As the temperatures drop across our area every winter, the need for emergency heating assistance soars. Unfortunately, energy assistance can be difficult to obtain. In fact, fewer than two in 10 people who are eligible for federal energy assistance actually receive it because there simply are not enough funds to go around.

Washington Gas recognized this critical need and partnered with The Salvation Army over 35 years ago to create the Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF). Washington Gas pays all costs of operating the program while The Salvation Army assists clients and manages the disbursement of the funds.

This partnership underscores the commitment of Washington Gas to help local neighbors in need with energy assistance so that they can stay warm during cold winter months. Families living in poverty spend more than 30 percent of their income on energy bills. Because Washington Gas pays all expenses to manage WAFF, 100 percent of every dollar donated goes to help families such as Hazel and Fred who called upon WAFF when they needed help.

Monique, a single mother living in Northern Virginia, loves her community. After recovering from back surgery left her on a fixed income and without work, Monique found herself having to struggle to choose which bills to pay. She learned about the Washington Area Fuel Fund during a visit to The Salvation Army with a friend. 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.

Fred is a veteran and longtime Prince George’s County, Maryland, resident. He bought his home in 1999, but by 2013, he was on a fixed income and struggling to pay his bills. Although Fred had a long career in computer repair, a heart attack changed everything. When The Salvation Army introduced him to WAFF, he was contemplating letting the bank take his home because he might not be able to have heat for the winter. With of the support from WAFF, he was able to focus on repairing and keeping his home.

Traditionally, WAFF pays for energy assistance regardless of what type of heat you use in your home, whether it’s electricity, gas, oil, propane or another type of fuel. Eligibility is primarily determined based on income, among other factors. All of the details are available at WAFFHELP.ORG or by calling your local Salvation Army Office.

Through Washington Gas’ recent merger with AltaGas, even more low to moderate income families are now eligible for assistance, beginning this year.  For example, through the WAFF Washington Gas Merger Funds Program, a family of four earning $75,050 could be eligible for assistance. WAFF applications are accepted Jan. 1 through May 31 at the nearest county or city where The Salvation Army has offices.

In 2018, the WAFF provided energy assistance to 8,000 people like Fred and Hazel. Neighbors in need are encouraged to reach out for help. Help is only a telephone call or click away.

Help is only a telephone call or click away.



Washington, D.C.

Serving Wards 1 – 6
The Salvation Army Social Services Department
1434 Harvard St., NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 332-5000


Serving Wards 7 – 8
The Salvation Army Social Services Department
2300 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20020
(202) 678-9771


Prince George’s County
Salvation Army
4825 Edmonston Rd.
Hyattsville, MD 20781
(301) 277-6103

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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