November 14, 2018
 
Six Mass. Nonprofits Share in $1.6M to Help Pay Heating Bills

November 4, 2018 — The attorney general's office recently announced it has awarded $1,600,000 in grant funding to six Massachusetts nonprofits and one city to help consumers pay or lower their monthly heating bills during the coming winter.

“Each winter, thousands of families across Massachusetts struggle to come up with the money to heat their homes,” Attorney General Maura Healey said. “This new grant program allows us to reach residents who aren’t already receiving assistance and provide them with financial support to stay warm during these cold months.”

The Natural Gas Fuel Assistance Grant Program, announced in September, utilizes funds the AG’s Office secured through a $3 million settlement earlier this year with National Grid.

As the ratepayer advocate for Massachusetts, AG Healey works to ensure that consumers do not pay more than they should for their natural gas. In July 2017, AG Healey joined a coalition of 35 attorneys general and state consumer advocate agencies in urging Congress to preserve and expand funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), federally funded low-income energy assistance programs.

Sharing in the grants were the following:
  • Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, (GLCAC) based in Lawrence, which will provide funding to residents who qualified for the LIHEAP program, but would otherwise not receive financial assistance due to a lack of available money in the federal program, as well as residents who don’t qualify for the program but make less than 80% of the state median income. GLCAC will also provide funding to both groups of residents for weatherization efforts in their homes.

  • Lend A Hand Society, based in Boston, which will enhance its current programming to assist a greater number of families in the Greater Boston area with paying their natural gas heating bills.

  • Massachusetts Association for Community Action, based in Boston, which will provide multiple organizations with additional funds to help natural gas customers participating in LIHEAP, as well as those who don’t qualify for the federal program but make less than 80 percent of the state median income.

  • Society of Vincent de Paul District of Attleboro, based in Attleboro, which will provide funds to those in their communities who need assistance in paying their natural gas heating bills.

  • Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts, based in Worcester, which will hire a full-time multilingual staff member to inform and educate local Asian and Arabic-speaking communities about the fuel assistance agencies in Greater Worcester, central Massachusetts, and western Massachusetts and the LIHEAP program to maximize participation rates among underserved populations.

  • Springfield Partners for Community Action, based in Springfield, which will use the funds to build on its successful Emergency Fuel Assistance program that offers financial assistance to families struggling to pay their natural gas heating bills but do not qualify for LIHEAP.
Funds were also granted to the City of Medford to establish a new heating assistance program for residents with natural gas heating bills and fall between 60% and 80% of the median income in the state.

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