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Success Story Spotlight
Early Head Start
On Feb. 13, 2009, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 at the urging of President Obama, who signed it into law four days later. A direct response to the economic crisis, the Recovery Act has three immediate goals:
- Create new jobs and save existing ones
- Spur economic activity and invest in long-term growth
- Foster unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency in government spending
The Recovery Act intended to achieve those goals by providing $787 billion in:
- Tax cuts and benefits for millions of working families and businesses
- Funding for entitlement programs, such as unemployment benefits
- Funding for federal contracts, grants and loans
In 2011, the original expenditure estimate of $787 billion was increased to $840 billion to be in line with the President's 2012 budget and with scoring changes made by the Congressional Budget Office since the enactment of the Recovery Act.
In Michigan, $7.86 million ARRA dollars provided a boost to federal grants. For OLHSA, it meant initiating the Early Head Start program, among other boosts.
Early Head Start is a comprehensive, two-generation federal initiative aimed at enhancing the development of infants and toddlers while strengthening families. Many factors are built into the curriculum, and include but are not limited to: prevention and promotion activities, positive relationships and continuity, parent involvement, cultural competence and transition planning.
In Oxford, a teen mother named Brittney enrolled her daughter Mariah in OLHSA’s Early Head Start. After dropping out of high school to have her child, Brittney enrolled Mariah in Early Head Start when she was a year old. The decision allowed Britteny to finish high school, and then go on to college. Brittney recently has graduated with her Medical Assistant certification and was offered a position at the doctor's office where she interned. Britteny and Mariah are now living in their own apartment after moving out of Brittney’s parent’s house. Baby Mariah went on to attend OLHSA’s Oxford Head Start and is doing well.
OLHSA was the recipient of the Sustainable Energy Resources for Consumers (SERC) Grant in 2011 in the amount of $3.765 million. In an effort to provide relief to our energy resources and assist residents throughout Oakland and Livingston counties, OLHSA researched homes throughout both counties to determine the homes that would receive the greatest benefit from these new solar technologies. With the following products, OLHSA has been able to provide these households the ability to reduce their current utility bills by at the least, 1/3 annually depending on the technology used.
- Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels
- Thermal Hot Air and Water Systems
- Hybrid Water Heaters
In addition to single family homes, multi-unit apartments were also considered as a recipient. Following an overall site assessment of the property, it was determined that Oxford Square Apartments located in Oakland County would be an excellent candidate for these products due to the following criteria:
- This property consisted of 3 separate buildings with 2 buildings housing 4 units each and the last building housing 2 apartments and a shared laundry facility.
- Each apartment had approximately 650 sq. ft. of living space
- All utilities operate on electric only.
- There is no gas service to this property.
- The majority of the residents are senior citizens living on a fixed income.
An analysis of the utility cost and total watts used for one full year was conducted by our team. Overall, the building pictured used 33,679 total watts with a cost of $4,290.90 for the 4 residents in that building.
The SERC team knew improvements to those figures using new technologies were possible. The photos show the newly installed Solar Photovoltaic panels and Thermal Hot Air Systems. The installation of these two technologies has reduced the electrical usage and cost to the residents and improved their quality of life.