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10/31/11

You are receiving Sharing Neighborhoods as a registered subscriber. Sharing Neighborhoods is a publication of New Jersey SHARES, on the web at www.NJSHARES.org.

What's New

LIHEAP to Open on November 1st; Cap Set at 200% FPL

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is set to open on November 1, 2011. The cap will continue to be set at 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). LIHEAP is a seasonal program designed to help low-income families and individuals meet home heating and medically necessary cooling costs.

Universal Service Fund Serves Our Most Vulnerable Neighbors

The 2011 LIHEAP application is also an application for the Universal Service Fund (USF). USF is a New Jersey program that makes natural gas and electric bills more affordable for low-income households. To be eligible, a household must have income at or below 175% of FPL, and pay more than 3% of its annual income for electric, or more than 3% for natural gas. If a household has electric heat, it must spend more than 6% of its annual income on electricity to be eligible.

Fresh Start Benefits to USF Inaugural Enrollees

Fresh Start is a component of the USF program and possibly the most valuable part for our clients. If a household is enrolled in the USF program, and is successful in meeting twelve of the required discounted payments within the first fifteen months of enrollment, the client’s past due balance will be forgiven – essentially creating a fresh start for clients. For further information on LIHEAP or USF, call 1-800-510-3102 or visit www.energyassistance.nj.gov.

NJ SHARES Will Help Clients 201% - 400% of the Federal Poverty Level

With the LIHEAP cap set at 200% of the FPL, NJ SHARES will assist households that have exhausted all other energy assistance options and whose pretax income is more than 200% and less than 400%. NJ SHARES plays a valuable role in New Jersey’s energy safety net, assisting clients who earn too much to qualify for LIHEAP, but are still struggling to pay their energy bills.


Pictured: Barbara Gomes, NJ SHARES; Timothy Williams, Elizabethtown Gas.

NJ SHARES Receives $20,000 Grant from Elizabethtown Gas’ AGL Foundation

The AGL Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Elizabethtown Gas’s parent company, AGL Resources, has provided NJ SHARES with a $20,000 grant. The grant will be used to provide assistance to Elizabethtown Gas customers in New Jersey who are struggling to pay their gas bills. This grant will make a genuine difference to households in crisis.

New Helpline Offers FREE Guidance on Health Insurance Questions

Ever ask how your family can get health insurance? Will your coverage be adequate? Can you afford coverage or how do you use it once enrolled? Now there is help for these questions by calling 1-888-NJ GET WELL (1-888-654-3893).

New Jersey Citizen Action is announcing their Consumer Helpline which will provide vital information to ensure that consumers are able to access affordable, quality healthcare and effectively navigate the often complex health insurance system. Helpline counselors are equipped with up-to-date information on healthcare coverage in the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey Citizen Action is an independent statewide advocacy organization working to make it easier for residents of New Jersey to gain access to health care.




NJ SHARES Presents at Atlantic City Electric Low Income Summit

Atlantic City Electric held its Low Income Summit on Oct. 19 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. NJ SHARES' Barbara Gomes, Director of Outreach and Communication presented at the summit, describing the energy safety net and the value of NJ SHARES programs to participants.

NJ SHARES also presented the workshop Poverty in New Jersey: Understanding the Increasing Need and Creating Collaborative Responses. The workshop reviewed the data found in the Legal Services Poverty Research Institute report, Benchmarks of Poverty. The data can be found at http://www.lsnj.org/PRIResearchReports.aspx.

The Low Income Summit was aimed at providing a forum to equip service providers with valuable information and tools to better assist Atlantic City Electric's low-income customers, many of whom have challenges with their energy bills.


Save the Date: Center for Non-Profits Conference

The Center for Non-Profits will hold its annual conference, Making Connections Count: Thriving in a New Era. The event featuring Allison Fine, author of "The Networked Non-Profit, will be held on December 2 at the Crowne Plaza Monroe Hotel in Jamesburg, NJ. The Conference commencing at 8:00am -4:00pm will include workshops, exhibits and speakers on current issues affecting New Jersey non-profit organizations.
president's letter


Pictured: Jim Jacob, NJ SHARES' President and C.E.O.

NJ SHARES celebrates Customer Service Week October 3, through October 7th. At NJ SHARES we understand the value in the multiple ways in which we can touch lives with our programs. Our agencies, partners, friends and staff work hard all year to match clients with programs. Providing exceptional customer service at a time of distress for our clients is a vital service.

The NJ SHARES Client Services Call Center - our first call center - was launched in 2005 to service the Verizon Communications Lifeline and Linkup program. It quickly set the stage for NJ SHARES to be a valuable touch point for those in need, and an important mechanism for linking clients with affordable telephone service and other low-income programs and services.

Our inaugural call center also led the way, for NJ SHARES to expand and use our expertise to assist the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) with its call center, to answer client inquiries for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Universal Service Fund (USF) energy assistance programs. Both the NJ SHARES Client Services Call Center and the DCA Call Center have been outstanding experiences, providing us with the opportunity to share best practices about matching people with programs, both in New Jersey and nationwide.

