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2/27/09 Volume 5, Issue 2

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


State Call Center on Energy

NJ SHARES to Handle Calls for the State of New Jersey’s Energy Programs

As a result of a grant awarded by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), NJ SHARES will soon launch a call center to answer inquiries for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Universal Service Fund (USF) program.

This new initiative allows for a comprehensive response to questions on all energy programs available in the state equating to greater energy assistance to our New Jersey neighbors. We are proud to be awarded this opportunity by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and eager to serve New Jersey residents struggling to pay their energy bills.



Mayor of Vineland, NJ

NJ SHARES Welcomes First Municipal Utility

NJ SHARES recently entered into our first partnership with a municipal utility, Vineland Municipal Electric Utility, enabling eligible customers to receive energy assistance. Vineland Mayor Robert Romano said, “We are proud that Vineland will be the first municipal electric system to benefit from NJ SHARES. I know many of our citizens are struggling to make ends meet, and this program will provide needed relief.” The township is located in Cumberland County.

NJ SHARES welcomes Vineland Municipal Electric Utility as part of our commitment to expand our energy assistance safety net to help more of our neighbors who are facing a financial hardship.



Jim Jacob

A Word From the Executive Director

This month, NJ SHARES staff lent our voices and our support to the National Fuel Fund Network’s LIHEAP Action Day on February 11, in Washington, joining 200 advocates from nonprofits and energy providers across the nation. Together, we urged Congress to continue funding this critically needed program at a level of at least $5.1 Billion and to include additional funding for this vital program that assists disadvantaged Americans in paying their heating and cooling bills in the stimulus bill. The timing could not be more crucial as we are witnessing an unprecedented need for energy assistance. More of our neighbors have to make the difficult choice between “heating or eating,” due to our continuing economic crisis. NJ SHARES is reaching out to partner with state and national organizations and our federal and state leaders to help to provide relief to those who are struggling during these severe economic times.
This is also the 25th anniversary of the National Fuel Fund Network and we were happy and honored to celebrate with them at a gala dinner held at the Washington Marriott Hotel on February 10th. We congratulate NFFN for being on the forefront, advocating for home energy assistance for a quarter century.
We also made our voices heard during the New Jersey State Chamber’s Annual Walk to Washington train trip on January 29-30. This important event draws business, community and governmental leaders from every corner of the state and is a great opportunity to get the word out about the assistance that NJ SHARES provides. While in the Capital, we met with our representatives to advocate for New Jersey residents who are having trouble paying their energy bills.
At present, we are getting ready to launch the LIHEAP and USF call center. We are excited to begin this project in collaboration with the Department of Community Affairs, adding another facet to the services we provide.
Finally, we want to express our deepest gratitude to our intake network. As requests for energy assistance skyrocket, the dedicated work of our intake partners has never been more important. Thank you!

Events


NJ DEVILS LOGO

NJ Devils Take to the Ice to Share the Warmth

NJ SHARES scored a record 303 tickets at our annual NJ Devils fundraiser on January 30 at the Prudential Center in Newark. NJ SHARES was introduced to an audience of 17,625 through public announcements, a game night program and an exhibit where representatives handed out brochures and giveaways items. We thank our supporters for coming out to the game and our sponsors, the NJ DEVILS, Verizon and PSE&G, for making our NJ SHARES Night at the NJ Devils game such a success.

The attendees saw an exciting game when the NJ Devils beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime.



2009 Call Center Summit

NJ SHARES Featured at National Convention

NJ SHARES was highlighted as operating a best practices call center at the 4th Annual Call Center Summit in Orlando, Florida, on January 26-29. Kim Warrick, NJ SHARES’ Client Service Center Manager, presented the workshop entitled, Connecting with Empathy During an Uncertain Economy. NJ SHARES programs and successful methods of operation were well received.


Debate Champions

South Jersey Debate League Heats Up the Conversation on Energy

The South Jersey Debate League held their championship debate on Thursday, February 19th at Cherry Hill East High School at 4 PM. Twelve high schools participated in the debate. The students started a tradition of raising funds to donate to a cause that is related to the national debate topic. This year that debate topic was energy policy and the students identified NJ SHARES as the home heating program to donate the proceeds to. The students raised $400.
The South Jersey Debate League’s curriculum truly calls attention to the current issues. The forward thinking of the faculty and the forward thinking of the students will make a valuable difference in this world. Just as their kind donation will make an immediate and impactful difference for someone who needs the basic human need of energy this heating season. Visit www.sjdebate.org for more information. Congratulations to Eastern High School on winning the debate.



NJ 2-1-1

And the Survey Says ...

In a survey conducted by NJ 2-1-1 from December to February, 58 percent of the respondents identified utility assistance as an urgent concern. NJ 2-1-1 is a statewide information and assistance network that connects New Jersey citizens with government, social services and community services. The NJ 2-1-1 call center is open 24 hours and can be reached by dialing 2-1-1 or visiting www.nj211.org.


Verizon

Verizon Offers Discounted Phone Service to Eligible Customers

Verizon New Jersey partners with New Jersey SHARES to make residential telephone service more affordable in New Jersey by offering Communications Lifeline and Link Up America Services for qualified, low-income customers and program eligible senior citizens.

Communications Lifeline allows customers to choose either Flat Rate Service, Moderate Use Message Rate Service or Low Use Message Rate Service. Link Up America provides a 50 percent discount on telephone connection charges. The remaining 50 percent may be billed in 12 monthly payments.

Customers qualify for this service if they receive benefits from a state program such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, or PAAD, among others, or if they are senior citizens, aged 65 years old or older who are not participating in one of the programs, but are at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level Guidelines. For more information about the Verizon Communications Lifeline program, call the New Jersey SHARES Call Center at 1-888-337-3339 Monday through Friday, from 9am to 6pm.



Agency Toolbox

•MONEY for Energy Grants is available statewide under Energy Assistance Funds displayed on your welcome screen when you sign-in.
• NJ SHARES grants are available for deliverable fuels, such as oil and propane as well as electric and natural gas. Although the application is the same, please pay close attention to the question, “How is this residence heated” because your answer will prompt the correct screen.
• If you are applying for a deliverable fuel grant and your client also needs assistance with his or her electric bill, you must fill out a separate application for the electric grant.
• Have a question? Or a request? You can contact the outreach team by filling out the agency request form. A link to the form can be found on the sign-in page of the website and on the right hand part of the screen on the welcome page. NJ SHARES grants are available for deliverable fuels, such as oil and propane as well as electric and natural gas. Although the application is the same, please pay close attention to the question, “How is this residence heated” because your answer will prompt the correct screen.


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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