Solid Waste Case Study: Comerío’s Recycling Program Re-Opening, Facilities, and Permits

Written By: Edwin Vázquez-Asencio, Sustainable Materials Management Specialist

BACKGROUND: After the hit of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the high volume of debris and waste stressed the limited capacity of Comerío’s municipality to deal with it. They depend on a small Transfer Station (TS) for the management of the materials and waste to be disposed. A Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) with noticeable challenges was part of the strategy but it ends in the closing of the program in 2019, adding significant pressure to their TS and incrementing the cost of the operation running over its capacity. The process to reopen the MRF and reduce the waste, and the operational cost required an operator with technical knowledge about the materials but also, about facilities, development, and permits.

THE CHALLENGE: The new operator was established as a non-profit organization, different than the municipality, and should work on the existing facilities. New permits were required, and the regulators requested protocols for noise and contamination controls, and the information to support the actions to be taken. The operator’s limited capacity and the lack of information on the part of the regulators made this task difficult and the permit was denied.

THE APPROACH & SOLUTION: The RCAP TAP conducted a brief assessment of the MRF facilities and revised the regulation about the specific request. All the equipment specifications and facility areas were considered in the evaluation, including noise generation according to the industrial levels permitted. Sound levels were taken and recommendations to establish the necessary controls were discussed with the operator. The information required to satisfy the permits’ application was included, based on the regulations. The TAP consulted with the regulators and the application was submitted by the operator granting the permits that were previously denied.

THE IMPACT: This project is of great importance, since it is a model based on the expansion towards the circular economy of materials that are not currently processed in Puerto Rico. It is expected that this MRF will become a HUB for the processing of materials collected by other communities and municipalities. For the Municipality of Comerío, it is very important since it immediately reduced the cost of operating the TS, and the final disposal of materials that can be recovered from the waste stream. The RCAP TAP continues to provide guidelines and alternatives to improve the system, and coordinated a meeting with USDA to evaluate possible grant programs that could help in the development of the facilities.

Open for Business Program Case Study: Neck-O Pillow, Supportive Guidance to Launch a Supportive Product

Written By: Madison Wellman, Coalition Manager/Business Opportunity Specialist

BACKGROUND: Ms. Ellen Sheehan is a dental hygienist from Wilmington, Massachusetts. While working in the dental office she noticed a need for a new product; an ergonomic pillow to support the necks of her patients on and off the dental chair. After much hard work, Ms. Sheehan developed a prototype pillow in her spare time that she felt was ready for full production. She approached Workers Credit Union for financing to launch her new enterprise, Neck-O Pillow. Workers Credit Union could see the value in Ms. Sheehan’s business, but in order to secure the loan she needed an appropriate business plan and projections, neither of which Ms. Sheehan was prepared to produce on her own.

THE CHALLENGE: Entrepreneurial success requires, among other things, a broad skillset including accounting, marketing, planning, and managerial skills. The easiest way to develop these skills is through experience and formal business education. However, these avenues are not equally accessible to all aspiring entrepreneurs. This disparity has produced a shared sense of underdeveloped entrepreneurial capacity in communities across the country, both urban and rural. Lack of educational opportunities, poor connectivity infrastructure, and a general absence of human capital capable of providing mentorship and expertise in our communities all contribute to the high business failure rate in our nation’s villages, small towns, and even larger cities. RCAP is striving to surmount these obstacles by delivering the absent human capital to communities across the country in a cost-effective manner. In meeting this challenge, RCAP is building permanent entrepreneurial capacity among every-day Americans.

THE APPROACH & SOLUTION: To rise to the challenge detailed above, RCAP launched the Open for Business Program. The program delivers business expertise to rural communities through webinars, online workshops, and one-on-one business consultations made available to entrepreneurs at no cost. All services are delivered remotely to reduce cost and maximize geographic reach.

Ellen Sheehan utilized this program to receive free guidance from RCAP’s experienced consultants. The RCAP consulting team worked with Ms. Sheehan to develop her business plan and financial projections to model her path to success. At the time of this writing, Ms. Sheehan received 159.5 hours of free one-on-one consulting assistance.

