January 16, 2020
Cherrelle Norris: 617.455.7212 (mobile)
Lee Phenner: 339.368.1140 (mobile)
(BOSTON, MA) – In Massachusetts today, the health and safety of tens of thousands of struggling low-income elders, children, people with disabilities, and families are at serious risk with months of frigid temperatures ahead and a critical need for state funding for home heating assistance.
In fact, 20,000 households statewide have exhausted their benefits and are on the brink of crisis.
The consequences of not having heat can be dire. This funding is needed immediately.
Consequently, ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development) joins with Community Action Agencies across Massachusetts in urging Governor Charles Baker and state legislators to increase the state’s commitment to heating assistance to help thousands of our friends and neighbors avoid crisis.
“We appreciate the governor and state legislature’s efforts in the past, including last year. We ask these leaders to step up again by increasing funding for LIHEAP (the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program). We are getting calls from worried elders and oil/propane customers whose tanks are empty – and many others will be out of benefits shortly due to the early cold snaps we have had this season,” said ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew.
DON’T WAIT TO APPLY!
ABCD is accepting applications!
We urge individuals and families to apply for heating assistance today! Call ABCD at 617.357.6012 and visit bostonabcd.org/fuel-assistance to learn more.
There’s more. If eligible, residents also qualify for a number of energy- and money-saving programs including repair or replacement of broken or inefficient furnaces, refrigerators, air conditioners, dehumidifiers or front loading washing machines, weatherization assistance, and more.
Liz Berube, Assistant Executive Director of community action agency Citizens for Citizens, said, “Despite the successful efforts by our Federal legislators to restore Federal funding to Massachusetts for fuel assistance, for which CFC along with our sister agencies are extremely grateful, Massachusetts will still see a cut in this year’s overall funding. In good conscience, CFC will need to reach out to our state legislature for additional resources to ensure that our most vulnerable households will be able to purchase the oil needed to stay warm, safe and healthy as well as assist all eligible households with their total energy burden.”
Who qualifies for help?
LIHEAP/Heating Assistance eligibility is determined by annual income and how many people are in the household. The program is available to homeowners and renters – even those living in non-subsidized housing with heat included in the rent.
Currently, a family of four with an annual income of $38,625 – 150% of the Federal Poverty Level – will not receive any additional fuel assistance or be able to cover their bills if our state legislators don’t support this request. The same goes for a family of eight making $43,430 – that’s 100% of the Federal Poverty Level. Or consider one elder living on a fixed income of $15,613 – 125% of the Federal Poverty Level: they’ll be unable to keep their home warm, putting their health and safety in peril.
Unsafe heating methods can turn into disaster. This funding will help prevent desperate elders and families from turning to unsafe methods to heat their homes – the oven, space heaters, and so forth – risking fire as they try to avoid the dangers of frostbite, hypothermia or worse.
According to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, one of every 68 space heater fires causes a fatality. Earlier this month, a fire took the lives of two brothers in Fitchburg whose heating oil tank was empty. Investigators suspect the space heater as a cause.
Donations gratefully accepted.
ABCD welcomes donations that will make the cold winter months warmer and safer for those in the greatest need. Please call 617.348.6559, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
bostonabcd.org/donate and select “FUEL ASSISTANCE” when making your gift. Thank you!
ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development) is a nonprofit community action agency that provides low income residents in the Boston and Mystic Valley areas with the tools, support, and resources they need to transition from poverty to stability and from stability to success. Each year, we serve more than 100,000 individuals, elders and families through a broad range of innovative initiatives as well as long-established, proven programs and services. For more than 50 years, ABCD has been deeply rooted in each neighborhood we serve, empowering individuals and families and supporting them in their quest to live with dignity and achieve their highest potential. For more, please visit bostonabcd.org.