Haverhill’s Community Action is expected to share in $570,000 in a state grant to help low-income households pay off or lower their natural gas heating bills.
Attorney General Maura Healey’s Natural Gas Fuel Assistance Grant program is providing the money for programs run through state agencies, communities and nonprofit organizations that currently assist residents in paying for gas service. The money comes from a settlement the attorney general’s office reached with National Grid for improperly charging customers reconnection fees. Since 2018, the grant program has awarded more than $2 million to programs and initiatives that provide fuel assistance.
Healey said in a statement, “Each winter, thousands of Massachusetts households struggle to come up with the funds to pay their monthly heating bills, and we expect many more to be in need this year amid the COVID-19 public health crisis.” She added, “This grant program will help us ensure that families have the financial support they need to stay warm during the cold months.”
Haverhill-based Community Action is part of the Massachusetts Association for Community Action which shared in the grant. It will use the money to supplement the federal Low Income and Home Energy Assistance Program and also help those who do not qualify for the program but make less than 80 percent of the state median income.
Healey’s office said approximately one-in-four low-income eligible households in Massachusetts receive assistance with heating bills. The grant program aims to close that gap by providing assistance to families who are in need but are not currently receiving assistance or not receiving enough help in paying their monthly bills.