News & Events

 

SERCAP’s Miscellaneous Grants Program

Assists Low-Income Family in Lee County, VA!

 

SERCAP’s Miscellaneous Grants Program recently assisted a family of four (4) in Lee County, VA. The family lacked reliable access to clean, safe drinking water and SERCAP was able to come in and provide a grant in the amount of $3,500 to install a new waterline into the family’s home and connect them to the public water system.

The long-term positive impact of this project will be an improved overall quality of life for the clients through the provision of access to a reliable source of clean, safe drinking water which will, in turn, improve both their Environmental Health, through the prevention of potential waterborne illnesses, and their Economic Self-sufficiency, through an increase in the value of their property. The project will also positively impact the community by supporting affordable water and wastewater facilities, through increased connections to the public water system, and by maintaining the property tax base which contributes to the community’s Economic Self-sufficiency.

 

SERCAP's 2015 Annual Report!

is NOW Available Online in Flip-Book Form:

 

 

 

SERCAP Hosts Annual Water Is Life! Conference & Luncheon

In Honor of its 47th Year, in Roanoke, VA!

 

SERCAP Staff, Lisa Banks and Ellen Smith at SERCAP's 2016 Water Is Life! Event!

 

On Wednesday, April 20, 2016, SERCAP hosted its Annual Water Is Life! Conference & Luncheon in Roanoke, VA, in celebration of the past year’s accomplishments in water, wastewater, and community development projects, and approximately 200 guests, from around the Commonwealth of Virginia and SERCAP’s seven state service region, gathered together to celebrate Water Is Life!

Workshops on Rethinking Urban Water Sustainability, Emergency Response Planning, Fair Housing, and many more, were presented by SERCAP staff and other local experts, to educate the public on water, wastewater, housing, and community development issues and programs. The Keynote Address was delivered by the Virginia Secretary of Commerce & Trade, Maurice Jones, who spoke about the current economic climate of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the importance of water and wastewater infrastructure to continued growth and economic development.

While SERCAP serves a seven state region, the Water Is Life! Conference & Luncheon has always taken place in Roanoke, VA. The long-term positive impact produced by holding the event, is that it significantly contributes to the Economic Self-sufficiency of the Roanoke Valley and the Commonwealth of Virginia, through the use of locally owned and operated businesses, and an increase in sales tax and prepared food tax revenues for Roanoke and the Commonwealth. SERCAP also passed out Dogwood tree saplings to all attendees, for the second year in a row, adding the additional impact of promoting Environmental Health in the Commonwealth of Virginia, by encouraging tree planting and potentially increasing oxygen production in all areas where the trees are planted. SERCAP’s dedication to the Commonwealth of Virginia, support of local businesses, and positive environmental practices, have been positively impacting Virginia’s long-term Economic Self-sufficiency and Environmental Health for many years and will continue to do so.

 

 

SERCAP’s Housing Counseling Program

Celebrates First Clients to Successfully Purchase Homes!

 

When SERCAP became a HUD certified Local Housing Counseling Agency (LHCA) in 2012, the organization knew that building it’s newly minted Housing Counseling Program and successfully helping clients to realize their dream of home-ownership would be a long and challenging path. After four years of persevering despite the many challenges, SERCAP’s Housing Counseling Program has grown its program exponentially (serving nearly 400 clients in the past 18 months) and has now helped its first two clients to successfully purchase homes and become homeowners.

The long-term positive impact produced by SERCAP’s Housing Counseling Program is ultimately the overall improved quality of life experienced by the clients who successfully retain their newly learned financial knowledge, implement the skills taught by the program, improve their financial health, and purchase an affordable house that is warm, safe, and dry. By purchasing an affordable house that is warm, safe, and dry, the clients have improved their Environmental Health by reducing the risk of illnesses caused by environmental factors present in unsafe homes, and by reducing their stress level through the improvement of their environment and financial status. SERCAP’s Housing Counseling Program also positively impacts the Economic Self-Sufficiency of both the client and the community through the gain of a valuable asset for the client, and by supporting broader neighborhood revitalization and potentially improving local housing markets in the community at-large, which could lead to an increased property tax base in the community.

 

 

Town of Rich Creek - Part II

SERCAP’s Assists Town of Rich Creek in Giles County, VA

Through Technical Assistance, Facilities Development,
and Loan Fund Programs

 

Currently, SERCAP’s Technical Assistance Providers (TAPs) are working with the Facilities Development Grant Program and the Community Development Loan Program to provide a 50/50 Grant/Loan combination to the Town of Rich Creek in Giles County, VA, to address issues of Inflow & Infiltration (I & I) to the sanitary sewer collection system and wastewater treatment plant. The $50,000 Grant/Loan combination funding/financing provided by SERCAP, will be used to investigate weaknesses and begin necessary repairs to the sanitary sewer collection system.

In the long-term, the investigation of weaknesses and subsequent repairs to the sanitary sewer collection system will improve the overall Quality of Life for community residents by maintaining the community’s Environmental Health and by improving the Economic Self-sufficiency of the community at-large. The Environmental  Health  of the community will be maintained by making repairs that will guarantee an environmentally sound sewer collection system that will prevent potential contamination of the groundwater, and therefore, will also prevent potential waterborne illnesses in the community. The project will also improve the Economic Self-sufficiency of the community by improving its water infrastructure which may, in-turn, encourage further community and business development.

