Important information about COVID-19 from the RCAP Solutions USVI team

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.

Sincerely,

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

Información importante sobre COVID-19 del equipo de RCAP Solutions Puerto Rico

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.

Sinceramente,

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

Worcester Office is Closed

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 Closed to the Public

RCAP Solutions will be Closed to the Public Until Monday, May 4, 2020*

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 Programs:

  • 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 non-essential visitors 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;
    -Prohibit family/friends who have recently traveled or are ill with possible symptoms of COVID-19;
    -Maintain social distancing (at least 6 feet) at all times.

Community Resources:

  • 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.

RCAP Solutions Welcomes Kathy Rodgers to Maine Team

Kathy Rodgers joined RCAP Solutions as Maine’s newest technical assistance provider.  Ms. Rodgers’ work in the water industry over the last fifteen years has cultivated a solid understanding of small community water and wastewater system challenges and needs.

“Ms. Rodgers is a great compliment to our team of professionals,” said Art Astarita, RCAP Solutions Maine State Lead. “I believe it is critical for our technical assistance providers to be able to draw on their experience to help ensure the success of our region. Kathy’s invaluable skills and expertise will make a difference in communities that need vital assistance with their drinking water and wastewater systems.”

Kathy Rodgers earned a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL.  Kathy holds water treatment and distribution licenses in multiple states.  She is experienced in root cause analysis and solution development, board trainings, funding applications, strategic planning, and drinking water operations. Kathy’s full bio can be found here.

RCAP Solutions, Inc., Community Resource Division’s committed staff works hand in hand with community leaders and homeowners to incorporate the best tools and resources suited to protect public health and the environment while progressing towards financial sustainability and improved quality of life.   RCAP Solutions Maine field offices are home to a dedicated team of staff members living and working in the Maine communities in which they serve.

About RCAP Solutions:

Established in 1969, RCAP Solutions mission is to foster personal and public self-reliance and improve the quality of life for individuals, families and the communities in which they live.  RCAP Solutions is a comprehensive nonprofit community development corporation that works with communities of all sizes to address a broad range of needs including community resources; real estate services; client resources, advocacy and housing programs; financial services and education and training.  RCAP Solutions is part of a coordinated nationwide network with an integrated, multi-faceted approach to delivering high-quality services customized to each community’s unique requirements.  For more information, please visit www.rcapsolutions.org.

First Time HomeBuyer Certification Workshop Series

RCAP Solutions Housing Consumer Education Center Hosts First Time HomeBuyer Certification Workshop Series

 Curriculum designed to create smart and savvy homebuyers

(Worcester, Mass., November 27, 2019) – RCAP Solutions is pleased to offer a three-day workshop in December to support and educate future homebuyers on purchasing and maintaining a home. The First Time Homebuyer Workshop will take place on December 10, 11 and 12 from 5:30 – 8:30 PM at RCAP’s new headquarters and training center, located at 191 May Street, Worcester.

In this Mass Housing approved, HUD and CHAPA certified workshop, attendees will learn about programs available to assist first time homebuyers; understand the steps in the homebuying process; meet with professionals who will discuss what to look for in a homebuying team; and receive the necessary certification required by many first time homebuyer programs.

Please note, attendance is required at all three days of the workshop per HUD guidelines. The cost to attend this workshop is $100 for the first individual, with an added $35 charge for each additional attendee.

To register please visit: http://bit.ly/FTHBDec19. For additional information, please contact Jonathan Marien, Senior Housing and Consumer Education Manager at FTHB@rcapsolutions.org or call 978.630.6734.

RCAP Solutions’ Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) offers answers to a wide range of questions about housing issues. Tenants, landlords, prospective buyers and homeowners can access information designed to maximize housing stability, strengthen investments and minimize disputes. RCAP Solutions is one of nine member agencies in the statewide Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts, offering housing assistance, services, and information to low-and moderate-income residents of Massachusetts.

About RCAP Solutions:
Established in 1969 as Rural Housing Improvement, RCAP Solutions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to foster personal and public self-reliance and improve the quality of life for individuals, families and the communities in which they live. RCAP Solutions is an integrated community development organization serving the rural northeast, Caribbean, and Worcester county region for housing assistance. RCAP Solutions is the Worcester County affiliate of The Regional Housing Network (RHN) of Massachusetts and the Northeast affiliate of the national Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) Network based in Washington D.C.

