Home Heating Assistance Now Available
For most of us, as the temperatures outside drop we simply nudge the thermostat upward inside to remain comfortable all winter long. For many, however, that option doesn’t exist or doesn’t exist long with escalating home heating bills. After a record setting snowfall and frigid temperatures last winter which generated applications for assistance by more than 15,000 households, Worcester Community Action Council is ready to once again serve those struggling to keep up with home heating costs.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or fuel assistance as it is most commonly called opened for the season November 1st. Assistance is intended to help defray the cost of heat during the winter months, November 1 – April 30 of each year. Applications are accepted throughout the season. For first time applicants, a face to face meeting is required. While returning applicants do need to have their eligibility recertified each year, they can frequently do so by mail.
Income eligibility for the program is higher than many would think – for 2015-16 season an individual earning less than $33,126 is eligible – a family of four making at or less than $63,704 is eligible. Participation is open to homeowners and tenants, heating with any heating source – gas, electric, oil, propane, wood or coal. During the 2014-15 season, WCAC provided more than $9.9 million dollars in assistance, with 67% of WCAC’s applicants representing our most vulnerable populations – senior citizens, disabled individuals and families with young children.
The current maximum fuel assistance benefit is $1,025/year – which provides less than two tanks of oil; insufficient to cover ones needs for the duration of a New England winter. In 2014, WCAC provided over $200,000 in additional assistance for no-heat emergencies via funds raised through private donations.
Additional information about eligibility and applications is available online at www.WCAC.net, by emailing LIHEAP@wcac.net or by calling the LIHEAP Automated Information Line at 508.754.7281
If you or someone you know is struggling with home utility costs, please reach out to WCAC for assistance.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, WCAC is the federally designated anti-poverty agency for Central Massachusetts, serving the City of Worcester and neighboring communities of Auburn, Blackstone, Boylston, Brimfield, Brookfield, Charlton, Clinton, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, Hardwick, Holden, Holland, Hopedale, Hubbardston, Grafton, Leicester, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Monson, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Northborough, Northbridge, Palmer, Oakham, Oxford, Paxton, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Southbridge, Spencer, Sterling, Sturbridge, Sutton, Upton, Uxbridge, Wales, Warren, Webster, West Boylston, West Brookfield, Westborough.