Central Mass COVID Funds for Mortgage & Rental Assistance

 

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 Greater Worcester Community Fund Grant (GWCFG) for Mortgage & Rental Assistance is provided by the Greater Worcester Community Foundation and supported by the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund to provide up to $4,000 of direct funding to eligible households.

The fund can assist with payments for rent or mortgage arrears accrued no earlier than April 1, 2020.

In order to be eligible, 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 press release: GWCFG Press Release

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.

RCAP Solutions Offering Funds to Assist Local Residents Experiencing Financial Hardship Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

(Worcester, MA) –  Solutions is pleased to offer two new financial assistance programs for Worcester County households impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Greater Worcester Community Fund Grant (GWCFG), is now available to provide funds to assist residents needing mortgage protection or rental assistance, in order to prevent homelessness.

GWCFG is funded by two grants totaling $408,500 provided by the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, supported by the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund, which supports those across the state most impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis, including the homeless and those at risk of homelessness.

The grants can provide up to $4,000 of direct funding to eligible individuals and households. Payments are focused on those who will be homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless due to rent or mortgage arrears and must demonstrate proof of financial hardship. In order to be eligible for GWCFG, a household must currently rent or own housing as a primary residence in Worcester county, have a gross household income that is between the 50% and 80% Area Median Income (AMI), and have a housing emergency due to financial adversity related to, or exacerbated by, the COVID-19 crisis.

“We are pleased to offer this new financial assistance program through the Greater Worcester Community Foundation to residents in Worcester County,” stated Karen A. Koller, President & CEO of RCAP Solutions. “This grant allows RCAP to fulfil its mission and support a wide range of households, with a variety of income levels. It is critical that citizens in Worcester County and across the Commonwealth sustain stable housing during this pandemic.”

Households can assess their eligibility by looking at the income levels for Worcester County, which can be found on our HCEC application page. We encourage individuals or families who think they may be eligible to reach out with questions or to apply, by visiting: http://www.rcapsolutions.org/hcec-application/ or call 800.488.1969, Monday – Friday, between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM. The office is closed between 12:00 and 1:00 PM each day. Documents can be emailed to HCEC@rcapsolutions.org or faxed to 508.365.6008. Please note, the office is closed to the public at this time and visits are by appointment only.

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, Inc.
RCAP Solutions is a thriving integrated community development corporation working with a multi-faceted suite of services and opportunities. 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.

Private Well Program Addresses Well Issues in North Central MA

RCAP SOLUTIONS LAUNCHING PRIVATE WELL PROGRAM TO ADDRESS WELL ISSUES & CONTAMINATION IN NORTH CENTRAL MASSACHUSETTS

 

Worcester, MA – RCAP Solutions is launching the North Central Massachusetts Private Well Program to address drinking water issues in the Northern Central Massachusetts area. The program will include complimentary assessments and testing to identify contamination, provide public education, and work with local Boards of Health and other partners to promote better public health and safety for households with private wells through local and statewide regulations.

RCAP Solutions is seeking local homeowners with private wells who are interested in learning more about the quality of their water and the condition of their wells. Unlike public drinking water systems, private wells do not have experts regularly checking the water’s source and its quality before it is sent to the tap. Households that use private wells should take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of their drinking water. Potential contaminants such as arsenic, radon, and uranium can have both short and long-term health impacts.

The RCAP staff will provide qualifying homeowners in the north central Massachusetts area with a free, on-site professional review of their well head and recharge area. The staff will adhere to strict social distancing practices to keep the homeowners safe during the coronavirus pandemic. The assessment will conclude with a complimentary water test from a state-certified lab, which otherwise can be a costly and time-consuming procedure. The water quality analysis will test for the following contaminants: Arsenic, Chloride, Copper, Fluoride, Hardness, Iron. Lead, Manganese, pH, Sodium, Coliform Bacteria, Nitrate/Nitrite, Radon, and Uranium. Interested homeowners can visit www.rcapsolutions.org/ma-private-wells for additional information.

The Central Massachusetts Private Well Program is a community partnership funded by a $196,150 Synergy Initiative planning grant from The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts. The goal of the program this year is to assess a minimum of 20 private wells in the northern Worcester County area to determine the presence and location of water quality issues to inform the development of a pilot project in 2021 that will conduct additional private well water testing in the region. The second phase of this effort will include public education, advocacy for local and statewide private well regulations that better protect homeowners and communities, and identification of financial resources for homeowners needing well remediation.

