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November 29, 2020
 
Nine Massachusetts Nonprofits Get $497K for Heating Aid

November 13, 2020 — The attorney general’s office earlier this week announced it has granted $496,923 to nine Massachusetts nonprofits to help low-income households pay off or lower their natural gas heating bills.

“Each winter, thousands of Massachusetts households struggle to come up with the funds to pay their monthly heating bills, and we expect many more to be in need this year amid the COVID-19 public health crisis,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “This grant program will help us ensure that families have the financial support they need to stay warm during the cold months.”

Receiving the grants were the following organizations:

  • Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (Greater Lowell): $51,923 to help those in the Cambodian American community in Greater Lowell who are in need.

  • Casa Myrna Vazquez (Greater Boston and Boston Harbor Communities in Middlesex and Norfolk Counties): $40,000 for survivors of domestic and dating violence who need assistance paying their natural gas bills.

  • Lend a Hand Society (Greater Boston): $75,000 to enhance its current program to assist more households in need in Greater Boston with paying their heating bills.

  • Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP) (Statewide): $75,000 to help natural gas customers who participate in the federal Low Income and Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), as well as those who do not qualify for the program but make less than 80% of the state median income.

  • REACH (Greater Boston Communities in Middlesex County): $20,000 for survivors of domestic violence in need of assistance in paying their gas heating bills.

  • Southeast Asian Coalition of Massachusetts (Essex, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester Counties): $35,000 to enhance its current program that is geared toward assisting Southeast Asian and Arabic-speaking households gain access to fuel assistance programs.

  • Spanish American Center (Northern Worcester County): $50,000 to expand its current program that provides assistance to Latinx families.

  • Springfield Partners for Community Action: $75,000 to increase the reach of its current program which helps residents in need who do not qualify for LIHEAP.

  • United Way (Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk Counties): $75,000 to expand its outreach to families in need through its emergency heating assistance program.

Approximately one in four low-income eligible households in Massachusetts currently receive assistance on their heating bills, and many more are expected to need help this year with the COVID-19 pandemic, the AG’s office said. The grants aim to close that gap by providing assistance to families who are in need but are not currently receiving assistance or not receiving enough help in paying their monthly bills.

The grant program utilizes funds from a settlement the AG’s office reached with National Grid for improperly charging customers reconnection fees. Since 2018, the grant program has awarded more than $2 million to programs and initiatives that provide fuel assistance.

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