 

 

Town of Rich Creek - Part I

SERCAP’s Regional Department

Assists Town of Rich Creek in Giles County, VA

 

Currently, SERCAP’s Regional Department is working with the Town of Rich Creek in Giles County, VA, to help train and certify a new Water/Wastewater Facility Operator. The public water system in the Town of Rich Creek serves approximately 700 residents who would be without clean, safe drinking water if there were no certified operator in the community. Water/Wastewater Operators across the US are rapidly reaching retirement age, and SERCAP is working locally to provide training and/or technical assistance services to help fill the need for small systems across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In the long-term, the successful certification of a new Water/Wastewater Operator will improve the overall Quality of Life for the community by maintaining the community’s Environmental Health and by improving the Economic Self-sufficiency of the individual operator and the community at-large. Certifying a new Water/Wastewater Operator will maintain the Environmental Health of the community through the continued provision of clean, safe drinking water from a reliable, properly treated, and well maintained water treatment facility. The project will also improve the Economic Self-sufficiency of the individual water operator by providing a secure living-wage job and improve the Economic Self-Sufficiency of the community by maintaining its water infrastructure and encouraging further community development.

 

 

SERCAP’s Housing Department

Assists Family of Five (5) in Rockingham County, VA

 

Currently, SERCAP is assisting a family of five (5) living in Rockingham County, VA to install a new septic system, due to the failure of their old system. SERCAP is able to provide them with a grant through the Indoor Plumbing & Rehabilitation Program that will allow the installation this new septic system, giving the family reliable access to an environmentally sound waste disposal system.

In the long-term, the successful completion of the installation of a new septic system will improve the overall quality of life for both the client and the neighborhood at-large due to improved environmental health and improved and/or maintained economic self-sufficiency. The project will improve the Environmental Health of the client and the neighborhood through the provision of a reliable and environmentally sound septic system that will prevent improperly handled wastewater from leaking back into the groundwater table. The project will also improve the economic self-sufficiency of the client by improving their property value and will improve the economic self-sufficiency of the community by increasing the current property tax base for the County.

 

 

SERCAP’s Regional Department

Assists Town of Appalachia in Wise County, VA

 

The Town of Appalachia is a small town in Wise County, Virginia, that’s water supply comes from a 16-acre, 100 million gallon reservoir created by a dam constructed in 1918, and serves not only the Town’s 1,700 residents but also the mostly low-income residents of eight former coal camps just outside the Town. Virginia’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (VDCR) Division of Dam Safety required the Town to complete a comprehensive structural safety inspection of the dam in order to evaluate the potential of the impoundment dam to slide or overturn in the event of a storm magnitude represented by the Probable Maximum Precipitation, however, the study, to be conducted by a certified professional engineer, would be costly to complete. In an effort to find the funds needed for the study, the Town was able to procure a small grant from VDCR to cover just over 12.5% of the project cost and SERCAP was able to leverage the VDCR funds and provide the balance needed to allow the study to be completed.

In the long-term, the successful completion of the study will improve the overall quality of life for the residents of the Town by improving the Environmental Health of the town’s water supply from a properly inspected Dam, which will prevent potential contamination and/or accidents due to safety hazards. Additionally, the Town’s economic self-sufficiency will be maintained through the provision of these grant funds, as opposed to forcing the Town and it’s resident tax-payers into debt through the disbursement of costly loans.

 

 

SERCAP’s Water/Wastewater Operator Training Program

Graduates it's First Successful Candidate!

 

 

On Thursday, December 17, 2015 Jodi Caldwell, SERCAP’s first successful candidate in the Water/ Wastewater Operator Training Program, sat for her last exam and completed her program at Virginia Western Community College. At it’s offices in Roanoke, VA, SERCAP celebrated the completion of this first monumental step of the Water/Wastewater Operator Training Program and major accomplishment with Caldwell. However, now that the initial coursework has been completed, Caldwell will continue to work with SERCAP as she prepares for her state certification exam, and SERCAP will assist in placing her in  a paid or unpaid internship/apprenticeship at a wastewater facility once she passes her exam, so that she can acquire the field experience required by the state to complete her certification.

In the long-term, the successful completion of this program will improve the overall quality of life for Caldwell by improving her economic self-sufficiency through the acquisition of a marketable skill in a recession proof field, since regardless of any event that may occur, people will always need clean, safe drinking water and environmentally sound wastewater treatment facilities. Caldwell’s successful completion of the program will also benefit the community in which she works as an operator and the Commonwealth of Virginia as a whole by maintaining and/or improving the environmental health of the community through the proper treatment, maintenance, and care of local drinking water systems and wastewater treatment facilities. The program also benefits the Commonwealth of Virginia’s economic status by transitioning individuals off of TANF and into livable wage jobs.

 

 

SERCAP’s Loand Fund Department

Assists Family of Three in Montgomery County, VA

 

Currently, SERCAP’s Loan Fund Department is assisting a family of three in the Town of Christiansburg in Montgomery County, VA, who had recently gone through some drastic changes with their living situation following the arrival of some serious medical issues. For a household of three persons, two of which are only able to draw a small fixed income, having one family member suddenly unable to work put the household into emotional distress, especially after the family unexpectedly began to have problems with their well, and were unable to draw much, if any water. With such a sudden change in their household income, and medical bills piling up, many lenders turned the family away. However, SERCAP was able to assist the family by taking the time to understand their hardships, providing a flexible loan that prevented any further strain on the already dire financial situation, and providing the family with the funds needed to repair their well and once again restore reliable access to clean, safe drinking water.

In  the  long-term,  this  Individual  Household  Loan  project  will  improve  the  family’s  overall  quality of  life  by  improving  their  environmental  health,  through  the  provision  of  reliable  access  to  clean, safe drinking water that will prevent waterborne  illnesses, and the project will help to maintain their economic self-sufficiency, through the provision of the affordable and flexible loan product and by maintaining the family’s property value. The project will also impact the community by maintaining the  local  property  tax  base  through  the  maintained  property  value  of  the  family’s  home,  which in-turn will contribute to the economic welfare of the family, neighborhood, and community at-large.

