CAPIC’s Fuel Assistance Program Provides a Vital Service to Residents

CAPIC’s Fuel Assistance Program  Provides a Vital Service to Residents

Under the leadership of Executive Director Robert Reppucci, Community Action Programs Inter City (CAPIC) has been a national model in addressing the needs of low-income families in Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop.

CAPIC’s fuel assistance program has been one of its most utilized services, aiding more than 2,700 residents in the three communities.

Since his appointment last July as energy director, Giancarlo DeSario has overseen the program that is in its sixth decade of existence. The recent addition of well-known Chelsea community leader Henry Wilson as an outreach coordinator has also helped expande the program and bring recognition to the valuable services CAPIC provides in many areas.

DeSario explained the process by which residents can apply for fuel assistance.

“If someone finds themselves in need – whether they’re a tenant, homeowner, family or single person – they should call the CAPIC fuel assistance line to set up an appointment,” said DeSario. “We would conduct an interview with the individual and review all their paperwork. We’ll let them know if we need additional information and then we’ll process their application in about 30-45 days.”

Candidates for fuel assistance must meet some income guidelines.

“In order to qualify for fuel assistance, you need to be at 60 per cent of the state median income, which for a single person would be $35,510; for a family of four people, it would be $68,280,” said DeSario.

CAPIC’s program covers heating expenses between the months of November and April.

According to DeSario, the fuel assistance program is funded through federal and state grants. CAPIC is currently waiting for a supplemental budget to be approved by the state.

“What we’re looking for is $30 million extra dollars in funding to help out with this heating season, but we’re looking closer to receiving $11 million,” said DeSario. He indicated that CAPIC has been working with Chelsea’s state legislators to secure additional funding.

DeSario has made a point during his tenure to “get out in the field” and meet individual clients. He has earned praise for his accessibility.

“I’m always available – I hand out my direct extension to clients all the time,” said DeSario. “I find it’s really important that if you’re going to serve clients correctly, you have to be in touch with them and understand their needs.”

DeSario has local roots

Giancarlo DeSario grew up in Maine, but he has always had local connections. “I’ve been coming to East Boston since I was a child. My mother (Yolanda DeSario) moved here from Italy when she was 10 years old. And my grandmother (Maria Caserta) has been living in East Boston for 50 years.”

DeSario attended high school in Maine and graduated from Roger Williams University where he studied Business and Legal Studies.

He began his career in woodworking and was promoted to the position of project manager, working with clients in Manhattan and Long Island, New York.

From there, DeSario entered the solar industry as a district site surveyor and rose through the company to become operations manager, overseeing several projects throughout the New England region.

DeSario came to CAPIC last July. “I saw a position was open and I applied for it. I was ready to go back to my old job when I got a call from Executive Director Robert Repucci, requesting that I come in for an interview.”

Like the entire staff at CAPIC and residents throughout the area, DeSario has come to appreciate Repucci’s exceptional leadership of the agency. Repucci arrived at CAPIC in 1972 and has been of Chelsea’s most influential and revered leaders.

“Mr. Repucci is an outstanding leader of CAPIC and in the community as a whole,” said DeSario. “He really pushes you to be a better person. He’s inspiring. He wants you to put people ahead of yourself, and you can tell, because he does that. He leads by example and I respect that about him.”

DeSario has also been impressed by the dedicated and knowledgeable staff at CAPIC.

“I was fortunate to come in to an agency where we have some really key players who know the programs in and out,” said DeSario. “The transition in to this industry was tough, because you don’t know it – but I was lucky to have a very good support group here to help out. They really care about the programs succeeding.”

DeSario said he finds his job rewarding and he appreciates the kind words from clients.

“There is nothing better than when we get a letter (of gratitude) or a phone call from a client who had no heat and we were able to restore a heating system that went out overnight, replace a heating system with a new one, or weatherize someone’s home,” said DeSario.

