One Month Till We’re Gone to the Birds!

Today marks ONE MONTH until the Gone to the Birds Gala! And the Birdhouse Auction items keep rolling in…As of today, we have 117 items in house. We hope you are as excited as we are, it should be a fantastic event! Don’t wait, purchase your tickets today! http://www.rcapsolutions.org/register/

The Stone Birdhouse

Now that we are counting down these last few weeks until the Gone to the Birds Gala, we will highlight several birdhouses and works of art per day, so you can preview all of the amazing pieces that will be featured in the Birdhouse Auction in support of Homelessness Prevention!

“The Stone Birdhouse” created by Christopher Camosse, General Manager of Camosse Masonry Supply in Worcester. This unique (and heavy!) work of art was created using reclaimed stone and brick to create a birdhouse that will last a lifetime.

The Hidden Cost of Suburban Poverty

During April 2014, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston conducted its semiannual New England Community Outlook Survey. The survey covered topics ranging from the availability of credit for small businesses to emerging issues facing lower-income communities; this time the survey also included three questions specific to issues affecting suburban lower-income communities.  New England’s population is split between rural areas, small metropolitan areas, urban centers, and suburban areas surrounding the urban centers. In the past, due to the urban bias of respondents, many New England Community Outlook Survey reports focused on the lower- and moderate-income urban experience. In January 2014, the survey was revised somewhat to shed light on the challenges facing New England’s rural communities, and this report focuses on low- and moderate-income households that till now haven’t been widely acknowledged as living within New England’s suburban communities.  

factoid1-cropStruggling suburban families are emerging from anonymity.  In April 2014, a Boston Globe article looked at emerging food stamp usage in the gentrifying town of Bristol, Rhode Island, New Hampshire Business Magazine devoted its June 2014 cover story to the working poor, and the August 2014 issue of National Geographic Magazine highlighted the “The New Face of Hunger.”

Roughly 1.8 million of the people living in New England’s suburban communities have experienced poverty in the last 12 months; more than 125,000 of them are children under the age of five.  Equally startling is the fact that 25.3% of New England’s suburban households currently receive food stamps.

All too often, low- and moderate-income (LMI) families live in suburban neighborhoods that are replete with wealth but devoid of the social service networks available to urban families in need.    This New England Community Outlook Survey Report tries to shine light on the challenges they face, with a particular focus on Connecticut.

With much of its population dispersed among the largest cities, Connecticut presented a unique opportunity to examine a largely suburban state with a relatively high median family income, in which many lower-income families seemingly “are lost in the suburbs.”  We looked at two specific metropolitan areas in Connecticut – Hartford and New Haven – where lower-income suburban families are struggling to cope with the high cost of affordable child care and making sacrifices to pay for the daily commute to work, both of which pose a risk to household financial stability.  It is worth noting, however, that the challenges described could apply to any suburban neighborhood in New England.

We encourage you to review the Report and share it with those who might have an interest.

 

Federal Report on Housing, Transportation and Economic Growth

report coverRCAP Solutions staff provided Technical Assistance to one of these projects in Washington County, Maine through a small national sub-agreement. These types of collaboration efforts reduce duplication of services.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 7, 2014

Federal Report Highlights Five Years of Progress Providing Communities with Affordable Housing, Efficient Transportation and Economic Growth

WASHINGTON – In celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released “Five Years of Learning from Communities and Coordinating Federal Investments,” a report demonstrating how the three agencies are cooperating to help communities provide more housing choices, make transportation systems more efficient and reliable, and create vibrant neighborhoods that attract business development and jobs while protecting the environment.

“The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is about achieving one goal: expanding opportunity for American families,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “These targeted investments are bringing more affordable housing and transportation options, and more economic resilience to regions that were hard hit by the economic crisis. In partnership with local leaders, I am convinced that the investments our agencies have made will enhance the health and wealth of communities for decades to come.”

