A Successful Partnership Gets Results!

Bottled water in storage. Hubbardston House was spending $350/month to provide bottled water to its 36 residents.

A Successful Partnership Gets Results! The Do Not Drink Order Lifted at Hubbardston House

Hubbardston House Apartments is a beautiful 36-unit, elderly and disabled residential home set in the rural central Massachusetts Town of Hubbardston and managed by RCAP Solutions. The affordable housing complex experienced a nitrate contamination issue with their drinking water and was issued a “Do Not Drink Order” from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

The Hubbardston House Apartments Property Manager, Elizabeth Tatro met with residents to explain the situation. “Our residents were able to bathe, cook and wash with the water, just not drink,” she explained. “We reminded the residents each month in our newsletter and with posted announcements.”

Residents were mindful not to drink the water and were provided with a bottled water dispenser and free bottled water in each unit. Because of the high acidic levels causing corrosion, the water was a blue/green tinge, which caused the sinks, toilets and tubs to stain and residents were advised not to wash light colored clothes as they could become stained.

A team of technical specialists led by Jim Starbard, Massachusetts State Lead for the Rural Community Development Division at RCAP Solutions with extensive background in water and environmental issues worked with the Property Management at Hubbardston House. “We were able to identify the contamination source by fully evaluating the property’s on-site wastewater treatment system,” he explained. “We discovered that the system was not installed as designed.”

Under Construction: Water tanks are installed during the onsite wastewater system upgrade.

The team oversaw the construction of the on-site wastewater system and since that repair, the Nitrate levels have abated to levels acceptable under state drinking water standards. “Our team also helped property management with a variety of compliance issues including previous sanitary survey consent orders,” continued Starbard. “Finally, we provided long-term planning for the community’s drinking water system, to ensure continued compliance and long-term sustainability.”

“I really appreciated Jim’s expertise, he always knew the best course of action for us to take with every situation,” commented Tatro.

The residents were recently notified that the do not drink order had been lifted and that the water was completely safe to drink. While the announcement was met with cautious optimism and many questions, the residents are happy to be able to drink the water again and fully utilize nature’s most valuable resource.

“It is just such a relief, having the do not drink order lifted,” commented Tatro. “As a leasing agent for the property I would be showing potential residents this beautiful facility with all these wonderful amenities and would then have to tell them that they can’t drink the water. It was frustrating.”

Because Hubbardston House is considered a public water system; an entity that provides water for human consumption through pipes or other constructed conveyances to at least 25 people, the property manager will continue to test the water levels each month to ensure that it’s meeting all the necessary requirements and is safe for public consumption.

Sister Katherine Byrne’s 100th Birthday

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RCAP Solutions celebrated the 100th birthday of Sister Katherine Byrne, a resident of Hubbardston House Apartments.

The festive Irish event was attended by residents of the property, RCAP staff, and members of St. Patrick’s Parish in Rutland and included a corned beef and cabbage luncheon, hosted by the Hubbardston House Activities Committee, followed by traditional Irish music, cake and the 100th Birthday celebration for Sister Katherine Byrne.

RCAP Solutions manages over 300 affordable apartments for the elderly, disabled, and families in Athol, Bolton, Groton, Hubbardston, Northbridge, Townsend, Webster and Worcester. Hubbardston House Apartments is a senior and disabled housing complex providing 36 smoke free units to individuals aged 62 or older or with a mobility impairment.

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. For more information, please visit www.rcapsolutions.org.

Slater Estates

Applications are now being accepted for Slater Estates, 96 Slater Street, Webster, MA

SlaterEstates2-Brochure

  • LOW Waitlist
  • On-site Management
  • On-call Maintenance
  • On-site Resident Service Coordinator
  • On-site Laundry and Mail
  • Fully applianced kitchens
  • Resident & guest parking

 

Do You Qualify?
• Applicants must be 62 years of age or older, OR if under 62, mobility impaired requiring the features of an accessible unit, AND
• Must be income-eligible and meet HUD established income guidelines.

For More Information/Application:
Contact Management at (508) 943-9897, TTY (978) 630-6754

Click here for full flyer

Ten Reasons to Contribute to RCAP Solutions:

give
 With ten days left until the end of the fiscal year, we ask you to consider

Ten Reasons to Contribute to RCAP Solutions:

10. Because you care about safe, clean drinking water. Well before Flint, Michigan made headlines, RCAP Solutions has provided technical assistance and training to help small, rural communities throughout the northeast and Puerto Rico address their drinking water, wastewater, and other community development needs.

9. Because you care about families at risk of homelessness. Each night, approximately 4,000 families with children and pregnant women sleep in shelters or hotels. This does not include families who are doubled up, living in unsafe conditions, or sleeping in their cars. RCAP Solutions offers assistance to help families in crisis and those going off public assistance, including homelessness prevention counseling, financial literacy counseling, financial and housing assistance and other supportive services.

