What is the Diocesean Heating Assistance Program?
The Diocesean Heating Assistance Program (DHAP) provides emergency heating assistance to needy persons residing within the nine counties of the Diocese of Kalamazoo (Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St Joseph, and Van Buren counties). The program begins January 6th, 2014 and ends March 30th (or earlier if no funds remain). Services are performed by Heating Assistance Volunteers at Catholic Charities. The program helps needy persons defray heating expenses and obtain heating resources (fuel oil, natural gas, electricity, firewood, etc).
The DHAP is funded through a special collection taken one weekend in November -- with funds contributed from more than 50 parishes and missions across the Diocese of Kalamazoo. Parishes/missions may keep 20% of the funds collected for local use, serving the poor and vulnerable. The remaining 80% is contributed to the DHAP Fund and given out to families in need.
Last winter the DHAP assisted 390 families (or a total of 1,210 people) with heating assistance funds. In total, $71,065 was given to those in need. Seven (7) dedicated volunteers oversaw the disbursement process at the Catholic Charities offices and an additional 52 volunteers assisted with the collection of funds at parishes and missions across the Diocese. Despite challenging economic times, a total of 50 missions and parishes contributed to the DHAP. In its 31 year history, the DHAP has assisted a total of 11,245 families (36,300 people) by providing heating assistance totalling $1,688,390.
To apply for assistance, call your local parish/mission Heating Assistance Volunteer (HAV) between the dates above. To obtain the name of your local HAV, contact Catholic Charities via e-mail at
and include your address in the e-mail or call 269-381-9800 during business hours. A maximum of $250 is set for each eligible family.
What is the Michigan Energy Assistance Program?
The Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) is funded through a grant and managed by the St Vincent de Paul Society in Detroit, Michigan. In order to be eligible for heating assistance through MEAP, an applicant must:
- Have an income at or below 150% of the poverty level.
- Have a source of income (food stamps do qualify as an income source).
- Have a valid State of Michigan photo identification which matches the address on the utility bill. The name on the bill must also match the name on the photo identification.
- Have made payments from their personal finances of $450 for a combined (or $225 for a single) utility bill in the last six months.
- Have an overall bill of between $250-$3,500 for a combined (or $200-$2,000 for a single) utility account.
An applicant can access both MEAP and DHAP assistance through the Housing Assistance Volunteer (HAV) at their local parish. To obtain the name of your local HAV, contact Catholic Charities via e-mail at
and include your address in the e-mail or call 269-381-9800 during business hours.
The HAV will screen the applicant to determine if they are eligible and, if so, will schedule an appointment to complete the application. During this meeting, the applicant should bring the State of Michigan photo identification, proof of all household income, the current utility bill, a DHS decision letter (if applicable), and a shut-off notice (if applicable). The completed application will be sent to St Vincent de Paul and processed within 10 days.
Information for Parishes, Missions, and Heating Assistance Volunteers
Thank you for your partnership in the DHAP and MEAP programs. Neither of these programs could successfully serve our Diocese without your support. Please review the important information below and contact CCDOK via e-mail at
or via phone at 269-381-9800 if you have any questions.
Both the DHAP and the MEAP programs will begin operating at CCDOK on January 6th. For your convenience, copies of all forms for both programs are located at the links below. A packet was mailed to you on December 11th with originals of all documents, related procedures, and contact information to support you in your work. If you do not receive this packet, please contact CCDOK and another will be sent to you.