One of the most satisfying aspects of the Stimulus Program is investing to jumpstart much needed renovations
that had been stopped due to the economic downturn. Many of these projects were scheduled to begin but with a struggling economy, the financing of these renovations became impossible, especially for local nonprofit-run housing units.
Recently, I visited a few of the ARRA-funded overhauls of Urban Edge’s low-income apartments in Jamaica Plain. The entire project, made up of 103 family-sized units, cost $17.7 million with about $10 million funded by stimulus grants. Each apartment in the five 100-year-old buildings that I had the pleasure of visiting has been completely rehabilitated with energy efficient insulation as well as energy saving appliances and lighting. High efficiency boilers have been installed in each building and shared laundry facilities have been upgraded with new washers and dryers to further cut down on water and energy consumption.
The energy savings that will be realized as a result of this project will help Urban Edge to keep rents affordable for these units and to keep more families in their homes during these improving, but still difficult, economic times. On top of that, these renovations have vastly improved the quality of life for the tenants by making their homes look and feel healthier.
The Recovery Act has allowed projects like this one to stay on course even when the financial markets crashed. I am extremely proud to be involved with Stimulus because of developments like this since the effects are felt throughout the entire economy. Green renovations provide savings for the tenants, work for the contractors and suppliers, and make long-lasting improvements in neighborhoods all over the Commonwealth.