Read More

CAPIC Seeks Nominee

CAPIC Seeks Nominee

Community Action Programs Inter-City, Inc. (CAPIC) is seeking a nominee for the Revere Limited Income Sector on the Board of Directors. The successful nominee will be a Revere resident, at least 18 years of age and be committed

to represent the interests of all low income residents. Interested residents should contact the CAPIC office, 100 Everett Ave., Unit 14, Chelsea, to obtain a nomination form. A minimum of 25 signatures from area residents who are at or below 175% of the poverty standard residents is required for nomination. In the event of more than one nomination, an election will be held by the Board to determine the successful candidate. The Board of Directors reserves the right to accept or reject candidates. For further information, please call CAPIC 617-884-6130, ext. 1142. Nomination forms are due back at CAPIC by Feb. 15, 2019. Community Action Programs Inter-City, Inc. (CAPIC) está buscando un candidato para el sector de ingresos limitados de Revere para la Directiva de Consejo de Administración. El candidato para posicion deberá ser residente de Revere, y tener por lo menos 18 años de edad y debe compromete a representar los intereses de todos los residentes de bajos ingresos de Revere. Los candidatos interesados deben ponerse en contacto con la oficina de la CAPIC, 100 Everett Ave., Unidad 14, Chelsea para obtener un formulario de nominación. Se requiere un mínimo de 25 firmas de los residentes del área que están en o por debajo del 175% del estándar de pobreza para la nominación. En el caso de más de una nominación, la Junta directiva hará una elección para determinar el candidato elegido. El Consejo de Administración se reserva el derecho de aceptar o rechazar a los candidatos. Para más información, por favor llame a CAPIC 617-884-6130, ext. 1142. Los formularios de nominación deben ser enviados a CAPIC antes del 15 de Febrero de 2019

Read More

Colwen Hotels Employees Come Together to Donate over $5,000 in Holiday Gifts for Families in Need Through CAPIC’s Chelsea Revere Family Network

Colwen Hotels Employees Come Together to Donate over $5,000 in Holiday Gifts for Families in Need Through CAPIC’s Chelsea Revere Family Network

Employees of Colwen Hotels collaborated this holiday season to work together as teams to give back to the local community through CAPIC, Community Action Programs Inter-City Inc., and the Chelsea/Revere Family Network.

Jeannette Velez of CAPIC addressed the company to explain how they activate support to the Chelsea Revere Family Network, which is a state funded program servicing families with children from the prenatal stage up to eight years old. Jeannette helped Colwen select individual families to surprise and make this holiday season special for their children. Over $5,000 in wrapped gifts and gift cards were assembled on Friday, December 14th at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Boston Logan Airport Chelsea hotel.

Colwen Hotels also operates three other Chelsea based hotels including the Residence Inn Boston Logan Airport Chelsea, TownePlace Suites Boston Logan Airport Chelsea, and the brand new Holiday Inn Boston Logan Airport Chelsea.

“We strongly believe in giving back to the communities where our hotels are located. It is just magical to see everyone in the company come together like this in the pure spirit of giving. We are very proud to support these families through this great organization”, said Julie Scott, President of Colwen Hotels.

Colwen Hotels is a rapidly growing hotel company based in Portsmouth, NH. Colwen’s portfolio boasts over 25 successful hotels in the states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. With an aggressive pipeline, Colwen strategically develops properties in emerging markets and mixed-use redevelopments. The company is committed to local communities and charities, LEED-certified sustainability, and being a premier employer. Colwen Hotels is known for a signature design that is upscale-stylish and artistically inspired. The award winning company strives to lead the world in frictionless hotel stays. To learn more about Colwen Hotels, visit www.colwenhotels.com.

CAPIC a private, non-profit corporation chartered in 1967 and designated to identify and eradicate the root causes of poverty in Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop. The organization is governed by a twenty one member community-based Board of Directors that represents public, private, and low-income sectors of the communities we serve. In addition, CAPIC provides housing services to the residents of East Boston through our local program and twenty-five other communities regionally, as well as Weatherization services to eighteen local communities. Since its inception, CAPIC has grown to meet the changing needs

of the communities we serve, supporting self-sufficiency efforts of people struggling economically and emotionally. To learn more about CAPIC, visit www.capicinc.org.