“The Partnership is helping us align our transportation investments with the goals of providing affordable housing and preserving the environment,” said DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Together with HUD and EPA, we are making fundamental changes in how we work together to benefit all Americans and provide new ladders of opportunity for many.”
“Communities know better than anyone else what they need,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, we at the federal level are organizing ourselves to give communities tools to address economic and environmental challenges in the way that works best for them.”

Since 2009, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities has been working to ensure that HUD, DOT, EPA and other federal agency investments better serve communities that were hard hit by the economic recession. Through its efforts, more than $4 billion has been awarded to 1,000 communities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. In addition to funding, many communities have also received technical assistance to help plan economic development and leverage private and other public resources to maximize the Partnership’s investments. For example:

  • Partnership-funded regional planning efforts in New York and New Jersey laid a strong foundation for recovery from Superstorm Sandy because communities in the region had already been collaborating on development issues.
  • Partnership grants helped Memphis, Tenn., create a master plan for redeveloping the area around its airport, as well as develop a plan to improve bike and pedestrian paths and spur revitalization in a midtown neighborhood.
  • Partnership funding helped the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota develop a regional plan to define the community’s future. It could be a model for other rural Native American communities as well.

The Partnership for Sustainable Communities has also fundamentally changed the way that HUD, EPA and DOT evaluate and award competitive grants and technical assistance. The three agencies collaborate to review and select applications for many grants and technical assistance opportunities, such as DOT’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grants, HUD’s Community Challenge Grants, and EPA’s Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grants. This collaboration ensures that federal investments maximize resources for communities.

To download the report: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/pdf/partnership-accomplishments-report-2014.pdf

45 Days ’till we’re Gone to the Birds!

45 days till Gala

It’s only 45 days until The Gone to the Birds Gala and Birdhouse Auction!

As we count down the days to our 45th Anniversary Celebration, we will provide you with RCAP trivia, testimonials and spotlight the artists that have contiributed to our exciting Birdhouse Auction, so please check in with us regularly…  It should be a fun-filled 45 days!

Visit www.rcapsolutions.org/gonetothebirds/ for more information about the Gala, artists, sponsors, tickets, etc.

It will be an event to remember!

 

RCAP Fact #1:

Last year, we serviced 10,210 families through rental assistance, homelessness prevention initiatives, self sufficiency programs and Housing Consumer Education Center services.

That’s almost 28 families per day!

Worcester Bravehearts Letter to the Editor

braveheartsbirds

Friday, July 11, 2014

Worcester Telegram & Gazette

To the Editor:

On behalf of everyone at RCAP Solutions, I would like to thank the Worcester Bravehearts, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and the residents of Worcester for their generosity and support for our recent “Gone to the Birds Night” at Hanover Insurance Park.

The event, coupled with the Worcester Chamber’s Business After Hours event, featured the first-ever Bravehearts jersey auction and a special birdhouse raffle which raised over $2,200 for homelessness prevention initiatives throughout Worcester Country.

We will not soon forget the excitement on the faces of the children at the game as the players signed their jerseys. The entire night was a wonderful and gratifying experience that made us proud to a part of the community we serve!

Special thanks also go out to the incredible Bravehearts staff, Cheryl Hughes of Clinton for the birdhouse donation and artist Mark Waitkus of West Boylston for the signed Bravehearts print.

We thank the volunteers and those in the community who supported this fundraising initiative. The outstanding show of support proves that the people of the Worcester region stand with RCAP Solutions and our mission of fostering personal and public self-reliance and improving the quality of life for individuals and families in the communities where we live.

Most sincerely,

KAK Signature

Karen A. Koller, CAE

President & CEO, RCAP Solutions

Baseball Fever!

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This Thursday, July 10, The Worcester Bravehearts baseball team will be celebrating “Gone to the Birds Night” to help us promote our upcoming September fundraising event, the “Gone to the Birds Gala”.

