More money for fuel assistance needs

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)- This year’s winter was tough on most people’s pockets and some of us are still feeling its impact. 22News found out about extra state funds that could make the winter’s impact a little less painful.

Community Action was awarded more money to help people still recovering from those high winter heating bills.

The need for heat was a problem many people experienced this winter, and organizations that provide fuel assistance struggled to keep up with the demand. Increasing oil prices and extreme winter temperatures had more people than usual asking for help.

Tammy Murphy had to apply for assistance this year for the first time ever. She told 22News she was grateful for the help. “I just walked out of there feeling so grateful. I would be so behind if they didn’t help me. Even though I worked. I didn’t make enough. My heating, the electricity was just so high. Higher than it’s been before.”

Community Action provided fuel assitsance for 7000 households this winter between Hampshire and Franklin Counties. And now the organization has been awarded more money to provide more assistance and help more people. Community Action received $20 million dollars. However, the new funds aren’t just for new applicants.

Community Action Energy Director Peter Wingate told 22News why this money is beneficial to the community. “There’s ways to help you with bills that you might’ve already paid. We know you had to make some tough choices. People were perhaps skipping buying medications they needed or not having the refrigerator as stocked as it should be because energy prices were so high. “

With the extra money Community Action anticipates it can help 1000 new households with fuel assistance needs. It is also extending its usual April 30th deadline to May 15 for returning applicants and new participants.

Community Action works on an income-based tiered system.

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