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2/28/2013

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


New Jersey SHARES Launches New Facebook Page

We are pleased to announce the NJ SHARES Facebook Page has officially launched. Please “Like” us on Facebook and consider sharing with your network.

“Like” Us:
It’s easy to “Like” the New Jersey SHARES, Inc. page. First, log into your own Facebook page. Next, click on this link http://www.facebook.com/njshares OR manually type that address into your own web browser, and you will be transported to our page. Underneath our cover photo and next to our name, you will see an icon that says “Like” with a thumbs-up graphic. Simply “Like” the page by clicking on that icon.

Share with Network
Once you have “Liked” New Jersey SHARES, Inc.’s page, consider sharing the page with your friends and other networks. Visit New Jersey SHARES, Inc.’s Facebook page – underneath our cover photo, next to the icon that says “Like,” there should be another icon that looks like a wheel or gear. Click that icon, and a drop down menu will appear. Next, click on “Share…” which is listed underneath “Create a Page.”

Find Out If You Qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit, sometimes called EITC is a tax credit to help you keep more of what you earned. It is a refundable federal income tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and families. Congress originally approved the tax credit legislation in 1975 in part to offset the burden of social security taxes and to provide an incentive to work. When EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit. For information on the Federal EITC, visit www.irs.gov.

Tax Credit Available for New Jersey’s Working Families

New Jersey’s workforce members who are in financial difficulty may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This special credit reduces the amount of taxes owed by eligible workers and sometimes provides a tax refund as well. New Jersey individuals and families may be eligible to have their taxes prepared free of charge. To find out where you can get free help filing your taxes, visit, http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/vita_tce/freeservices.shtml. For information about the New Jersey EITC, visit: http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/eitcinfo.shtml



Poverty Presents Risks for Children in Newark

The Newark Kids Count 2012-2013 study, recently released by Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ), reports a staggering 76 percent of children 5 years of age and under were living in low-income families in 2011. The report also found that 71 percent of babies born in Newark in 2009 had unmarried mothers, with 70 percent born to mothers with a high school education or less.

Research shows that children who live in poverty are at risk for failure at school, facing issues that can cause developmental damage. “What happens in a child’s first five years influences the rest of his life,” according to Cecila Zalkind, executive director of ACNJ.

ACNJ is urging city leaders, the early care and education community, business leaders and foundations to join together to respond to this crisis. At NJ SHARES we remain dedicated to providing low-income families with the support and assistance they need to pay their energy, telephone and water bills so their children can grow up in a safe environment. We commend ACNJ for their call to action and their commitment to helping New Jersey communities face the challenges of poverty by providing resources and hope for the future. ACNJ’s outreach and education for the public, policymakers and caregivers results in better laws and policies, more effective funding and stronger services for children and families.
President's Letter


Jim Jacob, President & CEO

The harsh realities of the winter season in our area affect us all. For some it involves shoveling snow, the inconvenience of a difficult commute, missing an appointment or trying to find childcare during a snow day. However, for far too many people, the chilling cold of a winter season triggers a crisis situation as the higher cost of utility bills cause them to slip deeper and deeper into debt.

For a family in need, many times all that is needed is a helping hand. Helping households through a temporary financial downturn by providing assistance with utility bills can make the difference between a family sinking into poverty, or being able to weather the storm.

As always, at NJ SHARES we encourage everyone to conserve energy when appropriate. However, it is important to remember that the dangers of hypothermia resulting from a lack of heat. Those needing assistance should be aware that they do not have to face their predicament alone. A variety of state and federal programs are available to help families struggling with difficult economic circumstances during these cold winter months. The New Jersey Comfort Partners Program offers energy savings, education and counseling for low-income customers to reduce their energy burden, free of charge. New Jersey’s Weatherization Assistance Program offers weatherization assistance as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization & Intergovernmental Program. Available to eligible low-income families, this program provides expert energy consultation with a goal of finding safe methods for clients to conserve energy and save money.

The Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which has helped countless people throughout New Jersey meet their heating costs this winter and assists those with medically necessary cooling needs, will close its application period for 2013 on April 30. Those applying for LIHEAP assistance automatically have their application submitted to the Universal Services Fund, created by the State of New Jersey, which helps lower gas and electricity costs for eligible households.

Finally, let me take this opportunity to thank our 270 agency partners, our utility company partners and generous donors who make it possible for us to do the work that we do. Without their support, we would be unable to provide our New Jersey neighbors with the financial assistance, support and resources they need to stay safe and warm.
Agency Spotlight


Evelyn Mercado HOPES, Program Manager

HOPES Community Action Partnership, Inc.

NJ SHARES is fortunate to partner with more than 270 agencies around the state. Although each organization has a different mission and focus, all of our partner organizations serve as an important community resource, offering holistic solutions and much-needed support.

The mission of HOPES Community Action Partnership, Inc. (HOPES CAP, Inc.) is to provide services that respond to the social, educational and training needs of the community in an effort to overcome barriers and fight the causes of poverty.

Ora Welch, President and CEO of HOPES, says she learned at a young age that, "Service is the rent you pay to be living (Marion Wright Edelman)." She values the strength of the individual to do what is right, even when it isn't easy. This fundamental value carries over the gamut of programs HOPES offers eligible residents in Hudson and Union counties. These programs include NJ SHARES energy and utility assistance as well as support services focusing on early childhood to senior services needs.

HOPES is VITA certified organization offering free tax assistance to households earning $49,000 or less. Trained by the IRS, the tax preparers at HOPES CAP, Inc. can assist with special credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit and Credit for the Elderly.


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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