Faces of the Recovery Act (Text Version)
Below is the text version of the Faces of the Recovery Act video, which describes weatherization success stories.
The video consists of an extended interview with a large panel of people working with the Weatherization Program. The video swaps between the interview between the interviewee, who is standing behind the camera, and the ten people he is interviewing. Occasionally, the video pauses to display messages about the program.
The video opens with the text:
2009 National Weatherization Training Conference: Indianapolis, IN
Over 3200 people attended, doubling last year's total. These are their stories.
Sammy Chu, Babylon, NY: My name is Sammy Chu. I'm the director of the Long Island Green Homes Program in Babylon, New York.
Leslie Campanella, Sacramento, CA: My name is Leslie Campanella and I work for the California Department of Community Services and Development.
Travis Sewall, Tampa, FL: Travis Sewall, Weatherization Director/Coordinator.
Dale Barth, Dickinson, ND: Dale Barth, Dickinson, North Dakota.
Tony Gill, Chaistainville, ME: Tony Gill, I'm actually from the state of Maine. I've been involved in weatherization since 1981.
Richard Fransen, West Jordan, UT: I'm Richard Fransen. I come from West Jordan, Utah.
Steve Leuty, Kalamazoo, MI: My name is Steve Leuty. I work in Kalamazoo County, Michigan.
Xavier Qualls, Tampa, FL: Xavier Qualls, Tampa Hills Action Plan, Tampa, Florida.
T.J. Bergeron, Moorhead, MN: I'm T.J. Bergeron. I'm actually from Moorhead, Minnesota.
Zachary Stewart, Phoenix, AZ: I'm Zachary Stewart, and I'm an Energy Engineering Specialist. That's my job.
The Recovery Act provides $5 Billion for weatherization.
Interviewer: Tell me how and when you got started in weatherization.
Zachary Stewart: Ah, well, I've been working in the residential construction industry in Phoenix for five years with a national home builder. So, I've been doing weatherization, in a way, not knowing it. But anyways, so the housing market in Phoenix went down. So, I was laid off on December 19th, 2008. So, right, a couple days before Christmas. So, that was a real, real nice holiday.
T.J. Bergeron: I ran a handyman business for the last two or three years. During the flood this spring in Fargo, we had about five weeks where basically everything in town shut down. No one spent any money or did anything.
Zachary Stewart: I was applying for jobs after jobs. I must've applied for 200 jobs.
T.J. Bergeron: It's tough to not have a paycheck for five weeks. So, I decided that I needed steady income.
Zachary Stewart: So, I cashed in my 401k and the little severance I had left and I made a gamble. It was either make your mortgage payment, or go down and try to take some classes.
T.J. Bergeron: May 26th is when I was hired.
Zachary Stewart: That was the break that I needed. That was my networking opportunity to get some face time with somebody. I'm so thankful for it.
T.J. Bergeron: I'm just happy to have the opportunity and appreciate it.
Zachary Stewart: This is what I want to do. I'm fortunate that I found something. Also, not only to support my family, but where I want to go the rest of my life, like this is what interests me. I love doing the problem solving and I found my career, you know.
Weatherization can cut your energy bills by $350 a year or more.
Steve Leuty: Our first day at work, we were informed that there were 500 people on the waiting list for our small county and by the end of that week, there were over 600 households waiting on that list. So, people know that we're trying to build it. But they're already coming.
Travis Sewall: Every year, prior to this, that I was with the program we always ran out of funds and weren't able to get to everyone on our waiting list. But now, with the Recovery Act we're looking forward to being able to serve all of the clients on our waiting list and add in quite a few more.
Richard Fransen: They want to try and do 1,000 homes this year.
Richard Fransen: Just in our Salt Lake area.
Sammy Chu: I think we can reasonably expect to do between 800 and 1,000 homes which will be on the order of one and a half percent of our entire residential housing stock in one year, which we're quite proud of.
Leslie Campanella: And I just love it. It's a wonderful program. It's exciting. My days are never boring. No two days are the same.
The Weatherization Assistance Program has been helping low-income families since 1976.
Tony Gill: I mean, this sounds almost messianic. But, when you walk into somebody's house, you can really change their life.
T.J. Bergeron: What I really like about it? There's a couple of things. One is knowing that I'm actually making a difference out there and helping people.
Tony Gill: One old lady comes to mind. Little Italian lady, bigger and rounder than she was tall. Great lady, cooking all the time, fed the crew, fed everybody. Had a four room house, four room, two story house, probably a total of 600 square feet. Big boiler room in the cellar, big wood stove in the cellar, which she couldn't use. Her husband had always handled the wood. She was scared to death of it. Wouldn't burn the wood. I came through the back door and she threw this bear hug on me. I thought I was dead. And "What is it?" She said, "Oh! For the first time since my husband died, I can sleep in my bed in the winter time." I said, "What do you mean?" This woman, because the house couldn't stay warm enough even with blankets on the bed for her to sleep upstairs, had been sleeping in a chair three months in the year, not even a recliner.
Richard Fransen: I've had people talk to me and actually cry on my shoulder and say just thank me.
T.J. Bergeron: Little kids give you a hug when you're leaving and you're like, "Okay" because you replaced the window that's been broken for two years.
Tens of thousands of new weatherization jobs will be created in the next two years alone.
Dale Barth: We've hired three new people on board and things are just kind of rolling right along.
Xavier Qualls: The Recovery Act opened up more positions and stuff like that. Travis needed some more help. So, he brought me on board.
T.J. Bergeron: Myself and two other people were hired simply because of The Recovery Act.
Travis Sewall: We've been able to hire already four people in the last two months.
Richard Fransen: We have been hiring people like crazy right now because we are expanding phenomenally.
Sammy Chu: We're creating local jobs, hyper, local jobs. You know these are jobs that can't be outsourced. They're, they're smaller scope jobs. They're not jobs that big construction companies are coming out of state to do. It's people from the community. It's people from the area.
Tony Gill: The technology grew out of this program and now it's hitting real well.
Sammy Chu: These are improvements that we can make in our homes in every home in the United States that pays for themselves.
Tony Gill: In my opinion, the greatest benefit to the weatherization program eventually is going to be changing the way America bills.
To learn more, visit energy.gov/recovery.
Visit Secretary Chu at facebook.com/stevenchu.