In early 1972 OEO
funded the Demonstration Water Project with $6 million
over a three year period to implement a national
program. This national project, funded through the
Health Services Division at OEO, planned to identify
community action agencies and other human service
agencies around the country to play the same role as TAP
and DWP in the development of water projects. In 1973,
the National Demonstration Water Project was formed.
By 1975, with the expiration of the three-year DWP grant, NDWP received continuation funding from the Community Services Administration (CSA), the successor to OEO. At this time, DWP incorporated as the Virginia Water Project. Then in 1977, NDWP received funding for the first Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) which established regional technical assistance centers around the country to assist rural communities in developing water and wastewater projects.
After two years of meetings, the Midwest Assistance Project (MAP) was selected as the first RCAP demonstration sited. The CSA selected the Virginia Water Project model as on of several which were recommended to the newly funded RCAPs. In 1989, NDWP formally became the Rural Community Assistance Program, Inc. (RCAP).
Today RCAP is a national network of non-profit organizations dedicated to empower and assist rural low income people to improve the quality of life in their communities.
The network has six regional RCAPs:
- Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc. (SERCAP) —Southeastern Region
- Community Resource Group (CRG)—Southern Region
- Midwest Assistance Program (MAP)—Midwestern Region
- WSOS Community Action Commission—Great Lakes Region
- Rural Housing Improvement (RHI)—Northeastern Region
- Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC)—Western Region
Project’s first RCAP program proposal was funded in
1979. The states involved in the new region were:
Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South
Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
By 1982, VWP had formed a partnership with the Ford Foundation to fund a loan program which now provides a funding pool to finance water and wastewater facility development, housing development activities and community economic development.
In 1993, Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc. (SERCAP) became the successor to the Virginia Water Project.
Today, SERCAP has partnerships with the Office of Community Services in the Department of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Economic Development Administration, the Farmers Home Administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and ACTION.