Read More

Day Center on Broadway Making Strides, Ready for Next Step

Day Center on Broadway Making Strides, Ready for Next Step

The Chelsea Day Center in the Light of Christ Church on Broadway has been a haven for those who had nowhere to go during the day, the folks that formerly hung out all day in Bellingham Square, and though it hasn’t been perfect City officials believe there is still a great need for the Center.

One wouldn’t get an argument from those who attend the Center.

“I came here to get away from the stress outside, and I have no stress here,” said Ovidio Ortiz, who has been coming for one year since the Day Center opened. “Shelters in Boston are very far and they have too much violence and drugs. Here, they don’t have that. This beats a shelter. There aren’t any problems inside and I wish they had it Saturday and Sunday too. Outside on the street people are fighting and drinking and doing drugs. Not here. I’m safe here and I can rest. We need this here.”

He was but one of about 20 people who were at the Day Center last Friday, Aug. 10. The Center is open Monday through Friday from the morning until 1 p.m. Those who attend can get food, three times a week they can take a shower, and they have access to medical care and a host of recovery services.

At the heart of it all has been Pastor Ruben Rodriguez and Pastor Ricardo Valle – who shepherds the Light of Christ Church.

Rodriguez has worked with the street population in Chelsea for years, and made a commitment to shepherd the Day Center for a year until it was up and running. On Aug. 20, he will move on to new things, and CAPIC will begin managing the Center with Valle and his volunteers.

“It’s been a great run, but it’s also been humbling,” he said. “There are pros and cons to it. We have had problems outside, and we’re working on that. What’s going on inside, people have gotten a lot from it. There’s been 6,000 meals served, hundreds of showers and hours and hours of rest for people who had nowhere to rest that was safe. We’ve had hundreds resourced to programs.

“The best part about this place though is a lot of the people doing the work are the people who come here,” he continued. “They have taken ownership of this place. That’s very good for them. They respect it. I hope they continue to respect it and build this community when I leave and CAPIC takes over.”

Pastor Valle said little by little they are making progress.

“When they come the first time, it’s really new to them and they aren’t sure about it,” he said. “But soon they come and it’s a home to them. The people who do really good, we give them work to do. When you start something like this, people will be against it and people will be for it. You do what you can to help. We pray about it, but the City agrees we need this place.”

And that is the case.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said there is still good work going on at the Day Center. While the functions inside have been exemplary in helping people have a safe place and access to resources, there have been some problems outside after the Center closes. It has been a sore spot with neighbors, but Ambrosino said he believes they can solve that issue with CAPIC.

“The City still feels it is of very great need to have and overall we think it has been helpful, providing food and shelter and resources for a population we’re really trying to reach and engage,” he said. “There’s been some hiccups there with people loitering outside. We think based on our discussions, some actions we’re taking with the pastor and CAPIC will address these things. CAPIC will begin to be more engaged in the operation Aug. 20.”

Rodriguez said he is very proud of the work they have done, and is excited to get back to working directly with those on the streets – a calling he is very passionate about.

“You always are surprised who shows up here,” he said. “Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. I want people to know we tried to know we tried to make it the best way we could. I think it was a success. I hope as it goes on these people in the community that need this help are blessed.”

Read More

CAPIC Wins Bid for City’s Wrap-Around Services

City officials awarded a bid to Chelsea’s CAPIC for wrap-around services to help the homeless and addicted communities that often loiter in Bellingham Square.

A similar bid for clinical services to help the same communities is expected to be awarded to Bay Cove Human Services in the next few days.

The bid for $100,000 went to CAPIC this week to provide immediate services when City Navigators need services referrals for clients wishing to get help. The City has two Navigators, with one position currently vacant, that work with the homeless and drug-addicted people that congregate in Bellingham Square to get to know them and to be an outstretched hand offered to those who may decide they want help.

Currently Rev. Ruben Rodriguez is the City’s lone Navigator.

“This will be about making sure Navigators now have a lot of resources when they engage someone in need of help,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “We’re probably won’t see the fruits of this for six months. We’re certainly going to track the work and what resources we’re providing. That’s part of the contract – to keep track of the metrics.”