THE IMPACT: The most tangible impact of the assistance received by Ms. Sheehan is the business plan and projections that she was able to produce with the guidance of our senior consultants. These documents enabled Ms. Sheehan to return to Workers Credit Union and successfully apply for SBA small business financing. With her secured capital, Ms. Sheehan was able to contract with a Massachusetts-based contract manufacturer to begin production of her pillows. The senior consulting team was also able to advise Ms. Sheehan on her digital marketing strategy and guide her in the complicated process of becoming a successful seller on Amazon. Today, she is steadily making sales and receiving substantial traffic on her website.

Despite these material benefits to Ms. Sheehan and her business, the greatest impact may be more intangible. The projections Ms. Sheehan produced with the assistance of our team did convince the lender that Ms. Sheehan’s business had great potential for growth but more importantly, it convinced Ms. Sheehan that her business idea was feasible and has the potential to grow into a successful enterprise.

In a follow-up interview conducted for the purposes of this case study, Ms. Sheehan shared that over one year since she first engaged with RCAP she still looks back at the original projections she made with our team for inspiration. “Seeing that growth potential on paper still keeps me going,” Ms. Sheehan reported. Ms. Sheehan went on to share that the knowledge our consultants brought to her was invaluable and that their flexible availability and positive demeanor reassured her that she, and Neck-O Pillow, could succeed. If not for RCAP’s Open for Business Program, it is likely that Ms. Sheehan never would have launched Neck-O Pillow. In her own words, “getting your contact info was the best thing that could have happened to me…I don’t think I could have done this without you guys.”

RCAP Solutions Partnering with Several Organizations to Expand RAFT Program Access

RCAP Solutions Partnering with Several Community-Based Organizations to Expand Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) Program Access to Individuals and Families Throughout Central Massachusetts

RCAP Solutions is proud to announce a partnership with Valuing Our Children, the Spanish American Center, and the Worcester Community Action Council (WCAC), which expands access to the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program for individuals and families throughout Central Massachusetts.

RAFT is a financial assistance program funded by the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC), which keeps struggling families safely housed. This program can provide eligible households with funding that can be used to help stay in current housing, obtain new housing, or otherwise avoid becoming homeless. Anyone who is struggling to pay their rent or who are at risk of being evicted are encouraged to apply for the program. Funds can be used for rent arrears, utility arrears, short-term rental stipend, security deposits, first and last month’s rent, and more.

Thanks to this new partnership, clients who are unable to access or complete an online application may now reach out to RCAP Solutions directly or Valuing Our Children, the Spanish American Center, and the Worcester Community Action Council to schedule an appointment to be guided through the application process via an in-person or virtual appointment. This service is only available to residents living in a community where RCAP Solutions administers the RAFT program (see our RAFT Service Area Map).

RCAP Solutions administers RAFT funds and provides application assistance to residents throughout Central Massachusetts, except for those living in the city of Worcester. Effective immediately, residents of the city of Worcester who apply for the RAFT program will have their application processed by the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance (CMHA). As a result, RCAP Solutions will not be able to provide application updates to any clients residing in Worcester. This includes clients who may have received application assistance from RCAP Solutions in the past. Clients residing in Worcester who are unable to complete the online application or need application assistance, must now contact CMHA.

“The Spanish American Center and RCAP Solutions have recently created a strong partnership to assist families in Central Massachusetts who need financial assistance with housing and utilities. This is a very meaningful partnership for all our Central Massachusetts residents,” explained Neddy Latimer, Executive Director of the Spanish American Center.

“Valuing Our Children is pleased to partner with RCAP Solutions in order to increase the accessibility of the RAFT program for families to secure and stabilize their housing,” said Kena Vescovi, Executive Director of Valuing Our Children, “Our organization sees many families coming to our centers in need of stabilizing their housing. This partnership offers families options to access RAFT financial support within their own community.”