8. Because you care about seniors. Long before Baby Boomers began turning 65, RCAP Solutions has offered an array of elder service programs which can assist our aging population and those who are disabled to remain safely and affordably in their homes and communities.

7. Because you care about domestic violence survivors. Abuse victims often flee their homes and become homeless in search of safety and better lives for themselves and their family. RCAP Solutions provides housing, counseling, education and employment opportunities needed to support families and establish their independence as a domestic violence survivor.

6. Because you care about affordable housing. Much before skyrocketing rates and housing bubbles, RCAP Solutions began providing programs to assist tenants in paying for their rent as well as managing properties in order to provide safe, affordable housing for the elderly, disabled and families throughout Worcester County.

5. Because you care about veterans. Many veterans live with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. Additionally, military occupations and training are not always transferable to the civilian workforce, placing veterans at increased risk for homelessness. RCAP Solutions offers a supportive housing program for homeless Veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

4. Because you care about people with disabilities. Nearly 1 in 5 people in America have a disability. RCAP Solutions offers several programs which can assist people with disabilities to remain in their homes, including a home modification loan program, special rental assistance programs and client service programs for our housing residents.

3. Because you care about your community and the people in it. As an advocate for affordable housing, clean water and keeping our local families and communities safe and healthy, RCAP Solutions provides housing, educational, financial and technical programs for Worcester County. From the youngest to the eldest citizens, we care about those that are most vulnerable within our communities.

2. Because you believe in second chances. RCAP Solutions‘ mission begins with the words “to foster personal and public self-reliance”. We don’t provide handouts, but offer supportive programs and services to those who need it most.

1. Because you care about how your money is spent. As a careful recipient of your tax dollars, RCAP Solutions has always turned funds that come to the organization directly into service for others. While some of our grants include administrative and operating fees, our last three audits showed that less than 10% of our total budget is spent on administrative costs. RCAP Solutions is a 501(c)3 organization and donations are tax deductible. No matter what the size of the donation, it will help to fund our programs that support individuals, families and communities.

Contribute to RCAP Solutions.

Because you care about providing Resources to Communities And People.

We thank you for your generosity and support.

Please click here to make a donation today.

Thank you!

 

Case Study – Nitrate Contamination Causes Identification and Abatement

By James P. Starbard M.S., REHS/RS, Program Resource Specialist, RCAP Solutions5538107e1c883.image

RCAP Solutions was contacted by the Property Manager of a U.S. Housing and Urban Development owned property which houses elderly and disabled individuals. The Property Manager had just received a “Do Not Drink Order” from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health due to high nitrate levels and was seeking RCAP Solutions Assistance.

RCAP Solutions Specialists met with the community’s Property Manager and reviewed the Do Not Drink Order and the requirements set forth in it, one being that a Title 5 Inspection (septic system inspection) be performed. The RCAP Solutions Specialist is a licensed Title 5 Inspector and agreed to do the inspection for the community. The initial septic inspection found no visual signs of failure or malfunction including the septic tanks and the leach field area. During this inspection it was also noted that the community had no room to move infrastructure as they did not own their whole Zone 1, the wastewater components including the leach field are in the Zone 1 and many wetland/surface water features surround the community.

Not seeing any issues visually, the investigation of the septic system continued with the pumping of all septic tanks and inspection of them empty. Again, no cracks or voids were witnessed and a cause of the nitrate spikes remained a mystery. Exploring the possibility that the wellhead may be compromised leading to the nitrate spike a camera inspection was performed and showed so issues.

Focusing back on the septic system, all wastewater pipes were inspected using a camera, again no pipe breaks were witnessed. One wastewater pipe of greatest concern ran within 30 ft. of the wellhead and was pressure tested, holding a constant pressure for fifteen minutes indicating no issues.

Spring came to Massachusetts and the snow melted, revealing a sign of septic failure in one of the leach field trenches. The trench in question was already green and all the land around it was still dormant, showing that the trench had failed.

The community hired an Engineer and working with a septic system contractor and the RCAP Solutions Specialist the leach field was uncovered for inspection. It was discovered that the leach field was not installed according to the engineer plans and did not meet Massachusetts codes past or present. As a result, the septic trench showing failure was receiving 80% of the wastewater flow while the other 9 septic trenches received little to none.

The septic system leach field was repaired to meet the specifications of the original as-build plan and tested to ensure equal flow to each of the septic trenches. The failing septic trench was turned off by installing a valve and was given time for the soil to regenerate as planned.

In the coming months the community saw a dramatic drop in nitrate levels in their drinking water from a high of 23.1 mg/l before the septic repairs to a low of 4.9 mg/l leading to a brief lifting of the “Do Not Drink Order” by the MASS DEP. However, at some points the nitrate levels fluctuate almost seasonably and sometimes exceed the 10 mg/l threshold, leading to the “Do Not Drink Order” being re-implemented. The failing septic trench was turned back after a number of months off and is working as designed showing the soil did indeed regenerate itself.

