December 13, 2019
 
AG Awards $890K to 7 Mass. Nonprofits to Help Pay for Heat

November 10, 2019 — The attorney general's office last week announced that it has awarded $890,000 in grants to seven nonprofit organizations across Massachusetts to help residents pay or lower their natural gas heating bills during the upcoming winter heating season.

“Each winter, thousands of Massachusetts families struggle to come up with the money to pay their heating bills,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “This program helps ensure that residents who are in need have the necessary funds to stay warm during the cold months."

Each year, approximately only one-in-four low-income eligible Massachusetts households receive assistance on their heating bills. This grant program aims to help fill that void by providing assistance to families who are in need but are not currently receiving assistance or not receiving sufficient help in paying their monthly bills.

Now in its second year, the grant program utilizes funds from a $3 million settlement the AG’s Office reached with National Grid for improperly charging its customers reconnection service fees. Last winter, the AG’s Office awarded $1.6 million in grant funding from the settlement to six organizations that provide fuel assistance. The remaining funds will be allocated through the grant program in the 2020-2021 winter season.

Receiving the funds were the following:
  • Lend A Hand Society, Greater Boston: $150,000 to enhance its current program to assist a greater number of families in the Greater Boston area with paying their natural gas heating bills.

  • Massachusetts Association for Community Action, statewide: $450,000 to provide multiple organizations with additional funds to help natural gas customers participating in the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), as well as those who do not qualify for the federal program but make less than 80 percent of the state median income.

  • Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness, Inc., Suffolk and Essex Counties: $50,000 to expand the reach of its current fuel assistance program to target a larger number of Native American elders and families in need.

  • Society of Vincent de Paul District of Attleboro, Attleboro, North Attleboro, Seekonk, Rehoboth, Norton and Mansfield: $25,000 for residents living in the communities it services who need assistance paying their natural gas heating bills.

  • The Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts, Greater Worcester, Central Massachusetts and Western Massachusetts: $40,000 to renew the employment of a full-time multilingual staff member who is tasked with educating 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, Inc., Hampden County: $50,000 to increase the reach of its current program that helps residents in need who do not qualify for LIHEAP.

  • United Way of Massachusetts, eastern Massachusetts: $125,000 to be distributed through the organization’s Family Fund to natural gas carriers on behalf of residents who need assistance paying their heating bills.

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