Last Updated on April 20, 2023 by Mary Pressler
Energy Assistance Programs in Dallas
Many Dallas organizations offer assistance programs for households below a certain income threshold, households with vulnerable members, and residents who are facing hardships in general. There are both public and private programs, and their benefits include energy bill assistance.
Dallas electricity rates and gas prices have increased sharply, as you can see in the latest inflation figures. Texas has been characterized by having below-average electricity prices, but many homes were paying over 20 cents/kWh by summer 2022.
Here are the main assistance programs that can help you with utility bills in Dallas and the surrounding metropolitan area (Dallas-Fort Worth).
Texas Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP)
The Texas CEAP is available throughout the state, focusing on low-income households who are struggling to keep up with energy bills. Based on a previous assessment of each applicant, the program will cover 6-8 of the highest energy bills during a 12-month period. The CEAP also provides help during energy crisis situations and extreme weather events.
The CEAP prioritizes households with children below five, seniors or disabled members, who are the most vulnerable to energy service interruptions and extreme temperatures. Houesholds with high energy needs relative to their income are also prioritized.However, the program is available for all Texan households below the following income levels:
|Income Cap ($)||20,385||27,465||34,545||41,625||48,705||55,785||62,865||69,945|
*The income cap increases by $7,080/person in households with more than 8 members.
The CEAP not only provides direct financial aid, but also energy education to help consumers lower their bills permanently. The Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) department manages the CEAP locally. The DCHHS also helps with emergency repairs for existing heating and cooling units, and air conditioner purchases for vulnerable households.
You can also get in touch directly by calling toll-free at 1-877-399-8939 between 8AM and 5PM on Monday-Friday.
Public Utility Commission of Texas – Senate Bill 1976
Texas Senate Bill 1976 introduced assistance programs from retail electricity providers in September 2017. The benefits offered vary depending on your REP, but in general these programs apply for households who have already qualified for Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Note that self-enrollment is not available in the programs, which means that applicants must contact their REP. Also, the name on the application must match the name on the power bill.
Weatherization Assistance Program
Extreme heat and cold are major hazards for households who are currently struggling with their energy bills. Adequate weatherization can greatly reduce heating and cooling costs in homes, and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) created the Weatherization Assistance Program for this reason. The program includes:
- Professional energy audits and energy efficiency assessments at zero cost.
- Free weatherization measures to improve energy efficiency.
The energy audits offered by the program focus on finding insulation deficiencies, air leaks, and inefficient home appliances. Based on this information, homeowners get technical and financial assistance to improve their energy efficiency. This can include building envelope improvements and appliance replacement.
Households with an income up to 200% of the federal poverty guideline qualify for the Weatherization Assistance Program, and they can contact their electricity provider to submit an application. Higher priority is given to households with high energy needs relative to their income or with vulnerable members: children under six, seniors, and disabled persons.
United Way Dallas Rental Assistance Collaborative
The United Way Dallas Rental Assistance Collaborative offers both rent and utility assistance. This program focuses on Dallas residents who were affected severely by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of them have no financial safety net, and unemployment rates in Dallas are as high as 15%.
The DRAC also has a directory of nonprofit organizations who offer assistance in areas like rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and food assistance.
Dallas Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center
The Dallas Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center has a Social Services & Support Program that offers many types of emergency assistance, including:
- Electricity, water, and gas bills
- Rent payment
- HOPWA – Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS
- Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG)
The program focuses on households who are dealing with a temporary financial crisis, and assistance is provided based on the available funding. Applications can be submitted online, or by calling the following numbers:
- West Dallas Multipurpose Center: 214-670-6530
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center: 214-670-8416
The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center was created by the City of Dallas Office of Community Care in 1971, and it currently provides financial assistance for over 29,000 families. The Center not only offers financial assistance but also services like job skills training and employment support.
Texas Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
The TANF program offers financial aid for households in need of financial assistance, with children under age 18 or pregnant women. The benefit is also available for heads-of-household who are minors. The assistance offered by the program can include:
- Utility bills
- Rent payment
- Child care
- Outstanding debts
- Work-related expenses
Households who are approved for the TANF program receive financial assistance during six months, and they also qualify for Medicaid. To determine eligibility, the program considers household income and assets owned, including bank accounts and vehicles.
The program also offers the one-time TANF grant payment of $1,000 for living expenses, which is available for households facing a short-term financial crisis. This benefit is available in situations such as job loss, child support loss, home loss and medical emergencies.
The MINT Foundation
The MINT Foundation was founded in 2009, and they focus on providing assistance for underserved communities and populations with special needs. Their list of accomplishments in 2021 includes:
- $1.8 million in rent and utility service assistance
- 1,807,800 lb of food provided for 6,015 families
- 37,856 provided for 178 seniors
- 1,634 Thanksgiving Turkey Baskets
- Back-to-school supplies for 1,377 children
- 7,226 Christmas toys for 1,321 children
- Baby products delivered for 206 families
Dallas residents who were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can qualify for up to 12 months of rent and utility assistance. The program is available in the City of DeSoto and Ellis county.
The MINT Foundation is built around four core values: mentoring, inspiring, nurturing and training.
Network of Community Ministries
The Network of Community Ministries operates in the 14 Dallas ZIP codes covered by the Richardson Independent School District (RISD). The Network was founded in 1985, and they currently provide assistance for over 67,000 persons. The types of assistance offered include food, clothing, utility bill payments and job skills training.
Households located in the RISD ZIP codes qualify if they are below the following income caps.
|Monthly Income Cap ($)||2,095||2,822||3,550||4,278||5,005||5,733||6,461||7,188|
*The income cap increases by $727/person in households with more than 8 members.
