Winter home energy assistance applications to open July 5

July 3, 2017

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, administered in Delaware by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Wilmington, will begin taking applications beginning Wednesday, July 5, for the upcoming heating season. This federally funded program assists low-income Delawareans with heating bills through direct payments to home energy suppliers. The LIHEAP benefit is based on a household's income, size and type of fuel.

"This benefit allows individuals and families to stay safely and comfortably in their homes. Although the program does not pay for all heating costs, it does provide an important financial supplement," said Richelle A. Vible, Catholic Charities executive director. "So many of our neighbors suffer during the colder months because they can't afford their energy bills - the senior citizen who turns off all electrical appliances and heat and bathes at a neighbor's, the grandparents now raising grandchildren, a single parent in training for a better-paying job. These are just some of the many persons that are helped through the LIHEAP program."

LIHEAP offers the following supports to eligible households.

The Fuel Assistance Program provides home heating assistance for low-income families who need help paying winter energy bills. LIHEAP does not pay for all heating costs. Eligible households receive one annual benefit.

The Energy Crisis Intervention Program makes help available to eligible households in an emergency situation. This supplemental benefit can be in addition to the regular fuel assistance benefit.

The Summer Cooling/Electric Assistance Program helps low-income families by paying a portion of summer electric bills. Eligible households receive one annual benefit. The program operates from June 1 to Aug. 31 if funds are available. In order to qualify for the Summer Cooling Program, households must be approved for the Fuel Assistance Heating Program.

Households may be eligible for assistance if total household income falls within income eligibility guidelines. For example, a household of four can have no more than $49,322 in annual household income, before taxes. In order to qualify, one must make an appointment with a Catholic Charities office for a personal interview. The application process runs from July to March.

Those interested should call their local Catholic Charities office to get an appointment. Regular office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In Sussex County, call 302-856-6310.

Households eligible for LIHEAP may also qualify for other programs that require LIHEAP eligibility. For example, they may qualify for home weatherization improvements through the Delaware Weatherization Assistance Program, also administered by Catholic Charities.

When coming for an appointment, applicants are asked to bring the following information with them:

  • Social security cards for all household members 6 months of age and over
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship [U.S. birth certificates/naturalization papers]
  • Proof of Qualified Alien Status
  • Photo ID with proof of current address
  • Copy of utility bill (electric, natural gas, propane, etc.)
  • Lease if renter, or proof of home ownership
  • Three months of income documentation for all adults in the household.

Established in 1830 as St. Peter's Orphanage in Wilmington, Catholic Charities' services have grown from the care of orphaned children to include providing care for those facing complex social problems such as chronic poverty, homelessness, hunger, mental illness, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy. The agency is the charitable arm of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, and serves over 100,000 individuals each year throughout Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The diocese will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a year-long celebration beginning March 3, 2018. For more information, go to