Upham's Corner Online

Renew Boston - Dorchester Bay's Role

Posted: January 28, 2011         Nancy J Conrad

DBEDC (Dorchester Bay economic development Corporation) owns 688 units of affordable housing - new  construction and renovations. Some are Leed certified; others are in need of energy retrofit.

In late summer 2010 Dorchester Bay set a priority to hire a staff member to focus on tenant relations and education while Dorchester Bay apartments were being retrofitted for energy improvements.

As of September 1, 2010 Max McCarthy was on board with the title "Green Communities Outreach Coordinator" with 100% of his focus on Dorchester Bay housing stock. 

One day later Mayor Menino announced the Renew Boston program. This had nothing to do with Max's job but it provided interesting "reading," so that Max could understand the similarities in what Dorchester Bay was doing with its own units.
Index
What is Renew Boston?
Dorchester Bay's Role
Moving to Sustainable
Renew Boston Website
Climate Action History
Commonwealth of MA
City of Boston

Several weeks later the Cty contacted nonprofit organizations regarding the availability of grants specifically for enrolling residents in the Renew Boston program. Dorchester Bay applied for the grant and by the end of September was designated a Renew Boston outreach site. 

As a result, Dorchester Bay redefined Max's job - 50% Dorchester Bay apartments and 50% Renew Boston.  In essence the jobs are pretty similar and complement each other.

Reducing greenhouse gases is a targeted goal for the City of Boston (view City's Climate Action History) and will not be met unless all of the groups participate - city owned buildings and vehicles, local businesses, organizations and residences.  While the City can mandate changes to its own property, local businesses and residences need to be convinced to participate.

Renew Boston has been defined to encourage participation with free energy efficiency services up to $3500 and generous participation guidelines - up to 120% of the State Median Income.  Even so, Renew Boston program will be successful only if community activists are able to directly reach many residents to talk about the program and encourage them to sign up.

Imagine somebody walks into your home and pulls a wad of money out of an envelope and places it on your kitchen table.

"Would you like to have $3,500 for free?"

You would think it would be easy to give away money, but it's not. 
  • Renew Boston doesn't feel like real money
  • Insulation and weather stripping doesn't feel like money
  • You have to apply for the money and satisfy guidelines

  • You have to let strangers into your home
  • Homeowners do not sense the importance of this program
  • It's not like your taxes will go up if you don't do this program.

  • The cost of fuel may be high but it's been that way were used to it
  • There is no sense of urgency
  • The pain of not doing this program isn't that great

So Max has his job cut out for him. He needs to get the word out. His focus is on helping residents understand they will be saving real dollars

"There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow." 

If you can cut down on the infiltration of cold air or the movement of heat out, the furnace cycles less frequently, it uses less fuel and your utility bills go down. For most people what affects their wallet is what draws their attention.

Still there are many people who hate filling out forms, applications and finding last year's tax return or pay stubs. In our fast-moving world taking the time to deal with bureaucracies can make the process less than worthwhile. It might be simpler to work a little overtime and pay the extra fuel bills. Of course we are harming ourselves, our city and our planet in the long run.

Mayor Menino is committed to reducing Boston's carbon footprint, improving energy efficiency, lessening our dependency on fossil fuels and improving the sustainability of our city. So regardless of the hurdles that need to be overcome, Max's job is to stick by City of Boston residents, to convince them of the merits of this program, to help them get through the application process and to encourage them to commit to this wonderful program.

Max is a going door-to-door through our neighborhoods, speaking at meetings of neighborhood organizations and church groups and finding any and all other ways to communicate the Renew Boston initiative.  Thus far he has put approximately 35 people into the pipeline in approximately 4 weeks of active effort. With the eight months remaining in his tenure, he may be able to bring 200 to 250 residents up to a higher level and markedly more compliant with the energy goals of the City of Boston.

What do I Do Now? We encourage you to think short-term, medium-term and long-term.
  1. Think about having just a little bit more in your wallet at the end of the month.

  2. Take pride where you live and plan to participate in the initiatives provided by our city

  3. Take steps to protect the future of our planet Earth.

Give Max McCarthy a call: 617-825-4200 x 251.

Max is smart, understanding, caring and supportive. He likes the City of Boston; he likes the people who live here. He wants to hear from you and he wants to help you participate in the Renew Boston program.

Renew Boston - Max MacCarthy
Just to let you know Max McCarthy is from Jericho Vermont, just outside Burlington.

In June 2010, he graduated from Boston University with a degree in economics and international relations. The job market wasn't good. What was he going to do?

During his years at Boston University Max lived in Allston.  "I never got a chance to get to know the city and its people." He thought to himself: "Wouldn't it be nice to spend time in Boston before moving on? Maybe this would also be a chance to give back."

Max says he likes engaging with people and what he calls "political dynamics."

At the website idealist.org he found a number of opportunities for internships and jobs. He applied to LISC AmeriCorps and was hired for the Dorchester Bay position and the rest is history.




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