Winter cold and heating assistance resources

January 4, 2018

Forecasts are calling for potential snowfall and very cold temperatures in the greater Washington area. Here are some resources to stay safe and warm.

1. Warming Centers/Shelters

When temperatures become dangerously cold, some jurisdictions offer day and/or night warming centers or shelters.

• Washington, DC’s Warming Centers and shelters
•  Montgomery County, MD’s emergency shelters 
• Prince George’s County, MD’s day-time warming centers and night-time shelters
•  Alexandria, VA’s emergency winter shelter
• Arlington County, VA’s emergency winter shelter
• Fairfax County, VA’s  lists of local shelters

2. Federally-Funded Heating Assistance

The federally-funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assists low-income individuals and families with heating and other utility bills. Although federally funded, the program is administered by the states, each of which set their own income guidelines.

• Learn about LIHEAP from this federal fact sheet 
• (DC) LIHEAP in DC 
• (MD) LIHEAP in MD is called “MEAP.”
• (VA) LIHEAP in VA is called “Energy Assistance.”

3. Local Heat/Utility Assistance

Some local governments, nonprofits, and utility companies offer short-term heating/utility bill assistance, including those listed.

DC Metro (DC, MD, & VA)
Washington Area Fuel Fund

• Greater Washington Urban League’s PEPCO Energy Assistance program.

MD, Montgomery County
• South County
Bethesda Help
• Mid-County
Mid-County United Ministries 
• North County
Upper Montgomery Assistance Network 

MD, Prince George’s County
Mission of Love Charities

VA, State-wide
Dominion Energy’s Energy Share Program 

VA, Alexandria
Good Shepherd Housing 

VA, Arlington County
Arlington County’s Crisis/Emergency Assistance Program 

Additionally, keep in mind that when temperatures drop, older adults run a higher risk of health problems and injuries related to weather, including increased falls on ice and risk of hypothermia. For additional winter safety tips for older adults (including how to detect hypothermia, frost bite, and carbon monoxide poisoning), take a look at this tip sheet.

Stay warm!