Currently, SERCAP is developing a Septic System Maintenance Education & Pump-Out Program that will promote water quality and local source water protection through public education and financial assistance, specifically focused in Franklin County, VA and Pittsylvania County, VA. The program will deliver several Septic System Maintenance Education workshops covering comprehensive information on septic systems, including: Types of Septic Systems, How your Septic System Works?, Why Maintain your Septic System?, How to Care for your Septic System, What to do if your Septic System Fails, and Budgeting for Future Septic System Maintenance. The program will also provide financial assistance to low-to-moderate income (LMI) participants for septic pump-outs. Once an LMI individual successfully completes a workshop, the program will pay for an initial septic system pump-out at a 100%, and in five-years will pay for 50% of a second septic system pump-out. SERCAP’s Regional Department is finalizing the workshop materials, and has begun scheduling its initial online Septic System Maintenance and Education workshops for Summer 2020.
Giles County, located in southwest Virginia, owns and operates nine (9) different small water systems serving nearly 2,500 people (1,400 connections) across 13 separate communities. The County, along with the five (5) municipalities located within the County, make up the Giles County Public Service Authority (PSA); a separate entity which produces and sells bulk drinking water to its six (6) members. Though the six (6) members of the PSA have managed to provide access to public water to the most populous, and even some of the more sparsely populated, areas, there remains approximately a one-mile developed stretch of US Route 460 (which transverses Giles County from east to west) which still lacks water infrastructure.
Recently, SERCAP’s Certified CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) Loan Fund assisted a low-income family of three (3) in Augusta County, VA, to connect to the public sewer system. The family was experiencing difficulty with their septic system when the drain-field ceased to function properly, but instead of replacing their failing septic system the family requested that they connect to the public county sewer system. However, due to the clients’ low-income status, they were unable to afford the connection fees and cost of the sewer lateral extension on their own, without causing serious financial hardship.
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 three+ years.
Recently, SERCAP’s Housing Counseling Program delivered its first online group education workshops, as part of the agency’s plan to continue delivering quality services during the COVID-19 public health crisis. SERCAP is an approved HUD Local Housing Counseling Agency (LHCA), and has served hundreds of clients, since 2012, through a variety of Housing Counseling and group education services and programs.
Recently, SERCAP’s Essential & Critical Needs Program assisted a low-income elderly woman in Henry County, VA, with replacing the water-line at her home. The client has been living in her home for over 30 years, but just recently noticed a terrible leak in her water system. However, due to her low-income status, she was unable to afford the cost of replacing the waterline herself, without experiencing significant financial hardship.
Recently, SERCAP’s Certified CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) Loan Fund assisted a low-income single man living in the City of Roanoke, VA, to make several critical repairs to his home following a house fire. The client’s house was significantly damaged by the fire, however, due to his low-income status, he was unable to afford the necessary repairs on his own without causing serious financial hardship. Fortunately, SERCAP was able to step-in and provide financial assistance, through a low-interest, affordable loan, which covered the full cost of repairing the home.
During this time of uncertainty, SERCAP’s dedicated staff members are continuing to provide Training, Technical, and Financial Assistance to both rural communities and low-to-moderate income (LMI) individuals for water, wastewater, housing, and community development needs. In accordance with the Governor’s orders, SERCAP staff are working remotely, where possible, and providing services via telephone and online web conference software, in order to continue providing critical support.
SERCAP’s Regional Department, in partnership with Spring Point Partners and Mountain Empire Community College, is in the process of establishing a Water/Wastewater Operator Training Program in Virginia. The program will help individuals, looking to establish a new career or change careers to a highly employable field, to meet the requirements for sitting for the state licensure exam to become a water and/or wastewater operator. Currently, the water/wastewater field is experiencing a shortage of qualified individuals to fill operator positions. The majority of the existing slate of water/wastewater operators are nearing retirement, and there is a severe lack of qualified candidates to replace them.
Recently, SERCAP’s Housing Department assisted an elderly woman and her adult daughter living in Buckingham County, VA, to complete several necessary repairs to their home. The elderly woman has lived in her home for over 20 years, and recently began experiencing difficulty with the hot water heater. It had begun leaking, damaging the surrounding floor and wall. In order to correct the problem, the house needed several critical repairs, including: installation of new water heater; replacement of damaged flooring; and installation of new drywall, studs, molding, and trim. However, due to the clients’ low-income status, they were unable to afford the cost of these critical repairs on their own.
