Jeanette Ramirez
When Jeanette Ramirez moved into her new home in Dorchester six years ago, the future looked bright. Her and her husband were both employed and supporting their six children.

Recovery Act Impact: Boston ABCD Weatherization

  • Total stimulus funding: $10 million

  • Ability to weatherize 1,800 homes

  • Services include insulation, air sealing and heating upgrades

  • Residents save an average of 30% on their fuel bills

Jeanette worked for a construction company and her husband worked for the public school system as a corrections officer.

That first winter, the family discovered that their new house was a cold place to be and they had to use space heaters throughout the season. Their fuel bills were extremely high - as high as $800 some months - and the house was never really comfortable.

"I had the thermostat set at 85 degrees but it would always show that it was in the 50s," said Ramirez. "Even with the space heaters we were never warm."

A bad situation became untenable two years ago when both Jeanette Ramirez and her husband were laid off in close succession. A friend told her about Action for Boston Community Development (Boston ABCD), an anti poverty agency that services low income people in the Greater Boston area. The agency had received $10 million for its weatherization services through the stimulus program and was able to greatly expand the number of people it could help.

Omar Vasquez, an energy auditor for the agency, called Ramirez to tell her she qualified for the program. "I cried when Omar called," said Ramirez. "I couldn't believe it."

Jeanette Ramirez's basement
Vasquez came to assess the energy needs of her house and quickly discovered the house had no insulation in its walls, many of its doors were letting the cold air in and water was seeping into the basement. He called a contractor and put them to work.

Jeanette Ramirez's basement

"I knew we couldn't afford to do anything," said Ramirez. "They showed me everything they were doing. They showed me how there was no insulation and how the vents were all open. I was so appreciative of what they were doing."

Thanks to the stimulus-funded weatherization program at Boston ABCD, Ramirez's house was insulated, new doors were installed in the front of the house and in the basement, and a fan was installed in the bathroom to prevent mold. It is estimated that the Ramirez's bills will be reduced by 40 to 45 percent next winter.

"We've been here six years and this is the first time the house is warm," said Ramirez.