More Than 2M Americans Living Without Access to Running Water & Sanitation Services

New Report Reveals More Than 2 Million Americans Living Without Access to Running Water and Sanitation Services
Report by DigDeep and US Water Alliance Unveils America’s Hidden Water Crisis

November 19, 2019 – Washington, DC – Two national non-profit groups, DigDeep and the US Water Alliance, released a new report, “Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan,” which included the Rural Community Assistance Partnership’s (RCAP’s) unique perspective from working with small, often disadvantaged, rural communities across the United States and Puerto Rico. While most Americans take reliable access to clean, safe water for granted, this new nationwide study found that more than two million Americans are living without running water, indoor plumbing, or wastewater treatment.

On the Navajo Nation in the Southwest, families drive for hours to haul barrels of water to meet their basic needs. In West Virginia, they drink from polluted streams. In Alabama, parents warn their children not to play outside because their yards are flooded with sewage. Families living in Texas border towns worry because there is no running water to fight fires.

Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States is the most comprehensive national study on the more than two million Americans who lack access to water service. The report fills an important knowledge gap: there is no one entity—whether a federal agency or research institution—that collects comprehensive data on the scope of the United States water access problem.

The report’s authors, with researchers from Michigan State University, examine six areas where the water access gap is particularly acute: the Central Valley of California, border colonias in Texas, rural counties in Mississippi and Alabama, rural West Virginia, the “four corners” area in the Southwest, and Puerto Rico. Researchers spoke to families living without water and captured their stories of poor health and economic hardship. The authors also spoke to local community leaders working to solve the water crisis by distributing water, building community-centered water projects where no infrastructure exists, and advocating for policy change to bring more reliable services to rural and unincorporated communities. Despite these community efforts, data suggests that some communities may be backsliding; six states and Puerto Rico saw recent increases in their populations without water access.

The report contains contributions from Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) network members from across the country, including research and policy perspectives from the national office in Washington, D.C., as well as perspectives on-the-ground from RCAP regional partners including RCAP Solutions (the Northeastern RCAP,) Communities Unlimited (the Southern RCAP,) Great Lakes Community Action Partnership (the Great Lakes RCAP) and Rural Community Assistance Corporation (the Western RCAP).

“Working with rural communities, we see the negative effects families face when their access to clean and safe water is threatened,” said RCAP CEO Nathan Ohle. “As members of the US Water Alliance, we vow to partake in these solutions to help close the water gap in America as quickly as possible, so rural communities can continue to thrive.”

George McGraw, Founder, DigDeep, said: “Over the past few years, DigDeep has brought running water to hundreds of families on the Navajo Nation, but now we’ve learned this hardship is shared by millions of Americans across the country. To live daily without reliable drinking water and with untreated sewage are conditions more frequently associated with impoverished nations, but it’s happening in our own backyards. With all the resources being leveraged to solve the water and sanitation crisis abroad, I have no doubt we can close the water gap in America quickly if we redouble our efforts.”

Radhika Fox, CEO, US Water Alliance, said: “It’s hard to imagine that in America today, people are living without basics like safe and reliable water service. While the challenges are daunting, this report presents a national action plan to close the water access gap in our lifetime. From the Central Valley to the Navajo nation, there are community-centered solutions that are working. Now is the time to build upon these innovations and ensure every American can thrive.”

The report makes several recommendations to help close the water gap in the United States. Recommendations include re-introducing Census questions about whether homes have working taps and toilets, as well as changes to how the federal government funds and regulates water systems to support rural and unincorporated areas. There are also several recommendations for the philanthropic and global WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) sectors to drive community empowerment, deploy innovative technologies, and apply successful WASH models from abroad here in the United States.

Read the full report at closethewatergap.org.
###
Media Contact:
Kinsey Brown, RCAP Communications Manager
(202) 800-4127
kbrown@rcap.org
www.rcap.org

RCAP Solutions is on the Move!

We are expanding into our new headquarters, the home of the Northeast Rural Community Assistance Partnership and the Worcester County Housing Consumer Education Center located at: 191 May Street, Worcester, MA 01602

Our Administrative Office in Gardner will be closed from Monday, October 21 through Friday, October 25, 2019.

We will reopen on Monday, October 28, 2019 at our new address, 191 May Street, Worcester, MA 01602

We do not anticipate an interruption of service during this time. Our phone numbers will remain the same and limited staff will be available via phone and email during this period.

