MA Legislature Keeps Fuel Assistance Offices Open

BOSTON — The Massachusetts House has approved an additional $20 million to help low income families pay their heating bills.

The Wednesday vote came as winter approaches and after more than two weeks of a federal government shutdown that appeared to be coming to an end.

 The funding was included in a supplemental spending bill that also included extra money to help shelter homeless families in hotels and motels and to cover the cost of the recent special U.S. Senate election, which was won by Democrat Edward Markey.

 The Senate meets in a formal session on Thursday and could take up the supplemental budget plan then.

 In states like Massachusetts, heating assistance benefits typically begin to go out Nov. 1. The state received $133 million in federal heating help last year.

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