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts in this important public health project,” stated Karen A. Koller, President & CEO of RCAP Solutions. “Because there are no state-wide regulations surrounding private well maintenance, it’s critical that homeowners in Central Massachusetts and across the state understand the importance of regular assessments and water testing. We are pleased to be able to fulfill our mission and meet the needs of rural communities by providing this valuable technical assistance to private well owners.”

Dr. Jan Yost, President & CEO of The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, added, “Access to clean and safe drinking water free of harmful contaminants is essential to good health. The Foundation is pleased to support this important project that seeks to improve private well water quality through increased knowledge and enhanced local and statewide regulations to protect the public’s health.”

“Massachusetts continues to be at risk of dangerous substances like arsenic, radon, and uranium,” stated Congresswoman Lori Trahan. “They are a clear threat to our health and environment. It is time for Congress and the federal government to get serious about assisting municipalities in need of resources to respond to this public health concern. That’s what I’ve advocated for since coming to Congress, and it’s why I will always support grant funding that organizations like Resources for Community and People can use to improve our quality of life. RCAP Solutions has been doing exceptional work in this area, and I applaud their efforts.”

RCAP Solutions is working closely with the Montachusett Public Health Network and the Nashoba Associated Boards of Health to assist communities with promotional efforts and to ensure positive outcomes for homeowners. In addition, RCAP is collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and ongoing efforts to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water.

“The MassDEP Drinking Water Program is pleased to be collaborating with RCAP Solutions on this HFCM funded North Central Massachusetts Private Well Program,” stated Yvette DePeiza, MassDEP’s Drinking Water Program Director. “This project provides some critical resources to North Central Massachusetts health agents and private well owners within the project area towns, helping to ensure that these private sources of drinking water are safe and reliable.”

About RCAP Solutions, Inc.
RCAP Solutions is a thriving integrated community development corporation working with a multi-faceted suite of services and opportunities. 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.

About The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts
The Foundation was established in 1999 with the proceeds from the sale of Central Massachusetts Health Care, Inc., a physician-initiated, not-for-profit HMO. The Foundation currently has assets of approximately $73 million and has awarded grants totaling approximately $44 million to improve the health of those who live or work in Central Massachusetts. For further information about the Foundation’s grant programs, please visit The Health Foundation’s website at www.hfcm.org.

Bill Minkle, A Champion for Housing

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

Beer Waste Information from MassDEP

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:

  1. Stale beer and other food waste should not be disposed of down the drain.
  2. Restaurants, bars, and other venues should work with distributor to collect full and partially full kegs.
  3. 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 info@recyclingworksma.com.

ERMA – Funding for Households Impacted by Coronavirus Crisis

 

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

Please click here for our press release: ERMA Press Release

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.

Funds available for households experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19

RCAP Solutions offering Funds to assist households Experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic and State of Emergency

(Worcester, MA) – 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 CARES Act through the Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD), can provide 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), and have a housing emergency due to a financial hardship related to, or exacerbated by, the COVID-19 crisis.

“We are pleased to offer this new financial assistance program through DHCD to households in Worcester County,” stated Karen A. Koller, President & CEO of RCAP Solutions. “This vital resource allows RCAP to fulfil its mission and support a wide range of residents, with a variety of income levels. It is critical that families in Worcester County and across the Commonwealth sustain stable housing during this pandemic.”

Households can assess their eligibility by looking at the income levels for Worcester County, which can be found on our HCEC application page. We encourage individuals or families who think they may be eligible to please reach out with questions or to apply, by visiting: http://www.rcapsolutions.org/hcec-application/ or call 800.488.1969, Monday – Friday, between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM. The office is closed between 12:00 and 1:00 PM each day. Documents can be emailed to HCEC@rcapsolutions.org or faxed to 508.365.6008. Please note, the office is closed to the public at this time and visits are by appointment only.

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, Inc.

RCAP Solutions is a thriving integrated community development corporation working with a multi-faceted suite of services and opportunities. 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.

AmazonSmile customers can now support RCAP Solutions in the Amazon shopping app!

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.

  1. Open the Amazon Shopping app on your device
  2. Go into the main menu of the Amazon Shopping app and tap into ‘Settings’
  3. 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.

RCAP Network Survey Shows Impact of COVID-19 on Rural Water and Wastewater Systems

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

Addressing Stagnant Water in Buildings

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.

Resources