Tomorrow, LIHEAP will open and NJ SHARES will ready itself for another heating season, helping those in crisis who do not qualify for LIHEAP and other assistance programs. To our agency partners, utility and energy company allies, supporters and friends, thank you in advance as we again gear up to ensure our New Jersey neighbors stay warm this heating season and avoid the tragedies associated with unsafe measures to light and heat their homes.

Best regards,

Jim Jacob

Events


Pictured: NJ SHARES staff, Waleska Figuroa, Cheryl Stowell and Linda Ellis.

Paterson Event Boasts Senior Benefits

Assemblywoman Nellie Pou hosted a senior outreach event, at the San Martin De Porres Senior Center in Paterson on October 19th, to raise awareness of the many beneficial social programs available to seniors. Representatives from Verizon and New Jersey SHARES provided information about the Communications Lifeline and Link Up America services that offer critical telecommunications safety nets for eligible seniors and low-income individuals.


Community Health Law Project’s Ann Klein Advocate Awards Dinner

NJ SHARES joined Board members, agency partners and friends at the CHLP Awards Dinner celebrating advocates for our vulnerable neighbors struggling with disability related challenges. The mission of the Community Health Law Project is to provide legal and advocacy services, training, education, and related activities to persons with disabilities and to organizations representing their interests, with an emphasis on those most vulnerable and needy. Founded in 1976, CHLP has represented over 60,000 individuals on a wide range of civil matters. The Ann Klein Advocate Awards Dinner held on October 20, 2011, has been held each year since 1988 in honor Ann Klein, former Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services, who was instrumental in establishing a community-based system of care for people with mental and physical disabilities.



Pictured: NJ SHARES' Barbara Gomes and Dena Shipley.

National Caregivers Conference

The Family Support Center of New Jersey hosted the 2011 National Caregivers Conference in Iselin on October 27, 2011. The conference had a concentration on the critical importance of caregivers and the advances technology is having on care giving. NJ SHARES along with many others provided critical program information to direct caregivers towards information on easily accessible, cost effective support to all populations, regardless of age or disability. Knowledge of available resources can help to alleviate the stress associated with care giving, sustain families and marriages, improve caregivers’ health and well being, reduce the risk of abuse and neglect, and minimize or delay the need for more costly out-of-home placement. The conference will also serve as a networking session for caregivers to gain social supports and help them realize that they are not alone.


New Jersey Natural Gas Hosted Energy Assistance Days

New Jersey Natural Gas hosted a series of Energy Assistance Days this month in communities throughout its service territory to help customers with the application process for the Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Sessions were held in Asbury Park, Dover, Jackson, Keansburg, Freehold, Lakewood, Long Beach Island, and Long Branch.

Camden County Senior Awareness Fair

NJ SHARES had the opportunity to speak to 1,700 seniors about our telephone, water and energy programs at the Camden County Senior Fair held at Cooper River Park, Pennsauken on October 5, 2011. 1,200 of those attendees received a flu shot at no out-of-pocket cost. There was also free lunch for those who pre-registered, and a variety of health information, games and prizes.



PSE&G Hosts Energy Forum

On October 6, 2011, PSEG hosted an Energy Forum to provide agencies administering the LIHEAP and USF programs in their service territory with the most up-to-date information on energy assistance this heating season. NJ SHARES participated in a panel discussion on the LIHEAP and USF Programs in addition to presenting information on the NJ SHARES energy, telephone and water programs available.

NJ SHARES Showcased at Community Life Fair

Caesars’ Entertainment held a Life Fair on Tuesday, October 4th at Bally’s in Atlantic City. The goal was to partner with other community stakeholders to provide a venue where individuals can receive much needed information regarding services that they may be able to access.
ACE's Energy SAving Tips


Refrigerator Settings

Set the refrigerator thermostat at 38 degrees F for fresh food compartments and 5 degrees F for freezer compartments. Seperate freezers for longterm storage should be kept at zero degrees F. Open the refridgerator and freezer doors only when necessary.

Atlantic City Electric has published a brochure, “85 Ways to Save Money and Energy.” The brochure highlights how to save energy. To view the brochure, visit: http://www.atlanticcityelectric.com/_res/documents/Rebranded%20brochures/conserving_energy/85_Ways_ACE.pdf
Agency Tool Box


On October 25, all intake agency partners were issued updated energy packets with the new income charts through the intake agency system email. These materials are effective November 1, 2011. These updated packets along with useful tool materials will be ready for download on November 1, 2011. Our agency partners can find this information on the agency-only access welcome screen. Questions can be directed to outreach@njshares.org.

New Jersey SHARES | www.njshares.org
1901 North Olden Avenue Extention Suite 1-A | Ewing, NJ 08618-2111
Phone: 609-883-1626 | Toll Free: 866-657-4273 | Fax: 609-883-6364 | Email info@njshares.org
Copyright 2013, NJ SHARES.
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New Jersey SHARES
1901 North Olden Avenue Extension, Suite 1A | Ewing, NJ 08618
Phone: 609-883-1626 | Toll Free: 866-657-4273 | Fax: 609-883-6364 | Email info@njshares.org
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