PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES $141 MILLION IN FEDERAL HEATING ASSISTANCE FOR MASSACHUSETTS
More than 200,000 Massachusetts families to receive help paying their heating bills this winter
BOSTON – Friday, November 9, 2012 – Governor Patrick today announced that Massachusetts will receive $141 million in federal funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This is an increase of $8.2 million over the previous year’s funding level. The funding will be allocated to 22 local administering agencies that will distribute benefits to over 200,000 Massachusetts households in need.
“As the temperature continues to drop across the Commonwealth and the price of oil remains high, this critical funding will ensure that our seniors and families in need will feel secure knowing they can heat their homes this winter,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “I want to thank our Congressional delegation and the Obama Administration for their continued support of Massachusetts families.”
“As we head into the cold winter months, LIHEAP continues to be a valuable resource for our residents in need,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. “Governor Patrick and I thank our congressional delegation for their strong advocacy for increased funding for the Commonwealth so that Massachusetts residents struggling to pay their heating bills this winter will receive immediate assistance.”
The fuel assistance funds provide eligible households with help in paying a portion of their winter heating bills. Eligibility for the program is based on household size and the gross annual income of every household member, 18 years of age or older. The maximum income eligibility for LIHEAP is 60 percent of estimated state median income. Benefit levels vary depending on household income. Nationwide LIHEAP assists more than 4.6 million low-income Americans in paying their heating bills.
Massachusetts will receive 90 percent of its allocated funding today and based on previous years the Administration anticipates the final 10 percent released by HHS in January. In September, Governor Patrick led a bipartisan letter with 13 other Governors urging Congress to fully fund the LIHEAP program, in any funding agreement for FY 2013, at last year’s funding levels.
"With the New England winter arriving, it's critical that this assistance is available for families and seniors,” said Senator Scott Brown. “I applaud the Administration for increasing funding for Massachusetts."
"With temperatures dropping in the Northeast after an historic storm, this funding couldn't come at a more needed time,” said Congressman Edward Markey.” I thank HHS for releasing this LIHEAP funding and commend Governor Patrick's leadership ensuring that Massachusetts families can make ends meet during these challenging times. No household should have to suffer chills to pay the bills. Too many Massachusetts families will have to struggle with higher home heating oil prices this winter, which is why I will continue to fight to increase funding for this vital program."
“I’m pleased to hear of the release of funds, noting that LIHEAP provides essential support to Massachusetts families, helping them heat their homes and, through increased energy efficiency, reducing their energy bills as well,” said Congressman John Olver. “As winter approaches, this critical program will help keep Massachusetts residents safe and warm without forcing them to neglect other necessities.”
“With winter fast approaching this notice of our LIHEAP allocation is welcome news,” Congressman Jim McGovern said. “I was proud to join with many of my colleagues in advocating on behalf of Massachusetts, and I’m pleased that the funding level will represent an increase over last year’s allocation.”
“Here in the Northeast, we see some of the harshest winters experienced in the entire country,” said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. “Combined with the rising costs of home heating oil and a still fragile economy, the need for the LIHEAP program is made even clearer. That’s why the Massachusetts Congressional delegation has worked to prevent cuts to this life-saving federal safety net ever year. For Massachusetts families, LIHEAP means safety, security and peace of mind no matter what our New England winter brings.”
“Thousands of Massachusetts families rely on the LIHEAP program to help heat their homes each winter,” said Congressman Stephen F. Lynch. “ With the cold weather approaching, these funds are critical and I am very pleased to see that assistance will now be available to those in need.”
“The LIHEAP program helps many low-income families offset the high cost of heating their homes, which can be particularly expensive in New England. It is one of many important federal programs that are at risk of a funding reduction in this tough fiscal climate and I am fighting to preserve as much funding for it as possible,” said Congressman Michael Capuano.
"I am very pleased by HHS's decision to release nearly $127 million in funding for LIHEAP in Massachusetts," said Congressman Bill Keating. "This critical program provides irreplaceable assistance to low-income families and seniors throughout the Commonwealth, and I was proud to join my colleagues in fighting for this assistance. If the recent hurricane and Nor'easter are any indication, our region must be prepared for unprecedented volatility in climate patterns and the consequences that may arise. LIHEAP helps to provide those most vulnerable to fluctuations in heating prices and accessibility with the resources to confront the coldest of winters and most vengeful of storms."
"Thousands of families in western and central Massachusetts depend upon LIHEAP assistance to heat their homes in the winter. As a longtime supporter of this important federal program, I am pleased that these funds will be available for those friends and neighbors in need," said Congressman Richard E. Neal.
“These LIHEAP funds will provide needed relief to working families and seniors who need a little help to get through the winter months”, said Congressman John Tierney. “As the weather gets colder and spending on heating increases, it is unacceptable that our seniors, disabled residents, and low-income families may be forced to choose between paying to heat their homes and other essential items such as groceries and prescription drugs.”
Funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, LIHEAP is managed by The Department of Housing and Community Development in conjunction with 22 regional nonprofit and local government organizations.