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Petitioning Congress

Fully fund fuel assistance

Low income residents who depend on the federal LIHEAP fuel assistance program in our community are in jeopardy of losing their heat this winter after the holidays. Their grants have been cut almost in half, if not more, due to an approximate 50% reduction in the funding to the program by the federal government. Accordingly, our citizens' homes and well being are at risk. Locally, our Community Action program, which administers such fuel assistance to more than 10,000 households in Franklin and Hampshire counties in Massachusetts, has been given a preliminary budget of just over $3 million, as compared to last year's $7.3 million. Estimates from this preliminary budget place the maximum fuel assistance benefit per household at $400-$500. Last year the maximum benefit was $1,100. It is believed that this will cover about one heating bill or 150 gallons of oil for our low income residents this winter. It is further believed, based upon testimony before the Greenfield Human Rights Commission, that if partial or full funding is not restored, such residents will begin losing their heat around the first of the year.

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