On this special evening, the players will be wearing one of a kind white and purple jerseys, featuring the Gone to the Birds Logo, that game attendees can bid on. The winning bidders will take home a jersey autographed by their favorite player that night.

As a special treat, we will be giving away “Birds Eye View” a Boston Red Sox themed birdhouse, painted by popular local artist and gigantic BoSox fan, Cheryl Hughes of Leominster, Ma.

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Cheryl and her charismatic artwork are well known in the central Mass community.  She is the owner of the Tinker’s Cart Irish Gift Store in Clinton, a local retail shop that is known for importing quality Irish goods for almost 30 years.

Most recently, Cheryl started Tinker’s Cart Art, a social painting event, hosted at a variety of venues around central Massachusetts and Maine, allowing attendees to get together with friends to paint a featured work of art in just a couple of hours.

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Cheryl’s art nights have become incredibly popular and most nights sell out.  She has also hosted a several painting parties for local organizations to host fundraisers.

Cheryl participated in the Wachusett Chamber’s  regional AppleArt! program, painting three apples for the highly successful regional community art project.  Several of her works of art have been purchased for display at Clinton Hospital,  the UMass Cancer Center in Worcester and The Department of Pediatrics at MassGeneral for Children at North Shore Medical Center.

“Birds Eye View” will be on display during the July 10 Bravehearts game, when they take on the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks this Thursday at 7:05 PM.

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The only way to win this birdhouse is to text the word RCAP to 20222 using your cell phone.  One lucky participant will be randomly selected to win this awesome work of art. Participants may enter as many times as they wish.  A donation of $10 will be added to the participants phone bill or deducted from a prepaid balance for each text made.

All proceeds will support RCAP Solutions Homelessness prevention initiatives and families in Worcester County.

Nonprofit Awareness Day!

NP Awareness day

Today, on June 9, 2014, hundreds of nonprofit and business leaders, plus elected officials, come together to celebrate the work of the nonprofit sector and raise awareness of causes throughout the state.

Massachusetts was the first state in the country to have an annual Nonprofit Awareness Day, which was recognized and signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick in 2008.

Many Massachusetts residents don’t know the incredible impact nonprofits have on them each and every day. This is why RCAP Solutions is joining the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network to increase awareness of the impact and diversity of the thousands of nonprofits across the state.

 

Here is a snapshot of the impact RCAP Solutions had in 2013:

Housing & Homelessness Prevention:

10,201 - Families served through rental assistance, homelessness prevention, self sufficiency programs and educational services

6,630 - People served through our Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC)

5,937 - Home inspections performed

3,609 - Children received rental assistance

 

*Community Support:

$19,429,800 - Leveraged for communities for water, wastewater and other infrastructure projects

517 - Attended customized workshops & trainings

141 - Communities received technical assistance support

41 - Trainings & workshops performed

 

Lending:

$688,781 - Amount of Home Modification Loans provided to families for structural home improvements

26 - Number of loans administered for caregiving families in central Massachusetts

$205,000 - Value of small business loans given to support five local small businesses

25 - Number of jobs created or saved

 

Property Management:

3,935 - Number of services delivered to residents through Resident Service Coordinator program

430 - Number of people residing in RCAP Solutions ten managed properties

291 - Number of seniors (over 60)

93 - Handicapped or disabled residents

 

*Our Community Resources Program services the Northeastern part of the U.S.,  Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to promote public, environmental and economic health.

#nonprofitsmakesense

The State of Homelessness in America 2014

 

State of Homelessness

The State of Homelessness in America 2014 is the fourth in a series of reports that chart progress in ending homelessness in the United States.

It examines trends in homeless between 2012 and 20 13, trends in populations at-risk of homelessness from 2011 to 2012, trends in assistance available to persons experiencing homelessness, and es tablishes a baseline fr om which to measure  changes in the homeless assistance system enacted by the Homeless  Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act.