“WCAC is very happy to build on our partnership with RCAP Solutions by helping to navigate clients to successful completion of their RAFT applications in Southern Worcester County.” remarked Marybeth Campbell, Executive Director of WCAC, “Through this partnership, we are eager help ease the application process and wrap around clients and their needs more wholistically by marrying access to RAFT with WCAC’s economic mobility strategies. We see this as a great opportunity to strengthen our work with RCAP Solutions as a respected resource in the region.”

“I am very proud that we can strengthen and grow our relationship with these fantastic, well-respected community organizations that do so much to assist individuals and families throughout Central Massachusetts,” concluded Brian D. Scales, President & CEO of RCAP Solutions, “This collaborative effort is vitally important and will allow us to better serve the region’s residents and break down barriers that may have existed in acquiring services.”

In fiscal year 2022 alone, RCAP Solutions provided over $43 million in funding to assist several thousand families in need.

Those interested in applying should be prepared with the following documentation; an ID for the head of household, proof of current housing (for example, a lease), proof housing crisis (for example, a notice to quit or eviction letter), and proof of income (for example, paystubs).

For more information about the RAFT program, application requirements, this community partnership, and more, please visit:

About RCAP Solutions:
RCAP Solutions is an integrated community development corporation working with a multi-faceted suite of services in communities throughout the northeastern part of the U.S. and the Caribbean. Established in 1969 (as Rural Housing Improvement), RCAP Solutions has supported the power and potential of communities for over half a century as strategists of community-wide well-being. Our 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:

About Valuing Our Children:
Valuing Our Children (VOC) was established in 1993 to address the abuse and neglect of children by focusing on strength-based family support and community development. VOC serves as a hub of information and support for families by providing parenting education, support groups, information and referral services, family support and home-visiting. All programs are available to families at no cost and with no eligibility guidelines. For more information, please visit:

About the Spanish American Center:
The Spanish American Center is a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) multi-service organization with a mission to respond to the social, health, educational and cultural needs of the Twin Cities, Leominster/Fitchburg communities including surrounding areas with a special focus on the Latino community limited by language, poverty, and cultural barriers. The Center was founded in 1966 by priests from a local Catholic church, along with Latino leaders, who were seeing greater numbers of Latinos in their Parishes and were concerned that they were not receiving the services that they need. Director 35+ years of her leadership, Neddy Latimer, Executive Director, has shepherded the organization into ever widening services for the community. For more information, please visit:

About WCAC:
Founded in 1965 as part of the War on Poverty, Worcester Community Action Council (WCAC) is one of 1,000 community action agencies across the U.S. and 23 in Massachusetts created to address disparities throughout the nation. Our values of advancing equitable access, elevating all voices and partnering with people are embedded in the role we play as the federally designated anti-poverty agency for Central and South-Central Massachusetts. WCAC embodies service to the community through our mission: Helping people move to economic self-sufficiency through programs, partnerships, and advocacy. Our vision is to break the cycle of poverty one neighbor at a time. Through safety-net services and asset building solutions, WCAC creates economic mobility opportunities for tens of thousands of people annually through programs such as energy assistance, early education and care, financial empowerment, positive youth development, and career pathways. For more information, please visit:

Synergy Spotlight: Meet Jeysa Nortey, Senior Property Manager

Jeysa Nortey has a diverse background; her experience in the medical field, human services, and even interior designing (her now public “hidden talent”) has positioned her to excel throughout her career, including in her current role as Senior Property Manager at RCAP Solutions. Working primarily with older adults, Jeysa’s versatility has proven to be an asset for the residents at our affordable housing properties as well as her colleagues.

Born in Puerto Rico, Jeysa moved to Worcester, Massachusetts when she was just two months old. Jeysa has always been family-driven, she spends most of her free time with her husband, children, cats, and dog named “Ashy”, a Maltese-Chihuahua mix. Jeysa has a passion for interior design, embracing many styles and making the simplest of spaces come alive – a talent that comes in handy when decorating our properties during the holidays.

