Friday, November 21, 2014

ABCD rolls out Fuel Assistance Program: Thousands of children, families and seniors helped

(BOSTON, November 21, 2014) —Action for Boston Community Development, Inc. is grateful to announce the beginning of the fuel assistance program as part of the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The program helps thousands of low-income children, families and seniors lead lives of dignity - helping them afford climbing cost of basic utilities as they work toward financial independence and self-sufficiency. Already 14,000 applications have been received, only 2 weeks into the program. New and past participants are encouraged to apply.

Families who qualify for heating assistance also can benefit from the ABCD weatherization programs and qualify for repair or replacement of faulty heating systems. ABCD also helps clients reduce energy usage.

ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew explained how thousands of Boston’s most vulnerable residents benefit from the program, which keeps children, seniors and working families warm. “It is a way to help low-income residents afford basic needs as they work toward reaching their own economic independence.” said Drew. He noted that he is concerned that the 30 to 40 percent hike in electric rates will put a strain on families and that the cost of heating with oil and gas is also out of reach for those who juggle bills and try to manage on very low incomes.

“There are increasingly more families living in poverty in Massachusetts and winter puts harsh demands on the budgets of those struggling to survive,” he said. “Right now, in Massachusetts, the maximum fuel assistance benefit for the poorest families is $1,025 with oil at $3.37 per gallon, which gives a household only a little more than one tank of oil. Those who applied in November will use up their benefits right in the midst of the holiday season.”

Drew continued, “We are grateful to our New England congressional delegation for their efforts to advocate for full funding.”  ABCD urges the President and the entire congressional delegation to restore LIHEAP funding to the fiscal year 2009 level.  “The LIHEAP budget has gone from $5.1 billion authorized by Congress in 2009 to $3.4 billion this year,” Drew said.

 You Can Help!

ABCD Winter Emergency Campaign

Children’s wishes, toy drives, snow boots and comforters, warm coats and turkey dinners; there are hundreds of ways your help can directly make the holidays and the winter months a more hopeful and affordable season for those in need.

The ABCD Winter Emergency Campaign reaches some of Boston’s most vulnerable families in a time where even winter coats and boots are an expense many families struggle to afford.  Through the campaign, individuals and corporate donors contribute gifts of school supplies and toys for children, winter clothing, holiday meals, as well as funds to help those in need.  Additionally the ABCD Adopt-A-Family program matches donors with some of Boston’s most vulnerable and impoverished families – helping fulfill wish lists with items of basic need and holiday gifts for children.

For more information on the ABCD Winter Emergency Campaign and the ABCD Fuel Assistance Program please visit

The ABCD Fuel Assistance program serves Boston, Brookline and Newton.  Applications for fuel assistance and information on all our energy programs are available at ABCD’s downtown office and at neighborhood sites or by calling the ABCD Fuel Assistance Hotline at 1-617-357-6012.

For a list of ABCD neighborhood locations please visit:

About ABCD:
ABCD serves more than 100,000 low-income Boston-area residents annually through its central offices and a decentralized network of Neighborhood Service Centers (NSCs), Head Start centers, Family Planning sites and Foster Grandparent sites. Programs and affiliations include Fuel Assistance; Head Start; Child Care Services; Child Care Choices of Boston; Education; Career Development; Housing and Homelessness Services; Health Services; Family Planning; Urban College of Boston; University High – an Alternative High School; Ostiguy High School for high school students in recovery; Weatherization; Foster Grandparents; Elder Services; Intergenerational Programs; management of the Combined Federal Campaign, Commonwealth of Massachusetts and City of Boston employee giving campaigns; advocacy and consumer services.