For Immediate Release - March 07, 2012

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces Increase In Fuel Assistance Benefit For Low-Income Residents

BOSTON – Tuesday, March 6, 2012 – The Patrick-Murray Administration today announced an increase in fuel assistance for low-income Massachusetts residents, bringing the total Massachusetts LIHEAP allocation to $153.6 million in Fiscal Year 2012. The increase brings the maximum deliverable fuel benefit per household to $1,095, a slight increase over Fiscal Year 2011. The maximum utility benefit will increase to $635 from $525 earlier this year.

The announcement follows the Governor’s signing of his most recent supplemental budget, which increased state funding for LIHEAP assistance by $21 million.

“This funding will provide critical assistance for Massachusetts families and individuals struggling to heat their homes,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “I am pleased that we were able to work with our Congressional partners and the Legislature to increase LIHEAP funding over last year, and we will continue to advocate for this assistance going forward.”

“This funding could not have come at a better time as our regional partners work to assist as many households as possible,” said Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein. “We thank the Legislature for their support of this invaluable program for vulnerable Massachusetts residents.”

The Patrick-Murray Administration has been actively engaged in urging Congress to provide the maximum funding possible for LIHEAP. Last November, Governor Patrick organized a bipartisan coalition of more than a dozen governors to send a letter urging Congressional leaders to bring LIHEAP funding for FY2012 up to the same levels it was funded in FY2011. Lieutenant Governor Murray also participated in a LIHEAP coalition call with several northeast governors and lieutenant governors designed to call attention to the need for additional program funding.

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.

Funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, LIHEAP is managed by DHCD in conjunction with 22 regional nonprofit and local government organizations.

DHCD has authorized LIHEAP spending at the following agencies statewide:

Local Administering AgenciesLocationFY 2012 State AllocationTotal FY 2012 LIHEAP Awards
Action For Boston Community Development, Inc.Boston$1,828,892$12,805,180
Action, Inc.Gloucester$226,415$1,689,480
Berkshire Community Action Council, Inc.Pittsfield$830,045$5,739,130
Community Action, Inc.Haverhill$543,720$3,801,310
City of Cambridge, Department of Human ServicesCambridge$195,450$1,472,280
Community Action Programs Inter-City, Inc.Chelsea$478,770$3,387,450
Citizens for Citizens, Inc.Fall River$1,837,520$12,598,355
Community Teamwork, Inc.Lowell$1,201,690$8,353,615
Community Action of the Franklin, Hampshire, and North Quabbin Regions, Inc.Greenfield$876,670$6,066,490
Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Inc.Lawrence$965,935$6,692,740
Lynn Economic Opportunity, Inc.Lynn$431,075$3,069,470
New England Farm Workers Council, Inc. - FitchburgFitchburg$1,018,750$6,990,335
New England Farm Workers Council, Inc. - SpringfieldSpringfield$1,241,300$8,541,880
North Shore Community Action Programs, Inc.Peabody$368,840$2,641,815
People Acting in Community Endeavors, Inc.New Bedford$1,337,650$9,207,125
Quincy Community Action Programs, Inc.Quincy$391,295$2,779,910
Self Help, Inc.Brockton$1,681,630$11,505,635
South Middlesex Opportunity Council, Inc.Framingham$627,085$4,374,520
South Shore Community Action Programs, Inc.Plymouth$1,234,180$8,567,110
Tri City Community Action Program, Inc.Malden$616,695$4,330,215
Valley Opportunity Council, Inc.Holyoke$1,693,865$11,595,290
Worcester Community Action Council, Inc.Worcester$1,559,935$10,759,245

“This funding continues our commitment to providing for some of Massachusetts’ neediest residents, as we navigate through a challenging fiscal climate,” said Senator Stephen M. Brewer. “Although the economy is seeing modest growth, many citizens are still facing the challenges of keeping their homes and their families warm, this funding will give them the assistance they need.”

“LIHEAP funding is critical to seniors and low-income members of our communities,” said Representative Brian S. Dempsey. "I commend our colleagues in the Legislature, Administration and Congressional delegation for recognizing that these funds were important for those most in need of assistance."

“This critical funding will go directly to help our most vulnerable residents as they struggle in this difficult economy to keep up with high energy costs in the winter months,” said Senator Katherine Clark. “I thank the Governor for his work and commitment on behalf of this important program.”