ABCD Urges Community Residents to Apply for Home Heating AId NOW as Funds Available, Deadline Approaches
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2022
CONTACT: Susan Kooperstein at 617.875.3619 or Lee Phenner at 339.368.1140
(BOSTON MA) – An increase in home heating benefits for utility-heated homes translates to as much as $1,525 to homeowners and renters. The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development announcement brings additional relief to thousands of households that are struggling to meet basic needs as inflation continues to spike.
“Cold nights will be here for a while, and too many families are behind on their heating bills as they got slammed with higher costs across the board in recent months: food, rent, medication, transportation, you name it,” said ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew.
ABCD—Action for Boston Community Development—urges Boston-area and Mystic Valley residents to apply immediately for fuel assistance in order to keep their homes warm and to prevent shut-offs of gas and electric services. Each year the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities considers a requested moratorium to prevent shutoffs and terminations of gas and electricity. This year the moratorium was extended to April 1st.
There is still time to apply for fuel assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), although the window is closing: the application deadline is May 13, 2022.
Once approved, low-income households can receive not only heating assistance but discounts on fuel, help with past-due bills, and access to energy efficiency programs and services that include insulation, weatherization, and the repair or replacement of heating systems as well as inefficient appliances including refrigerators, air conditioners, dehumidifiers or front loading washing machines.
“Right now, 75 percent of the almost 20,000 households receiving ABCD Fuel Assistance have used up their benefits and have nowhere to turn,” Drew said, adding that because of the astronomical price of oil – reaching a high of $6 a gallon in some areas – many fuel clients do not have the money left in their fuel assistance accounts to pay for the minimum delivery of 100 gallons.
Fuel aid recipients may have $200 or $300 left in their accounts but that won’t pay for a minimum delivery of 100 gallons costing $500 or $600. The federal LIHEAP program requires that fuel vendors be paid directly by the organization administering the fuel assistance program.
Eligible households most in need and that receive deliverable fuel such as oil or propane can currently receive up to $2,100 in fuel assistance benefits this year through LIHEAP, an increase from last year intended to help combat the rise in energy costs. But no one anticipated the current sky-rocketing costs that are putting our most vulnerable families at risk.
We’re not talking about staying warm to stay comfortable; this is about health and safety; keeping the heat on means saving the lives of vulnerable elders, babies, and others.
At the current price per gallon, it costs about $1,500 to fill an oil tank.
APPLY NOW! Boston-area residents can apply by calling ABCD Fuel Assistance at 617-357-6012. Those living in the Mystic Valley region can call 781-322-6284. Help with applications is also available at all ABCD neighborhood centers. A new online system for first-time fuel assistance applicants can be accessed at toapply.org/MassLIHEAP. Go to bostonabcd.org/heat for detailed information, including a listing of neighborhood centers with contact information.
To keep struggling families and elders from falling through the cracks, help with fuel costs is also available to those slightly above poverty level. For instance, the 2022 annual income level for a family of four is $78,751 or $40,951 for an individual.
Donations gratefully accepted
ABCD is grateful for any private donations to the ABCD WINTER FUND which will be used to help those in fuel assistance emergencies after using up their allocation. Your generous gift can save a household from hypothermia, stop a family from turning to dangerous heating substitutes, prevent sickness, and dramatically improve the quality of life. If you’d like to donate to the ABCD WINTER FUND, please call 617-348-6559, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit bostonabcd.org/give.
A nonprofit human services community action organization, ABCD 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’ve served 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 every neighborhood and community served, 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.