Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC)

HCEC logo 2014RCAP Solutions serves as the regional Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) for Worcester County and is the first point of contact for individuals in need of housing counseling, programs, and resources.

Our counselors can schedule one-on-one meetings and workshops for a variety of purposes including; program enrollment, referrals to community resources, and more. Click here for a map of our service area.

We provide support to tenants, landlords, homeowners, and homebuyers with a myriad of needs. In addition, we also offer financial assistance for those struggling with rent and mortgage payments, as well as lending services for elderly and mobility impaired homeowners. Our full suite of progams are outlined below.


Financial Assistance for Renters & Homeowners

For individuals and families who have lost income or are struggling to pay expenses due to a hardship, including COVID-19, there are programs that can help. RCAP Solutions administers financial assistance programs such as Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), which can provide eligible households with funding that can be used to help stay in current housing, obtain new housing, pay their mortgage, or otherwise avoid becoming homeless.

 

 

 


Homeownership Support

RCAP Solutions offers homeownership support before, during, and after you buy. We offer homeownership education for first-time buyers as well as support for new and existing homeowners.

Our housing counselors can assist you in developing a budget that is built on your current financial picture and help you work towards your financial goals. We can demonstrate how credit can assist you in reaching your financial dreams. We offer group classes and one-on-one counseling.

Topics include:

  • Budgeting and banking
  • Developing a personal spending plan
  • Reducing expenses
  • Developing and maintaining good credit
  • Property aquistion
  • Life insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • And more...
First-Time Homebuyer Classes: Earn your First-Time Homebuyer Certificate as required by HUD and CHAPA funding and other lenders for some low-interest, low down-payment mortgage products. Topics covered include credit worthiness, down payment savings, and knowledge about the steps in the process.

Pre-Purchase Counseling: Are you ready to buy the home of your dreams? RCAP Solutions can assist you in finding mortgage programs and ensuring that you are financially ready. This individual counseling will help you make informed decisions as you buy your first home.

Referrals to Down Payment Assistance Programs: RCAP Solutions can connect you to grant options or low/no-interest loans to help you make sure you have enough money.
HomeSafe Post-Purchase Classes: Our counselors continue to provide support to new homeowners and existing homeowners. The challenges of homeownership do not end after the closing. By attending RCAP Solutions' HomeSafe Post-Purchase workshop you will sharpen your knowledge and become equipped with the necessary skills to maintain your home and finances.

This course will successfully fufill the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP)'s ONE Mortgage Program requirements for post-purchase education.

Post-Purchase Counseling: In addition to our group classes, RCAP Solutions can provide one-on-one counseling for new and existing homeowners. Our counselors can assist with:

  • Budgeting skills & maintaining a good credit file
  • Addressing home maintenance & repairs
  • How to keep your home safe from fire & theft
  • Home, life, & disability insurance basics
  • Refinancing options
  • And more...
Home Modification Loan Program (HMLP): This lending program provides loans to fund necessary changes to keep elder homeowners, individuals with disabilities, and families of children with disabilities in their own homes. Modifications can include ramps, stair-lifts, bathroom/kitchen mods, and much more. For more information or to download an application, click here.
Foreclosure Prevention Counseling: If you are currently behind or concerned you will fall behind on your mortgage, you don't have to face it alone. Homeowners facing foreclosure can access one-on-one foreclosure prevention counseling with us. We will assess your situation and offer guidance on how best to avoid default or foreclosure. Our certified housing counselors will advocate for the best resolution possible.

Tenant Resources

We can provide information on rights and responsibilities tailored to help renters function independently in the private, non-subsidized housing market, including:

  • Information on security deposits, leases, and fair housing
  • Help with resolving disputes
  • Access to information on lead hazards and code violations
  • Housing search strategies
  • Help with applying for financial assistance
  • Referrals to community resources

Property Owner & Landlord Resources

We offer rental property owners and managers valuable information on landlord rights and responsibilities to maximize their investments, including:

  • Landlord Training: How to Be a Good Landlord
    • This training and certification also satisfies the requirements that many lenders require for multi-family home loans and down payment assistance programs
  • Information on lead hazards and code violations
  • Resolving tenant disputes
  • Massachusetts tenancy laws
  • Security deposit laws
  • Eviction laws/rights

Specialized Services

RCAP Solutions can assist individuals and families with specialized services which includes; assistance with applying for emergency funding, gaining access to mental health and substance abuse centers, and obtaining public benefits and legal help. This intensive, personalized case management is pivotal in engaging households and stabilizing them in their communities. Click here for more information.


Find Housing

Our staff can can help you navigate a sometimes complicated housing market. RCAP Solutions is a resource to help you find and keep safe housing that you can afford.

In addition, we have partnered with AffordableHousing.com to maintain a list of available housing in the area. Users can search the list by a number of different criteria. In addition, landlords with available units to lease may add them to the list.

To search for housing as a prospective renter or to list your property as a landlord, click here.


Contact Us

For more information, please contact our HCEC team by phone or email or fill out the form below. Our office is staffed Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM (closed 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM for lunch).