An Introduction to Training Tools from RCAP Solutions

RCAP Solutions is pleased to offer our most recent webinar – “An Introduction to Training Tools from RCAP Solutions”, presented by Sukhwinder Singh, Director of Education and Training, RCAP Solutions  on October 15, 2013 at Spring Creek Watershed Association meeting in State College, Pennsylvania.

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The live training was presented to a group of board members and volunteers as well as staff of Clearwater Conservancy and State College Area Water Authority.

Topics covered include:  The RCAP National Network , Training Materials and an overview of RCAP Solutions.

To access the link, please click here.

Pictured to the left is Sukh Singh, RCAP Solutions’ Director of Education and Training, as she prepares to make her presentation.

Community Resources at Work


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RCAP Solutions presented to the Tioga County Source Water Protection Coalition on Wednesday, October 30th. The event was at full capacity with six publicly owned treatment works and municipalities present.

 

 

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RCAP Solutions presented today at the Central Pennsylvania Water Quality Association Training and Fair. PA State Lead Tom Essig, opened with an overview on RCAP Solutions, then introduced presenter David Cotton of Cotton Environmental.

 

 

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David Cotton of Cotton Environmental presented “The What, Why and How of Wastewater Treatment Facilities” Facilitated by RCAP Solutions. This moderately technical presentation was created to benefit novice operators and non-technical personnel (elected officials, municipal/authority managers, and administrative personnel), addressing the relationship between stream water quality and wastewater treatment plant limits.

Click here for more about our Community Resources Education and Training Programs.

Health Foundation of Central Mass Grant Allows RCAP to Assist Rural Communities With Septic Repairs

UntitledLast year, RCAP Solutions received a $56,000 grant from The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, which allowed allow the organization to provide no-cost technical assistance to several local communities.

RCAP Solutions has completed work to develop and implement Community Septic Management Plans in the communities of Groton, Hardwick, Harvard, Orange and Westminster. These plans help towns manage their community’s septic needs in a comprehensive way and gives the town a guide to loaning out the funds to the areas which will have the most beneficial impact from an environmental prospective, resulting in vastly improved local capacity and providing homeowners with a sustainable solution to their failing septic systems.

Community Septic Management Plans help municipalities ensure they have sanitary wastewater disposal and safe and sustainable drinking water. Across Massachusetts, failing septic systems and cesspools are a leading cause of contaminated drinking water and polluted streams and swimming areas. In Worcester County, it is estimated that approximately 280,000 people live in communities that depend on septic systems for their sewage disposal.

These Municipalities now have funds approved through the Water Pollution Abatement Trust, and are eligible for $300,000 or more in no-interest funds allowing communities to lend funds to homeowners, making it possible for families to make badly needed repairs to their septic systems.

RCAP Solutions works with each town develop a way to administer their loan program at the local level. Communities are given the necessary tools and technical assistance to start their programs at the local level, which includes needed documents and public notification tools. Our Technical Assistance also ensures their local programs will run smoothly and continue under our federal grants.

RCAP Solutions plans to expand this program to include additional municipalities in Central Massachusetts. For more information about RCAP Solutions and how Community Septic Programs can be developed to meet your community’s needs, town officials should contact James Starbard, Program Resource Specialist at (978) 502-0227 or email Jstarbard@RCAPSolutions.org.

Community Resources – A New Year of Programming

Scott Mueller, Director of Community Resources and Chief Rural Affairs Officer

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RCAP Solutions is now entering a new year of programming – with many great programs and technical assistance services to offer!
We are pleased to announce that we have once again been awarded funding to provide technical assistance to small rural and underserved communities from both USDA Rural Development and Health and Human Services. We also provide services under a direct contract, allowing delivery of more refined project development, management, and financial services.

In many cases, if the community project is eligible, RCAP Solutions can subsidize costs and work with communities to create an effective and affordable approach. We can also assist with the many aspects of project development, including asset management plans, developing sanitary surveys, and Title Five inspections in Massachusetts.

As rural communities face increasing financial challenges it becomes more important than ever to manage your community infrastructure and assets properly, to forecast projects and associated costs in advance in order to make those services affordable. Developing an infrastructure master plan can be helpful in this area, as well as for state and federal agencies that provide funding assistance. A long term relationship can be built to maintain compliance and proper planning for new and existing infrastructure upgrades, as well as funding assistance.

We look forward to serving your community.  Please visit our new website www.rcapsolutions.org for more details or call Scott Mueller, Director of Community Resources and Chief Financial Officer at 315-482-2756.

One in Five Households Unable to Meet Basic Needs

logo-topA new U.S. Census Bureau report finds that the overall well-being of U.S. households has improved since 1992, as measured by a broad range of categories. At the same time, the percentage of households experiencing difficulty meeting basic needs, including housing, rose from 14% to 16% between 2005 and 2011.

 

Extended Measures of Well-Being: Living Conditions in the United States summarizes findings from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), which compared 2011 data to earlier years. SIPP probes households’ well-being across five broad areas: possession of household goods; housing conditions; neighborhood conditions; ability to meet basic needs; and expectation of help from family or friends.

According to the report, 22% of households had difficulty meeting at least one basic need in 2011. To make this determination, the survey took nine indicators into account: inability to meet basic expenses; inability to pay rent or mortgage; eviction; not paying utilities; cut off utilities; cut phone service; lacking access to a doctor or dentist; and food insecurity. In 2011, 9% of households had one hardship and 6% had three or more.

