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Mary Reynolds: Recovery Act awards keeps grandmother warm through the winter
Mary Reynolds watches her three grandchildren every day after school, and in the winter it would get pretty cold in the unit she rents on Linnett Place in Gloucester.
|After an energy audit was done on the house, it was determined that the house needed airsealing, insulation, and window replacement -- an estimated $6,900 worth of energy services. The weatherization improvements will save the landlord at least 30|
"The house needed to be weatherized," says Reynolds. "It gets really cold in here. The windows and doors are bad and we would get nothing but cold air. When it gets really cold, the air condenses inside the house so we can't see out our windows."
Mary's landlord, a recent widow who lives in the downstairs unit, could not afford to weatherize the house. She applied for assistance through Action, Inc., the Gloucester-based social
percent on her energy bills. "It was wonderful," Reynolds says of the day the weatherization project on the house started. "They blew insulation into the siding, they covered the pipes in the cellar." Reynolds says measurements were also taken on her windows and doors so she can get new ones. "They came up here and they could see the hot air just pouring out of my apartment," says Reynolds of the day when local leaders came to visit. "They were appalled."
|services organization that received $8.5 million in Recovery Act funds. With the Recovery funding, Action will be able to serve more than 1,182 households throughout 29 Massachusetts communities over the next three years.|
Reynolds thinks the Recovery funding is "wonderful". They are trying to help people - and it's going to be so much warmer here. I am very grateful that this will be taken care of. This is not something my landlord can do. It felt like a prayer being answered."
With the tremendous increase in ARRA funds for the existing weatherization program, Massachusetts has been able to dramatically increase both the number of homes that will receive improvements and the level of improvements. The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has been successfully helping low-income families lower their energy bills through home weatherization for over three decades. Recovery Act funding will provide weatherization services to an approximately 15,000 homes in addition to the 2,000 per year that have typically been done. Those families whose homes have been weatherized will save, on average, $576 per year on their heating bills. Since the start of the program on September 1st, 1,310 homes were weatherized.
In the coming quarters, DHCD will continue to train and certify local weatherization agencies, creating more jobs and servicing a greater number of low income and elderly citizens. DHCD is working with regional agencies to ramp up production to accomplish 17,000 weatherizations. This funding has been allocated among 12 Community Action Agencies as well as state assisted public housing and expiring-use housing developments.
ARRA-funded Community Services Block Grants are also at work for individuals and families in communities across the Commonwealth. DHCD has spent $6.8 million of the $25 million awarded to Massachusetts for this program, providing needed community development services. The funds have been allocated to Community Action Agencies across the Commonwealth. The Community Services Block Grant program has already created over 650 jobs in Massachusetts for stabilization specialists, job developers, education specialists, homelessness prevention workers, and others, who together have served over 20,000 clients.
In the coming months, housing funds through the Recovery Act will continue to create jobs and provide vital social services. Governor Patrick has announced that over $ 80 million from the Tax Credit Exchange Program will jumpstart 18 stalled affordable housing projects by converting previously unused and unmarketable tax credits into direct grants. Another $45.5 million from the Tax Credit Assistance Program will jumpstart an additional eight stalled housing projects. Together, these two programs will create an estimated 1,760 jobs and increase the Commonwealth's stock of affordable housing. These construction projects have tremendous spin-off effects in goods and services purchased and additional people employed.
Other ARRA programs will go to work to prevent homelessness, re-house those suffering from homelessness, and make other homes safer for families. $18.4 million in Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing funds will help prevent homelessness by helping homeless individuals and families find permanent homes. $9.1 million in Community Development Block Grants will support housing modernization and social services to build communities across the Commonwealth. Finally, the Commonwealth will invest $2.6 million from the Lead Hazard Control Program to remove lead contamination from homes in Massachusetts and ensure that their occupants can live in a safer environment.
Created January 29, 2010. Information provided by the Recovery & Reinvestment Office