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Jim Jacob, President & CEO
As January and February bills come due in March, many people will see an increase in their heating costs. These bills have the potential to create an emergency situation for our neighbors in need as they struggle to meet their financial obligations.
In addition, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ Winter Termination Program (WTP), an important safeguard protecting many New Jersey residents from having their utility service interrupted or turned-off during the coldest winter months, ends on March 15. However, there are other programs that are available to help including:
- The Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income families and individuals meet home heating costs and is available through April 30.
- New Jersey’s Universal Service Fund (USF), administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, helps lower gas and electricity costs for eligible households and is available throughout the year. Those applying for LIHEAP assistance automatically have their application submitted to the USF.
For those who do not qualify for programs such as those listed above and are facing termination, NJ SHARES is here to help. For the past 17 years, we have been the safety net organization for those who are unable to pay their utility bills due to circumstances beyond their control – such as unemployment, illness, medical expenses or other financial hardship. In addition to providing grants, we are able to connect low- and moderate-income households with important resources offering education, information, referral and advocacy support.
As March approaches, I look forward to participating in LIHEAP Action Day in Washington, D.C. on March 1 and 2. Sponsored by the National Energy & Utility Affordability Coalition, this annual event brings together energy assistance organizations from across the nation with key elected officials and their staff members to educate them about the continued need for LIHEAP funding and its positive impact on recipients. It is critical that our elected officials continue to provide support for energy assistance programs that offer much-needed financial relief and utility services to those facing a financial crisis. We are fortunate that in New Jersey our legislators understand and support LIHEAP.
We are grateful for the warm hearts of our legislators, community partners and agencies, along with our corporate, foundation and individual supporters. It is because of their generous support that we are able to provide our New Jersey neighbors with the financial assistance, support and resources they need in order to stay safe and warm.
NJ SHARES’ To Benefit From DINE TO DONATE Event in Monmouth County
TGI Friday’s on Route 9 in Morganville will donate 20% of your food bill to anyone who comes in or orders take out on Thursday, March 31st as part of a Dine to Donate event to raise money for NJ SHARES’ Energy Assistance program.
Just bring this flyer http://www.njshares.org/media/NJSHARES-TGIFridays-3-31-16.pdf and your friends to enjoy a meal and TGI Friday’s will donate 20% of your bill to NJ SHARES! It’s that easy! NJ SHARES staff will be at the event to talk to patrons about our programs and mingle with our donors. Hope to see you there!
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle
Poverty Hearing Called by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee, actively pursues legislation that provides services for New Jersey’s most vulnerable citizens. This past month she held a special Human Services hearing in part of the Assembly’s anti-poverty efforts to learn how to best alleviate their financial hardships, especially for those who struggle to pay their utility bills. NJ SHARES joined the Anit-Poverty Network and other advocates at the hearing.
Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle serves as the prime sponsor of A2359, which requires funds collected through societal benefits charge not allocated be credited to electric and gas public utility customers. She also champions A901, which requires all public utility companies to provide bill credits to volunteer fire companies, emergency rescue squads and non-profit homeless and domestic violence shelters. These efforts remain a priority on her legislative agenda.
There is obviously more to be done to provide assistance, and Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle is looking forward to partnering with NJ SHARES to find the best solutions.
Pictured here, from left, are New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno; Ciro Scalera, Government Affairs Director the Laborers' International Union of North America; NJS' Kimberly Warrick; and Yvonne Lopez Executive Director of PRAHD.
NJ SHARES Joins Partners in Celebrating African American History Month
Our partners at the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development (PRAHD) hosted their third annual African American History Month Celebration at their office in Perth Amboy on Friday, February 19th.
The event honored Carole Dortch-Wright with the Arturo Alfonso Schomburg Award for her commitment to the community of Perth Amboy. Special guests included Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, Dean Schomburg and Adrian A. Council, Sr. publisher of The Positive Community Magazine.
NJ SHARES' Barbara Gomes and Dena Shipley engage the Middlesex county community at the Menlo Park Mall.
NJ SHARES Engages Community at Menlo Park Mall Event
NJ SHARES spoke to mall shoppers about assistance programs at the Menlo Park Mall on February 23rd. People told us they spend time at the Mall to try to conserve energy at home. Many without heat at home spend time at their local malls to warm up for a few hours. The event helped NJ SHARES to engage with these folks about the resources that are available to help ease their home energy burden.
Pictured with Senator Booker is Chip Hallock President & CEO of the NRBP.
