photo: family
December, 2009 - Action Inc., the Gloucester-based social services organization, received $8.5 million in Recovery Act funds for a weatherization project that is anticipated to help about 1,800 low income families achieve greater energy efficiency and lower heating bills.

The grant is to be disbursed over the course of three years and, according to Action executive director Tim Riley, will be used to insulate the houses of low income families, replace faulty heating systems, and conduct energy audits which will determine the need for additional energy efficiency measures, such as attic insulation, weather stripping, caulking and storm windows. Riley notes that the assistance applies to tenants as well as homeowners.

"It's all part of the same concept," says Riley. "It's making houses more affordable for people to heat."

In addition, the grant enabled Action to hired new employees and also gave a boost to local contractors who are being hired -- and are consequently hiring more employees -- to implement the weatherization projects. "It's keeping that sector really busy with work," says Riley.

Action also received a $468K Community Service Block grant which will enable the organization to open offices in new areas and provide additional social services such as financial literacy training, adult education and language classes.

"We can help people get back on their feet," says Riley.