospuesta por esta situación hasta el 21 de abril. Sobre adiestramientos y talleres programados en todos los estados y territorios, busque actualizaciones en las próximas semanas en cualquiera de los enlaces para talleres en línea o planes aplazados. Nuestro socio nacional está negociando las horas de contacto de capacitación en línea versus la capacitación presencial, por lo que nos comunicaremos cuando tengamos más información.
Hemos incluido información técnica de la Organización Mundial de la Salud sobre el agua, el saneamiento, la higiene y el manejo de desperdicios para el virus COVID-19, así como la información más reciente de la Oficina de Servicios Comunitarios / Salud y Servicios Humanos, que ofrece orientación sobre estrategias de mitigación para una variedad de instalaciones.
Gracias por su comprensión y cooperación, a medida que tomamos estas medidas.
El Equipo de RCAP Solutions
Carta circular: medidas de protección por COVID-19
Lo que necesita saber sobre la enfermedad del coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)
Síntomas de la enfermedad del coronavirus 2019
Lavado de manos: Mantenga sana a su familia
Los microbios están por todos lados
Comparta la información sobre el COVID-19
Qué hacer si contrae la enfermedad del coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)
Detenga la propagación de los microbios
RCAP Solutions’ Worcester Office is currently closed.
*Update: RCAP Solutions will re-open to staff on Wednesday, March 25. At that time we will continue to be closed to public visits, but will be available via email, phone, and fax. We ask that clients be patient as all return messages and paperwork from the previous week will be completed on a first come, first served basis.
It was brought to our attention that a client who visited the office later tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the leadership team made the decision to close until further notice.
We are monitoring the situation daily. Decisions are being made based on the most current information available and our policies and response to this situation are subject to change without notice. Our concern is for the health and safety of staff and clients.
The team will continue to assess the situation and will make a decision as to when we feel it is safe to reopen the office.
Please check our website and social media pages for additional information.
If you are a housing client: Please note that cases and files are not being processed until it is safe for staff to return to the office. Paperwork can still be submitted and we will resume processing when we return. For more information on program and contact information, please visit: http://www.rcapsolutions.org/closing.
This message is regarding our Worcester Office Only and does not affect our Community Resources Services or Staff.
We appreciate your attention and apologize for any inconvenience it may cause.
Thank you. Be safe and be well everyone.
*Due to the constantly evolving COVID-19 crisis this announcement may be subject to change without notice.
RCAP Solutions is Closed to the Public Until Further Notice.*
This decision was made with an abundance of caution and in the interest of protecting the health and safety of our staff and clients. During this time, the office will not be open to the public for face to face meetings. There will be no RAFT hours for onsite intakes, housing workshops, first time homebuyer classes or any in-person meetings during this time. In order to continue to serve our clients to the best of our ability, staff will still be available via email, phone, and fax.
Please note: Email is the best means of contact for quicker response.
- Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC): Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), First Time Home Buyer Counseling and Education, or other housing counseling assistance, please email: HCEC@rcapsolutions.org, documents can be faxed to: 508.365.6008.
- HomeBase and SafeStep Clients: Please contact your case workers directly.
Additional housing information can be found here: http://www.rcapsolutions.org/individual-and-family-resources/.
Our phone number is: 800.488.1969 and staff is available Monday – Friday from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM.
The Worcester office is closed from 12 – 1 PM each day for lunch.
Senior/Disabled & Family Housing:
- Senior, Disabled & Family Housing Applications can be found here: http://www.rcapsolutions.org/housing-applications, documents can be faxed to: 978.630.2751.
- All RCAP Solutions’ managed communities are closed to the public at this time. Access is limited to caregivers and aides, and essential visitors, defined as those bringing necessary supplies, groceries and medications to a resident, as well as property operations.
- We strongly recommend Residents:
-Remain on campus and not visit public places;
-Maintain social distancing (at least 6 feet) at all times.
- Technical Assistance Providers are available for phone and remote web-based meetings. Staff travel to meetings is postponed during this time period and any previously scheduled face to face meetings will now be conducted remotely.
- Updates will be provided for training and workshops scheduled in all our states and territories, with either links for online workshops or postponement plans. Our National partner is negotiating Training Contact Hours for web-based training vs. the required in-person training and we will communicate when we have more information.
We appreciate your attention and support of this temporary precaution and apologize for any inconvenience it may cause.
*Subject to change without notice due to rapidly changing environment.