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December 13th Newsletter – Massachusetts Association for Community Action

Massachusetts Association for Community Action

Road to Opportunity: Finding the Way Forward

MASSCAP Newsletter – December 13, 2018
See newsletter for full story on each of these items

DID YOU KNOW: Heating Help Programs Reduce Poverty

  • Public Programs, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (#LIHEAP), cut poverty approximately in half in MA - keeping 920,000 (including +200,000 children) out of poverty.
  • #LIHEAP supports approximately 5.4M households nationally, reducing the national poverty rate by half a percentage point.
  • Heating Help Programs including Fuel Assistance (LIHEAP) and Energy Efficiency Programs helped 160,000 households in MA last year including 36% children and 45% elderly.  Approximately 20,000 of these households benefited from our weatherization and efficiency programs.

More information and access the data: Obstacles on the Road to Opportunity: Finding a Way Forward, May 2018

URGENT NEED: MASSCAP Seeking $30M State Resources for Fuel Assistance

MA received an $11M cut in the LIHEAP federal funding this year due to a new funding formula, which will greatly affect not only the number of people served, but also the Fuel Assistance Agencies capacity to serve.

We are asking Governor Baker and the state of MA for $30M to be included in the supplemental budget in January for the current fiscal year to be used to help more households and provide more benefits to current participating households.

  • The federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates there will be 18% increase in fuel oil and 5% in natural gas.  This increase combined with cold weather means on average heating bills will be $269 higher.
  • Winters in New England are always brutal. We have already seen extremely cold weather with temperatures below average in November and December.
  • New applications are up 20% to date since the start of the Heating Help Programs.
  • The 48,000 households that heat with oil will have used all the oil they were able to purchase with their benefit by the end of January.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Heating Help Programs are Health and Safety Programs

Heating Help Programs are not only economic support programs, but also housing preservation and health and safety programs.  Heating Help Programs prevent...

  • budget tradeoffs that jeopardize children's health.  Heat or eat?
  • the use of unsafe sources of heat including stoves, ovens, space heaters, fireplace, causing risk of burns, carbon monoxide poisoning, fires.
  • loss of safe and affordable housing.

Families that meet their energy burden are less likely to experience long term physical and mental health issue and incur additional medical costs.  Children are less likely to have developmental deficits and have less school absences.

Hear from Sandra, a program recipient in Fall River, who received assistance as a single working mother of five teenage boys, helped others to apply, and now in retirement back to getting the help she needs.

Statewide Heating Help Programs Kickoff, October 30, 2018

See newsletter for more information on fuel assistance issues in Massachusetts


We urge you to support our budget request for $30M in MA state supplemental budget.  Visit heatinghelpma.org for more information and the agency serving your area.

Next Forum on Poverty and the Way Forward
To be held in the Berkshires, Jan. 11


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