$159M in low-income heating assistance awarded to Massachusetts

Saying the big oil companies “don’t care” about low-income households, US Rep. James McGovern, D-Worcester, on Friday Congress has approved $159 million in funding for the state’s portion of the $4.4 billion dollar deficit. Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), part of the annual budget passed by Congress in September and signed into law by President Joe Biden.

One in five Massachusetts households received home heating assistance last winter, McGovern’s office said. Funds distributed will help low-income families manage their home heating costs for the upcoming winter months, while also helping to pay unpaid utility bills.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts received about $130 million in LIHEAP funding, but the increase will increase the cost of natural gas by 60 percent and what McGovern called the “price cuts” by US oil producers, Congress will increase this year. award.

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“Big oil is killing the people through high prices, and we are strong. We are strong against their greed and call the price increase by allowing people to heat their homes this winter,” he said.

“We in the Massachusetts group in the Legislature have asked for the immediate release of home heating assistance, and I am happy to see this great amount quickly going into the hands of those who need it. Our first priority is working to lower costs and put money in the pockets of working families, and that’s what this LIHEAP vision is doing for thousands of households across the Commonwealth. .”

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The budget includes $118 million for the LIHEAP program for Massachusetts families, an additional $36 million in additional funding provided by Congress and $3.7 million in funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

McGovern said American households are battling two issues with heating costs this year. “Big Oil is profiting from Putin’s War (against Ukraine) by not producing as much oil as they could, driving up the price,” McGovern said. “At the same time, their profits are rising to record-breaking levels. They are ripping people off and using inflation as an excuse.”

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Russian oil, which is part of the price structure on the world market, has become unavailable because of the war and McGovern said that Saudi Arabia and OPEC are reducing their oil production to encourage increases. pay.

LIHEAP has been helping America’s families for more than 40 years and is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. The $4,492,719,317 in funding for fiscal year 2022 is being distributed to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, three territories and more than 125 Native American tribes. The fund can be used for direct costs of heating and cooling costs, bill payment assistance, electrical problem assistance, weatherization, and energy-related home repairs.

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