Recently, SERCAP’s Essential & Critical Needs Program assisted a low-income veteran in Tazewell County, VA, with the water-lines at his home, which desperately needed to be repaired. However, due to his
low-income status, he was unable to afford the cost of the repairs himself without experiencing significant financial hardship.
Recently, SERCAP’s Certified CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) Loan Fund assisted a Veteran in Warren County, VA, to have a new well drilled at his home. The client’s nearly 50-year-old well went dry, leaving him completely without access to potable water. However, due to the client’s low-income status, he was unable to afford the cost of drilling a new well on his own without causing serious financial hardship. Fortunately, SERCAP was able to step-in and provide financial assistance, through a low-interest (1%), affordable loan, which covered the full cost of drilling the new well. SERCAP’s Loan Fund provided an Individual Household Well Loan in the amount of $9,523.00, and set-up an affordable monthly payment for the client. Now the he once again has reliable access to clean, safe drinking water in his home.
Recently, SERCAP’s Housing Department assisted a low-income family of three (3) in Caroline County, VA, by replacing their failing septic system. The clients have lived in the home for over 30 years, and recently began experiencing difficulty with their septic system. They needed to have both a new alternative septic system and an updated electrical box installed, in order for the system to run properly. However, due to the clients’ low-income status, they were unable to afford the cost of the new system on their own.
On Tuesday, February 4, 2020 SERCAP’s Regional staff, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) Office of Drinking Water (ODW), delivered a day-long training session entitled Rural and Small Systems Sustainable Utility Management Workshop, to the Mayor and Town Council of the Town of Monterey in Highland County, VA. The Town operates both the water and wastewater treatment facilities that serve its citizens and a number of county residents in close proximity. The Town’s relatively new, but motivated Town Council is facing several issues, including: aging infrastructure, limited resources, and a history of limited action in addressing these challenges. SERCAP and VDH: ODW have been working with the Town to implement both policy and operational changes, and to apply for funding.
As March and April 2020 rapidly approach, SERCAP’s VFC Alternative Break Program is gearing up for its Spring Break 2020 Weeks of Service! Thus far, SERCAP has confirmed that approximately 199 students from three Colleges and Universities, including: College of the Holy Cross, St. Joseph’s University, and the University of Delaware, will be participating in this year’s Spring Break Week of Service, specifically by sending students to community volunteer sites in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Back in the Spring of 2017, SERCAP was selected as the Housing Rehabilitation Specialist for the Lower Roxbury Neighborhood Revitalization Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Project, in the Town of Clifton Forge, in Alleghany County, VA. When the project’s previous Housing Rehabilitation Specialist failed to meet the Town’s expectations, they released a new request for proposals (RFP) for Housing Rehabilitation Specialist services for the project. Summit Engineering referred SERCAP to the
RFP, and SERCAP’s Housing Department was selected to take over as the project’s new Housing Rehabilitation Specialist.
Recently, SERCAP’s Certified CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) Loan Fund assisted an elderly woman in Cumberland County, VA, to have a new well drilled at her home. The client’s old well went dry, leaving her completely without access to potable water for several months. However, due to the client’s low-income status, she was unable to afford the cost of drilling a new well on her own without causing serious financial hardship.
Recently, SERCAP’s Essential & Critical Needs Program assisted a low-income couple in Caroline County, VA, with repairing their water-lines. The water pipes and hoses at their home had deteriorated and needed repairs. However, since the couple’s sole income is from social security, they were unable to afford the cost of the repairs themselves without experiencing financial hardship.
Home to 114 African American residents, the small community of Weems is located in the Greentown and Gaskins Road area of Lancaster County, VA. In 2016, funds from USDA’s Rural Utility Service (RUS) and a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) were designated for the construction of a wastewater treatment system to serve the community’s 45 households. Initially, a Package Plant known as the Living Machine, which mimics a natural wetland system, was built. This type of system requires a minimum intake of wastewater so it will continually move through the tanks and not lay dormant. However, due to engineering and construction delays, the treatment plant lay idle for a couple of years before it was placed into service.