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:
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.
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:
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.
Register Now! Online Registration is Now Live:
For SERCAP's 2015 Water Is Life! Conference & Luncheon
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
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.
Save the Date!
For SERCAP's 2015 Water Is Life! Conference & Luncheon in Roanoke, VA
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.
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.