Currently RCAP Solutions Specialists are working with the community on options for either Nitrogen Reduction Treatment retrofitting of the septic system or filtering treatment in the drinking water system to bring nitrate levels permanently below 10 mg/l, as all infrastructure in place appears to be working as designed and relocation of components is not feasible due to land constraints.

Investigation of a drinking water contamination issue like nitrate without a clear cause and effect involves a lot of monitoring and exploration. At no time was any bacteria contamination found during weekly water quality samples despite the evidence that the septic system did have an effect on Nitrate levels. All of this work was done under the oversight and approval of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the local Board of Health.

Apartments Available

HubbardstonHouse1Brochure-PApplications are now being accepted for Studio apartments at Hubbardston House Apartments, 1 Old Princeton Road Cut-Off, Hubbardston, MA.

Applicants must be 62 years of age or older, or if under 62, mobility impaired requiring the features of an accessible unit and must be income-eligible and meet HUD established income guidelines.

For more information or an application, contact our property management office at 978.928.5922. TY 978.630.6754.

Click here for our full flyer:  Studio Flyer_Hubbardston_June2015

Click here for our housing application: Application – Hubbardston House Apt.

Studio Apartments Available

SlaterEstates2-BrochureApplications are now being accepted for Studio and One-Bedroom apartments at Slater Estates, 96 Slater St., Webster, MA.

Applicants must be 62 years of age or older, or if under 62, mobility impaired requiring the features of an accessible unit and must be income-eligible and meet HUD established income guidelines.

For more information or an application, contact our property management office at 508.943.9897. TY 978.630.6754.

Click here for our full flyer: Studio Flyer_SlaterMAR2015

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

Now Renting One Bedroom & Studio Apartments

Settle into your new home!

RCAP Solutions is now renting studio & one bedroom apartments!

HubbardstonHouse1Brochure-P

Hubbardston House

Hubbardston House Apartments - 1 Old Princeton Road Cut-Off, Hubbardston, Ma (click link for brochure)

Bolton Country Manor - 600 Main Street, Bolton, Ma (click link for brochure)

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Bolton Country Manor

Beautiful, spacious Studio & One Bedroom Apartments for Adults 62 years and over or mobility impaired (in Hubbardston House only) that meet HUD eligibility income guidelines.

Rents are based on 30% of adjusted gross income, if eligible.  Newly remodeled with modern appliances and carpeting.  On-site laundry facilities, emergency call system, community room, on call maintenance and parking on site.  Small pets are welcome.

For more information call: 

Hubbardston House:  (978) 928-5922

Bolton Country Manor: (978) 779-5007

TTY: (978) 630-6754

Property Applications can be found here:  http://www.rcapsolutions.org/rcap-property-applications/

Understanding the Challenges and Solutions to Aging in Place

001_seniorsThe following is from a featured article in PD&R EDGE NEWS, an online publication from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development:

Over the next 40 years, the population of Americans over age 65 is expected to double from 40 to 80 million, and the population over age 85 is expected to more than triple from 6 to 20 million. Complicating these demographic trends is the desire of most elderly Americans to “age in place,” or stay in their own homes and communities as they age. On January 9, 2013, HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research convened a panel of experts to discuss these looming demographic changes, their implications for American society, and models that enable elderly Americans to access the services necessary to successfully age in place.

An important context for the discussion was provided by panelist and former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, who, like many Americans, approaches the subject through the lens of his own experiences with his parents. “My mother is 89 years old and lives in the home she and my dad bought 2 years before I was born,” said Cisneros. After some time spent in a nursing facility, his mother’s return home was accompanied by an “almost a palpable expression of peace and joy as she walked through the house.” For most Americans, the prospect of aging in place is not an esoteric policy discussion; instead, it strikes an intensely personal chord, touching on life, death, and the importance of family. Given the visceral connection most of us have to our homes and communities, institutions at the local, state, and the federal levels must tackle the challenges of our nation’s aging population and develop solutions that permit people to comfortably age in place.

Obstacles to Aging in Place

Although most Americans want to age in place, the reality, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services senior policy analyst James Toews, is that too many individuals enter long-term care institutions unnecessarily or prematurely. Homes and communities frequently are not designed to address the needs of seniors. Many seniors need assistance performing activities of daily living and live in environments that do not accommodate their functional limitations.

Following a catastrophic health event, 25 percent of elderly Americans who temporarily enter a nursing home will find it too difficult to leave. Toews identifies caregiver burnout as one of the primary barriers to aging at home — in the United States, family members provide about 85 percent of all caregiving. These family members may be unable or ill-equipped to provide the complex medical procedures their elderly relatives need, and the medical community offers them little support. In fact, this lack of support is a more significant factor in caregiver burnout than the complexity of the procedures.

RCAP Solutions provides a comprehensive array of elder service programs which can assist our aging population and those who are disabled.  Our Home Modification Loan Program provides financing to disabled persons and their families, enabling individuals to remain independent and make structural improvements affecting the safety of individuals and caregivers.  For more information, please click here.

To see the entire article please click here.