Jeysa’s first job was working at the YMCA as a summer camp counselor. Working with young children enrolled in the summer camp program springboarded her love of being involved and giving back to the community. Shortly thereafter, she began attending college at Salter School, where she received her certification in medical assisting. After working as a Certified Medical Assistant at several hospitals in Worcester, Jeysa attended Becker College, earning an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Human Services.

After a few years in the medical field, Jeysa shifted her career and began working in property management. Jeysa worked as a Leasing Agent – and eventually Leasing Manager – at Lincoln Village Apartments while it was managed by Cornerstone Corporation. In 2015, after 6 years with Cornerstone, Jeysa began working at RCAP Solutions as the Property Manager at Slater Estates – one of our affordable senior and accessible housing complexes located in Webster, Massachusetts.

At Slater Estates, Jeysa oversees the day-to-day operations of the building, manages the financial aspects of the property, fosters relationships with vendors, and works with residents to ensure they have a safe and healthy home. When asked what she likes most about working at RCAP Solutions, Jeysa said she feels a sense of fulfillment, remarking, “The reward is in the success and smiles of my residents’ faces, along with my co-workers’.”

A few years after joining RCAP Solutions, Jeysa briefly left the organization for a new opportunity, where she quickly realized she was not as happy. After only a month, Jeysa re-joined the RCAP Solutions team in the same role she had left, citing the work-life balance as the main reason for her return. Jeysa reflected on this stating, “It says a lot when you leave a company on good terms and your work speaks for yourself and you’re able to come back. It’s a good feeling.”

Upon her return to RCAP Solutions, Jeysa continued to be a trailblazer in her department and was eventually promoted to Senior Property Manager in December 2020, several months into navigating her residents through a tumultuous time – the height of the Coronavirus pandemic. In her new role, while still based at Slater Estates, Jeysa has taken on additional responsibilities such as training new staff, developing new policies and procedures, and assisting with other properties located in the southern tier of our Central Massachusetts footprint.

Jeysa’s contributions were noted by Linda Kirwan, Chief Elderly Services Officer & Director of Property Management, who said, “We are extremely lucky to have an employee like Jeysa. She has raised the bar with the quality of her hard work and services she provides to her colleagues and residents. Companies dream of hiring employees like her. She is always one to volunteer a helping hand when needed. We couldn’t do it without her, she’s a true gem to the organization and the property management team!”

In addition, Jeysa is a volunteer at the United Way of Central Massachusetts, where she helps with the Dollars for Scholars program – an initiative aimed at providing financial literacy skills and knowledge to support school-aged children’s college, career, and life plans. She is passionate about many causes including inclusion for women, homelessness prevention, and the Black Lives Matter movement. She is also a strong advocate for mental health awareness.

Deb Foley, Deputy Director of Property Management, added, “Working with Jeysa over the years and watching her grow into a role that allows her to mentor others by sharing her many skills of organization, compliance, and teamwork, just to name a few, is what makes her truly special and someone I am proud to have as a co-worker and friend. She always steps up to the plate and gives 110% no matter the task.”

Fun Facts About Jeysa:

  • Hometown: Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Favorite Book: In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
  • Favorite Movie: Jumanji directed by Joe Johnston
  • Favorite Food: Macaroni and cheese
  • Favorite Musician: John Legend (singer, songwriter, pianist, record producer, and actor)
  • Historical Figure She’d Like to Meet: Rosa Parks (African-American activist in the civil rights movement)
  • Place She’d Like to Travel to: Ghana or Egypt

Check Out This Video (ft. Jeysa) About Life at Slater Estates!

Board Spotlight: Henry Noël Jr., Boston Impact Initiative LLC

Henry Noël Jr., an Investment Director with Boston Impact Initiative LLC, joined the RCAP Solutions Board of Directors in November 2022.

Henry Noël Jr.

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Boston Impact Initiative is a nonprofit investing fund, working to build a future where entrepreneurs of color and their communities have the financial, social, and political power to create a sustainable, inclusive, and equitable economy for generations to come.