 

 

In Memoriam: Larry Wayne Wallace

Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc. Lost a Dear
Colleague and Friend with the Passing of Larry Wallace on Thanksgiving Day

 

Larry Wallace, (l), receives SERCAP's 2014 Employee of the Year Award from
President & CEO Hope Cupit and Board of Directors Chairman Terry Lewis.

 

Larry was SERCAP’s Virginia State Program Manager, directing a staff of technical specialists and managing programs and services for water and sewer projects throughout the state. Prior to his tenure at SERCAP, Larry worked as a senior civil engineering principal and manager and had over 40 years of experience in project management, facilities engineering and construction, public works and municipal engineering, environmental and water resources engineering, and development engineering services.  He had been a registered Professional Engineer for over twenty-five years. A 1976 graduate of Virginia Tech, Larry held a BS in Engineering Technology and was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Affectionately nicknamed “the Sheriff” by our CEO Hope Cupit, Larry was the genial but firm enforcer of all things to be done properly around the office. Having too boisterous a meeting? Larry’s sharp baritone command, “Let’s tone it down people!” would bring the discussion volume under control. Did somebody use up all the creamer and sugar in the break room? An e-mail addressed to “Lovers of the Bean” would issue forth.

Larry took delight in his pretend-curmudgeonly persona, but it did not mask his gentleness. Larry was sure to inquire about the well being of each SERCAP employee’s family. He had a great memory for children’s birthdays and school progress, who had made the team, and who had made the crucial score. Larry also had special insight for those of us raising “rascals” just like him. There was a special grin and chuckle reserved for those bits of advice.

He and his wife Lari rescued shelter pets and Larry made special trips to provide food and supplies to local animal shelters. All around SERCAP’s downtown Roanoke office, critters of various sizes benefitted from Larry’s kindness. An improvised birdfeeder faithfully stocked by Larry had purple finches, cardinals and sparrows as regular visitors. A family of rabbits even showed up for what the birds dropped. He was the one who confidently guided a stray black snake out of our parking lot. Larry sometimes spoke of his unfulfilled boyhood desire to be a marine biologist, but his love of flora and fauna was clearly fulfilled by his constant pursuit of knowledge as a naturalist. Larry regularly shared with us treats from the books and articles he was reading on zoology, astronomy or geology. He knew the back roads of Virginia as if he had grown up in each tiny town or hollow. And when he returned from site visits, he would recount the history of the places he had been to as if he had lived each of the stories on the road side historical markers. Once he held up an arrowhead he had found on his mountain-side home and described how the discovery had stirred his passion to know more about the Sioux ancestry he had back in his family tree.

Larry’s humility was also revealed in his service with the National Guard. “Serving is just what you should do,” he would say. But his humility was never more apparent than when he advocated for the communities he served as SERCAP’s Virginia State Manager. The prospects of bringing safe water and sanitary waste disposal to the low income and sometimes unjustly treated residents of Virginia’s poorer communities could bring a tear to the eye of this John Wayne-sized man. He would often say, “We need to keep working to make it right.” We will miss you Larry, and yes, we will keep working to make it right.

 

 

SERCAP’s VFC Alternative Break Program

Partners with Apple Ridge Farm to Increase Impact in Virginia

 

SERCAP’s VFC Alternative Break Program, (formerly Volunteers for Communities), matches college student volunteers with low-income communities across the Commonwealth of Virginia and the southeastern United States to engage in service-learning activities, promote cultural awareness, and act as agents of change through service during school breaks. Recently, SERCAP secured Apple Ridge Farm in Copper Hill, Virginia (Floyd County, Virginia), as its newest community host-site. During the upcoming Spring Break Week in March of 2016, Apple Ridge Farm will be hosting a group of 25 student volunteers from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), out of Rochester, New York, who will be providing service to the Farm as well as serving at a number of local nonprofit organizations.

In the long-term, SERCAP’s VFC Alternative Break Program improves the overall quality of life for the student volunteers by impacting their future economic self-sufficiency through additional education and an increase in their field experience which will improve their employability and career prospects. The program also positively impacts the members of the host-site community by providing training in community planning and organization which empowers community members to actively pursue change that can potentially improve both their environmental health and economic self-sufficiency through the completion of needed community projects.

 

 

Join SERCAP for this FREE Workshop!

Wednesday October 7, 2015 from 6:45PM - 9:15PM in Roanoke, VA

 

SERCAP’s Loan Fund Department

Assists Family of Two in Richmond County, VA

 

Recently, SERCAP’s certified CDFI Loan Fund Department assisted a family of two in Richmond County, VA who did not have reliable access to clean water and was unable to qualify for a loan through a traditional lender. SERCAP was able to provide the family with an Individual Household Well Loan and now they have a reliable source of clean, safe drinking water.

In the long-term, this project will improve the overall quality of life for the client by improving the families environmental health, through peace of mind and the prevention of potential waterborne illnesses, and economic self-sufficiency through an increase in the value of the property. The project will also positively impact the community by supporting neighborhood revitalization and maintaining the property tax base contributing to the community’s economic self-sufficiency.

 

 

SERCAP’s Housing Department

Assists 61 Year-Old Man in Roanoke City, VA

 

Recently, SERCAP’s Housing Department completed four housing rehabilitation projects as part of its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Contract with Roanoke City, one of which, was for a 61 year-old man who works for Papa John’s and has been very responsible about trying to maintain his older home. However, since he lives by himself, a variety of setbacks, including a burglary and his health, have impeded him from addressing the major issues with his home. SERCAP was able to step in and adequately address all his needs, including repairing the roof and the soffit around the roof, with a $15,000 grant.

In the long-term, this project will improve the overall quality of life for the client by improving his environmental health, through peace of mind, and by improving his economic self-sufficiency through an increase in the value of the property. The project will also positively impact the community by supporting neighborhood revitalization and maintaining the property tax base contributing to the community’s economic self-sufficiency.

