Fuel Assistance Cuts a Problem for Massachusetts

David Wade of Boston’s WBZ-TV filed a report on what some are calling “a crisis in the making.” It’s all about fuel assistance. As the temperature falls and winter comes on, people face the likelihood of a reduced amount of money available for fuel assistance compared to this past year.  Former fuel assistance clients – still currently eligible – are asking:

“Why the federal government is cutting fuel assistance to needy Massachusetts citizens?”

Wade got the picture by talking to Greater Lowell’s  community action agency CEO – Karen Frederick of  Community Teamwork Inc (CTI) who also happens to be the current president of the state wide network MassCap.

Last year the maximum amount (my bold)of heating help a family in Massachusetts could get was around $1,000.

This year it’s $515. That cut comes at the same time that the number of families asking for help is going nowhere but up. “Across the state applications are up over 10 percent,” says Karen Frederick who heads MassCap, a group of community organizations that distribute the money…

With the shift in power to the Republicans in Washington, advocates worry that no additional dollars will be allocated. “We’re already seeing people who are making tough decisions about buying medicines, paying rent or their mortgage, or getting heat,” says MassCap’s Frederick.

(Disclosure) As a longtime board member of CTI, I am well aware of the challenges facing the thousands of individuals and families who rely on this LIHEAP money for survival as they face their heatings bills in a tough economy. The Commonwealth has historically helped with state fuel assistance funds – the prospects for help this year seem dim.

Read the full David Wade article here.

Here’s the link to information on CTI’s energy programs.