Robert S. Repucci, executive director of CAPIC for the past 41 years, will be retiring from the agency that assists residents in Winthrop, Revere and Chelsea.
Repucci, who has worked at CAPIC in various capacities since 1972, publicly announced his decision in a letter to friends Tuesday. He had informed the CAPIC Board of Directors at a meeting last Thursday.
Repucci, 68, said he will remain in the position until a successor is named. The succession plan to select a new CAPIC executive director has begun, and starting next week the position will be advertised in various newspapers and on social media platforms.
Winthrop Police Chief Terence Delehanty has worked closely with Repucci for several years helping residents seeking heating oil, healthcare options, and housing.
“It’s a very sad day,” said Delehanty. “He was a great partner in Winthrop with providing services to people in need. He was someone we relied on heavily. His agency gave assistance to our seniors and other individuals who were in need following storms and disasters, and in situations where they couldn’t afford a burner or they needed a place to stay for a couple of days while their house was flooded.”
Delehanty said Repucci’s reach extended to recent high school graduates and young parents.
“He helped students just out of high school with services by placing them and getting them started,” said Delehanty. “Bob Repucci has been a cornerstone of the Winthrop Police Department’s success over the years in getting services for people in Winthrop. I have worked more closely with Bob during my last years as chief, but I knew him before I became chief. We will continue to be friends long after he’s retired.”
Repucci said his decision to leave CAPIC was a challenging one.
“This has been a challenging decision given my utmost devotion to CAPIC and my need to safeguard the legacy of those who preceded me and those to follow,” wrote Repucci in his letter of retirement sent to friends and associates.
He said one of the reasons for deciding to leave the position at CAPIC was that “I’ve become growingly saddened and frustrated with the housing situation that we have in Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop. I’ve watched all these people that are essentially being forced out of their housing.
“All this great residential building has caused rents to increase – the new developments are looking at $1,800 to $3,000 a month so the average landlord of a three-family house looks at that and says, “I’m only getting $1,100, but I could get $1,800 or $2,000 a month, that’s one of the contributing factors why these rents are going up and I want to do something about it.”
To that end, when Repucci leaves CAPIC he will assume the duties of executive director of the Winnisimmet Realty Corporation, whose mission is to acquire property for the interest of the CAPIC agency.
He said it will be tough to leave CAPIC and the outstanding, professional staff that he has overseen for more than four decades.
“CAPIC is my home and the people that work there are really family to me,” said Repucci. “Separation from the organization is going to be as tough as I thought because of all these issues that we have that are poverty-related and I’m working on.”
He said people’s “access to healthcare” is one of the issues that brought him to work for CAPIC in 1972 “and here we are 48 years later looking at the same issue recurring and that’s in the presence of health centers which we didn’t have back then.”
Councillor-at-Large and former Revere mayor Dan Rizzo worked with Repucci to help Revere’s low-income residents through various CAPIC programs.
“It’s hard to put in to words not only what Bob Repucci meant to the city of Revere but the other communities he served, and the thousands of people that he and his organization have helped over the years,” said Rizzo.
Rizzo said Repucci impacted so many residents in a positive way on a daily basis.
“He helped make people’s lives just a little bit better – I think the remarkable work that he’s done will transcend generations,” said Rizzo. “I’ve never met a professional like Bob Repucci who not only did his job, but it was a passion of his, and I know this because we had so many conversations about people in need and how people would fall on hard times – and Bob Repucci lived every day to help others. His departure is going to leave a giant void. CAPIC does tremendous work and Bob was certainly front and center for all that work.”
Revere Councillor-at-Large Anthony Zambuto, who has served on the CAPIC Board of Director for 20 years, lauded the retiring executive director, stating emphatically, “I don’t know a better public servant than Bob Repucci. He’s dedicated to helping the needy and he’s dedicated his whole life to helping the people that are on the margins. As a conservative guy, he taught me a lot about the compassion for people in need. He will be almost impossible to replace. He’s just a decent human being and really cares about people.
“When you call Bob Repucci with someone in need, whether it’s housing or substance abuse of whatever it is, he never said no in the 20 years I’ve known him,” concluded Zambuto. “His response was always, ‘We’ll find a way’ and he always did.”