Recovery Act Impact: South Middlesex Opportunity Council
"My life has completely turned around," he says.
Colburn, who is 35, worked as house painter for 13 years but a few years ago, he started to run out of work. He took random jobs but as the economy continued its downward spiral, it became more and more difficult to get by.
Eventually, Colburn and his wife were homeless and the stress took a toll on their marriage. Colburn started living in a homeless shelter and characterizes his situation as "chronically homeless" for nearly three years.
Last spring, Colburn learned about the "Ready Willing and Able" program at the South Middlesex Opportunity Council. The program, says David Harrison, director of SMOC's energy and financial assistance division, the program provides day labor jobs for people coming through SMOC's homesless programs. Colburn got a part time job through the program and he says, "I kept showing up and working hard."
Harrison agrees. "He is a hard working guy," he says.
Next he was appointed a supervisor of SMOC's Summer Youth program were he taught the youth the trade of house painting. That October, SMOC was deep into its stimulus-funded weatherization program and needed workers. Colburn was offered a full time job. He left the shelter immediately and moved into a rooming house. He and his wife have since reconciled and they have recently moved into an apartment together.
"I've really benefitted a lot from the stimulus program," says Colburn.