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.


Founded in 1969, RCAP Solutions (then named Rural Housing Improvement or RHI) started as a “delegate agency” under Making Opportunity Count (MOC). Through the work of Representative Silvio Conte and Senator Edward Kennedy, RHI was awarded a $140,000 federal start-up grant and was initially staffed largely with VISTA Volunteers. RHI’s original service area included seven towns in northern Worcester County.


During its first decade, RHI grew rapidly in size and scope. Within three years, RHI leveraged over $2 million in home mortgage financing, completed and/or helped finance over 160 housing units, completed and began managing our first multi-family housing development, began providing housing counseling, and began administering federal rental subsidies. By the mid-1970s, RHI’s service area expanded to 60 communities, and RHI became the primary administrator of rental subsidies in Central Massachusetts.


In 1978, RHI emerged from beneath MOC’s umbrella to become an independent 501(c)3 and joined forces with six other housing non-profits across the Commonwealth to create the “Massachusetts Non-Profit Housing Association” (now known as the Regional Housing Network).


Also, in 1978, RHI was selected by the “National Demonstration Water Project” to provide training and technical assistance to rural communities in New England. The program was expanded, and RHI became one of six organizations comprising the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) network, expanding our service area to include nine northeast states and the Caribbean.


In the 1980s, RHI stayed committed to single-family housing by helping families secure USDA and HUD mortgages, pioneered an FHA Self Help Housing Program, and initiated the Rural Revolving Loan Fund (which has become the home repair loan program). The 1980s also brought a commitment to developing and managing HUD 202 elderly housing developments.


The 1990s were marked by relative stability and growth of key services, including water and wastewater technical assistance, administering rental subsidies, expanding affordable elderly housing, and domestic violence transitional housing.


The following decade brought was marked by the emergence of a home modification loan fund, which allowed families with elderly or disabled family members to make modifications to address accessibility issues. Having evolved from a small, affordable housing provider to a multi-state organization leveraging millions for communities, administering millions more in state and federal low-income housing subsidies, and with CDFI status, the time seemed right for RHI to reconsider its mission and, with that, changed its name to RCAP Solutions in 2003.


In 2011, RCAP, along with the other RHN members, also selected to administer Massachusetts’ HomeBASE program, a homelessness prevention program funded by the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC). This allowed RCAP Solutions to further support our mission of improving the quality of life for individuals, especially the many families that suffered from loss of income or employment in a difficult economy.


Over the next several years, the organization grew with new Housing Consumer Education Center programs providing housing counseling and referrals to community resources. Expanded rural community programs – including private well assessments, income surveys, GIS mapping services, and regionalization ion – efforts led to significant growth in staffing and organizational structure. In 2017, the catastrophic results of hurricanes in the Caribbean, compounded by other natural disasters in the region, led the organization to become involved in disaster preparedness, recovery, and emergency re-housing initiatives.


With the ever-increasing demands for homelessness prevention assistance, such as Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), new interest in financial lending programs, property management services, community development initiatives and workforce development, certification, and financial capability workshops, it became clear that the organization needed to expand into larger space. This led to the headquarters relocation to Worcester, Massachusetts in 2019.


The move was part of a strategic plan to expand services to satisfy the increasing demand for improved community assistance. These services include safe and affordable housing; clean water, wastewater, and infrastructure programs; economic and workforce development; and education and training. The opening of the new location provides a springboard for the next generation of RCAP Solutions’ enhanced services and embraces the strategic sustainability of the future.


Since the advent of COVID-19, RCAP Solutions and our services have become more important than ever before. While staying resilient, RCAP Solutions pivoted almost every aspect of its daily operations to overcome the challenges of the pandemic. We saw a massive increase in traffic through online applications and helped distribute additional financial assistance through the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program. Our Environmental Resources team transitioned our training programs to an online format and helped to distribute personal protective equipment such as N95 masks to essential public water system and wastewater operators.


With the end of the state of emergency enacted by the pandemic came the end of the eviction moratorium and an increased cost of housing and living. RCAP Solutions has made it a priority to ensure the most vulnerable populations are provided with the resources, services, tools and education they need for long term health and well-being.