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Catholic shelters among those benefiting from heat program


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BRIGHTON — The temperature in Boston this winter has dipped below zero for several nights at a time, the month of January saw record breaking snow fall, and with the national strain on oil, the cost of heating has skyrocketed. These factors have combined to make this winter especially tough for those working to shelter the area’s homeless.

On Feb. 2, Joseph Kennedy, chairman of the non-profit Citizens Energy Corporation joined Bob Smyth, president and CEO of Citizens Bank Massachusetts, to announce that the bank would donate $175,000 to over 200 shelters throughout New England to help cover the cost of heating this winter. Catholic shelters are among those that will receive assistance.

 “Our partnership will help expand the Shelter Winter Assistance Program and make a significant difference in allowing shelters to direct more of their precious resources towards individuals and families in dire need of assistance,” said Kennedy.

Citizen’s Energy has run the Shelter Winter Assistance Program for the last 11 years.

The announcement was made at the Crossroads Family Shelter in East Boston, where executive director Libby Hayes expressed gratitude for the donation.

“This winter has been especially tough with the high cost of heating,” said Hayes. “We’re excited about the generosity of Citizens Bank.”

Crossroads said that their heating costs have reached around $4,500 a month this season, and they say that this donation will allow them to put funds towards other needs. Founded in 1985 by the Most Holy Redeemer Parish in East Boston, Crossroads is a transitional shelter for homeless families with a mission to “provide a program of counseling, advocacy, education and training to help families live independently and with dignity.”

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