Andrew Colburn
A year ago, Andrew Colburn was living out of a garbage bag in a homeless shelter in Worcester. Today, thanks to the stimulus-funded weatherization program,

Recovery Act Impact: South Middlesex Opportunity Council

  • Weatherization Assistance Program: $8.7M

  • Child Care Development Fund: $37K

  • Community Services Block Grant: $501K

  • Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing: $366K

Colburn has a full time job, an apartment he shares with his wife and a new outlook on life.

"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.

Andrew Colburn on a Weatherization Job

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.

Andrew Colburn and a Co-Worker on a Weatherization Job
Colburn received certification from the state's Department of Energy as an energy conservation contractor. His dedication to his work quickly earned him a spot as a as a potential crew chief and he began training for that position. Harrision says that on July 1 st, Colburn he will officially receive that title.

"I've really benefitted a lot from the stimulus program," says Colburn.