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US releases $454 million in heating aid, with $18 million destined for Massachusetts

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The Obama administration on Thursday released an additional $454 million in home heating assistance — including more than $18 million for Massachusetts — to help low-income families keep warm through the winter.

Advocates for the poor had pressured the government in recent weeks to release the funds, which remained stuck in Washington even as temperatures dropped into the single digits and needy families began to run out of aid. Massachusetts so far has received $140 million in federal heating aid for poor families this season.

Officials at Action for Boston Community Development, an agency that distributes heating assistance to residents in Boston, Brookline, and Newton, estimated the additional money will allow the 50,000 customers who had exhausted their benefits to buy another 100 gallons of fuel.

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