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Jeffrey Simon

Jeffrey Simon

Director, MA Recovery & Reinvestment Office

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Am_house The second anniversary of stimulus means many different things to many different people. From Republicans to Democrats to the media to the pundits, everyone seems to have an opinion on what exactly this watershed moment means to them.

To me, the second anniversary means that across Massachusetts, more people are working, more people were helped and more projects that needed to be done got done.

In all, over 71,000 people in the state received a stimulus-funded paycheck. Nearly 6,000 people got jobs through stimulus-funded transportation projects. (That’s not even mentioning the roads, bridges and highways that got fixed along the way.) And then there are the 4,400 people that got jobs through clean energy and environment projects and revitalized a sector that needed a shot in the arm.

The Beneficiaries Page in our latest Citizens’ Update tells an even broader story. The number of people helped from the programs that were saved or enhanced thanks to stimulus is sobering. Thanks to the Weatherization Assistance Program, over 9,000 families are now living in weatherized homes and manyGardner_boys  small weatherization contractors had business during tough times. The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing program helped over 7,000 people. Over 190,000 people were able to upgrade their skills and become more employable through stimulus training programs. Over 13,000 people who needed it got fresh meals thanks to the Congregate Meals grant. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance  program helped 770,000 people. Over 63,000 low income people were helped to become more self sufficient through Community Service Block Grants. Over 1.2 million people had their Medicaid services preserved. Over 660,000 people received additional unemployment funds to get them through this downturn and help them participate in our improving economy.

Lakeville_police2 I’m only skimming the surface here but you get the picture. There are more firefighters and more policemen keeping us safe thanks to the stimulus program. Many of our schools were stabilized, teachers’ jobs were saved and Early Head Start programs were able to keep providing services to parents so they could go to work.

The second anniversary of the stimulus program is all about our ability to continue to help the people of Massachusetts in very real and significant ways. It alone has not been the reason that Massachusetts has lead the nation in economic recovery, but the program has been a very important element. I’m gratified to be part of this historical endeavor.

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