Currently, SERCAP’s Facilities Development Program is providing financial assistance to support the Lula G. Williams Education and Wellness Center, an assisted living facility located in Dinwiddie County, VA. In 2004, the Virginia Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church opened the 60-bed facility, housing upwards of 20 residents on average. The center offered both private and semi-private rooms, and services included: customized care plans, recreation, exercise and fitness activities, 24-hour staffing, emergency call systems, three (3) nutritional meals daily, and housekeeping and laundry services. Additional health services included: respite care, medication management, and rehabilitation services. Despite the benefits to the community, the facility was shut-down in 2007 due to the discovery of considerable radiological contamination in the existing well water supply, and a lack of sufficient funds to correct the problem.
In 2016, two (2) community spark-plugs with the Church, revived the vision for an assisted living facility in Dinwiddie County, and were successful in engaging Provident Care, LLC, to lead the project in late 2020. The company began rehabilitating the previously dormant facility, but ran into the challenge of how to solve the on-going water contamination problem. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) advised that the permit required to operate the waterworks for the facility could not be obtained until the radiological contamination problem had been resolved. Following discussions with the Dinwiddie Water Authority, the project team determined the only solution was to purchase and install a Uranium Removal Treatment Facility at the site. In order to secure the funds quickly, and avoid any extended project delays, the Church applied to SERCAP for financial assistance, and in January 2022 the agency awarded the project a grant of $68,000.00, through its Facilities Development Program, to engineer, purchase, and professionally install the treatment system. SERCAP anticipates that installation of the system will be completed by late Spring of 2022.
In the long-term, the positive impact of SERCAP’s assistance to the Lula G. Williams Education and Wellness Center, and other similar community facilities, will be the improved Quality of Life for both the facility residents and the community at-large. Providing financial assistance to small, community water facilities, supports communities and their overall water infrastructure by ensuring that community members, and in this case facility residents, have reliable access to clean, safe drinking water, without risk of serious contamination and illness. SERCAP’s support also enables communities and their residents to maintain and/or even improve their Environmental Health and Economic Self-sufficiency. In this case, SERCAP’s assistance will especially impact the community’s Environmental Health by supporting an assisted living facility that will care for elderly residents, and most importantly, by preventing the spread of serious radiological contamination into the community’s main water supply.
*Funding for SERCAP’s Regional Department is provided by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of Community Services’ (OCS) Grant, USDA RD’s Technitrain Program, the Drinking Water Compliance Grant through the EPA, and the EPA Private Well Grant. Funding for SERCAP’s Facilities Development Program is provided by a Budget Appropriation from the Virginia General Assembly, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development. Additionally, all of SERCAP’s programs and services in Virginia are leveraged by the Budget Appropriation from the Virginia General Assembly, administered by DHCD.