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SummerWorks 2014 Kick off Rally 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 4/17/2014 Categories: SummerWorks

BY  Fenway News ⋅ APRIL 16, 2014

ABCD SummerWorks Making that First Summer Job Possible for low-income Boston Youth

Kick-off Rally opportunity for young people to sign up, learn more about work and educational opportunities

 WHAT:  ABCD’s kick off rally for SummerWorks 2014.  Hundreds of young people seeking summer jobs will fill out applications, enjoy a “back yard barbecue” and learn about work opportunities and summer programs around Boston.   ABCD staff and local leaders will discuss what is needed to provide jobs and fund summer jobs program in Boston.


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Housing task force tackles affordable housing crisis 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 4/14/2014 Categories: Affordable Housing

Written by Olivia Deng, the Daily Free Press Apr, 2014

To address the housing issues facing Boston’s neighborhoods, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced the creation of a 23-member housing task force, assigned with the mission of devising a four-year housing plan to be launched by June...

...Joining the group as an expert in non-profit development, John Drew, president and CEO of the Action for Boston Community Development, said he agreed to serve on the task force because he saw it as an opportunity to address problems he is concerned with, including family homelessness and housing for the elderly.

“The affordability gap is widening between those who can afford and those who cannot and we have more and more people in the city not being able to afford housing and very little subsidized housing,” he said. “We can tell as the city booms, as rents are sky high and housing prices are driven up, it has been displacing people who work hard but don’t have a lot of money.”

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ABCD's Field of Dreams Helping Fund Summer Employment for inner-city Youth  

Posted by ABCD Public Information 4/10/2014 Categories: Field of Dreams SummerWorks

Join us for our 17th Anniversary at Fenway Park! Thursday, June 19, 2014

Interested in getting involved? We’re signing up teams and sponsors for 2014 now! Watch Video feature from Fox 25 news from April 10, 2013.

ABCD urging families to apply immediately for financial assistance to pay high heating bills, deadline to apply for assistance extended to May 15th 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 4/10/2014 Categories: Fuel Assistance Low income & poor families

Sampan 2014/04/09 

 Seniors and families, who have received shut off notices from electric and gas companies for unpaid heating bills, may qualify for financial assistance from Action for Boston Community Development’s Fuel Assistance program.

“This has been a brutal winter and everyone has seen increasingly high heating bills,” said John J. Drew, President & CEO of ABCD.  “While there has been a lot of news coverage about families struggling with paying for heating oil, spring is the time when the other shoe drops.  The winter moratorium has ended and utilities are now sending out shut off notices.”

Federal and state funds are available to help families and seniors pay these large heating bills, but users who have not already applied for assistance have only until May 15th to complete an application.

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State to distribute $20 million in heating aid 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 3/18/2014 Categories: Fuel Assistance LiHEAP

By Erin Ailworth   | GLOBE STAFF   MARCH 17, 2014

Massachusetts lawmakers on Monday approved the release of $20 million in heating aid for low-income households as the long, cold winter drags on — the first time in three years that the state has provided such assistance.

...Low-income advocates have spent the last several months pushing Massachusetts lawmakers to provide funding for heating assistance.

“We’ll be very glad to get that $20 million,” said John Drew, the president of Action for Boston Community Development, an organization that helps funnel heating aid to families in Boston, Brookline, and Newton. “We wish it had come earlier.”

Still, Drew said that he is worried about natural gas and electric customers who have wracked up enormous heating bills this winter and will soon be receiving shutoff notices from their utility companies. State law prevents utilities from shutting off service to customers between Nov. 15 and March 15, even if they fall behind on payments.

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Higher cost of keeping warm a drag on economy 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 3/17/2014 Categories: Fuel Assistance LiHEAP

By Erin Ailworth  | GLOBE STAFF   MARCH 17, 2014

This long, cold winter has forced households across New England and the Northeast to spend an estimated 20 percent more for heat, squeezing household budgets, limiting consumer spending, and contributing to a slowdown in the broader economy.

The average winter heating bill in New England is expected to climb nearly $300, to about $1,700 from $1,400 last season, according to the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association, a professional group in Washington.

As higher heating costs reduce the amount of money that consumers can spend on clothes, electronics, and restaurant meals, they are affecting industries that depend on that spending. Several major retailers, including Walmart, Macy’s, and American Eagle Outfitters, have blamed the harsh winter for contributing to disappointing sales and earnings.

Retailers across the country cut more than 4,000 jobs in February, according to the Labor Department. In Massachusetts, retailers shed 5,000 jobs in January, the most recent state statistics available.

“Spending on natural gas service, spending on electricity, spending on home heating oil has definitely gone up,” said Chris G. Christopher Jr., director of consumer economics at the Lexington forecasting firm IHS Global Insight. “That makes people more cautious after they pay their bills.”

The impact is falling most heavily on the poor and elderly living on fixed incomes.

Richard L. Baker, an 85-year-old Dorchester resident, had hoped to see the last of his oil delivery man by now, but another cold front moved in, requiring another delivery. The cost: $661.35.

