Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium Ending October 17

As the eviction and foreclosure moratorium in Massachusetts comes to an end this Saturday, October 17th, we want to ensure that tenants and homeowners know their rights as well as the resources available to them to assist with rent and mortgage payments.

If you are struggling with rent or mortgage payments because of COVID-19, there are eviction protections and financial programs available to help.

RCAP Solutions offers Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA): Funding for Worcester county households impacted by the Coronavirus crisis and state of emergency. The ERMA program is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development and provides up to $10,000 of direct funding to eligible households.

Other Funds available include Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT): 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..  For more information, please call our RAFT/ERMA support line at 978.630.6771, email HCEC@rcapsolutions.org, or click here. To apply online, please click here.

If you are not located in Worcester County, visit: mahousinghelp.com

More info on resources here: 

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 $10,000 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 $10,000 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.

Worcester Office is Closed

RCAP Solutions’ Worcester Office is currently closed.

*Update: RCAP Solutions will re-open to staff on Wednesday, March 25. At that time we will continue to be closed to public visits, but will be available via email, phone, and fax. We ask that clients be patient as all return messages and paperwork from the previous week will be completed on a first come, first served basis. 

It was brought to our attention that a client who visited the office  later tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the leadership team made the decision to close until further notice.

We are monitoring the situation daily. Decisions are being made based on the most current information available and our policies and response to this situation are subject to change without notice. Our concern is for the health and safety of staff and clients.

The team will continue to assess the situation and will make a decision as to when we feel it is safe to reopen the office.

Please check our website and social media pages for additional information.

If you are a housing client: Please note that cases and files are not being processed until it is safe for staff to return to the office. Paperwork can still be submitted and we will resume processing when we return. For more information on program and contact information, please visit: http://www.rcapsolutions.org/closing.

This message is regarding our Worcester Office Only and does not affect our Community Resources Services or Staff.

We appreciate your attention and apologize for any inconvenience it may cause.

Thank you. Be safe and be well everyone.

*Due to the constantly evolving COVID-19 crisis this announcement may be subject to change without notice.

RCAP Solutions Closed to the Public

RCAP Solutions is Closed to the Public Until Further Notice.*

This decision was made with an abundance of caution and in the interest of protecting the health and safety of our staff and clients. During this time, the office will not be open to the public for face to face meetings. There will be no RAFT hours for onsite intakes, housing workshops, first time homebuyer classes or any in-person meetings during this time. In order to continue to serve our clients to the best of our ability, staff will still be available via email, phone, and fax.

Please note: Email is the best means of contact for quicker response.

Housing Programs:

  • Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC): Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), First Time Home Buyer Counseling and Education, or other housing counseling assistance, please email: HCEC@rcapsolutions.org, documents can be faxed to: 508.365.6008.
  • HomeBase and SafeStep Clients: Please contact your case workers directly.

Additional housing information can be found here: http://www.rcapsolutions.org/individual-and-family-resources/.

Our phone number is: 800.488.1969 and staff is available Monday – Friday from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM.

The Worcester office is closed from 12 – 1 PM each day for lunch.

Senior/Disabled & Family Housing:  

  • Senior, Disabled & Family Housing Applications can be found here: http://www.rcapsolutions.org/housing-applications, documents can be faxed to: 978.630.2751.
  • All RCAP Solutions’ managed communities are closed to the public at this time. Access is limited to caregivers and aides, and essential visitors, defined as those bringing necessary supplies, groceries and medications to a resident, as well as property operations.
  • We strongly recommend Residents:
    -Remain on campus and not visit public places;
    -Maintain social distancing (at least 6 feet) at all times.

Community Resources:

  • Technical Assistance Providers are available for phone and remote web-based meetings.  Staff travel to meetings is postponed during this time period and any previously scheduled face to face meetings will now be conducted remotely.
  • Updates will be provided for training and workshops scheduled in all our states and territories, with either links for online workshops or postponement plans.  Our National partner is negotiating Training Contact Hours for web-based training vs. the required in-person training and we will communicate when we have more information.

We appreciate your attention and support of this temporary precaution and apologize for any inconvenience it may cause.

*Subject to change without notice due to rapidly changing environment.

New Report: State Program Keeps Worcester County Families Housed, Saves Commonwealth Millions Every Year

RCAP Solutions praises the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition program

Nov. 22, 2016 (Worcester) – This past year, the state’s largest family homelessness prevention program kept 300 families out of emergency shelter, and in doing so saved Massachusetts $10.3 million.

A report released this week, called “RAFT 2015-2016: Residential Assistance for Families in Transition in Worcester County,” takes a look at RAFT and how it helped families in Worcester County in fiscal 2015 and 2016. The report – from the Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts and RCAP Solutions – shows the value of the program, not only in how many families are diverted from emergency shelter every year but also in the economic savings for the commonwealth.

The Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program helps families with very low and extremely low incomes who are on the verge of becoming homeless. The majority of these clients are women in their 30s with two children, the report shows.

“My life was collapsing slowly, I had no hope,” said Tracy, an RCAP Solutions RAFT client. “I couldn’t imagine doing it on my own. [Now] my children and I are in a happy place.  We are thankful for RCAP Solutions – they have helped my family and me tremendously. With everything, they gave me hope; they gave me the strength to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to the RAFT program my family is complete and we were given a second chance of being happy, reunited. We are complete.”

RAFT clients – who apply for help at RCAP Solutions or one of 10 other housing agencies statewide – can receive up to $4,000 annually to help stave off homelessness. Although they can use the aid from year to year, most do not: less than one percent of RAFT users (only two out of 300 clients), in 2016 had received aid the year prior, demonstrating how effective RAFT is at keeping people housed.

After deemed eligible, families use the flexible RAFT benefits to stay stably housed, by helping to pay for housing needs such as back rent, utility bills, child care, start-up rental expenses, moving costs and more.

“RAFT is vitally important in helping families in danger of losing their homes,” stated Karen A. Koller, President & CEO of RCAP Solutions. “This report shows that it is dramatically less expensive to help families maintain their housing and to avoid the emergency shelter system once a family becomes homeless.  RAFT is critical in helping families remain in safe, affordable housing and as a result, experiencing fewer traumas and retaining their dignity.”

If RAFT were not available, the state could expect to pay $36,855 a year to keep a family sheltered for an average stay of 10 and a half months; in 2016 in the RCAP Solutions service area, it would’ve cost the commonwealth $11,056,500. RAFT aid payments only cost $800,707 by comparison.

For information about RAFT Assistance, call 800.488.1969 and ask to speak with a housing counselor.

To vew the full Worcester county report click here: RCAP Solutions RAFT Report

To view the statewide report click here: RAFT in Mass 2016

About RCAP Solutions, Inc.

RCAP Solutions has been helping people throughout central Massachusetts with a wide range of housing and supportive services since 1969. 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. RCAP Solutions is the Worcester County affiliate of The Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts and the Northeast affiliate to the national RCAP (Rural Community Assistance Partnership) Network. For more information, please visit www.rcapsolutions.org.

About The Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts

The Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts has worked on a regional level to address the needs of constituents for 38 years. Network members – Berkshire Housing Development Corporation, Community Teamwork Inc., Franklin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, HAPHousing, Housing Assistance Corporation, Housing Solutions for Southeastern Massachusetts, Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership Inc., RCAP Solutions Inc. and South Middlesex Opportunity Council Inc. – cover the commonwealth and are available to all 351 cities and towns for assistance with housing development, management and policy setting. All of this is in addition to the network’s core work of implementing and managing innovative and traditional housing programs designed to assist people of all income levels. Learn more at www.regionalhousing.net.