Henry is a passionate champion of social and environmental impact and brings a robust background in business and fund development, investment, financial expertise, strong team management and communication skills.

Henry was drawn to RCAP because the organization’s work aligns with his goals, and he saw similarities in the missions of RCAP and his organization. He remarked, “Empowering communities is important to me. Building communities from the ground up is where you can make the most impact. RCAP provides deep resources for communities, families, individuals, and businesses. This is what I do in my professional life, so I feel there are a lot of synergies.”

Henry has over 20 years of investment experience with an expertise in analysis, valuation, management, and sales; however, he did not always see himself in the financial arena. “Growing up, I always wanted to be a doctor,” stated Henry. “In my first year of college, I took labs and biology courses. During my second semester, I took a required economics class. After that, I switched majors, fell in love with finance, and never looked back. I was fascinated with understanding how the economy worked. My professor brought the concepts to life and showed us how different strategies and concepts can impact people’s lives.”

When asked what he is most proud of, Henry commented, “It’s not just any one thing, but the sum of what Boston Impact Initiative is doing right now, by putting money to work in the community to support some great entrepreneurs.” He went on to say, “I have an easy job, looking at balance sheets and hearing their pitches. I evaluate these things on a regular basis, and seeing the passion in the entrepreneurs’ eyes, hearing what brought them to a problem and what solution they bring can be fascinating. I ask, how can I help them magnify their vision? Supporting entrepreneurs and seeing these companies doing extremely well, the more they grow and prosper, I feel pride in having a small part in contributing to their success.”

He describes his short experience as a board member as a learning journey. “RCAP does a lot and does it well,” he stated. He hopes to add value to the organization where it’s most necessary. “I’m really starting to wrap my arms around everything we do, and I look forward to finding a niche that I can help to champion. I look to make connections for RCAP and believe my network can benefit the organization from many different standpoints, including funding, local resources, relationships, and networks.”

He earned an MBA from Hofstra University, Zarb School of Business in Hempstead, NY, and a BA in Business Administration from Atlantic Union College in South Lancaster, MA. He also completed the Oxford University Impact Investing Programme at Said Business School in Oxford UK. He has volunteered as a mentor with Entrepreneurship for All, a nonprofit that partners with communities nationwide to help under-represented individuals start and grow their businesses through training, mentorship, and an extensive support network. In his spare time, Henry enjoys cooking. He joked, “it helps to relieve stress, brings out creativity, and I enjoy eating, so it works out well”.

RCAP Solutions’ Caribbean Team Participates in USDA Rural Development Stakeholder Meeting with Secretary of Agriculture

Written By: Juan Campos Collazo, Community Specialist

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas Vilsack, hosted a discussion with stakeholders in Puerto Rico, including community groups and economic development officials, to discuss the importance and impact of the Rural Partners Network (RPN). The purpose of this conversation was to encourage further development of the community networks. Secretary Vilsack wanted to hear directly from stakeholders about the benefits, opportunities, and their hopes for the RPN in Puerto Rico.

Background: In April 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration and USDA launched the Rural Partners Network, an all-of-government program to help people living in rural areas access federal funding and resources to create thriving communities. The network is working in 36 rural and tribal community networks; three of those community networks will serve regions in Puerto Rico. These community networks were selected through a series of deliberations with state directors and teams from RPN states, and additional consultations with prospective community networks. Each of these networks will be supported by up to four full-time federal staff who live and work locally. These community liaisons help communities navigate federal programs, build relationships, identify community-driven solutions, and develop successful applications for funding.

Cohort I: The first RPN Cohort was announced in April 2022 and included the launch of community networks in Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and New Mexico.

Presently, participating community networks are selecting their initial projects and refining their long-term priorities (i.e., future projects); USDA will organize federal partners to support these initial projects in an effort to secure early wins on behalf of the network. Additionally, thirteen staff have been hired to support these community networks with the only outstanding positions being an additional liaison in Mississippi, Kentucky, and New Mexico, and supervisory positions in Mississippi, Georgia, and Kentucky. Every Cohort I state has some level of RPN staff in place that are engaging with networks to facilitate a community-driven vision.