That’s roughly a quarter of the monthly budget for Baker and his wife, Mary Baker, forcing the couple to put off purchases large and small, from eating out to a much-needed chair lift. “This cold winter, it’s really strapping us,” he said.

Prices are somewhat higher for fuels this winter, but the increase in heating expenses also is driven by a surge in consumption resulting from extended periods of bitterly cold weather. Massachusetts residents, for example, burned the most natural gas in nearly 25 years in November and December, the most recent months available for analysis, according to the US Department of Energy.

The utility National Grid estimates its Boston-area residential customers will spend about $140 more on natural gas this winter as the result of increased consumption and higher prices.

Phil Flynn, an energy analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago, said many natural gas and electric consumers have been insulated from this winter’s rising prices because utilities buy a significant share of fuels with long-term contracts that lock in prices for several months. But as those contracts end, customers will probably see their rates rise.

“You’re going to be paying for this winter well into summer,” Flynn said.

What households pay for heating varies by fuel.

In the Northeast, natural gas users — more than half of the region’s households — are projected to pay an average of $1,100 this winter. Heating oil and propane customers will pay more than double that amount.

“If you are using heating oil or propane, this is truly an emergency for you,” said Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association.

Advocates for low-income people worry that additional emergencies for the state’s poor will come in a few weeks, when utilities can shut off gas and electricity for nonpayment of bills.

Under Massachusetts law, utilities are prohibited from cutting service between Nov. 15 and March 15 — though the end date often is extended to at least the end of March. For many low-income families, the bills have piled up.

“When the shut-off moratoriums start to expire at the end of this month, we’ll truly know the impact,” Wolfe said.

Federal heating assistance might have helped avoid these situations, but the program has been cut significantly in recent years. The money distributed to Massachusetts — roughly $140 million — is exhausted.

At Action for Boston Community Development, which helps low-income families in Boston, Brookline, and Newton apply for help with heating bills, representatives said the cold weather, high energy prices, and insufficient funding for aid programs have combined to hurt the most vulnerable families.

“This is the worst winter in 30 years as it applies to the people we see,” said John Drew, the group’s president. “The last benefits for oil heat customers ran out probably in mid-January.”

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

SNAP Judgment: Is Government Program Hazardous To Health? 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 3/12/2014 Categories: Head Start Low income & poor families Poverty

By , WGBH-TV March 11, 2014

The idea behind the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program is simple: Poor people don’t have enough money to eat well, so the government gives them vouchers to buy more food.

Traditionally, SNAP’s critics have argued that it breeds dependency. But new research suggests it may actually be hazardous to your health.

...To be clear, Drew said he has no problem teaching low-income individuals how to eat healthy. ABCD does this every day in its citywide Head Start program — and Drew says it’s paying off, with obesity rates among ABCD’s Head Start participants dropping 40 percent in just a few years.

Watch the Video.

Federal funds for heating help leaving some in cold 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 2/26/2014 Categories: Fuel Assistance LiHEAP

Janet WuBy  WCVB-TV News

Massachusetts got what it thought was good news a couple of weeks ago from Washington: Another $18 million in fuel assistance for low-income families and seniors in this bitterly cold winter.  But thousands people may never see another drop of home heating oil.

Watch video.

 

Walsh Targets Inequality, But What Can A Mayor Actually Do? 

Posted by ABCD Public Information 2/14/2014 Categories: ABCD Low income & poor families Mayor Marty Walsh Poverty

By  90.9 WBUR February 14, 2014

The corner of Washington and Avery streets, just a couple of blocks from Boston Common, was a foreboding place not so long ago: a seedy extension of the old Combat Zone.

Not anymore.

The new 15-story Millennium Place offers up luxury condominiums, a private screening room for residents and a customized social calendar called La Vie. Across the street, upscale furniture store Roche Bubois sells an $11,000 couch with a built-in iPad jack.

But just around the corner: a reminder that Boston’s surging affluence is not shared by all.

The city’s largest anti-poverty agency, Action for Boston Community Development, is a big, concrete box.

Hundreds of clients walk through its spare lobby every day. On the fourth floor, Tonya Wilkerson, an unemployed phlebotomist from Dorchester, applies for home heating assistance and bemoans a long stretch of joblessness.

Listen to the full story.

Mayor Walsh appoints John Barros as Economic Development Chief  

Posted by ABCD Public Information 2/12/2014 Categories: ABCD Mayor Marty Walsh

Boston Business Times, February 12, 2014

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the appointment of John Barros as Chief of his Economic Development Cabinet. The appointment is a significant step towards revitalizing the way Boston approaches economic development.
 
"John shares my belief that we have to do more than better organize our efforts — we have to ensure those efforts lead to more opportunities for all of Boston's residents and business owners," said Mayor Walsh. "Boston's economy is in a good position, but we can do better. With John, our job creators, and our communities all working together, we will create more economic opportunities throughout our city and take Boston to the next level."
 
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