Fort Worth and Tarrant County residents can get help paying for utilities, repairs and weatherization this year. 

Applications for assistance open Jan. 17. Utility assistance is available throughout the year. The applications are reviewed on a first come, first serve basis so it is important to apply early, said Sonia Singleton, assistant director of Fort Worth’s Community Services Division. 

Last year, the program served over 11,000 households with $11 million. The program received 20,000 applications. This year the program will have $8.4 million, split between two funding sources. 

The program prioritizes the elderly, disabled and households with children under 5 years old.  

“Those are the households that we want to give priority to, but because our services are pretty much first come, first serve, we really are encouraging people to get their application in early,” Singleton said. 

In 2022, the city closed its application portal in December because they used up its funding for that year. Typically, the program gets a rush of applications in the winter months, when residents could be facing higher utility costs to heat their homes. 

The program helped 9,497 households pay their energy bills and 1,897 households pay their water bills in 2022.  

How to apply 

You can apply for utility assistance here. Community Action Partners provide answers to frequently asked questions on its website, including details on how to follow up on your application and next steps.

Some years, the program doesn’t spend all of its allocated funds, Singleton said. That’s not for a lack of demand in the community, she added. 

There are “people who would be eligible for the program but are too prideful to ask for help, or they believe that there’s someone who’s worse off than they are, who should apply,” Singleton said. 

Applicants should prepare their documentation ahead of time to make the process easier, Singleton said. The application requires several documents:

  • A form of identification
  • Proof of income for the 30 day period before the application date. Every household member 18 and older has to provide proof of income, not just the applicant.
  • Proof of citizenship or legal permanent residency for all household members 
  • US birth certificate or passport for US born residents
    • If a household member is not born in the US you must provide their naturalization certificate
  • Social security card
  • Utility bills including electric, gas and water
  • If requesting assistance with rent, an executed lease signed by all parties 
  • A citizenship certification form 
  • Veterans should complete a DD-214 form, and may be eligible for additional benefits 

The program also helps residents pay for job certifications and look for higher wage job opportunities. 

“We’re here to help,” Singleton said. “There’s nothing wrong with having a need for assistance. Especially just to help you over a hard time because honestly, most of us are experiencing some difficulty with inflation.”

More money available to pay for insulation, HVAC systems 

The city’s weatherization assistance program also received additional funding from the federal government in 2022. Through that program, city staff provide energy assessments and facilitate repairs to make homes more energy efficient. Technicians can improve insulation and replace HVAC systems.  

Applications for weatherization assistance are now open. Applicants who apply for the assistance typically wait six months to a year to get assistance, depending on demand, the Report previously reported.

The city completed 665 weatherization projects from January 2019 through July 2022. 

Coupled with the utility assistance program, the city can help residents significantly lower energy costs, Singleton said. 

“It really is a way that we can help people remain in their homes, especially the elderly… healthfully and safely,” Singleton said. 

Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at rachel.behrndt@fortworthreport.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Rachel BehrndtGovernment Accountability Reporter

Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report in collaboration with KERA. She is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri where she majored in Journalism and Political...