Cohort II: The second RPN Cohort includes Wisconsin, West Virginia, Nevada, Puerto Rico, Alaska, and North Carolina. Secretary Vilsack announced the inclusion of Puerto Rico in November 2022, but did not announce the specific community networks in Puerto Rico (nor in Alaska) since the selection process was interrupted by recent natural disasters.

Secretary Vilsack wanted to know from each of the panelists about the kind of work we do and how it relates to the Rural Partners Network. RCAP Solutions staff explained that we are part of a national affiliate, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), providing rural communities with on-site technical assistance and training to help small, rural communities address their drinking water, wastewater, and other community development needs. In addition, RCAP Solutions staff elaborated on how we help these communities access dollars from state and federal agencies for necessary infrastructure upgrades and improvements. RCAP Solutions also acts as a liaison between these communities and USDA Rural Development funding programs in Puerto Rico. The technical assistance provided by RCAP Solutions to the communities is free of charge and is funded under the grants from the USDA , EPA, and HHS.

A question arose from the secretary about what we consider to problems in achieving economic development. The mayor of Coamo, Puerto Rico pointed out the decrease of population as one of the most relevant problems, because of the lack of professionals, the decrease of laborers, and the decrease of economic movement. The mayor of Villalba, Puerto Rico mentioned the lack of agriculture development in Puerto Rico as a problem, and noted a dependance on foreign imports.

RCAP Solutions expressed that not all the rural communities have the commitment to improve their capacity and our work depends on community collaboration to achieve their goals and improve their quality of life.

Finally, the secretary advised to all the partners, especially the mayors, to first identify an economical driver and then write proposals based on it. He referenced the example from the mayor of Villalba, who identified the agriculture as an economical driver. The meeting ended with the thanks from Secretary Vilsack and from the USDA Rural Development State Director for Puerto Rico, Maximiliano Tujillo.

Proposed Legislation Would Enable Statewide Drinking Water Protections and Financial Assistance for Massachusetts Households With Private Wells

It’s time to promote equitable access to safe, clean drinking water across the state!

Right now, many Massachusetts residents who rely on private wells are consuming water that may be unsafe. Over 500,000 people throughout the Commonwealth rely on these wells, yet there are no statewide regulations to ensure private well water is safe from harmful contaminants such as PFAS, arsenic, radon, uranium, and more. In contrast, public water systems are regulated by the state and are subject to routine monitoring.

In January, Senator Jamie Eldridge, Representative Dan Sena, and Representative Smitty Pignatelli filed legislation which would provide equitable access to safe drinking water for all Massachusetts residents – regardless of where they live and what their financial resources are.

An Act Promoting Drinking Water Quality for All (S.482/H.902) would enable the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to develop regulations which would provide minimum statewide water quality standards for private wells supplying drinking water.

The regulations themselves would be developed by drinking water experts at MassDEP, likely in consultation with a technical advisory group and with a process for public input. To maximize public benefit, the bill would require MassDEP to evaluate practices to minimize the paperwork burden for affected parties.

In addition, the bill would expand the existing MassHousing Septic Repair Loan Program (SRLP) to provide low-income homeowners with access to financial assistance to remediate contaminated private wells.

“The importance of testing your well water is reflected in this important legislation put forth by Senator Eldridge, Representative Sena, and Representative Pignatelli,” said Brian D. Scales, President & CEO of RCAP Solutions. “Too many homeowners take for granted that their water is safe and clean. Water is all around us, we bathe in it, cook with it, and drink it on a daily basis. The only way to ensure all this water is clean and safe to consume is to have it tested.”

“We are grateful for the leadership of Senator Eldridge, Representative Sena, and Representative Pignatelli in addressing long-standing drinking water inequities,” explained Amie Shei, PhD, President & CEO of The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts. “The state regulates the wastewater leaving a home, yet it does not regulate private well water entering a home and being consumed. This legislation closes an important gap in access to safe drinking water.”

