ABCD urgently calls on Governor Baker’s administration to release the full $30 million in fuel assistance as promised
In a surprise turnaround, the Baker administration will impound majority of funds, putting tens of thousands of the most vulnerable low income households at risk
(BOSTON, MA) – Tens of thousands of Massachusetts households at 150% of the Federal Poverty Level or less – e.g. a family of 4 with an annual income of $37,650 – will receive no additional fuel assistance or be able to cover their bills if the Baker administration moves forward with endorsing the Department of Housing and Community Development’s implementation plan.
The $11 million that DHCD proposed in their implementation plan for immediate release will never reach 55 percent of the 150,000 households in need.
It’s not enough money to supplement fuel assistance needs. It’s imperative that we help 100 percent of households with 100 percent of the $30 million dollars appropriation as approved by the state legislature and Governor Baker’s administration for this winter’s deep freeze.
“I thank Governor Baker for signing this past week the FY 2019 Supplemental Budget that included $30 million in fuel assistance funding,” said John J. Drew President/CEO of ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development). “Now it is time for the funds to be released. They can’t wait. Constituents need this assistance now!”
Aaron Michlewitz, Chairperson House Committee on Ways and Means, State Rep. Paul J. Donato, Senate President Karen E. Spilka, Sen. Bruce E. Tarr, minority leader, Sen. Vinny deMacedo, and Sen. Michael Rodrigues. They strongly advocated for release of the entire $30 million because they understand the needs of the most vulnerable elderly, disabled, children and families across Massachusetts.
The most disadvantaged will be the hardest hit
For instance, if the entire $30 million is not released now, a family of four at 150% of the Federal Poverty Level will not receive further heating assistance. The same goes for a family of eight making $42,380 – that’s 100% of the Federal Poverty Level. Even consider one elder living on a fixed income of $15,175 – 125% of the Federal Poverty Level: they’ll be unable to keep their home warm, putting their health and safety at serious risk.
Elders, children, and our most underserved neighbors have had to make impossible choices: whether to buy medication, pay their rent, buy groceries or pay for other essentials. The moratorium, which legally prevents utility companies from terminating services, has ended. Households are now receiving shut-off notices.