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Food pantries fear EBT cuts Deductions to boost need for aid - See more at: http://bostonherald.com/business/business_markets/2013/11/food_pantries_fear_ebt_cuts#sthash.esYW8B3G.dpuf 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 11/3/2013 Categories: Budget Cuts Fuel Assistance Government Shutdown Poverty sequestration Winter Emergency Campaign

By Jordan Graham, Boston Herald, Sunday, November 3, 2013

Local charities are bracing for a boost in requests for help now that almost half a million households in the Bay State that rely on government assistance to feed their families are getting less money thanks to the end of a federal stimulus program...“They’re taking away from people who really can’t afford to be taken away from,” said John Drew, president and CEO of ABCD.  Read More.

ABCD hopeful as annual gala nears 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 10/22/2013 Categories: 2013 Gala Government Shutdown

By Derek J. Anderson  |  GLOBE CORRESPONDENT,  OCTOBER 22, 2013

The annual gala for Action for Boston Community Development is taking on special significance this year as the antipoverty agency celebrates making it through the recent 16-day government shutdown.

ABCD will host its gala on Nov. 1, where film director and producer Spike Lee is expected to speak and music will be performed by American Idol finalist Angie Miller and R&B group The Spinners.

“We’re doing this because we want to bring everyone together,” said John Drew, president and chief executive officer of ABCD, a private, nonprofit human services agency. “We’re here to celebrate the people.”  

Read more.

Despite warnings, Massachusetts government and social services were largely spared by shutdown 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 10/18/2013 Categories: ABCD Fuel Assistance Government Shutdown Low income & poor families

By Shira Schoenberg, The Republican ,on October 17, 2013 at 4:27 PM, updated October 17, 2013

If the shutdown had lasted until Nov. 1, federal funding would have run out for some social service programs, including Section 8 rental assistance for low-income families. That is also the date when the federal government was supposed to start paying for heating assistance for low-income households. Social services agencies had been warning of the dire consequences, should the shutdown drag on past month’s end. Read More.

ABCD says poor suffering most from government shutdown, debt ceiling crisis 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 10/16/2013 Categories: Government Shutdown Winter Emergency Campaign

by MySouthEnd.com Contributor
Wednesday Oct 16, 2013

With the world days away from a very perilous moment, as the United States Congress continues to haggle about whether to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and the government shutdown continues, the most vulnerable in our society suffer the most.

"The poor among us, those who depend on heating assistance, food pantries, child care, housing services are feeling increasing pain as the impasse in Washington, D.C. continues,"said John J. Drew, ABCD President/CEO. Read more.

ABCD President/CEO John Drew goes "live" on FOX25 evening, how the shut down impacts people trying to hear their homes 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 10/15/2013 Categories: ABCD Elderly Energy Program Fuel Assistance Government Shutdown

ABCD President/CEO John Drew goes "live" on FOX25 evening news and explains how the shut down impacts people trying to hear their homes. 

Watch now.

 

 

Home heating programs threatened by ongoing shutdown 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 10/10/2013 Categories: ABCD Fuel Assistance Government Shutdown

Janet WuBy Janet Wu WCVB-TV Boston  Oct 09, 2013

"We had to shut down on Friday," said Laura MacNeil of North Shore Community Action Program. "It means we aren't processing applications; it means clients can only drop off paperwork. Nobody is able to work on it."

But the Boston office is just days away from the same scenario.

"If (the shutdown) hasn't ended by (Nov. 1), I'm not sure (Action Boston Community Development) is going to be here because by that time. They'll hit the debt ceiling and if they don't pay the bills, all of my programs are in trouble," said John Drew of ABCD.



Watch and read more.

Bay State kids are paying for GOP budget chaos 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 10/10/2013 Categories: Government Shutdown Head Start LiHEAP

Nathan Proctor, Blue Mass Group   |   Wed, Oct 9, 2013 12:36 PM EST

Yesterday, Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) held a rally to highlight the devastating impact the shutdown is having to people, especially the poor. Among the many troubling and outrageous pieces of fallout from the GOP shutdown — from the 20,000 people who rent assistance is drying up to a WWII veteran who was on Normandy beach and talked about losing heating assistance — are the impacts on young children.

This 87-year-old Wold War II vet thinks "John Boehner is being a baby."

This 87-year-old World War II vet thinks “John Boehner is being a baby.”

First, the sequester’s deep cuts hit programs across the country, and it became clear that one of the biggest casualties of that terrible piece of lawmaking was Head Start, a program which provides early education to disadvantaged kids. Here in Massachusetts, 2,015 fewer children will be served by Head Start from the first round of sequester cuts (57,000 nationally). And because sequestration ticks up, those cuts are set to get worse.  Read more.

Shutdown will cause federal funding for Section 8 to dry up Nov. 1, Massachusetts housing official says 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 10/9/2013 Categories: ABCD Fuel Assistance Government Shutdown

Shira Schoenberg, The RepublicanBy Shira Schoenberg, The Republican 
Follow on Twitter 
on October 09, 2013 

A top Massachusetts housing official warned that the state will no longer be able to pay landlords rental assistance for low-income tenants if the government shutdown continues through the end of the month.  Read more.