 

 

SERCAP’s Regional Department

Continues to Assist Tangier Island in Accomack County, VA

 

Over the past several months, SERCAP’s Regional Department has continued to assist Tangier Island in Accomack County, VA with its water and the stringent discharge limits of wastewater into the Chesapeake Bay. The local water system uses two reverse osmosis water treatment units to minimize the levels of sodium and fluoride and provide residents suitable drinking water, however, these units have had issues of instability due in part to the harsh environment of the salt air, volume of use, and age. SERCAP has taken steps to fix one of the two units and is currently planning a phased project to send both units back to the mainland to be renovated one at a time.
 
In the long-term, this project will improve the overall quality of life for the community by establishing a long-term sustainable water infrastructure system that will improve the community’s health through reliable access to clean, safe drinking water and will improve the community’s economic self-sufficiency by providing infrastructure that will support local businesses. Ultimately, the repairs to the water system will not only improve the community’s quality of life, they will make continued life on the island possible.

 

 

SERCAP Welcomes Michael Haas!

on His First Day with SERCAP

 

 

 

SERCAP’s Miscellaneous Grants Program

Assists Family of Five in Buchanan County, VA

 

Recently, SERCAP’s Miscellaneous Grants Program assisted a family of five (5) in Buchanan County, VA. The client was referred to SERCAP because they needed assistance with both getting connected to the public waterlines and with the connection costs charged by the Buchanan County Public Service Authority. SERCAP provided a grant in the amount of $2,275 to assist with the cost of the work that needed to be done and the family is now connected to the public water system.

In the long-term, this project will improve the overall quality of life for the client by providing access to a reliable source of clean, safe drinking water which will, in turn, improve both their environmental health, through the prevention of potential waterborne illnesses, and their economic self-sufficiency, through an increase in the value of their property. The project will also positively impact the community by supporting affordable water and wastewater facilities, through increased connections to the public water system, and by maintaining the property tax base which contributes to the community’s economic self-sufficiency.

 

 

SERCAP’s Loan Fund Department

Assists Family of Two in Culpeper, VA

 

Recently, SERCAP’s Loan Fund Department completed an individual household well project in Culpeper, VA for a mother and son. Their well was in need of replacing and SERCAP was able to provide a
low-interest (1%) loan of $5,875 for them to have a new well drilled, once again providing a reliable source of clean, safe drinking water.

In the long-term, this project will improve the overall quality of life for the client by improving their environmental health, through the prevention of potential waterborne illnesses, and by improving their economic self-sufficiency, through an increase in the value of their property. The project will also positively impact the community by supporting neighborhood revitalization, through the drilling of a new well, and maintaining the property tax base contributing to the community’s economic self-sufficiency.

 

 

SERCAP’s Housing Department

Assists 57 Year-Old Man in Roanoke City, VA

 

Recently, SERCAP’s Housing Department completed four housing rehabilitation projects as part of its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Contract with Roanoke City, one of which, was for a very conscientious 57 year-old man living in a house that was built in 1917. Given that the house is a nearly 100 year-old structure, managing the roof and drainage system was overwhelming for the homeowner. For a relatively small grant of only $4,100, SERCAP was able to oversee the completion of a housing rehabilitation project to replace the soffit and the drainpipes around the damaged part of the slate roof.

In the long-term, this project will improve the overall quality of life for the client by improving his environmental health, through the prevention of potential illnesses caused by a leaky roof and poor drainage system, and by improving his economic self-sufficiency through an increase in the value of the property. The project will also positively impact the community by supporting neighborhood revitalization and maintaining the property tax base contributing to the community’s economic self-sufficiency.

 

 

SERCAP’s Regional Department

Assists Morton Lane Well System in Green County, VA

 

SERCAP’s Regional Department is currently working with Morton Lane, a privately-owned well system serving 6 homes in Green County, VA, to provide technical assistance for reconfiguring the system to eliminate public health risks and to train members of the community on how to properly operate and maintain the system. Following the passing of the system’s original owner/operator, the water system failed and upon inspection, several problems threatening public health were evident, including: failure of the filtration system, failure of the disinfection treatment system, and a physical cross-connection to a non-potable rain water collection system. SERCAP teamed-up with the primary funder, Skyline Community Assistance Partnership, to provide Morton Lane with the assistance they needed to remedy a situation that threatened the safety of the public water supply.

In the long-term, the assistance provided will improve the overall quality of life for the members of the community by improving the environmental health for the households connected to the water system and the community at large, through the prevention of potential waterborne illnesses and the prevention of further contamination.

 

 

SERCAP’s Housing Counseling Program

Provides FREE Workshops Across the Roanoke Valley

 

Over the past several months, SERCAP’s Housing Counseling Program has held five (5) FREE Workshops covering topics including: Home Maintenance, Budgeting, Credit, and Fair Housing. These workshops have provided valuable education and financial information to 51 households in the Roanoke Valley. Participants in these workshops are also offered the opportunity to participate in FREE one-on-one housing and financial counseling to further assist them in reaching their financial goals.

In the long-term, the free workshops provided by SERCAP’s Housing Counseling Program will improve the overall quality of life for the members of the participating households by improving both their economic self-sufficiency through increased financial literacy and their environmental health through increased knowledge of basic home maintenance and decreased stress due to financial issues. These financial and housing information workshops also positively impact the community by supporting broader neighborhood revitalization and potentially improving local housing markets through improved money management skills, increased homeownership, and foreclosure prevention strategies for members of the community.

