Officials announce heating assistance for low-income households

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) – Help may soon be coming to some households in the Bay State. As the price of heating oil is on the rise and families are worried about making ends meet this winter, the federal government is announcing heating assistance for low-income households.

MASSCAP, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, and several other state agencies are launching their annual statewide awareness campaign to ensure vulnerable households across the Commonwealth are able to stay warm this winter and, to do that, the state is providing heating assistance to those most in need, which state legislators said is many people this year.

“We’re having a tough winter this year and the percent of increase in utilities is going to be about 60 percent as it’s projected and we know that it’s going to be a demanding year for the needs of many of our residents of Massachusetts, particularly here in the city of Springfield,” said State Representative Carlos Gonzalez.

As prices of heating oil are expected to skyrocket this winter and families struggle to keep up with the rising costs, state agencies are announcing assistance for low-income households. The help is available to both renters and homeowners and applies to all energy sources, not just oil, and officials said depending on your heating source, you may be eligible for more than $1,000 in heating assistance. It’s offered through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. Gonzalez told Western Mass News the need is great this year.

“The utilities is a necessity and we need to be vigilant and make sure that as legislators here in the State House, as well as at the federal level, we continue to provide the resources necessary to make sure that everybody can heat their homes during this tough winter month that is expected…We’re thankful for the federal delegation that has advanced $37 million to Massachusetts, but we know that that’s not going to be enough, so we are looking forward to continue working with them and advocate for more funding for Massachusetts,” Gonzalez explained.

Eligibility for the statewide program is based on household size and gross annual income. For example, an individual making $42,000 or less a year is eligible, while a family of seven making up to $110,000 still qualifies for the help. Gonzalez said locally, the Valley Opportunity Council is working to provide resources to families in Springfield, Chicopee, West Springfield, and surrounding communities.

“They just had over 3,000 applicants in the last two weeks, so we know that there’s a need,” Gonzalez added.

Applications are being accepted now and those who qualify may receive help from November 1, 2022 through April 28, 2023 of next year. You can CLICK HERE for more information.

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