RCAP Solutions and The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts are working together to improve access to safe drinking water for private well owners. From 2020 to 2022, the Private Well Program to Protect Public Health, which has received nearly $1.5 million in grant funding from the Foundation, has conducted over 500 water quality tests across several Massachusetts towns and found that approximately 32% of wells had levels of contaminants exceeding state health standards and/or suggesting potential health risks. The Coalition for Safe Drinking Water was recently formed as a way to engage a wide range of stakeholders in working together to ensure safe drinking water for all Massachusetts residents.

For more information about this legislation, our private well programming, and the Coalition for Safe Drinking Water, please visit:

Synergy Spotlight: Meet Pat Byrnes, Development Advisor

The name Pat Byrnes is well-known throughout the Massachusetts affordable housing industry, and for good reason. Throughout her extremely tenured career, Pat has worked for many organizations throughout the Commonwealth, including the Springfield Redevelopment Authority, MassHousing, the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC), the Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts (RHN), and most recently, RCAP Solutions.

Born into a family who immigrated from Italy, Pat grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. Although she has worked in other states on both the east and west coasts, Western Massachusetts has always been her home. Pat’s very first job was working in retail at a children’s clothing store while in high school. This sparked her love of retail, leading to an executive training opportunity with Filene’s, which, she explained, “set my career on fire.”

One of Pat’s earliest accomplishments was working as a property manager at a 160-unit affordable housing complex in Springfield. Pat was in her early 20’s when her work managing such a large complex got her noticed by industry leaders. She moved to Boston, which was “the big click” for her career in housing, she loved what it stood for and that, much like retail, many of the industry leaders were women.

Later, Pat was recruited by EOHLC and RHN to write the contract for the state’s Section 8 Homeownership Program. Upon completion of this project, Pat’s skills proved to be invaluable, and thus she was hired at RHN full-time. Pat worked there for 16 years, where she made strides assisting the nine Housing Consumer Education Centers (HCECs), hosting annual conferences, and working with legislators and advocates to ensure proper funding for affordable housing programs and developments across Massachusetts.

During her substantial time at RHN, Pat worked together with Maureen Fitzgerald, then-Executive Director of the organization, to ensure fair and equal treatment for the people we all collectively serve, as well as to uphold respect for the staff. These two female trailblazers brought the agency to where it is today – the forefront – and eventually positioned it for success under new leadership.

“For 16 years, I had the pleasure of working as a team with Pat Byrnes at the Regional Housing Network. Her efforts were woven into everything that the Network accomplished”, said Maureen, “Pat is one of the most mission-driven, smartest people I know in the housing industry. She is also one of the warmest, funniest, most generous people I know.  RCAP Solutions is very lucky to have her on board!”

Pat reflected on her history at RHN, stating, “For me and for Maureen, it was a shared experience. Whatever one accomplished, was also the accomplishment of the other. We were kind of seamless.”

Pat has worked tirelessly with other industry leaders, including Nancy Rivera, Housing Advisor at RCAP Solutions, who said, “Pat and I have known each other for more than 40 years. During this time, I’ve had the pleasure of working and participating with Pat in a variety of projects and subcommittees. Her knowledge and expertise have been invaluable. She is such a wealth of information in the housing industry and is always willing to share. Pat is a very kind, caring, and loving person. She is very sympathetic and is willing to support causes by contributing her time or helping monetarily. Pat is not only my co-worker, but she has also been a true friend to me and many of us who know her.”

In late 2019, Pat joined RCAP Solutions as the Development Advisor and currently works extensively with the organization’s housing department and in support of grant-writing activities. She is always up for a challenge and ready to assist with any new project which lands in her inbox. Pat’s extensive experience, knowledge of the housing industry, and familiarity with the non-profit world has proven an integral resource for the many RCAP Solutions staff members who collaborate with her on a daily basis.

When asked what she is most passionate about, Pat said, “People having homes – people having keys to a door that nobody else has. That has been a driving force of mine for years.”