 

 

SERCAP’s Regional Department

Assists Carver Gardens Neighborhood in York County, VA

 

Currently, SERCAP’s Regional Department is providing Technical Assistance (TA) to Carver Gardens, a small residential neighborhood of 105 homes that is presently served by a small, privately-owned utility that purchases water wholesale from York County and resells it to residents living in the individually metered homes. TA is needed to counteract the reduction in the integrity and capacity of the existing water-lines, which have degraded to the point where residents sometimes experience low pressure and discolored water from tuberculated lines (scale buildup which can reduce flow capacity) and repairs to broken lines. The cost of the needed repairs is too great for the current utility and therefore, SERCAP has stepped in to facilitate meetings to discuss ownership of the system and the possibility of it being transferred to York County permanently.

In the long-term, this project will improve the overall quality of life for the residents of Carver Gardens by establishing a reliable utility provider that will be able to effectively maintain the community’s water/wastewater infrastructure, which will in-turn protect the community’s environmental health through the reduction and/or prevention of waterborne illnesses from compromised water-lines. The project will also positively impact the community’s economic self-sufficiency by establishing a strong utility infrastructure that will support and encourage housing and small business growth in the area.

 

 

SERCAP’s Miscellaneous Grants Program

Assists Family of Three in Halifax County, VA

 

Recently, SERCAP’s Miscellaneous Grants Program assisted a family of three (3) in Halifax County, VA, to pump-out their septic tank and install new drain-field lines with a distribution box. The client was experiencing a foul odor in her home, due to septic issues, so she contacted SERCAP, submitted an application for assistance, her application was approved, and the work she needed on her septic system has now been completed. According to the client, she, “really needed the assistance and now (her) toilets flush better plus (she doesn’t) smell a foul odor anymore,” and she also commented that working with SERCAP, “came right on time,” because she had no money available to repair her drain-field.

In the long-term, this project will improve the overall quality of life for the client by providing a reliable and environmentally sound septic system that will improve both the client’s environmental health, through the prevention of potential waterborne illnesses (from septic leakage into the groundwater), and their economic self-sufficiency, through an increase in their property value, since the septic system has now been repaired. The project will also protect the environmental health of the community by preventing contamination of the ground water table and it will impact the economic self-sufficiency of the community by maintaining the community’s property tax base.

 

 

SERCAP's Loan Fund Department

Assists Low-Income Family in Suffok, VA

 

Recently, SERCAP’s certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Loan Fund assisted a low income family of three in Suffolk, VA, that was in need of a new well for clean, safe drinking water. The family’s well was failing to produce sufficient water causing them to borrow water from neighbors and purchase water when possible, since they lacked the resources to repair or replace their well. SERCAP was able to step in and collaborate between the Loan Fund Department and Miscellaneous Grants program to fund the project and the family now has reliable access to clean, safe drinking water.

This project has improved the family’s overall quality of life and their environmental health through the prevention of waterborne illnesses and the reduction of stress caused by not having adequate access to a reliable water source. This project has also impacted the greater community by increasing the local property tax base through increased property values, contributing to the economic welfare of the family, neighborhood, and community at-large.

 

 

SERCAP's Regional Department

Assists Water Treatment Plant in Keysville, VA

 

Currently, SERCAP is assisting the Town of Keysville Water Treatment Plant to come into compliance with the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act and the Virginia Waterworks Regulations’ requirements for water operator licensure. SERCAP recently conducted a four-and-a-half day on-site training for the Water Treatment Plant to bring the current operator up from a Class III license to a Class II license to match the Class II facility designation, once the operator sits for the Class II certification exam. By receiving a Class II License, the operator will bring the Water Treatment Plant into compliance with both Virginia and federal regulations regarding licensure, and strengthen the Town’s accountability regarding the continued protection of public health.

In the long term, the project will maintain and/or improve the quality of life for the residents of the Town of Keysville by maintaining the current environmental health through the prevention of waterborne illnesses by providing properly treated drinking water. The project will also improve the community’s economic self-sufficiency by saving the town upwards of $1,000 in training costs and by potentially drawing in new businesses with their strong community infrastructure that will increase the local tax base.

 

 

SERCAP's 2014 Annual Report!

is NOW Available Online in Flip-Book Form:

 

 

 

SERCAP's Water Is Life! Photos!

Photos from the Water Is Life! Conference are Now on Facebook

 

Did you miss out on SERCAP's 2015 Water Is Life! Conference & Luncheon? No problem. Great images from the event are now available online. Visit SERCAP's facebook page: www.facebook.com/SERCAPWater to view all the fantastic moments from the 2015 event.

 

From Left to Right: Water Is Life! Master of Ceremonies, Paul Economy of Member One
FCU; SERCAP President & CEO, Hope Cupit; and Water Is Life! Keynote Speaker,
Johnny Georges of Tree T-PEE at the 2015 Water Is Life! Luncheon.

 

 

SERCAP's Miscellaneous Grants Program

Assists Elderly Veteran in Halifax County, VA

 

SERCAP’s Miscellaneous Grants program recently assisted an elderly veteran in Halifax County, VA with $1,500 in grant funding for a new drain-field for his individual household septic system. Among other health issues, this client is blind and lives with a caretaker who was unable to use his bathroom and kitchen facilities due to the disrepair.

In the long term, this project has improved the overall quality of life for the client, his caretaker, and the neighborhood through improved environmental health. The project has provided an environmentally sound septic facility for the client and has prevented contamination of the groundwater table, impacting the community at-large by maintaining a safe drinking water supply and preventing possible waterborne illnesses. The project has also contributed to the economic stability of the client and the community through an increase in the property value for the client and an increase in the local tax base for the community.

 

 

Water / Wastewater Operator Training Program

SERCAP's Program Targets TANF Participants

 

SERCAP’s Water / Wastewater Operator Training Program targets TANF participants to help them successfully complete the training needed to re-enter the workforce with a necessary skill that will benefit both the individual and the community in the long run. Many of the skilled water and wastewater operators in the Commonwealth of Virginia are on the verge of retirement and Virginia is in need of trained operators to take the place of those who retire in order to keep Virginia’s water and wastewater systems online and operating at a safe and environmentally sound level.