Ambrosino said the bid award had nothing to do with a once-controversial proposal for a walk-in center by CAPIC in the old Cataldo Building on Hawthorne Street. That idea has been removed from the table by CAPIC, which is searching for an alternate location.

Ambrosino said the award means there would be priority services available to the Navigators when they pick up the phone and have a client who needs help.

“It will mean that they get immediate attention when they drive a client down or pick up the phone,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Bay Cove award would involve having dedicated beds available to the Navigators for detox. Where that detox would occur was not spelled out and it is up to Bay Cove to provide those beds in a nearby location.

Ambrosino said he hopes that a second Navigator could soon be put in place by North Suffolk Mental Health, which has the contract to supply the City with Navigators. A second Navigator was in place at one point, but that person moved on to a new position. Since that time, Rodriguez has been carrying the task alone.

“It has been a slow process, but we hope to get another Navigator out there soon,” he said.

Read More

CAPIC to Seek Alternate Location for Wrap-Around Services

A proposed short-term Resource Center for homeless and addicted persons in Bellingham Square will not seek to locate in the former Cataldo Ambulance building, according to CAPIC Director Bob Repucci, but will seek an alternate location due to some in the community who oppose the location.

“Here, we have a situation where there was support from many residents and service providers alike who recognize the problem and support the need for a Resource Center, yet we have opponents who recognize the problem, but have not proposed solutions,” he said. “This situation places me, as director of the anti-poverty agency commissioned with the task of bringing people out of poverty, in a dilemma. We know that the people best served by this type of facility are not likely to travel to the outskirts of the city, yet local opposition calls for that approach. The answer appears to rest in finding an alternative location that satisfies both needs. I believe that there will likely be opposition to any location, either from elected officials, residents or business. My decision to compromise on the Hawthorne Street location was based primarily upon the promise of elected officials who opposed this project to help CAPIC find a more ‘appropriate’ location. I will hold them to that promise and my determination and resolve to address the problem of homelessness for these individuals will not diminish.”

Repucci said the source of the opposition, which he said might be only a few people, came due to the proximity of the Silber Early Learning Center about one block away. Others were uncomfortable by the Center’s location near the downtown business district and what that might do for business, he said.

“It appeared the debate was drifting from the need for caring services, to the appropriateness of recipients receiving services in proximity to a school and the downtown district,” he said. “Of course, the target population is already located downtown and there are other client based services with similar missions in close proximity to schools.”

Repucci’s plan looks to create a Resource Center for those in the Square who wish to make a change in their lives. It would be available for 25 people at a time and would offer food, a shower, a haircut, clinical services and short-term stays for some. The Center would only act as a stopping point for those headed on to something more permanent, he said. He describes it as a pilot program that would last two years, and then be analyzed.

“It is generally thought that persons who want to become sober would seek this help, which would include a compassionate understanding of the problem and an opportunity for a fresh start,” Repucci said. “Before someone can achieve sobriety, they may need to address hygiene, hunger, obtain clean clothes, haircut, access to health care and a caring community. The Resource Center would be the place to receive these and other services.”

Repucci stressed that by no means has the idea been defeated, just the location whereby it would be carried out.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said the City has no preference as to where Repucci’s Center would be located. The City is preparing to release two RFP’s for services related to short-term help for those in the Square looking to sober up and get off the streets.

CAPIC is expected to bid on one or both of those contracts, but Ambrosino said the Cataldo building project was independent of that.

“Our efforts were completely independent of what he’s doing there,” said Ambrosino. “We’ll still planning our efforts and hope to put RFPs out on the street this week…It’s very important we provide services to the people downtown who need them.”

He said the City Navigator, Rev. Ruben Rodriguez, has good contact and rapport with the folks that congregate in the Square, but his resources for immediate, short-term help are limited.

As an aside, a second navigator is still being planned and North Suffolk Mental Health is still in the process of choosing the right person.

Read More

CAPIC,City to Establish Wrap Around Services for Bellingham Square

The City and at least two potential partners are looking to establish a short-term wrap around services center in the Bellingham Square area to provide food and shelter to the homeless, prostitutes and drug addicted populations that frequent Bellingham Square.

