Energy companies from across Massachusetts are coming together to support neighbors in need with the announcement that the Massachusetts Good Neighbor Energy Fund (GNEF) is now open to all eligible households. As noted in a media release, the Fund helps families and individuals impacted by a temporary crisis like COVID-19, and those who don’t qualify for federal or state assistance, with the payment of their home energy expenses. The Good Neighbor Energy Fund’s 36th annual "Give The Gift of Warmth” campaign’s goal is to raise $500,000 and assist more than 1,500 households.

“Families are experiencing a heightened urgency of need for assistance with the payment of their home heating bills due to a combination of colder temperatures and financial difficulties exacerbated by the coronavirus,” said Marie McCabe, Chairperson of the 2020-2021 Good Neighbor Energy Fund campaign and Customer Collections Representative for North Attleborough Electric Department. “For these reasons, the Good Neighbor Energy Fund Committee is excited to open the Fund to all eligible households immediately.” Those in temporary crisis are encouraged to visit the Fund’s website by going here to see if they qualify for assistance. McCabe added that the Fund has raised more than $22.5 million and assisted over 91,250 households in need with the payment of monthly energy expenses since its inception in 1985.

The Fund is often the last resort for families who do not qualify for federal and state assistance programs. The Salvation Army Massachusetts Division, which administers the Fund for the sponsoring energy companies, pays the energy provider directly for households whose gross income falls between 60 and 80 percent of the state’s median income levels. For example, a household size of 4 would need to have a total gross yearly income of between $75,202 and $100,268 to qualify. This campaign year’s Fund disbursement is $300 per eligible household per heating season.

“This year, the needs are greater than ever due to the pandemic. Already, The Salvation Army has seen an unprecedented increase in requests for heating, utility, and other assistance,” said Jeffrey Bailey, Director of Social Services, The Salvation Army Massachusetts Division. “Whether people need support or want to support, the Fund is here to help our struggling neighbors.”

To apply to the Fund for assistance, visit your local Salvation Army Corps Community Center or call 800-334-3047 if you live in area codes 508, 617, 781 or 978 or 800-262-1320 if you live in area code 413.

The Fund’s distribution award letter will also serve as qualification for the Mass Save Enhanced Insulation Incentive for customers of a Massachusetts investor-owned utility. Specifically, the offer provides qualified customers with no-cost insulation, as well as other no-cost energy savings measures.

Participating energy companies support their respective customers’ generosity through various giving programs. Massachusetts residents who wish to support the Fund can “Give the Gift of Warmth” by using the green-colored Good Neighbor Energy Fund donation envelope found as an insert in monthly energy bills or through the ‘add a dollar’ program some energy companies offer which allows customers to increase their monthly utility bill payment by one dollar or more. Customers can also donate on-line by going here or simply mail a check payable to “Good Neighbor Energy Fund” and send it to the Good Neighbor Energy Fund, c/o The Salvation Army, 25 Shawmut Road, Canton, Massachusetts 02021-1408.

(information sent to WSBS from the Good Neighbor Energy Fund for online and on-air use) 

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