Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) kicked off the annual Fuel Assistance Program at the ABCD offices in the South End and Chinatown.
ABCD ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew is now urging residents to apply for fuel aid now as federal funding to the program has increased.
Drew said with the new round of funding households at or below the federal poverty level can now receive $1,650 in fuel assistance, while those with slightly higher incomes receive increased benefits on a sliding scale.
Residents can apply by calling ABCD Fuel Assistance at 617-357-6012 or get in-person help with applications at ABCD’s South End Neighborhood Service Center, 554 Columbus Avenue; the Asian American Civic Association, 87 Tyler Street, 5th floor; or the Harrison Avenue Head Start & Children’s Services, 595 Harrison Avenue.
There is also a new online system for first-time fuel assistance that can be accessed at toapply.org/MassLIHEAP.
Drew said due to the huge spike in energy costs and the ongoing economic crisis battering our most vulnerable households, benefits from the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) have been increased. Last year the highest fuel assistance benefit was $1,210.
“We are thankful for this increase and look forward to the allocation soon of the significant funds committed by President Biden to get everyone safely through the winter and reduce the number of utility shut-offs in April,” said ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew.
Home heating oil in Massachusetts is currently at $3.43 a gallon and up, almost twice the cost last year. It costs about $800 to fill a tank, and that can run out in a matter of weeks in bitter New England weather. Vulnerable elders and others who cannot afford to keep their thermostats at a comfortable level put themselves at risk of getting sick – or worse.
To keep struggling families and elders from falling through the cracks, help with fuel costs is also available to those slightly above poverty level.