MASSCAP, State Legislators Urge Baker to Help Low-Income Households During Extreme Cold

Thursday, January 31, 2019
GoLocalWorcester News Team

Charlie Baker
MASSCAP and members of the state legislature are urging Governor Charlie Baker to include $30 million in his upcoming FY19 supplemental budget request in order to help residents heat their homes.

“We have to act now in order to protect the most vulnerable members of our community.  This money isn't going to mean much in May or June, so it’s critical that we do this as soon as possible,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues.

According to MASSCAP, thousands of home heating oil households are struggling to heat their homes.

“Keeping warm in the winter is an essential part of life in New England, and it’s important to the health and safety of many residents who would be vulnerable without this type of assistance. Seniors, veterans, families with children and others are counting on our Commonwealth to provide the home heating support they need, particularly in light of the federal reductions,”  said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr. 

State Legislature Urges Baker

Over the past three weeks, more than 100 Representatives and Senators added their name to letters to the Governor in support of the funding request.

The letter from the House of Representatives, led by Representative Golden, notes:  “A commitment of $30 million would ensure that the individuals faced with these precarious circumstances are able to pay their bills for the remaining winter months an avoid the terrible dilemma of having to choose between heats, food, or medicine, or turn to unsafe hearing methods such as improper us of space heaters, ovens, and firs places,  With the bitterly cold weather only expected to intensify in the coming weeks an months, now is the time to provide a safety net for these vulnerable groups and prevent a public health and safety crisis.”

According to MASSCAP, at nearly $3 per gallon for heating oil, the current federally-funded fuel assistance benefit will allow oil heat households to cover the cost of 1 and 3/4 tanks of oil. On average, a typical household uses 3-4 tanks of heating oil to get through cold and snowy New England winters.  Most of the oil heat households who have accessed the fuel assistance benefit have exhausted it already.

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