NJ SHARES Participated in Newark Regional Business Partnership Event Featuring US Senator Cory Booker
On February 1, NJ SHARES joined our partners, PSE&G, Verizon and Tonio Burgos at the Newark Regional Business Partnership event called “The Eye Opener” at the Robert Treat Hotel. Senator Cory Booker spoke about his time as Mayor of Newark and how he is one of only a very small group of men who went from serving as Mayor to the US Senate. He discussed how important it is for each of us to consider mentoring young people in society.
Senator Booker talked about his family and growing up in New Jersey. He highlighted the opportunities that others gave to him over the years and how he believes that our society needs to pay it forward and keep our youth as a focus. He spoke in detail about how he turned the schools in Newark around and gave inner city kids the opportunity for better education. He stressed that fostering a mentor environment gives young people an important advantage.
Since winning election to the United States Senate in October 2013, Senator Booker has focused on creating new jobs, improving economic opportunity for all New Jerseyans, speeding the pace of Hurricane Sandy recovery and addressing the economic squeeze facing middle class families. The senator is working to break down the old partisan barriers that have made Washington so removed from the concerns of everyday New Jerseyans. He has reached across the aisle to work on issues such as reforming the criminal justice system and empowering young people through access to apprenticeships.
NJ SHARES Programs Highlighted at Annual Chamber Event
NJ SHARES hosted a Community Outreach table at the Chamber Breakfast on February 25 at the Newark Hilton Hotel. Our staff had the opportunity to talk to decision makers about the NJ SHARES’ programs and how we help low to moderate income families in New Jersey. This event preceded the annual ‘Walk to Washington’ where decision makers board the train to Washington and walk up and down the train cars talking with legislators.
Assemblyman Wayne P. DeAngelo and NJ SHARES' Kimberly Warrick.
Assemblyman Wayne P. DeAngelo
Assemblyman Wayne P. DeAngelo was first elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 2007 and is currently serving his fifth term. In 2015, Assemblyman DeAngelo was appointed as the chair of the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.
Assemblyman DeAngelo's office has worked with NJ SHARES to assist constituents in covering the cost of their energy bills. Residents should contact his office to receive information on how to apply for NJ SHARES, and if eligible, to complete the application process. Once accepted, NJ SHARES may provide a grant of up to $700 for heat help (electric and gas) or up to $500 for electric service.
During the Assemblyman’s tenure in the General Assembly, he has sponsored numerous measures to protect working families, middle-class communities and veterans. Notably, Assemblyman DeAngelo sponsored laws to help prevent residents from being taken advantage of by third-party energy suppliers; created hiring preference for veterans in the New Jersey State Police; strengthened the unemployment insurance system by stopping payments to the incarcerated or deceased and prevented businesses who owe into the system from obtaining state contracts; cracked down on deadly road-rage and auto insurance fraud; created civilian job opportunities for veterans in nursing and teaching; and established the Silver Alert system for missing individuals.
Pictured are Zaid Bettis, Executive Director of Liberalis Growth House with Dena Shipley, NJ SHARES Outreach Coordinator.
NJ SHARES Welcomes Liberalis Growth House!
NJ SHARES is fortunate to partner with more than 230 agencies around the state. Each organization has a different mission and focus but all provide holistic solutions to their community. This month we are pleased to highlight our new partnership with Liberalis Growth House.
The Liberalis growth house exists to provide residential shelter, care and treatment for developmentally delayed and/or at risk persons; provide temporary shelter for homeless families; provide shelter in a group residential setting for HIV infected persons and provide federal, state and municipal community based programs that help at risk families and individuals in need of various types f assistance including but not limited to educational, energy and utilities assistance, employment and community outreach.
Zaid Bettis, Liberalis Growth House Executive Director said, “We feel fortunate to add NJ SHARES assistance programs to the support services we provide to the Union and Essex County Communities.”
This month, Liberalis Growth House partnered with the Orange Library to take NJ SHARES applications in the Auditorium on Saturdays from 9:00a.m until 1:00p.m. If you would like more information on Liberalis Growth House, contact Zaid or Jane at (908) 258 -7188.
|NJ SHARES’ Client Services Call Center
Pictured is Hannah A, NJ SHARES’ Client Services Call Center Representative.
NJ SHARES wants to introduce you to Client Services Staff Member, Hannah A
Hannah joined the NJ SHARES team during her senior year of high school as part of Steinert High School’s work program. When she graduated from Steinert she became a full time employee. Hannah provides support to applicants of Verizon’s Communication Lifeline program.
“Being able to help our clients is very rewarding, I enjoy talking to our clients and connecting them to programs that can help,” said Hannah.