Bonnie Mealey at NSCAP
At 61, Bonnie Mealey has struggled with the loss of her husband, a bout with cancer and subsequent financial troubles. The one thing she did not want to lose was her home. Thanks to the stimulus-funded weatherization program, she didn't.

Stimulus in Action: Weatherization in MA

  • Weatherization program in
    MA: $122.1 million

  • 4,000 homes weatherized in MA from September 2009 through May 2010

  • 25 new weatherization contracting companies formed

  • Over 150 weatherization contractors kept busy

  • 300 jobs created/retained*

  • *Number based on 2nd Quarter Report (April to June, 2010)

Bonnie's husband died three years ago in 2007, after a long fight with terminal cancer. During that period, Bonnie was also diagnosed with cancer but she was able to beat her illness into remission. But her husband's illness and passing and Bonnie's own struggles left her without a source of income and struggling to pay her bills.

When Bonnie's boiler broke last year, she knew she couldn't afford to replace it.

Bonnie Mealey at NSCAP
She also know she was paying way too much on her utilities due to the condition of her old Victorian house, which had drafty windows and little insulation. The last thing she wanted to do, she said, was leave her house. But it seemed she was out of options.

"I was desperate," she said. I would have had to leave my house. It's my only link. I would have freaked out."

But then Bonnie learned about the North Shore Community Action Programs' (NSCAP) weatherization program. Bonnie was receiving fuel assistance through the anti-poverty agency and her counselor there told her she might qualify for weatherization services.

"Our window to weatherization is through fuel assistance," said Beth Hogan, executive director of NSCAP.

Bonnie Mealey at NSCAP
NSCAP received $104K in stimulus funding for its Weatherization Assistance Program as a sub-recipient vendor for Action, Inc., another anti-poverty agency in the North Shore. Stimulus has re-energized the state's weatherization with an infusion of $122.1 million under the Recovery Act, nearly 11 times the amount in 2009, when the program operated with nearly $12 million.

For Bonnie, the program meant that she could continue to live in her home. In addition to a new boiler, contractor Darren Palm of Salem-based Atlantic Weatherization provided her with new windows, insulation and wrapping on her pipes. "It's made an amazing difference," said Bonnie. "I'm saving on fuel bills and it's warm. I feel very blessed. There are so many people like me out there. This program is very important."