Pat is a member of the board of directors at Valley Community Development in Northampton. When she is not working to ensure people have safe homes, she is often working to ensure animals have safe homes – Pat is a volunteer at her local animal shelter. Pat is also an avid college basketball fan and currently enjoys rooting for the Providence Friars, an NCAA Division I team.

Brian Scales, President & CEO at RCAP Solutions remarked, “I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Pat for a number of years. When she came to work at RCAP Solutions, she brought with her a wealth of knowledge and experience; she very quickly became a vital member of our team. I am extremely grateful for all of her input and can rely on her to accomplish anything put before her, including assisting in filling out March Madness brackets.”

Fun Facts About Pat:

  • Hometown: Springfield, Massachusetts
  • Favorite Book: Still Life by Louise Penny
  • Favorite Movie: The Big Easy directed by Jim McBride
  • Favorite Food: Anything Italian
  • Favorite Musician: Tish Hinojosa (folk singer, songwriter, and guitarist)
  • Historical Figure She’d Like to Meet: Josephine Baker (American-born French dancer, singer, actress, and civil rights activist)
  • Place She’d Like to Travel to: Italy

RAFT Application Resources

RCAP Solutions serves as the regional Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) for Worcester County and administers financial assistance through the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program. This program can provide eligible households with funding that can be used to help stay in current housing, obtain new housing, or otherwise avoid becoming homeless.

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Important Information for Worcester Residents:

Effective immediately, residents of the city of Worcester who apply for RAFT funding will be processed through the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance, Inc. (CMHA). As a result, RCAP Solutions will not be able to provide application updates to any clients residing in Worcester. This includes clients who may have received application assistance from RCAP Solutions.

If you reside in Worcester and are unable to complete the online application or need other RAFT application assistance, please contact CMHA at or call 508-752-5519, ext. 172. You may also visit:

If you are unsure of which agency services your community, please visit this link:

Application Assistance:

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts now requires all renter and landlord applications and documents to be uploaded directly into their system by visiting this link:

RCAP Solutions is no longer allowed to accept documents by email or to upload them for applicants. Renters, homeowners, and landlords must set up their accounts online using the above link.

Resources for Tenants:

If you encounter any problems while applying for RAFT funds, please download the Housing Assistance Application Reference Guide for tenants applying for housing assistance through the Massachusetts Emergency Housing Payment Assistance Portal:

Resources for Landlords and Property Owners:

How Landlords Can Apply for RAFT Information Page:

Landlord and Property Manager Intro to New RAFT Application Portal Presentation:

Landlord and Property Manager Intro to New RAFT Application Portal Recording:

Housing Assistance Application Reference Guide for Landlords and Property Managers receiving payments through the Massachusetts Emergency Housing Payment Assistance Portal:

These documents are found on the RAFT Public Resource and Training Portal:

If you need access to a computer to apply, locate your local library here:

For more information about the RAFT program please visit: (includes eligibility, timeline from application to award/denial, and how to check which agency is processing your application)

Finally, if you are unable to access or submit an online application, please contact RCAP Solutions at 978-630-6771 or for assistance.

Groton Commons Accepting Applications for Studio & One-Bedroom Apartments

A Place You Can Call Home!

Groton Commons, one of our Affordable Senior/Accessible Housing properties located in Groton, Massachusetts, is now accepting applications for studio and one-bedroom apartments!

The facility is set in a quiet, rural area, only minutes from groceries, banks, retail shops, and other conveniences; and only 35 miles from Boston.

These beautifully designed, 100% smoke-free studio and one-bedroom apartments are equipped with spacious closets, emergency pull cords, cable TV/internet hookup, air conditioning, wall-to-wall carpeting, ample storage, kitchens with modern appliances, and showers with grab bars.

Head of household must be 62 or older, OR mobility impaired. Residents must be income-eligible. Qualified applicants pay 30% of their monthly adjusted income for rent. Heat and hot water are provided. Residents are responsible for electricity, telephone, and cable services.

For more information, contact management at: (978) 448-9551 or

Click Here for Groton Commons Application