As winters go, the winter of 2015-16 has, thus far, been a welcomed departure from the record setting snow fall and frigid temperatures endured last year. Despite the milder weather and decreases in the cost of home heating oil, Worcester Community Action Council knows there are families struggling and wants to ensure they know – help is available.
WCAC’s Fuel Assistance Program is designed to provide relief to those households that are most vulnerable to high home heating costs. The federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) targets assistance to households with the lowest incomes and highest average energy costs. The LIHEAP is intended to help defray the cost of heat during the winter months, November 1 – April 30 of each year. Applications are accepted anytime during that timeframe. Eligibility is based on the number of individuals who live in a household, their combined income, housing status and fuel type.
“Tenants and homeowners, can apply, whether they heat with gas, electricity or a delivered fuel. We are here to help people manage their high utility bills before the winter moratorium ends and the shut off notices arrive,” said WCAC’s Director of Energy Resources Mary Knittle.
First time applicants must complete a face-to-face interview as part of the initial application process.
WCAC has outreach workers available – by appointment only – to accept applications one day each week at the Webster Senior Center, Webster and at the Jacob Edwards Public Library, Southbridge. Appointments can be made online at www.WCAC.net or by calling 508.754.1176.
New applications can also be submitted at the Worcester Office located in the Denholm Building, 484 Main Street, Worcester on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary.
In 2015, WCAC processed more than 15,000 applications for fuel assistance with more than 2,200 being first time applicants. Thirty-four percent of households receiving fuel assistance were elderly; 14% were households with children under the age of six.
WCAC’s fuel assistance program serves the following communities: Auburn, Boylston, West Boylston, Brookfield, East Brookfield, West Brookfield, North Brookfield, Charlton, Douglas, Dudley, Holden, Leicester, Millbury, Oakham, Oxford, Paxton, Rutland, Southbridge, Spencer, Sturbridge, Sutton, Warren, Webster and Worcester