In the long-term, this program will improve the overall quality of life for the 16 enrollees by improving their economic self-sufficiency through the acquisition of a marketable skill in a recession proof field, since regardless of any event that may occur, people will always need clean, safe drinking water and environmentally sound wastewater treatment facilities. The project will benefit the communities in which the trained operators work and the Commonwealth of Virginia as a whole by maintaining and/or improving the environmental health of communities through the proper treatment, maintenance, and care of local drinking water systems and wastewater treatment facilities. The project also benefits the Commonwealth of Virginia’s economic status by transitioning individuals off of TANF and into livable wage jobs.

For more information or to see if you qualify for the program contact the program manager, Joe Fields
at 540-345-1184 ext. 126

 

 

SERCAP Hosts Annual Water Is Life!

Conference & Luncheon in Roanoke, VA

 

Reverand, Russ Merritt delivers the Invocation at SERCAP's 2015 Water Is Life! Luncheon.

 

On April 22, 2015, SERCAP hosted its Annual Water Is Life! Conference & Luncheon in Roanoke, VA in celebration of Earth Day and the past year’s accomplishments in water, wastewater, and community development projects. Approximately 180 guests from around the Commonwealth of Virginia and SERCAP’s seven state service region attended the event to hear speakers including Virginia Delegate Sam Rasoul and Shark Tank Alumni, Johnny Georges, who delivered the Keynote Address.

While SERCAP serves a seven state region, the Water Is Life! Conference & Luncheon has always taken place in Roanoke, VA. The event significantly contributes to the economic self-sufficiency of the Roanoke Valley and the Commonwealth of Virginia through the use of locally operated businesses and an increase in sales tax and prepared food tax revenues from the attendees of the event and the event itself. SERCAP also passed out Dogwood tree saplings to all attendees which will promote environmental health for the Commonwealth of Virginia through the encouragement of tree planting and increased oxygen production in all areas where the trees are planted. SERCAP’s dedication to the Commonwealth of Virginia, support of local businesses, and positive environmental practices have been contributing to Virginia’s long-term economic stability and environmental health for many years.

 

 

A Day Without Indoor Plumbing: A 24 Hour Challenge

SERCAP Launches Nationwide Awareness & Fundraising Campaign

 

On March 18, 2015, SERCAP launched a nationwide awareness and fundraising campaign entitled, A Day without Indoor Plumbing: A 24 Hour Clean Water Challenge. The purpose of the campaign is to raise public awareness of the fact that a lack of access to clean, safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities is still an issue in the United States. According to the American Communities Survey released by the US Census Bureau, there are approximately 526,000 occupied residences in the US that do not have complete indoor plumbing, showing that water is still an issue in America.

SERCAP’s A Day without Indoor Plumbing challenges Americans who live in homes with full indoor plumbing facilities to go without using those facilities for a 24 hour period in order to learn how it feels for those without to live in the modern world while struggling for basic resources.

In the days leading up to World Water Day on Sunday, March 22, 2015, SERCAP is challenging the general public to turn off the tap and go for 24 hours without using the indoor plumbing facilities available to them in their homes. The intention is that A Day without Indoor Plumbing will be a year-long challenge to get Americans from across the country to understand what it is like to carry your water in to your home from outside and to help SERCAP raise funds for water and wastewater assistance to low-income communities in the process.

If you are interested in participating in the challenge you can click the links below to sign up online and begin fundraising for SERCAP and this very worthy cause. For more information or to have your questions about the challenge answered, please contact SERCAP's Planning & Development Manager, Lauren Mason at 540-345-1184 ext. 125.

To Watch Videos or Sign Up click the links below:

 

Sign Up for the Challenge and Help SERCAP Raise Funds & Awareness!

Watch SERCAP's A Day Without Indoor Plumbing Video on YouTube!

 

 

SERCAP's VFC Alternative Break Program

Embraces Spring Break in 2015!

 

Students from the University of North Carolina volunteering with Vigilant Hope in Wilmington, North Carolina as part of SERCAP's VFC Alternative Break Spring Break Week 2015!

 

SERCAP’s VFC Alternative Break Program offers college students an alternative to traditional Spring Break activities by bringing them into low-income communities to participate in service learning projects and engage in a cultural exchange experience. During the month of March, VFC hosted over 300 college student volunteers who engaged in a variety of service learning activities including: assisting local boards of health, volunteering at homeless shelters, painting/repairing community facilities, and mentoring kids at local after school programs.

SERCAP’s VFC Alternative Break Program positively impacts the communities that host the students by improving those communities’ environmental health, economic self-sufficiency, and overall quality of life. The student volunteers work with local clinics and health organizations to assist in the provision of health services to low-income community members and health education activities. The student volunteers also make a financial contribution to the host communities’ as an essential part of the program which, in turn impacts the economic self-sufficiency of the communities’ by providing funds that can be used towards community development and civic engagement projects.

If you are interested in learning more about SERCAP's VFC Alternative Break program contact the program manager, Ashton Fallen, at 540-345-1184 ext. 139 or visit the VFC Blog!

 

 

SERCAP Builds Two YouTube Channels:

SERCAPWater and VFC Alternative Break

 

Over the past two years SERCAP has made a push to increase its online presence by creating more social media content that is both attention grabbing and relevant. During this time, SERCAP has successfully built up its Facebook likes and Twitter followers, but the SERCAPWater YouTube Channel has remained somewhat stagnant due to lack of new content. That, however, has changed.

