September 6, 2012 -- The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the state LIHEAP office, recently released a report to the state legislature complying with a law requiring it to report on the need for supplemental LIHEAP funds.
The report is also an overview of LIHEAP operations in Massachusetts during FY 2011, providing information in the following areas:
- LIHEAP service delivery network
- Program priorities and 2010 - 2011 highlights
- The impact of LIHEAP benefits
- LIHEAP eligible population
- Coordination of LIHEAP and other existing resources (leveraging)
- Past and current funding levels and enrollment
- Recommended supplemental funding levels, forward funding and sources
Some state-specific findings from the report:
- Since 2008, the statewide LIHEAP caseload has increased by more than 40 percent.
- The demand for LIHEAP assistance reached an unprecedented level (as of FY 2011).
- The percentage of a heating bill paid by LIHEAP continues to decline due to rising prices.
- During FY 2011, 249,000 households or about 31.13 percent of those who were income-eligible applied for LIHEAP; about 26 percent, or 211,000 households received assistance.
- The value of Massachusetts non-LIHEAP leveraging programs is on the rise through such resources as low-income natural gas and electricity discounts and a Margin-Over-Rack heating oil program through which vendors deliver oil to low-income customers at a reduced price
Regarding funding, the DHCD said it supports a $10 million state allocation in forward funding for LIHEAP as a revenue-neutral initiative that must be fully reimbursed to the state from federal LIHEAP funds. It did not recommend state supplemental funds, although the Massachusetts legislature has periodically allocated such funds, including in 2008 and 2009.
For more information, contact Akm Rahman at DHCD.