- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG’s Office Awards $1.6 Million in Grant Funding to Help Residents Pay Their Heating Bills
BOSTON — With winter approaching, Attorney General Maura Healey announced that her office has awarded $1.6 million in grant funding to seven organizations across the state to help Massachusetts consumers pay or lower their monthly heating bills.
“Each winter, thousands of families across Massachusetts struggle to come up with the money to heat their homes,” AG Healey said. “This new grant program allows us to reach residents who aren’t already receiving assistance and provide them with financial support to stay warm during these cold months.”
Today’s grantee announcement comes in the wake of the Sept. 13 gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley that left thousands of residents and businesses without gas service for heating, hot water and cooking. The Greater Lawrence Community Action Council is one of the seven organization receiving funding from the new grant program and will use the funds to assist residents in recovery.
“We are grateful on behalf of our clients to receive these resources, especially during these difficult times for the Greater Lawrence area,” said Evelyn Friedman, Executive Director of the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Inc. “The amount of the resources and their flexibility will allow us to help residents to weatherize their homes, replace old inefficient boilers and hot water heaters and help with fuel. All things sorely needed at this moment.”
AG Healey’s new Natural Gas Fuel Assistance Grant Program has provided the funding to seven Massachusetts organizations that currently assist households in paying for their natural gas service. The program is utilizing funds the AG’s Office secured through a $3 million settlement earlier this year with National Grid. The remaining settlement money will be allocated through the grant program in the 2019-2020 winter season.
As the ratepayer advocate for Massachusetts, AG Healey works to ensure that consumers do not pay more than they should for their natural gas. In July 2017, AG Healey joined a coalition of 35 attorneys general and state consumer advocate agencies in urging Congress to preserve and expand funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), federally funded low-income energy assistance programs.
The AG’s Office has awarded funds from the Natural Gas Fuel Assistance Grant Program to the following organizations:
- Greater Lawrence Community Action Council Inc (GLCAC) (Lawrence, Methuen, Andover, North Andover, Wilmington, Reading and North Reading): GLCAC will provide funding to residents who qualified for the LIHEAP program, but would otherwise not receive financial assistance due to a lack of available money in the federal program, as well as residents who don’t qualify for the program but make less than 80 percent of the state median income. GLCAC will also provide funding to both groups of residents for weatherization efforts in their homes.
- City of Medford: The City will establish a new heating assistance program for residents with natural gas heating bills and fall between 60 percent and 80 percent of the median income in the state.
- The Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP) (statewide): MASSCAP will provide multiple organizations with additional funds to help natural gas customers participating in LIHEAP, as well as those who don’t qualify for the federal program but make less than 80 percent of the state median income.
- The Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts (Greater Worcester County, Central Massachusetts and Western Massachusetts): The organization will hire a full-time multilingual staff member to inform and educate local Asian and Arabic-speaking communities about the fuel assistance agencies in Greater Worcester, Central Massachusetts, and Western Massachusetts and the LIHEAP program to maximize participation rates among underserved populations.
- Society of Vincent de Paul District of Attleboro (Attleboro, North Attleboro, Seekonk, Rehoboth, Norton and Mansfield): The organization will provide funds to those in their communities who need assistance in paying their natural gas heating bills.
- Lend A Hand Society (Greater Boston): The organization will enhance their current programming to assist a greater number of families in the Greater Boston area with paying their natural gas heating bills.
- Springfield Partners for Community Action, Inc. (Hampden County): The organization will use the funds to build on its successful Emergency Fuel Assistance program that offers financial assistance to families struggling to pay their natural gas heating bills but do not qualify for LIHEAP.