In the past two weeks, SERCAP has begun a new project and posted three new videos on two YouTube Channels. SERCAPWater is the channel that focuses on SERCAP as an agency and the videos posted to the channel include program information, client testimonials, and overall agency information. The VFC Alternative Break Channel highlights SERCAP's VFC Alternative Break program and targets college students and the academic community with fun videos featuring the VFC program.

To watch videos or subscribe to SERCAP's YouTube Channels click the links below:

 

SERCAPWater on YouTube!

VFC Alternative Break on YouTube!

 

 

SERCAP's Housing Department

Assists IPR Client in Buckingham County, VA

 

Over the past several months, SERCAP has been working with a gentleman in Dillwyn in Buckingham County, VA to get him a new home though the Indoor Plumbing & Rehabilitation program. Currently, he is living in a very unstable, decrepit house that is falling apart and needs both a new well and a new septic system. SERCAP is planning to begin construction on the new house by the end of March, 2015.

Once construction is complete and the client is settled in his new home, SERCAP anticipates that his overall physical, emotional, and environmental health will be improved by having a home that is warm, safe, and dry, and by having adequate access to clean drinking water. This project will also positively impact the overall community by improving the environmental health of the neighborhood through the elimination of possible groundwater contaminants and by improving economic self-sufficiency through an increased property tax base.

 

 

SERCAP Wins Housing Rehab Specialist Contract

for Highway 49 Housing Project in Mecklenburg County, VA

 

Recently, SERCAP was awarded the contract for the Housing Rehabilitation Specialist work for a CDBG Planning Grant in Mecklenburg County, VA. The grant administrator, Southside Planning District Commission, and SERCAP will combine efforts to complete the planning work and apply for a construction grant for the Highway 49 Housing Project.

If the construction grant is awarded, the benefits to both the individual homeowners and the community at large will be significant. The quality of life of the homeowners will significantly improve as they will be provided with warm, safe, and dry homes with adequate access to clean water and environmentally friendly appliances that will contribute to decreased risk of illness and improved economic health as a result of lower utility bills. Both the homeowners and the community will experience increased economic stability with improved property values and an increase in the local property tax base.

 

 

SERCAP's Loan Fund Department

Assists Low-Income Individual in Shenandoah County, VA

 

Recently, the Loan Fund Department was able to assist a low income individual in Shenandoah County, VA. This client, a widow who works part time for added income to her retirement benefits to make ends meet, was in need of a well and water softener system for clean water.

SERCAP’s Loan Department was able to provide funding for a new well and water softener. She is now able to obtain clean drinking water in her home and no longer has to purchase water and carry gallons of water in and out of the home. This has vastly improved her quality of life by improving both her environmental health through the provision of clean water and prevention of water borne diseases, and economic state from increased property value which benefits both the homeowner and the local property tax base, ultimately positively influencing the greater community.

 

 

SERCAP's Regional Department

Assists SouthEast 4H Center

 

The SouthEast 4H Center, located in Wakefield Virginia, suffers from water quality sustainability issues due to salt water contamination into the local aquifer and has agreed to work with SERCAP and the EPA NPA grant program to address this issue. As the SE 4H Center is located within the Department of Environmental Quality’s Eastern Groundwater Management Area, permitting is highly controlled and regulated. SERCAP will provide technical assistance through the application and permitting stages as well as the grant/loan process.

In the long term, this assistance will positively impact local environmental health and prevent losses by the local economy. Finding a sustainable solution to the local water quality issues will provide improved local water infrastructure which will prevent illnesses due to contaminated water, and will potentially support the local economy by allowing the SE 4H Center to remain operational, potentially attracting new businesses to the area, and supporting the local tax base through sustaining current and/or attracting new business activity.

 

 

SERCAP's Facility Development Program

Assists Town of Chilhowie in Smyth County, VA

 

Following the discovery of a leak in a waterline that served 14 households, the Town of Chilhowie contacted SERCAP to request funding to assist with this local water emergency. As it turned out, the leaky waterline happened to run through a cow pasture and creek, creating a health risk for the local residents.

SERCAP awarded the Town of Chilhowie a $50,000 grant, allowing the Town to relocate the existing waterline and install new waterlines in order to better serve the residents and the greater community. SERCAP’s assistance positively impacted the community by reducing the risk of contamination and ensuring environmental health through the provision of clean, safe, potable water. The local economic state was also able to remain constant rather than be negatively impacted by the disrepair of this waterline, a local infrastructure system.

 

 

Johnny Georges of Tree T-PEE to Give Keynote Address

at SERCAP's 2015 Water Is Life! Conference & Lunceon

 

*Photo provided by tree T-Pee

 

An entrepreneur from Arcadia, FL, Johnny Georges has spent his entire life around the citrus industry and is passionate to provide a water conservation solution to help growers. His invention, the tree T-PEE®, not only conserves water, but has been found through University of Florida research to also reduce fuel and fertilizer costs and promote strong root growth.

The tree T-PEE serves several objectives. The cone-shaped tree guard, made of recycled plastic is positioned at the base of young trees. The product, which has been on the market since 1986, has been getting considerable notice now that the need to conserve water is so critical.

In 2013, Georges ‘got a deal’ after pitching his product on ABC’s Shark Tank. Working with his partner, John Paul DeJoria, a philanthropist and environmentalist, Georges is working on taking the T-PEE® worldwide with the mission to save water and make a difference in the agricultural industry one tree at a time.

Georges will be giving the Keynote Address at SERCAP's 2015 Water Is Life! Conference & Luncheon on April 22, 2015 at the Roanoke Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center in Roanoke, VA. For more information about this event or to register to attend contact SERCAP at 540-345-1184.

 

 

SERCAP's Loan Fund

Assists Low-income Family in Franklin County, VA

 

SERCAP’s Loan Fund Department was recently able to assist a very low income family (consisting of a disabled husband, a wife working a minimum wage job, and a teenage daughter) in Franklin County that was in need of a new septic system drain field in order for them to be able to stay in their home. Due to the drain field failure, their teenage daughter was displaced from the home and living with a relative.

