News Archives for July of 2019

CAPP Executive Director Thanks Community for Input

Published 07/19/2019

July 19, 2019

Re: Thank You For Your Feedback About CAPP and the Elmwood Community Center


Dear community members:
Thank you to everyone who took the time last night to participate in our Community Action Partnership of Providence (CAPP) forum to discuss the reasons we have been forced to end programming at the city-owned Elmwood Community Center (ECC), and our plans to relocate these programs as soon as possible.
Your voice, your concerns, and your passion for the ECC were all heard loud and clear. At CAPP, we agree that the ECC has been an incredible resource for the resident of the South Side and Elmwood. That is why our decision to move programing out of the building has been so difficult, but sadly necessary.
As I described, the physical condition of the ECC is in a state of unacceptable disrepair. The presence of asbestos, possible soil contamination, chronic leaks, and electrical issues have created a situation that is unsafe for the residents that we serve and our employees.
We have been struggling with these conditions for years, and while we appreciate that our elected leaders have worked to identify funds for emergency repairs, they are simply not enough to bring the building up to the standard that you and our employees deserve. That is why we stand by our difficult decision to end programming at the ECC on July 31st.
CAPP understands how critical the programs and services we provide are to the residents of the South Side and Providence. That is why for the past two weeks we’ve been visiting locations across the city with property owners and real estate brokers. I am hopeful that in the coming days we will have exciting news to share about a new location, on the South Side, where we will be able to resume most of the programs impacted by our move out of the ECC. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, some CAPP programs will be impacted. We are working to temporarily move as many of these programs as possible to our offices at 518 Hartford Ave and space at a number of our community partner organizations. Please visit our website (www.cappri.org) and Facebook page (Facebook.com/CAPofProvidence/) for regular updates.
As always, please feel free to contact me personally to share your thoughts, concerns, and hopes as we move forward.
Finally, I want to pledge to you all that CAPP will remain engaged in the fight to repair or rebuild the ECC. While we may no longer be a tenant in the building, we know what the ECC means to this community and we’ll roll up our sleeves to work with you and our elected leaders to find a real long-term solution for this treasured neighborhood institution.


Sincerely,
Rilwan K. Feyisitan, Jr.
Executive Director
Community Action Partnership of Providence
401.273.2000

 

ECC Programs Moving to Broad St!

Published 07/24/2019

July 24, 2019

Re: CAPP Relocating Elmwood Community Center Programs to 807 Broad Street!

Dear community members:

We are thrilled to let you know that CAPP has found a new location – the Rhode Island Indian Council’s facility at 807 Broad Street – where we will be able to resume most of the social service programming impacted by our decision to end operations at the city-owned Elmwood Community Center due to serious health and safety concerns in that building.

CAPP staff will move into 807 Broad Street the week of August 5th and most community programs will resume on Monday, August 12th.

We are also confident that we will be able to reopen the important community food pantry program previously run out of the Elmwood Community Center. Our new location at 807 Broad Street has enough room and we are working with the Rhode Island Community Food Bank to certify the new space, a process that is anticipated to take 4-8 weeks. During this interim period, we are asking our supporters and community partners to step-up by making food and monetary donations so that we can reestablish the city’s largest food pantry in our new location.

We thank the Rhode Island Indian Council for working with us and we thank you, our community members, for your patience and for standing with us during this transition period.

Sincerely,

Rilwan K. Feyisitan, Jr.
Executive Director
Community Action Partnership of Providence
401.273.2000

PRESS RELEASE: ECC Closing

Published 07/11/2019

PRESS RELEASE  
For Immediate Release: July 11, 2019  
Contact: Chris Hunter, 401.487.7771

Community Action Partnership of Providence Moving Out of Elmwood Community Center Due to Unsafe Building Conditions

City’s largest non-profit provider of social services reluctantly forced to end operations at the Elmwood Community Center due to concerns over asbestos, chronic leaks, heating, electrical, and other building issues. Community Action Partnership of Providence working diligently to find a new location to resume offering critical social services programs to the residents of South Providence.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Due to serious health and safety concerns with the City of Providence owned Elmwood Community Center (ECC), the Community Action Partnership of Providence (CAPP) has reluctantly made the decision to move out of the building and end all programming at the ECC on July 31st. Without adequate alternative space identified, this will force the closure of the city’s largest food pantry serving 750 families per month, and the layoff of three CAPP employees. CAPP is now actively searching for alternative locations across the city and will temporarily move several programs to the organization’s headquarters at 518 Hartford Avenue.

