For D.C.-area families facing hard times, heat shouldn’t be a choice.
Update: The 2020 WAFF application window closed July 31. The next application window opens on January 1, 2021.
Hard times can happen to anyone.
Sometimes all it takes is a sudden job loss or medical emergency to tip the balance. Many families choose between food and other essentials rather than heating their homes in winter. WAFF is here to help people in financial need to pay their fuel bills.
Every winter people in our community face the difficult question of whether to give up heat in their homes to deal with temporary financial crises brought on by an illness, accident or job loss. Since 1983, WAFF has distributed nearly $29 million to help 300,000 local homes keep their heat on while they get back on their feet. On average, WAFF helps between 7,000 and 8,000 families in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
Did you know?
*National average: 1 in 10 people live below the poverty line.
About the Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF)
Throughout the D.C. area, there are many families who will need to choose between food and other essentials rather than heat this winter – but you can help.
In 1983, Washington Gas and The Salvation Army created the Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF) to help neighbors in need with their heating bills each winter. Washington Gas handles the fundraising and promotion and The Salvation Army disburses the funds through its 12 offices in the metropolitan region.
Fred, a veteran and long-time Prince George’s county resident, bought his home in 1999. By 2013, he had gone from being part of a two-income family to living on one fixed income, and struggling to pay his bills.
After a back surgery. Monique, a single mother, was left on a fixed income and without work. With WAFF’s support, she could keep the heat on in her home during the winter and focus on paying for her medical bills and everyday needs like groceries.
Dion, a parent in Clinton, MD, was trying to maintain a safe, comfortable home after unexpectedly having to close his IT business. With WAFF’s help, he could keep the heat on and keep the focus on his family.
There are 4 main criteria to determine WAFF assistance eligibility:
- Residency – an applicant must apply in the county or city Salvation Army office where they live including:
Maryland counties of Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s
Virginia counties of Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Frederick, Loudoun, or Prince William, Shenandoah and Warren or the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church and Winchester.
- Emergency Situation – the home’s heating source has been disconnected or applicant has received a utility termination notice/notice of disconnection.
- Income – household income is the primary test of eligibility.
- Government Assistance – an applicant must have exhausted all recourse to existing government energy assistance programs and still be in an emergency situation.
Yes, as of March 2020, you can apply online at http://salvationarmynca.org/gethelp/ The 2020 application deadline closed on July 31, 2020.
Through its merger with AltaGas, Washington Gas established the Merger Funds Program to broaden WAFF help eligibility for Washington Gas customers. Customers who qualify based on income may now receive WAFF funds – go to Merger Funds page for more information
The WAFF program will assist households using all fuel types including, but not limited to, natural gas, propane gas, electricity, oil, coal, wood, kerosene, etc. There also is a WAFF Merger Funds Program that will specifically assist Washington Gas customers.