For Immediate Release - November 08, 2013

Patrick Administration Announces $121 Million in Federal Heating Assistance for Massachusetts

200,000 Massachusetts families to receive help paying their heating bills this winter

Boston – November 8 – Governor Patrick today announced that Massachusetts will receive $121 million in federal funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The funding will be allocated to 22 local administering agencies that will distribute benefits to approximately 200,000 Massachusetts households in need.

“As the temperature drops, this funding helps ensure that our seniors and families can heat their homes,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “I 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 Aaron Gornstein, Undersecretary for the Department of Housing and Community Development. “I join the Governor in thanking 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 121 million is 90 percent of the total funding allocated to the Commonwealth from the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

“This is great news for the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens,” Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. “The rising cost of energy makes it difficult for many families and seniors to get through the winter. This funding will go a long way toward reducing this burden and helping low-income residents in Massachusetts get through the cold months ahead.”

“Too often families have to choose between heating their homes and buying essentials like food or winter clothes,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “I thank our Congressional delegation and the Obama Administration for their support and am proud that the Legislature was able to provide an additional $20 million for LIHEAP this year.”

“LIHEAP is a lifeline for the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens -- keeping seniors and low-income families warm in their homes during the cold winter months,” said Rep. Kevin Honan. “This increased funding will help to ensure these seniors and families are not forced to choose between paying rent or paying for heat. I applaud our congressional delegation for their tireless work on behalf of the Commonwealth.”

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 and available funds. Nationwide, LIHEAP assists more than 4.6 million low-income Americans in paying their heating bills.  In Massachusetts, close to 200,000 low-income residents receive some assistance.

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.

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