SERCAP’s Loan Department was able to provide the funding for the drain field repair and the family now has a working and legal septic system and improved economic status with the increase of their property value. This has vastly improved the quality of life and the future outlook for this family, now reunited, and the neighborhood as a whole. The repair has improved the environmental health of the neighborhood since the failed system is no longer contaminating the soil and/or the groundwater, assuring the community, neighborhood, and clients of clean, safe drinking water and the increased property value has increased the local tax base and the desirability of the neighborhood.

 

 

The Cynthia Miller Project

SERCAP Assists an Amherst County Resident with
a New Well Following Months of Struggle and Water Woes

 

After her well collapsed in June of 2014, Cynthia Miller, an Amherst County resident, contacted numerous organizations for assistance. However, due to the loss of her job and a number of unfortunate circumstances, Ms. Miller was unable to qualify for a loan for the full assistance that she needed to gain access to clean safe drinking water.

After months of struggle, SERCAP was finally able to secure funding and give her a grant of $3,905 to cover the tap fees to connect her to the county waterlines and SERCAP staff were able to build a relationship with the company, Cut-Rate Septic Tank who agreed to donate their services to dissconnect her well and pressure tank. The long term outcomes achieved by this project include improved environmental health through access to clean, safe drinking water and an improved economic situation for Miller with the addition of a county waterline connection which will increase her property value. Overall, this project has helped to improve Miller’s quality of life.

 

 

FREE FINANCIAL PLANNING FOR THE HOLIDAYS:

SERCAP'S Housing Counseling Program Delivers Successful
Workshop in Rocky Mount, VA

 

On December 17, 2014 from 7:00pm - 8:15pm at the Tabernacle of Praise Church of Christ, SERCAP’s Certified Housing Counselor, Brandy Dudley, along with associate Brendan Vigorito from Money Management International and other community partners, presented a free workshop on Financial Planning for the Holidays. The workshop drew a crowd of 31 local residents, many of whom commented that this was a training that was really needed by the community. Of those who attended, seven (7) expressed interest in purchasing a home and two (2) have already scheduled appointments for one-on-one housing counseling with SERCAP’s Certified Housing Counselor. The long-term outcomes and positive impact of this and other financial trainings by SERCAP, include: increased economic self-sufficiency for individuals who make managing their credit well and purchasing a warm, safe, and dry home a priority, increased economic stability for the community through additional property taxes paid by new homeowners, and overall increased quality of life for all members of the families living in a new home.

For more information on SERCAP's Housing Counseling Program contact Brandy Dudley.

 

 

SERCAP Staff Become Approved 502 Loan Processors:

SERCAP Partners with USDA Rural Development and FAHE to Provide 502 Direct Loans

 

USDA Rural Development’s 502 Loan Program is a Direct Loan that allows lower income individuals and families to purchase a home in a rural area with a monthly mortgage payment that is based on their specific income level. SERCAP has now partnered with USDA RD and Fahe to package Section 502 Direct Loans in: MD, DE, VA, and NC. SERCAP Staff Members Hope Cupit, Charlotte Oliver, and Brandy Dudley have successfully completed the certification process for this loan program. Clients who apply for 502 Loans through SERCAP will be required to participate in SERCAP’s Housing Counseling services offered by certified housing counselor, Brandy Dudley. This program promotes economic development and homeownership in rural areas and supports local governments through increased property tax income paid by new homeowners.

For more information or to request an application contact Charlotte Oliver.

 

 

SERCAP's Certified CDFI Loan Fund

Assists Very Low-Income Family in Tazewell County, VA

 

A very underpriveledged family in Tazewell County, with one member battling cancer and 2 small children, needed a well and septic system in order to stay in their home. SERCAP was able to combine the efforts of two departments, the Miscellaneous Grants Program and the Loan Fund Department, to provide grant and loan funding to connect the household to the County Water System and establish a septic system connection. The family now has clean drinking water, an operating sewer system, and most importantly, they are able to stay together since they will not be losing their home. The assistance SERCAP was able to provide has vastly improved the quality of life and the future outlook for this family. and has improved the environmental health of the neighborhood as a whole, as now the family is using a county sewer system and not contaminating the soil.

 

 

SERCAP's Housing Department

Provides Buckingham County, VA Resident with One of Life's Basic Needs

 

SERCAP provided an elderly Buckingham County homeowner with indoor bathroom facilities, running water and a new warm, safe and dry home. The existing home did not meet HUD Housing Quality Standard (HQS) and was too far gone just to rehab. This new home provided work for several local contractors and suppliers of material and appliances. The new home will also provide additional tax base for the county. The Buckingham County Resident was provided with Home Maintenance Education (HME) to insure they had the training in the maintenance of all the items in this new home.

 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO AND LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS HOUSING PROJECT

 

 

SERCAP Partner's with Tri-County Community Action Agency

To Implement Watershed Improvement Plan for Banister River Watershed

 

SERCAP’s focus is to assist the team with workshops in the community targeting 75 residences with failing septic systems or with no treatment systems to improve the water quality in this impaired waterway. Throught this one year project, SERCAP will present basics of septic system operation, how to maintain their systems, and do’s and don’ts of what to put in a home septic system. SERCAP will also provide information loan and grant programs to assist homeowners cover the costs of system installation and repairs not covered under the DEQ grant program. These actions will positively impact the environmental health of the area and the health of the residents themselves as more residents make use of proper septic systems that will decrease the polution of the local groundwater making the tap water cleaner. The implementation of these improvements will also help to maintain and / or create jobs for the local contractors hired to complete the construction portion of these projects.