Rilwan K. Feyisitan, Jr., Executive Director of CAPP has shared the below letter with community members detailing the organization’s difficult decision to end services at the ECC and work to find alternative locations to resume offering critical social service programing:

Dear community members:

It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you that due to serious health and safety concerns with the city-owned Elmwood Community Center (ECC), the Community Action Partnership of Providence (CAPP) has unfortunately decided we can no longer offer our many valued programs at this location. We will not place your safety or the safety of our employees at risk, and that is why on July 31st, CAPP will be forced to end all programing at the ECC.

We know how important the ECC is to the resident of South Providence, and that’s why we want to share the facts regarding the building’s significant deterioration and what we are doing to move our programs to other locations so that we can continue to serve you.

For the past six years, CAPP has been the lead tenant at ECC, which is owned by the City of Providence. We have used the ECC to offer programs including a food pantry, senior center, hot meals site, Dress to Progress professional work attire, Project Undercover providing diapers, socks and underwear to children in need, Rhode Island Works vocational and job placement assistance, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), the Fresh Start educational initiative, and a Little Free Library. Every year, more than 1,500 community residents depend on these services offered at the ECC.

Unfortunately, the physical condition of the ECC is in a state of dangerous disrepair. Recent testing conducted by the City found asbestos present in at least one area of the building. In addition, the ECC has been experiencing near constant roof leaks, and for several weeks this past winter our employees worked in rooms with no heat. We attempted to address this situation with space heaters, but the building’s outdated electrical system could not handle the extra load. We have also been informed that there is possible soil contamination from underground fuel tanks that are present or were at one point removed from the site.

As CAPP serves many South Providence youth, seniors, pregnant parents, and individuals with compromised immune systems and breathing issues, we simply cannot jeopardize their health, or the health of our employees by continuing to operate in the potentially dangerous conditions present at the ECC.

We have worked with Mayor Elorza, the City Council, and our General Assembly delegation to address all of these issues. As the owner of the ECC, the City is responsible for its maintenance. However, the building is in such bad condition that repairs cannot be made fast enough to bring the ECC up to the safe and clean environment that community members and our employees deserve. Indeed, the City has estimated that the cost to repair all ECC building issues to be $4.6 million, yet only $1.9 million is available. Without a fully funded and clearly sequenced repair plan to address all ECC issues, we have made the difficult decision to leave the building.

CAPP is now in the process of looking for other locations in South Providence and throughout the City where we can resume offering the many important programs that our community relies on. Some programs, including RI Works which serves residents citywide, Dress to Progress, VITA, and our Little Free Library, will be moved to our offices at 518 Hartford Ave. However, due to space constraints and similarly poor building conditions at 518 Hartford Ave, which is also a City-owned building, these programs will not be able to serve the same number of residents. Programs like our Food Pantry, serving over 750 people in the 02907 zip code, will sadly be forced to close.

I want to reiterate that CAPP is devastated that we have been forced to make this decision. I also want you to know that CAPP is dedicated to continuing to serve the residents of South Providence and all city residents with programs and services that help people to live independent lives. That is why we are working as fast as possible to identify other locations where we can resume offering our programs.

To make this a reality, we need your help and input. That is why I am inviting you to join me next Thursday, July 18th from 6:00-7:30pm at the Renaissance Church (184 Broad St Providence, RI 02903) for a community forum to discuss the closure of the ECC and how CAPP can overcome this setback and once again offer all of the social service, health, job training, and other programs that Providence residents depend on.

Please contact me with your questions and concerns, and be sure to visit our website (www.cappri.org) and Facebook page (Facebook.com/CAPofProvidence/) for regular updates as we look for new space.

Sincerely,

Rilwan K. Feyisitan, Jr.
Executive Director
Community Action Partnership of Providence
401.273.2000

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About the Community Action Partnership of Providence (CAPP)
CAPP, established in November of 2012, is a leading provider of social services in Providence, Rhode Island. The organization operates, promotes and supports the development of human service programs aimed at improving the lives of low-to-moderate income individuals and families living in Providence. CAPP works to minimize poverty while empowering members of the community to be self-sufficient. www.cappri.org