Households in the lowest income quintile were three times more likely to report one difficulty—and five times more likely to report three or more—than households in the highest quintile, measured by monthly reported income. Overall, householders who owned their homes had higher levels of well-being across all five measures, when compared to renters. In total, 92% of homeowners reported no difficulty meeting basic needs; the percentage fell to 80% among renters.

Housing conditions and neighborhood conditions improved from 1992 to 2011, according to the survey. Yet the percentage of households with unpaid rent or mortgages increased in recent years, from approximately 6% to 8% in 2005 and 2011, respectively. This change represents 2.7 million additional households, reflecting shifts during and following the economic downturn.

Original link from the National Low Income Housing Coalition: http://nlihc.org/article/one-five-households-unable-meet-basic-needs

Read Extended Measures of Well-Being: Living Conditions in the United States: http://1.usa.gov/18bJ61I

Help shape the Commonwealth’s housing policy!

MassHousing Invitation 2 092313[3]As a member of the North Central Massachusetts Community Reinvestment Act Coalition, we are pleased to invite you to join us at this upcoming event and help shape the Commonwealth’s housing policy!

Please join the Homeownership Center of North Central Massachusetts and the North Central Ma CRA Coalition for a town hall forum with MassHousing’s Tom Gleason—who wants to hear your thoughts on the opportunities and challenges of providing low and moderate-income housing to our region.

Tom Gleason is a career housing professional with more than 36 years of experience in mortgage lending, community development and bond finance. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (MassHousing). 

Click on the image to the left to view the invitation in its full size.

RSVP to Flor Cintron at fcintron@twincitiescdc.org or call her at (978) 342.9561.

Senator Eldridge Visits RCAP Solutions

Massachusetts Senator James B. Eldridge from the Middlesex and Worcester District, visited RCAP Solutions today to tour the new Worcester headquarters, receive an overview of our programs and services with an in depth discussion around the work we do in our Community Resources division, specifically water and wastewater programs.

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Senator Eldridge tours the RCAP Worcester offices.

Pictured from left: Paul Teixeira, Vice President & Chief Program Officer; Brian Scales, Chief Development & Governmental Affairs Officer; Karen A. Koller, President and CEO; Senator James Eldridge, Tunde Baker, Regional Lead for Ma/RI/CT; and James Starbard, Environmental Water and Wastewater Technician.

 

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Senator Eldridge meets with staff members and receives an overview of RCAP Solutions programs.

Towns Try to Take Back Water Systems

The Wall Street Journal published an article this week about Municipalities that have recently attempted to gain control of their water systems due to rate increases. Private firms are defending their rate increases, saying they have had to spend money to improve the infrastructure and are entitled to make a profit.

RCAP Solutions is the Northeast affiliate of the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, a national network of regional nonprofit organizations that provide comprehensive, on-site technical assistance and training to help small, rural communities address their drinking water, wastewater, and other community development needs. We provide services in all six New England states, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

If your community needs assistance managing your water system, or if  you are looking for information on resources available for your community, please visit our Community Resources Page or contact Maegen McCaffrey, Chief Communications Officer at 978-630-6714 or email mmccaffrey@rcapsolutions.org.

Please click here for the article:  Towns Try to Take Back Water Systems

 

Wastewater Operator Training A Success!

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The RCAP Solutions Operator Training Summer Tour of 2013 was a great success!

Workshops were held in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

These newly developed programs – geared for new and intermediate level wastewater operators – offered up to 8 hours of approved contact time at no cost to the town.

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Topics included: Clean Water Act & NPDES Program, Overview of Wastewater Treatment, Discharge Monitoring Reports, Intro to Chemistry and Sampling and Preservation.

The courses were well received by all participants and attendees indicated they would be interested in additional training.

Over the 4 days of training, approximately 40 individuals attended the training with representatives from 14 communities with Publicly owned treatment works.

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Pictured:

Top – Karen A. Koller, RCAP President & CEO welcomes the group  and provides an overview of RCAP Solutions Programs and services.

Middle – David Cotton, Consultant with Cotton Enviromental, LLC presents to a packed room at RCAP Solutions Worcester Training Room.

Bottom – Sukhwindar Singh, RCAP Solutions Director of Education and Training presents the chemistry training module.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for all workshops and include high visibility with speaking and promotional opportunities at workshops, logo on all publicity, etc.  For more information on our training programs, please contact Sukhwindar Singh, Director of Education and Training, Phone: 412-554-2572 / Email: ssingh@rcapsolutions.org.

RCAP lauded in Washington Examiner

InTheNews1Last Friday, the Washington Examiner, a local Washington, DC newspaper ran an article about The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) titled “Why are federal agencies completely funding this private nonprofit group?”.

RCAP Solutions is the Northeast affiliate of the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, a national network of nonprofit organizations working to ensure that rural and small communities throughout the United States have access to safe drinking water and sanitary wastewater disposal.

In this article, the author admits that he was skeptical about RCAP’s work, but that researching the organization made him realize what important and valuable work the RCAP network does. He concludes by saying that while he’s no fan of the federal government, he does support smart government programs, like those that fund RCAP, that help people help themselves.

For more information about RCAP and our affiliation with this national program, please visit our partnership page on our webiste:  www.rcapsolutions.org/partners.