March 25, 2020
A Message from MASSCAP
The pandemic is affecting our lives in profound and unexpected ways.  As completely unexpected as this pandemic is, we are not surprised at all at how we are all pulling together and adjusting so that we can continue to help, protect, and support the people we serve. 
During this time, we have overriding concerns for our health and the health of our families, friends, and neighbors.  We realize that the effects of the pandemic, and our necessary collective response to it, are compounding the needs of the people we serve and are causing many families to seek our help for the first time.
We recognize that the programs that we run are even more important now to help stabilize lives. For example, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) provides free tax preparation and helps people access the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other tax credits -- funds that will be even more critical during this time.  Heating help programs including Fuel Assistance helps people stay safe in their homes -- staying home is even more critical to stay healthy during this time.  

The Community Action network (23 Agencies Strong) here in Massachusetts (as well as across the country) is doing everything possible to continue to help people access the programs and services they need while taking the necessary measures to keep everyone safe and healthy.
The state funding for policy and programs are crucial in finding the way forward in Massachusetts, especially now when so many are being negatively impacted by COVID-19.  Part of our response must include supporting public policies that will help our vulnerable friends and neighbors living with low incomes to weather this very trying period.  We believe that the below few critical budget measures for the FY21 budget will strengthen our social safety net now and into the future.

Please join us in supporting our TOP FY21 Priorities:

Creating a Foundation for Economic Opportunity 
  • Create State Fuel Assistance Line Item ($10M)
  • Fuel Assistance is a defacto federal and state partnership
    • The state has provided between $10M and $30M as needed over the past 30 years.
  • Federal resources have declined over the past several years from $200M to $130M and will likely continue to decrease.
  • Learn more at 
Bridging the Wage Gap 
  • Provide resources for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance ($800K)
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites help taxpayers working 1, 2 and sometimes 3 jobs access the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a resource that is critically important now
  • Learn more at
Strengthening Families through Affordable, Accessible Early Education & Care
  • Increase Early Education Teacher Salaries ($30M)
  • Increase Head Start ($15M) and Child Resources Referral Access Management ($12.1M)
Learn more about our full list of priorities at and r ead our Public Policy Priorities Fact Sheet
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Fuel Assistance was there when they needed it most!
Carol started her thank you letter to  Worcester Community Action Council with "Thank you for notifying me of your upcoming fuel assistance deadline, but I am happy to inform your agency that I will no longer be needing fuel assistance. I do want to take this opportunity to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your past assistance."

As the mother of two young boys, working part-time trying to make ends meet, your program was essential. Carol said that it was not "nice" that the program paid part of my electric bill, it was necessary - she would have gone without heat if it wasn't for the  WCAC's help.  She  had to work part-time to get her sons on and off the school bus each day. She could not afford day-care and she became the master of the $5.00 meal (yes for all three of them). Those were hard times for Carol and her boys, they were warm and safe.  Now Carol has a  good paying full time job and her boys are almost on their own too. According to Carol, when you hear that "It takes a community to raise a child", that includes programs like Fuel Assistance. 
Heating Help is still Available!  Visit for more information about fuel assistance and the agency serving your area.

Free Tax Prep is available at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites.  Find your Community Action VITA site at

We urge you to support the FY21 priorities so that together we can move forward on the road to opportunity. Visit our Public Policy Priorities webpage.

Our Mission
To strengthen and connect the statewide network of Community Action Agencies and collectively advocate for an end to poverty.

Our Vision
All MA residents will be able to meet their basic needs, access economic opportunities, build strong communities and move toward prosperity...

Find your Agency
There are 23 Community Action Agencies in Massachusetts serving virtually every city and town in the state.   To locate the agency in your area and learn more about the programs they offer,  click here .

Community Action Agencies are observing the advice and directives of the Governor.  Dedicated CAA staff are working remotely, stand ready to help, and continue to support people in need with services such as fuel assistance and food pantries.  Please check your local CAA's website or call for information about hours and closed/opened status.

#EndPovertyMA #CommunityActionWorks