Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Putting the Heat on Home Energy Assistance Funding

Today, I joined with House and Senate colleagues, leadership of Community Action Agencies in Massachusetts, MASSCAP, AARP Massachusetts, and others in front of the State House to raise awareness of an imminent shortage in home heating assistance for low-income households. With a freeze on the federal program I am requesting that the state government include funds in an expected supplemental budget.

Although Winter has only just begun, 48,000 households in the state will soon be using up all of their heating oil benefits according to the Massachusetts Association for Community Action, which said 160,000 households in the state are served under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The House and Senate have approved this kind of supplemental funding for the program more than a dozen times over the past three decades.

I view this as a public safety and public health issue. The program primarily assists the elderly, people with disabilities and working families, applications for this year's program have increased of over 20 percent from last year.