Yet, it’s not coming without some controversy as details of the plan leak out and some try to envision what it might be like – and how it could negatively affect quality of life in Chelsea’s downtown.

Bob Repucci, long-time director of CAPIC, said in an interview this week that he is ready to move on a plan whereby CAPIC would establish a short-term services building at the old Cataldo site – where Centro Latino was supposed to locate before it went defunct. He said he is aligned with several churches, volunteers, City Manager Tom Ambrosino and other political leaders who are passionate about making a dent in the long-standing problem populations in the Square.

“This is a neighborhood center and that’s basically what we’re going to do here,” said Repucci. “We’re trying to embrace these people in the Square and get them the services they need. These people are not going away. They also are not lepers that should be shipped to the outskirts of town. Most of them are from Chelsea and they have alcohol and drug problems. Many grew up here. Many are Latino. We’re going to take these men and women who need help and show them the compassion they need.

“This is not a shelter, it’s not a detox, it’s not a Methadone Clinic, it’s not a treatment center,” he continued. “It’s a place where people can walk in and get the attention they need to help them change their lives if they want to. These are men and women who need help because they have chronic problems. I haven’t seen anybody come up with any other good ideas to change this because it’s been there for years. We are taking the responsibility to do something and help them change their lives. I know it will be successful.”

Repucci said the Center would potentially be open three times a week and would offer a hot meal, a shower, a change of clothes, a clinician by appointment, counseling, financial management assistance, and temporary shelter.

There would be 25 people there at at time and no one would be allowed inside if they are intoxicated. It would also be for Chelsea residents and people in Chelsea who are homeless.

“This isn’t going to be a hang out,” he added. “It’s going to be well supervised and fully supervised…If people come over from Boston or Everett thinking there is a handout happening here, we will refer them to a provider in their area. This is for Chelsea residents and those in Chelsea who are homeless and want to change.”

Those at the service center would also be able to obtain short-term employment by cleaning roofs, shoveling snow and doing other such tasks under supervision.

Ambrosino said he does support the proposal out of a stance of compassion and also out of a stance to develop the Square and the Broadway Business District.

“You have a serious problem in the Square and on the Broadway corridor,” he said. “These people need services. Nothing is going to change unless we get them services and they are able to move elsewhere. This business district and downtown won’t change unless we change this situation. Ignoring it and putting our heads in the sand is not an answer. I’m willing to try anything except doing nothing.”

Ambrosino said the effort by CAPIC to move downtown is independent of the City, but there is potential cooperation through two line-items approved by the City Council on Oct. 19.

In fact, two Requests for Proposals (RFPs) have just gone out with $100,000 available for each. The first one will be to provide emergency food and shelter in the form of dedicated short-term detox beds. The second will be to provide a clinician to treat the population in the Square.

Ambrosino said he expects CAPIC will bid on one or both of the RFPs and he said he also expects Bay Cove Human Services to bid as well.

“I do expect CAPIC is going to bid on one or more of these services that we’re putting out to bid, but those services have nothing to do with the independent project of CAPIC to move some of its services downtown,” he said.

Ambrosino said he would expect that the first RFP could be used for folks who need a night or two of shelter until they can get into permanent housing.

“This will help folks who have an apartment lined up on Nov. 1, and it’s only Oct. 28 and they need somewhere to go,” he said.

Repucci said his plan to move existing services downtown, and perhaps to be a winning bidder on the City’s RFP, is something he believes many in the community are already rallying around – in particular the faith-based community that has noted and discussed the large homeless population in Chelsea.

Repucci himself learned firsthand of the problem from City Navigator Ruben Rodriguez last winter, when he was given a tour of the places under the Mystic/Tobin Bridge where may of the homeless and drug addicted/prostitutes tend to live and congregate.

He said he learned about the people down there, and he learned their personal stories.

He said that gave him a passion to do something about it, and he said he’s a little turned off by the push back from some folks – as he believes this can help a troubled population and solve a long-standing problem for residents.