This report is intended to be a desk top reference for policymakers, journalists, and community and state leaders.

Chapter 1 presents national and state trends in homeless populations.

Chapter 2 examines trends in populations at-risk of homelessness.

Chapter 3 analyzes beds available to homeless persons and usage of those resources, and establishes a baseline from which to examine shifts from transitional housing t o rapid re-housing and permanent supportive housing.

This report uses the most recently available data from a variety of sources: the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Census Bureau, and the U .S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Report Highlights: 

On a single night in January 20 13,610,042 people were experiencing homelessness. From 2012 to 2013, a period of continued slow recovery from the Great Recession, overall homelessness decreased by 3.7 percent and homelessness decreased among every major subpopulation—families (7 percent), chronically homeless individuals (7.3 percent), and veterans (7.3 percent).

But nationwide trends do not t ell the full story:
• 31 states saw a decrease in homelessness, while 20 states saw increases in overall homelessness.
• The national rate of homelessness fell to 19 homeless persons per 10 ,000 people in the general population, but the r ate in individual states ranged from 106 in Washington, DC  to 8 in Mississippi.
• The rate of veteran homelessness fell to 27 homeless veterans per 10,000 veterans in the general population, but the rate in individual states ranged from 28 in Wyoming to 156 in Washington, DC.

You may download the full report by clicking here: State of Homelessness 2014

Enterprise Bank sponsoring Gone to the Birds Gala

enterprise bankWe are so pleased to have Enterprise Bank as a major sponsor of our upcoming Gone to the Birds Gala and Birdhouse Auction! Pictured below are Donna Manuel, Assistant Vice President & Branch Relationship Manager and Ray LaFond, Sr. Vice President & Commercial Lending Manager presenting a check for $2,500 to Karen A. Koller, RCAP Solutions President & CEO.

We could not be more grateful for the generous sponsors who have generously made donations to our upcoming event.

For more information about the Gone to the Birds Gala and Birdhouse Auction, including sponsorship information, please visit http://www.rcapsolutions.org/gonetothebirds/

May is Building Safety Month

icc-building-safety-month-2014

 

This May, FEMA is supporting the 34th Annual
(BSM) to promote the importance of high building standards, protecting the environment, and saving energy.

BSM is a public awareness campaign founded by the International Code Council (ICC). The campaign focuses on public outreach and education to increase the overall safety and sustainability of buildings through the adoption of model building codes and promotion of code enforcement. An array of theme-related community events, safety demonstrations, and educational outreach activities take place during BSM. The overarching theme of BSM is Building Safety: Maximizing Resilience, Minimizing Risks. This theme is supported by weekly building safety sub-themes:

For the fourth consecutive year, President Obama has proclaimed May as National Building Safety Month to underscore that safe building codes and standards have an essential role in decreasing the effects of disasters. As is articulated in Presidential Policy Directive/ PPD-8, National Preparedness, as well as PPD-21, Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, building safety, fire prevention, and energy codes and standards help achieve disaster resilience for our Nation.

Our Nation’s building safety, fire prevention, and energy codes and standards play a critical role in maintaining and ensuring the safety of our buildings and enable our Nation to better prepare, respond, recover, and mitigate from all hazards. Strong building safety, fire prevention, and energy codes and standards also puts the Nation in a better position to deal with future challenges, such as climate change. FEMA supports ICC’s BSM as it strives to help communities reduce the impacts of natural disasters by promoting the importance of high building standards, protecting the environment, and saving energy.

For more information on FEMA’s Building Science Branch, please visit http://www.fema.gov/building-science. For more information on Building Safety Month, visit www.buildingsafetymonth.org.

The RCAP Solutions inspections team performs almost 6,000 housing inspections per year, providing support to an array of families including low income families receiving rental assistance, those in shared housing as well as families participating in the home modification loan program. Our inspectors provide this service to ensure that our clients are provided safe, suitable, quality housing.