Our phone number, 800.488.1969, extensions and email addresses will remain the same.

Please update your contacts with our new address.

We look forward to seeing you at our new location.

For full press release announcement, click here: http://bit.ly/RCAPMove

RCAP Solutions Receives USDA Disaster Assistance Funds for Puerto Rico Communities Affected by Hurricane Maria

Contact: Maegen McCaffrey, RCAP Solutions

978-630-6714, mmccaffrey@rcapsolutions.org

Washington, DC (September 10, 2019) – The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) and our northeastern regional partner RCAP Solutions is pleased to announce the receipt of disaster assistance funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for three rural communities in Puerto Rico. These communities were badly affected by Hurricane Maria in September 2017.

The communities receiving assistance are: Acuedouctos Barrio Guayabota Yabucoa, Inc.; Pozo de Agua, Inc.; and Comunidad Sector Los Gomez, Inc. The three communities combined received $169,571 in federal assistance from USDA.

“2017’s Hurricane Maria created a monumental shift in how we think about disaster recovery,” said Karen A. Koller, RCAP Solutions President and CEO. “We were fortunate to have the first boots on the ground as our organization worked around the clock to assist communities and assess the tremendous damage done to Puerto Rico’s small water systems. We applaud the USDA for providing the necessary resources for the revitalization and rebuilding of the Island. Access to safe and clean drinking water will only become more important as we see continued climate change. Creating sustainability for the long term in the Caribbean will continue to be an ongoing priority for our team, who lives and breathes their vitally important work at RCAP Solutions.”

Acueductos Barrio Guayabota Yabucoa is in Yabucoa, the eastern region of Puerto Rico. This water system serves 600 families, and several small businesses and community organizations. The water system is still severely affected by Maria and without power. The funding they received will provide generators and lab equipment needed for the system to increase compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

Pozo de Aqua is in Caguas, the central mountain range of Puerto Rico, and provides drinking water to approximately 183 families. The water system needs extensive repairs from damages caused by Maria. The funding they received will replace pipes, wells and other equipment and help prepare the system for any future disaster.

Comunidad Sector Los Gomez is in the central eastern part of Puerto Rico. Prior to Hurricane Maria, the system provided drinking water to 60 families, but the system lost power for six months following the disaster. The USDA funding will allow the community to replace damaged equipment and purchase a new generator. Because Maria damaged the water tank and well, the community is planning a second phase of funding to evaluate soil conditions to determine if next steps are needed to ensure the system is safe for all citizens.

“Even before Hurricanes Irma and Maria came through Puerto Rico, our team has been working with some of the smallest, most remote areas across the island. The tremendous support that our team in Puerto Rico provided to these communities was critical in securing these funds for three of the island’s hardest hit and lowest capacity areas,” said RCAP CEO Nathan Ohle. “The success each community had in securing these funds is exactly the reason the RCAP network is working to build capacity in small communities across the country and is a testament to the incredible work the team at our partner RCAP Solutions is accomplishing every day.”

About RCAP:
RCAP is a network of nonprofit organizations working to ensure rural and small communities throughout the United States have increased capacity to drive access to safe drinking water, sanitary wastewater, economic development and disaster recovery that leads to economic prosperity. To learn more about this work visit: rcap.org.

About RCAP Solutions:
Established in 1969 as Rural Housing Improvement, RCAP Solutions’ mission is to foster personal and public self-reliance and improve the quality of life for individuals, families and the communities in which they live. RCAP Solutions is an integrated community development organization serving the rural northeast, Caribbean, and Worcester county region for housing assistance. RCAP Solutions is the Worcester County affiliate of The Regional Housing Network (RHN) of Massachusetts and the Northeast affiliate of the national Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) Network based in Washington D.C.

Exciting News! Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program

We are so excited to share that RCAP Solutions has been selected to be a part of the Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program, which is designed to make it easy for customers to contribute to their local community while supporting the environment.

For the month of September, each time a $2.50 reusable Community Bag is purchased at the Hannaford located at 21 Timpany Blvd, Gardner, MA 01440, $1 will be donated to RCAP Solutions. This is a great way to raise awareness, support the environment and fundraise for our cause.

Let’s get started! We can begin by spreading the news to our friends and family. Call, send emails, and post on social media. The more people who learn about the program and purchase the Community Bag during the month of September, the more money we will raise.

To learn more about this program, please visit hannaford.bags4mycause.com.