A fuel rally done by Project GRACE in January 2020. Courtesy photo Project GRACE

Cumberland County has allocated $1.35 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to assist residents in participating municipalities with home heating costs.

The “Keeping Cumberland County Warm” fund was formed in Dec. 2022. So far, 19 towns and cities in the county have signed up to participate, including Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth.

“High costs associated with home heating are forcing low- and middle-income households to face impossible choices,” said Cumberland County Commission Manager Jim Gailey. “Hopefully these funds will help a lot of people in Cumberland County get through a tough winter.”

The program is aimed at helping people who do not quality for General Assistance Aid or Federal Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP), yet are still earning below 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit.

“People at all income levels are feeling the pinch,” Gailey said. “These funds were designed for households who don’t normally qualify for heating aid, but are still having trouble making ends meet in this environment.”

A household of five in Cumberland County would qualify for the program if their total income is below $97,410. Eligible expenses include oil, wood, propane, natural gas, electricity, kerosene, and wood pellets.


Each participating community is being granted $50,000.

The application period is open in Scarborough through April 10 and through April 15 in Cape Elizabeth.

In Scarborough, the nonprofit Project GRACE (Granting Resources and Assistance through Community Effort) is facilitating the application process.

“Project GRACE is the ideal partner for facilitating the Keeping Cumberland County Warm application process in Scarborough,” said Assistant Town Manager Liam Gallagher. “They are well known in the community and are equipped with the resources to help residents navigate what heating and fuel assistance is available to them.”

Project GRACE is also fundraising for their local “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” Winter Fuel Rally on Feb. 11. The nonprofit is working with the Town of Scarborough, Public Safety and the Fire Department, Scarborough Library and Friends of the Library, Scarborough Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, Historical Society, and the Audubon Nature Society. It is the eleventh annual fundraiser to “keep our neighbors warm”.

The event will be at Scarborough Town Hall and Public Safety building from 10 a.m. to noon. There will be live music, and books and baked goods will be for sale. Chili and chowder can be pre-ordered for pick-up. There will be bottle drive and a warm sock drive. The goal is to raise $20,000 for fuel assistance. More information on the fundraiser can be found at fuelrally.org

To apply for “Keeping Cumberland County Warm” funds in Scarborough, go to Project GRACE’s website at https://projectgracemaine.weebly.com/ for more information. To apply in Cape Elizabeth, visit https://www.capeelizabeth.com/media/News/2023/Keep%20Cumberland%20County%20Warm%20Overview.pdf

To learn more about the guidelines, other participating municipalities, and other related information, visit https://cumberlandcounty.org/858/8589/Keeping-Cumberland-County-Warm-Heating-A

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