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IN THE NEWS: Governor Announces Federal Recovery Funds for Public Housing Heating System Replacement Work
September 30, 2010

Jobs generated as 10 local housing authorities receive weatherization program funds to support improvement projects

BOSTON - Thursday, September 30, 2010 – As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's continuing efforts to promote job growth and long-term economic recovery, Governor Deval Patrick today announced that $980,959 in federal weatherization assistance program recovery funds will be used to replace antiquated, inefficient heating systems at properties operated by 10 public housing authorities throughout the Commonwealth.

Those capital improvement projects will generate jobs and deliver clean, efficient warmth and lower fuel costs for tenants of public housing developments in Acton, East Bridgewater, Foxboro, Great Barrington, Lexington, Norfolk, North Reading, South Hadley, Walpole and Whitman.

"These investments will mean a better quality of life for tenants, a better environment, and a better regional economy as we generate new job opportunities and get people back to work," said Governor Patrick.

"Our Administration knows the importance of keeping public housing as a viable and cost-effective housing option for low-income families, people with disabilities and seniors in Massachusetts," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, chair of the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness. "With these funds, we can maintain public housing and better serve tenants and the surrounding community."

Funding awarded in today's announcement is part of $25 million set aside for public housing energy upgrades out of $122 million in stimulus funds awarded to Massachusetts for weatherization services to low-income homes. Those American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds come to the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and are administered for DHCD by a statewide network of local non-profit agencies.

"This investment will make public housing more energy efficient which means lower heating bills for years to come.  This is a lifeline for seniors and the working poor  when the brutal New England cold hits," said Senator John Kerry.

"As we wait for our economy to heat back up, these additional funds will help Massachusetts families stay warm this winter. Weatherizing our public housing is a win-win for the community and our economy as consumers can save money on their heating and cooling bills and workers can be put back on the job properly insulating these homes," said Congressman Edward J. Markey.

"This important funding will improve energy efficiency, create jobs, and improve the sustainability and of our state's public housing," said Congressman Barney Frank.

"We waste precious energy and millions of taxpayer dollars by using old and inefficient heating systems in public housing. Upgrading these heating systems will create HVAC jobs, save taxpayer dollars and improve the quality of life for tenants," said Congressman Stephen F. Lynch.  "I am pleased to see these funds being used to replace aging, inefficient heating systems and put some plumbers and pipefitters back to work."

DOE program requirements call for the $25 million in public housing funds to be used for weatherization of housing where tenants pay for their own heat and earn less than 60% of area median income. The balance of program funds will provide eligible private households with full-scale home energy conservation services. In total, it is estimated that the entire $122 million will be used to weatherize an estimated 16,900 homes by the end of March 2012.

Weatherization improvements can include air sealing and weather stripping; repairs or replacement of expired heating systems; attic, wall and floor insulation; and installation of storm or replacement windows.

With this latest award announcement, Massachusetts has now spent more than $17 million of the $25 million public housing set aside to fund heating system replacements in 47 local housing authorities across the Commonwealth.

Today's awards are:

Acton Housing Authority: $188,150
East Bridgewater Housing Authority: $ 45,623
Foxboro Housing Authority $ 96,460
Great Barrington Housing Authority: $149,040
Lexington Housing Authority: $ 7,420
Norfolk Housing Authority: $158,910
North Reading Housing Authority: $163,731
South Hadley Housing Authority: $ 82,680
Walpole Housing Authority: $ 81,525
Whitman Housing Authority: $ 7,420

"The Patrick-Murray Administration has long recognized the importance of rescuing public housing in Massachusetts from the path of disinvestment it had been on for so many years prior to 2007" said DHCD Undersecretary Tina Brooks. "These recovery funds are a boost for us to improve our public housing facilities."

"I appreciate Governor Patrick's commitment to investing in western Massachusetts. These funds will reduce energy costs and put local residents to work - two goals we must continue to pursue," said Senator Benjamin Downing.
Housing and economic development investments are critical components of Governor Patrick's Massachusetts Recovery Plan, which combines state, federal and, where possible, private efforts to provide immediate and long-term relief and position the Commonwealth for recovery in the following ways:

• Deliver immediate relief by investing in the road, bridge and rail projects that put people to work today and providing safety net services that sustain people who are especially vulnerable during an economic crisis;

• Build a better tomorrow through education and infrastructure investments that strengthen our economic competitiveness, prepare workers for the jobs of the future and support clean energy, broadband and technology projects that cut costs while growing the economy; and

• Reform state government by eliminating the pension and ethics loopholes that discredit the work of government and revitalize the transportation networks that have suffered from decades of neglect and inaction.



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