After years of struggle, approximately 28 low-to-moderate income homeowners of the Hobson community’s Upper Village, located in the City of Suffolk, VA, will be able to connect to the City’s public water system, thanks to substantial grant assistance from SERCAP. As previously stated in an update from January 1, 2018, SERCAP has been working with the residents of Hobson’s Upper Village, over the course of several years, in order to help them gain reliable access to clean, safe drinking water by fully restoring stable water service to the community. The Hobson Artesian Well Association, which provided water for the community for years, has struggled for some time with issues related to capacity and compliance with state and federal drinking water regulations.
On Wednesday, November 28, 2018, SERCAP’s Virginia State Manager participated in the Equitable Economies Panel Discussion, as an invited Panelist, at the 2nd Annual Advancing the Human Condition Symposium at Virginia Tech. The Equitable Economies Panel focused primarily on Water/Wastewater Infrastructure both in the United States and abroad, covering specific topics, including: contamination, aging and failing infrastructure, accessibility issues, disaster recovery of infrastructure systems, and the link between access to water/wastewater facilities and poverty.
SERCAP’s VFC Alternative Break Program is a community service program which partners with Colleges/Universities and Community Host Sites to match civic-minded Student Volunteers with engaging service-learning opportunities during traditional school breaks. This program year, during their Fall Break in October 2018, students from Emory & Henry College travelled north to Fishersville in Augusta County, VA, to team-up with the Alleghany Mountain Institute (AMI) in order to immerse themselves in a truly grass-roots service-learning experience.
Currently, SERCAP is providing Housing Rehabilitation Specialist Services to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Construction Improvement Grant (CIG) Project for the East Atlantic Street Neighborhood in the City of Emporia, VA. SERCAP was selected as the Housing Rehabilitation Specialist for the project in late 2016, and has been diligently working to complete the rehabilitation of 16 investor-owned housing units and two owner-occupied housing units for the past two+ years.
SERCAP’s VFC Alternative Break Program is a service program which partners with Colleges/Universities and Community Host Sites to match civic-minded Student Volunteers with engaging service-learning opportunities during traditional school breaks. This year during their Fall Break, students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts, travelled to the Roanoke Valley to team-up with Lick Run Farm and the Rescue Mission in order to provide a variety of services.
Recently, SERCAP’s Housing Department completed an Indoor Plumbing & Rehabilitation (IPR) collaborative project in Fluvanna County, VA. The client, a low-income disabled gentleman, was referred to SERCAP back in September of 2017 by the Fluvanna Housing Foundation, after he experienced difficulty with his well and septic system. Due to the run-down condition of the house and the client’s qualification as Extremely-low Income under the HUD Income Guidelines, the project qualified as a Substantial Reconstruction. However, the cost estimates for the project far exceeded the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development’s (DHCD) cost limits for a Substantial Reconstruction under the IPR Program.
Beginning in 2016, SERCAP partnered with BB&T Bank to conduct a series of Focus Groups across the Commonwealth of Virginia as a crucial part of SERCAP’s Biannual Community Needs Assessment process. The Biannual Community Needs Assessment allows SERCAP to obtain a true sense of what the rural communities in Virginia struggle with the most and allows the agency to have a real understanding of what the actual needs are, in the localities SERCAP serves.
Currently, SERCAP’s Housing Department working to get a new project approved in Pulaski County, in order to help a low-income, elderly, disabled woman and her daughter to replace their rotting deck. The rotting deck is connected to the main entrance of their home and is a major safety hazard. If the deck were to collapse, anyone standing or sitting on it could be severely injured.
After many years of work, one failed referendum and 100’s of hours put in by volunteers and SERCAP staff, the Ellendale community faced a referendum on Saturday, November 4, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The Ellendale Civic and Community Improvement Association (ECCIA) worked diligently to distribute flyers – “VOTE YES on November 4” – putting out over 40 yard signs, making individual phone calls, and trying to call attention to the critical nature of this referendum. Members of the group also offered rides to the polls for anyone without transportation, and rides to the county seat of Georgetown for absentee voting, if they were unable to get to one of the two polling places on November 4, 2017.
On October 11, 2017, Inside Philanthropy published an article entitled, "Water Systems Are in Crisis. How Can Funders Help?" The Executive Director of the National Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), Nathan Ohle, penned the following response to the article.