Between July 2021 and June 2022, the Network of Community Ministries provided 1,643,739 pounds of food, $103,464 in housing assistance, and clothing for 6,707 persons. The Network also operates a mobile food market, which delivered 235,624 meals during the same period.
North Dallas Shared Ministries
North Dallas Shared Ministries provides many types of assistance: food, rent, utility bills, medical care, mental health care, English classes for non-native speakers, clothing, job counseling and income tax preparation. The NDSM has existed since 1983, and they have been gradually expanding their assistance services.
The NDSM website describes eligibility requirements for applicants, which vary depending on the type of assistance being requested. NDSM services are available in the following ZIP codes: 75001, 75023, 75115, 75116, 75204, 75205, 75209, 75219, 75220, 75225, 75229, 75230, 75231, 75234, 75235, 75240, 75243, 75244, 75247, 75248, 75251, 75252, 75254, 75287.
White Rock Center of Hope
The White Rock Center of Hope offers several assistance services: food pantry, clothing closet, school supplies, and financial aid for rent and utility bills. Each year, the White Rock Center of Hope delivers:
- 435,000 lb of food valued at more than $445,000
- 81,000 pieces of clothing
- $95,000 in rent and utility assistance
Qualifying households can get clothing once per quarter, and they can pick up to four outfits per family member. Rent and utility assistance is provided once per year, helping households avoid eviction and loss of services. School supplies are provided in collaboration with the Dallas Independent School District (DISD).
The Center serves the following ZIP codes in Dallas: 75214, 75218, 75223, 75228, 75238.
Frisco Family Services
Frisco Family Services has been providing assistance since 1994. Their services include direct financial aid for rent and utility bills, medical aid, food distribution, school supplies and job skills training. Between July 2021 and June 2022, the program provided over $1.9 million in financial support and more than 730,000 meals, helping more than 4,100 persons.
Other Assistance Programs in Dallas
In the previous section, we covered the main programs and organizations offering energy bill assistance in Dallas. There are more programs available, which focus on other areas like food and medical assistance.
|USAC Lifeline Support||Basic telephone service payment for households at or below 150% of the federal poverty line, reducing the monthly rate up to $12.75 (without additional services like caller ID and voice messaging).
The program is also available for households meeting any of the following conditions: Medicaid, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program support, SNAP, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Health Benefit Coverage under Child Health Plan (CHIP) under Chapter 62 support, National School Lunch Program – Free Lunch Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
|Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)||This program is offered by the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department along with the CEP, helping low-income households pay their utility bills.
Households qualify if their income is at or below 150% of the federal poverty guideline, based on the last 30 days. Households qualify automatically if they are already getting assistance from and of the following: CEAP, LIHEAP, SSI, Means-Tested Veterans, SNAP, TNAF
|City of Dallas Office of Community Care||The Office manages multiple assistance programs, including:
Senior Services: Dental healthcare, rider assistance, water bill assistance.
Home value exemption for tax purposes: Taxpayers who are disabled or aged 65+ get $107,000 in tax-exempt home value.
WIC Program – Women, Infants and Children: Nutrition and healthcare services for children and pregnant mothers. The program serves more than 65,000 people per month across 17 clinics
FRESH START: Housing assistance for low-income persons who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, living with HIV/AIDS, or who are former offenders.
|City of Dallas Home Improvement and Preservation Program||The HIPP offers zero-interest forgivable loans of up to $73,170 for major home rehabilitation projects, and loans by referral for complete home reconstruction projects.|
|Dallas Housing Authority Rent Relief||The DHA offers up to 18 months of rent assistance for residents who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and who are at or below 80% of the area median income. Assistance is available for renters who are experiencing homelessness or risk of eviction, and landlors with eligible residents can start the application for them.
Dallas residents who have qualified for rent assistance in the past are still eligible if they received less than 18 months (they can claim the remaining months).
|TSAHC Dallas-Fort Worth Home Down Payment Assistance||The Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation (TSAHC) provides down payment grants and mortgage loans for buyers with a credit score of at least 620, and who also meet certain income guidelines. The program website has an eligibility quiz.|
|Arlington Life Shelter||The Arlington Life Shelter has been operating since 1987, providing shelter for more than 25,000 persons who have struggled with homelessness in North Texas. The Shelter also provides services like medical aid, employment programs, legal assistance, and counseling for persons struggling with substance abuse.|
|Crossroads Community Services||Crossroads Community Services focuses on food assistance, providing meals for more than 26,500 persons – over 11.8 million pounds of food in 2020 alone.|
|Dallas Life Foundation||The Dallas Life Foundation, originally called the Dallas Rescue Mission, has operated a homeless recovery center since 1954. Their services also include meals, clothing, counseling, medical care, and computer skills training.|
|Brother Bill’s Helping Hand||Brother Bill’s Helping Hand focuses on food, healthcare, mental health, job training and education assistance. BBHH has been providing assistance since the 1940s, and they operate in West Dallas and Oak Cliff. In 2021 alone, thei delivered 1.05 million meals across 90 ZIP codes.|
|North Texas Food Bank||Funded in 1982, the North Texas Food Bank is one of the largest food assistance organizations in the region. During Fiscal Year 2022, the NTFB distributed 136 million meals and 36 million pounds of fresh produce.
The NTFB has their own mobile application, which can be used to participate in volunteer shifts and make donations.
|Head Start of Greater Dallas||Head Start of Greater Dallas focuses on helping children. They currently work with 240 infants and toddlers in Dallas, providing assistance with health, nutrition and education.|