Meet the RCAP Solutions Housing Experts

RCAP Solutions “Housing Help” Webinar Series

In the spring of 2021, RCAP Solutions hosted a 3-part Zoom webinar series for tenants, homeowners, landlords, and all other interested parties. Attendees heard from the experts about our robust housing programs including; emergency rental/mortgage assistance, subsidized housing options, and much more. Participants had the ability to ask questions and the presentations were made available afterwards on our YouTube channel.


Watch the recordings below!

Part 1: Webinar for Landlords & Property Owners

Part 2: Webinar for Tenants & Homeowners

Part 3: Webinar for the General Public

RCAP Solutions Is Here to Support Landlords and Tenants

Given the unprecedented circumstances that landlords have faced over the past year and half, RCAP Solutions wants to ensure that you and in turn, your tenants, feel supported during these times. We offer a wide variety of programs which assist income-eligible tenants with paying their rent. These programs, designed with both parties in mind, pay subsidies directly to the landlord.

Our flagship program, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, is currently seeking participants who have available units to lease. All landlords are encouraged to participate, including those currently renting to HCV tenants! By participating in the HCV Program, we can help you meet your financial goals as a property owner and provide families with a place they are proud to call home.


Why should you participate?

Many landlords participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program because payment is guaranteed. Landlords do not have to worry about late or missed payments for the voucher amount since it is paid directly from RCAP Solutions.

Some of the benefits of participating in this program include…

  • You will get timely and dependable payments from RCAP Solutions
  • You will get your full rental payment
  • You will receive regular inspections
  • You may request annual reasonable rent increases
  • You have the opportunity to help low-income, elderly, disabled, and veteran households, as well as families with children, by providing affordable housing

New/Prospective Landlords – How to Participate:

Becoming an RCAP Solutions landlord is simple! To become a landlord with the HCV Program, you will need an HCV tenant.

To get your property seen by HCV families, you can market your unit with us! We have partnered with GoSection8, which allows you to list your rental units online. Listings are available to potential Housing Choice Voucher families seeking housing in the private market. To list your available units with us, visit AffordableHousing.com and select “List Your Property”.

If a voucher family requests to rent your property; conduct your usual screening, fill out and submit the request for tenancy approval (RFTA) – which the voucher family will have, and prepare the property for inspection. You and the voucher family will sign your lease and then you and RCAP Solutions will sign the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract.


Current Landlords – How to Participate:

Landlords who are currently renting to HCV tenants are also encouraged to list their available and upcoming units at AffordableHousing.com. In addition, property owners should check out our webpage for a list of additional programs.


We have dedicated staff to help make the lease-up process as smooth as possible and to ensure inspections and move-ins take place in a timely manner. We will work with tenants in advance to ensure they understand the responsibilities of maintaining their homes and lease obligations. Our staff will continue to check in with families and property owners are welcome to reach out at any time.

We understand that times are difficult for both landlords and tenants. We hope you will consider participating in the Section 8 program and become a part of this important work, while at the same time meeting your financial goals. Our team has a long history of supporting both parties through our programs and services. If you have questions related to your rights/responsibilities as a landlord, we’re here to help.

For more information, visit www.rcapsolutions.org/landlord-services/, or contact us at RentalAssistance@rcapsolutions.org or by phone, 978-630-6668.

And for the latest updates, follow #ListAndLease and #RCAPHousingHelp on social media.


Check out our informational webinar for landlords!

This spring, RCAP Solutions hosted a 3-part Zoom webinar series about our robust housing programs including; emergency rental/mortgage assistance, subsidized housing options, and much more. The first webinar, which provided information for landlords and property owners, can be found below.

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

Today is Giving Tuesday – Give Today and Build Healthy Communities.

RCAP Solutions is an integrated community development organization with 50 years of experience building strong communities throughout the northeast and Caribbean Islands. Your support helps communities to become economically sustainable.

This includes:

  • Safe and affordable housing and homelessness prevention
  • Clean drinking water, wastewater and infrastructure programs
  • Rural economic and workforce development
  • Disaster preparedness, recovery and relief
  • Education and training programs
  • Access to programs and services that promote individual and community empowerment

Please give.

With your help we can assist individuals and communities in need.

Visit: http://bit.ly/RCAPGiveTue2019

 

P.S. We have added a new option: Give Where You Live!

Choose an optional designation and scroll down to an area of interest including your individual state.

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.
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Media Contact:
Kinsey Brown, RCAP Communications Manager
(202) 800-4127
kbrown@rcap.org
www.rcap.org

RCAP Solutions is on the Move!

RCAP Solutions is on the Move!

We are expanding into our new headquarters, the home of the Worcester County Housing Consumer Education Center located at:

191 May Street, Worcester, MA 01602

Our Worcester office will be closed to walk-in traffic from Wednesday, August 21 through Tuesday, August 27, 2019.

We will be open for business on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 at our new location.

During this week, we will be offering only one RAFT Screening:
Thursday, August 22 from 9-11 AM at MOC, 49 Nursery Lane, 2nd Floor, Fitchburg.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause; however, 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’ Massachusetts Homeownership Collaborative Seal of Approval Renewed

Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association Approves Renewal Application

RCAP Solutions is pleased to announce that the Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) has renewed the organization’s application for the Massachusetts Homeownership Collaborative Seal of Approval, effective through June 30, 2021.

The application, which was reviewed by CHAPA’s Collaborative’s Selection Committee, confirms that RCAP Solutions meets the criteria that has been established by the Massachusetts Homeownership Collaborative for the provision of pre-purchase homebuyer education and counseling services to low and moderate income households. The Homeownership Collaborative, which was formed in 1996, is an initiative managed by CHAPA that supports and promotes homebuyer education.

As an agency that has received a Seal of Approval from the Homeownership Collaborative, RCAP Solutions must adhere to their Code of Ethics, listed here. In addition, when providing homebuyer education classes targeted to those with low and moderate income, RCAP Solutions must cover the required information about the homebuying process; information which is determined by the Collaborative.

The purpose of administering these programs “is to educate and counsel prospective homebuyers to make informed, voluntary decisions regarding the homebuying process.” RCAP Solutions also has agreed with the Collaborative to provide transparency in regards to where our funding sources for these classes come from. If you have any questions regarding this, please contact our Housing and Consumer Education Center at hcec@rcapsolutions.org.

RCAP Solutions holds First Time Homebuyer Classes at the Worcester office almost every month. To view and register for an upcoming class, please visit our HCEC Events Calendar. To view the full letter from CHAPA and to read the full Seal of Approval, click here.

RAFT Applications Reinstated

RCAP Solutions is now taking RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition) applications.

RAFT is a program funded by MA Department of Housing and Community Development that can provide eligible families in our service area with financial assistance to help prevent homelessness.

Our Housing Consumer Education Center will provide intake for applicants at our Worcester Office each Tuesday and Friday from  9am-11am at 12 East Worcester Street, 2nd floor, Worcester.

NO walk-in hours will be conducted outside of the Worcester Office.

Appointments are preferred, but not required for walk-ins.

Please visit our website @ www.rcapsolutions.org for the most recent updates.

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.