“These people should be rallying around our efforts to change people’s lives,” he said. “That’s the only way to get them off the streets unless they are found dead under the Bridge due to exposure from the cold. We need to embrace these folks and help those who want to change and stop characterizing them as people who don’t want to change. Many of them lived in Chelsea and had decent lives and lost it all due to drugs, alcohol and other circumstances…Those against this should be more concerned about the men and women on Broadway unsupervised.

“We’re going to be successful in helping these people and showing them there’s a better life they can lead off the Square,” he continued. “I believe it will be the long-term solution to the poverty problem in Bellingham-Shurtleff.”

Repucci said he would like to try the idea for two years and collect data and see if it is working. If not, perhaps there’s a better idea.

“Again, people maybe don’t support this, but I don’t hear anyone coming up with any other suggestions,” he said.

Read More

Briefs

Briefs

WIRETAPS DISCUSSED WITH CHIEFS

Area police chiefs were at the State House recently to discuss critical legislative matters important to the law enforcement community.  Pictured at one such meeting is (l to r) Senator Sal DiDomenico, Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes, Everett Police Chief Steven Mazzie and Rep. Gene O’Flaherty. Chiefs Mazzie and Kyes are president and vice president, respectively, of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs Association. There, they took the opportunity to thank Rep. O’Flaherty for his bill that seeks to update wiretap laws to allow the tools use to combat street level crime, especially violence and drug activity.

CAPIC TAKES STATE HOUSE VISIT

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and the office of State Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein welcomed the children and families of Community Action Programs, Inter City, Inc. (CAPIC), located in Chelsea, to the State House on March 12. Through Head Start programs and numerous other services, CAPIC works to enable local families to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency by addressing the needs, problems and concerns of struggling families. Head Start, a federally-funded comprehensive child and family development program, serves eligible families with children between the ages of three and five.

CHELSEA JEWISH MERGES WITH ANNEMARK

Officials at the Chelsea Jewish Foundation confirmed this week that Annemark Nursing Home in North Revere will partner with Chelsea Jewish Foundation, which will provide management for the family-run home.

Annemark is run by sisters Elena Bean and Anita Pelusi and has been in the family many years. The new partnership will allow the larger Chelsea Jewish Foundation to merge with Annemark. The facility is licensed for 140 beds, and was apparently looking for a partner to ensure top quality in the years to come.

Chelsea Jewish runs nursing homes in Chelsea, including the state of the art Lenny Florence Center for Living on Admiral’s Hill.

Chelsea Jewish said such cooperative mergers with existing, smaller homes are something that they will likely do more of in the near future.

A MILLIONAIRE SHE’S NOT, BUT RICHER NONETHELESS

Chelsea resident Tracy Syverain got her 15 minutes of fame – in this case 30 minutes of network television – last Thursday, but came out a bit short of being a millionaire on the ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ show.

Syverain ended up leaving the show with $1,000 after missing the fourth question.

She started out very well, getting the first question correct. She skipped the second question, and then got the third question right – accumulating $15,000 in the process.

However, she missed the fourth question and that left her with $1,000. The fourth question involved how Alexander the Great solved the Gordian Knot. She answered that he “boiled it,” but the answer was that he “cut it with his sword.”

She did not get to use the famed lifeline phone call.

CHA BOARD TO DRAFT LETTER

The Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) Board will hold a Special Meeting today, March 21, concerning whether or not to send a letter to the federal judge responsible for sentencing Michael McLaughlin on May 14th.

The Board indicated it would likely send some sort of correspondence, but did not elaborate on what it would contain.

“We’re going to consider whether to write a letter to the court concerning the sentencing phase in McLaughlin’s guilty plea,” said Board Chair Tom Standish. “It’s basically a policy and legal question about what to do about [the agreement], if anything.”

CAPIC FUNDRAISER IN MAY

CAPIC is hosting it’s first fundraiser event on May 16 at the Casa Lucia in Revere, from 5-8 p.m. The event will celebrate CAPIC’s 46th anniversary.  The Guest of Honor is Robert DeLeo, Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash will serve as the emcee for the night. For more information about tickets, program book advertisements, and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Cary Havey, at 617-884-6130, ext. 142 or visit CAPIC’s web-site at www.capicinc.org to make an on-line donation.

image

Read More