Fuel aid in Mass. halted by shutdown 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 10/9/2013 Categories: ABCD Government Shutdown Head Start LiHEAP

Fuel aid in Mass. halted by shutdown

By Erin Ailworth GLOBE STAFF   OCTOBER 09, 2013

John MacPherson of Dorchester, a World War II veteran, gets $941 a month in Social Security benefits and has received heating assistance for years. He said he would freeze without it.

KAYANA SZYMCZAK FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

John MacPherson of Dorchester, a World War II veteran, gets $941 a month in Social Security benefits and has received heating assistance for years. He said he would freeze without it.  The US government’s shutdown is cutting off federal fuel assistance to tens of thousands of poor and elderly Massachusetts residents just as the heating season gets underway.

With billions of dollars for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, tied up in the budget dispute in Washington, at least one of the 20 agencies in Massachusetts that administer the fuel assistance here has shuttered the program and laid off workers. Other agencies are approaching that point.

At this time of year, Action for Boston Community Development Inc., would normally use the coming federal funds to help people with past-due bills get their heat restored or keep it from getting turned off before the onset of cold weather. ABCD helps funnel heating aid to about 20,000 needy households in Boston, Brookline, and Newton.

Usually, the promise of federal funds to help pay bills allows the agency to negotiate a settlement with utilities that keeps the heat on, said John Drew, ABCD’s president. But, he said, “we can’t do that because we have nothing to negotiate with.”

Just more than $3 billion was allocated nationally to the federal heating assistance program last year. The poorest households in Massachusetts qualified for up to $1,125 in aid.

The government shutdown forced the North Shore Community Action Programs in Peabody late last week to lay off six workers and suspend its heating assistance program, which typically serves about 4,000 households.

“We sat down and did the math and realized, ‘Wow, we can’t keep operating,’ ” said Laura MacNeil, executive director, who worries what will happen when the weather starts to cool. “The first cold day, our waiting room is [usually] packed with people who need help.”

The Energy Department forecasts that heating costs for natural gas and electric customers will increase this winter as those fuel prices rise. Residents in the Northeast who heat with gas are expected to pay $1,045 on average over the winter, about 18 percent more than they did last year, according to the forecast released Tuesday. Those who heat with electricity will pay about 4 percent more, or $1,083 on average.

 

 

Heating oil customers are expected to see bills decrease slightly from last winter because of lower crude prices. But the fuel is typically the most expensive option and Northeastern customers are projected to pay an average of $2,046 this season.

The threat of high heating bills helped spur community leaders to gather Tuesday at ABCD’s Tremont Street offices, where they called on Congress to end the budget deadlock and ensure funding for LIHEAP and other social programs.

Dorchester resident John MacPherson, a World War II veteran who receives $941 a month in Social Security benefits, has received heating assistance for several years, but keeps his thermostat on a low setting and eats lots of noodles to help stretch his budget.

“If I don’t get any help from the government I’m going to freeze, I can tell you that,” MacPherson told the crowd of about 60 gathered at ABCD.

Joe Diamond, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Community Action, an umbrella organization for nonprofit agencies that administer heating assistance and other programs, said the group has asked the state to provide $20 million in heating assistance to supplement the federal program, but the additional funding has not been approved by the Legislature.

It the federal shutdown continues and state help doesn’t come soon, Diamond said, “more and more of our agencies that provide services will have to limit services or stop them completely.”

Aaron Gornstein, the state’s undersecretary for Housing and Community Development, said figuring out how to fund heating assistance and other programs affected by the shutdown is a “major concern of ours.”

Paola Garcia, a mother at Action for Boston Community Development’s Head Start program, spoke about how the US government shutdown is affecting low-income people.

KAYANA SZYMCZAK FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Paola Garcia, a mother at Action for Boston Community Development’s Head Start program, spoke about how the US government shutdown is affecting low-income people.

“I know the governor is looking at all options,“ he said, “but no decisions have been made.”

Some local utilities are also considering how they might help.

“If there are any special circumstances this year resulting from the government shutdown, we’re available to discuss possible solutions with the agencies,” said Caroline Pretyman, a spokeswoman for NStar, which is owned by Northeast Utilities of Boston and Hartford.

Still, those who need heating assistance, like Joseph D’Ambrosia, are worried. The 90-year-old retired sneaker maker gets $704 in Social Security each month and says he’ll have to cut back on groceries to afford his winter heating bills if the government shutdown doesn’t end soon.

“It’s a tough situation,” D’Ambrosia said. “The more it’s shut down, the more people who are going to suffer, people who really depend on that money.”

Erin Ailworth can be reached at eailworth@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ailworth.

Western Massachusetts social service agencies face uncertainty as federal funds dry up 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 10/8/2013 Categories: ABCD Fuel Assistance Government Shutdown Head Start

By Shira Schoenberg, The Republican October 07, 2013

A Head Start program serving low-income children in Western Massachusetts was supposed to get its annual funding from the federal government on Oct. 1.

Because of the government shutdown, due to a congressional dispute over funding for President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, that money never came.

Read more.

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