SERCAP’s VFC Alternative Break Program is a service program which partners with Colleges/Universities and Community Host Sites to match civic-minded Student Volunteers with engaging service-learning opportunities during traditional school breaks. This year during their Fall Break, students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts, travelled to the Roanoke Valley to team-up with Lick Run Farm and the Rescue Mission in order to provide a variety of services.
Recently, SERCAP’s Housing Department completed an Indoor Plumbing & Rehabilitation (IPR) collaborative project in Fluvanna County, VA. The client, a low-income disabled gentleman, was referred to SERCAP back in September of 2017 by the Fluvanna Housing Foundation, after he experienced difficulty with his well and septic system. Due to the run-down condition of the house and the client’s qualification as Extremely-low Income under the HUD Income Guidelines, the project qualified as a Substantial Reconstruction. However, the cost estimates for the project far exceeded the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development’s (DHCD) cost limits for a Substantial Reconstruction under the IPR Program.
Beginning in 2016, SERCAP partnered with BB&T Bank to conduct a series of Focus Groups across the Commonwealth of Virginia as a crucial part of SERCAP’s Biannual Community Needs Assessment process. The Biannual Community Needs Assessment allows SERCAP to obtain a true sense of what the rural communities in Virginia struggle with the most and allows the agency to have a real understanding of what the actual needs are, in the localities SERCAP serves.
Currently, SERCAP’s Housing Department working to get a new project approved in Pulaski County, in order to help a low-income, elderly, disabled woman and her daughter to replace their rotting deck. The rotting deck is connected to the main entrance of their home and is a major safety hazard. If the deck were to collapse, anyone standing or sitting on it could be severely injured.
After many years of work, one failed referendum and 100’s of hours put in by volunteers and SERCAP staff, the Ellendale community faced a referendum on Saturday, November 4, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The Ellendale Civic and Community Improvement Association (ECCIA) worked diligently to distribute flyers – “VOTE YES on November 4” – putting out over 40 yard signs, making individual phone calls, and trying to call attention to the critical nature of this referendum. Members of the group also offered rides to the polls for anyone without transportation, and rides to the county seat of Georgetown for absentee voting, if they were unable to get to one of the two polling places on November 4, 2017.
On October 11, 2017, Inside Philanthropy published an article entitled, "Water Systems Are in Crisis. How Can Funders Help?" The Executive Director of the National Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), Nathan Ohle, penned the following response to the article.