Monday October 24, 2011

BOSTON (AP) -- Advocates for low-income residents in Massachusetts are appealing to the federal government to release funding for a winter heating oil assistance program.

Action for Boston Community Development said Monday that without a funding commitment, the program is in limbo just one week before the scheduled start of deliveries to the elderly and low-income families.

About a quarter of a million Massachusetts households received fuel assistance last winter.

The Obama administration and Congress have been weighing cuts in the program as they wrestle with the federal deficit.

ABCD President John Drew is urging Washington to immediately release $5.1 billion nationally and $192 million for Massachusetts -- the same levels as a year ago.

Without the funding, advocates say many poor families may be forced out of their homes and into shelters.