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3/31/2017

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.

PRESIDENTS MESSAGE


Jim Jacob, President & CEO

President’s Message

This winter’s unpredictable weather has caused concern as many people are finding it hard to determine the fluctuation in the cost of their utilities from month to month.  As winter bills come due in March and April, our neighbors in need may face an emergency situation as they struggle to meet their financial obligations.

I want to remind New Jersey residents struggling to pay their energy bills that there are programs available to help. One such program, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a federal energy assistance program, is designed to help low-income families and individuals with their home heating costs. This program is seasonal, and runs from October to the end of April, providing much-needed financial relief for utility services to those facing a financial crisis.

An application to LIHEAP may also provide families and individuals with access to the Universal Service Fund (USF), a year-round New Jersey program that makes natural gas and electric bills more affordable for low-income households.

With key programs such as LIHEAP and USF, NJ SHARES can join our partners in extending the energy safety net to the working poor families and the limited income senior population who are faced with the choice of heating their homes or paying their rent.   Many of our neighbor’s incomes exceed the LIHEAP program eligibility by almost double. Studies have shown that sustainability for a household in New Jersey requires an income that is 400 percent of the federal poverty level in order to be able to afford housing and necessities.

For those who do not qualify for the governmental programs such as those listed above and are facing termination, NJ SHARES is here to help.  For the past 19 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.

It is important to note that a high percentage of those that have received NJ SHARES assistance have vulnerable household members.  For example, 49 percent of 2016 recipients had a child 18 younger in the home and 49 percent had a household member 50 years of age or older.  The majority of NJ SHARES grant recipients last year were the working poor as 82 percent had employment income. 

Last month, Atlantic City Electric (ACE) and NJ SHARES partnered to establish an electric assistance program called ACE Helping Hands to provide supplemental energy assistance to ACE customers who need additional financial help with their electric bill.  Through this program, ACE residential customers with low to moderate incomes can apply for a maximum grant of $200.  The grant will subsidize other energy assistance available to ACE customers such as LIHEAP and the NJ SHARES energy assistance program. 

Income eligible customers may benefit from ACE Helping Hands in addition to other income eligible energy assistance programs and should apply through the NJ SHARES agency network. 

Warm Regards,

 Jim Jacob

 


What's New


Newark Kids Count 2017 Report Released: Shows Progress Made, More Work Needed

The Advocates for Children of New Jersey released the Newark Kids Count 2017 report this month. Cecilia Zalkind, president and CEO of Advocates for Children of New Jersey said “there were some encouraging trends among high school graduation rates and child health, but concerns remain.” 

For the roughly 68,000 children that call Newark home, improvements in key areas of child health and an increase in both preschool enrollment and high school graduation rates point to progress in the state’s largest city.  The annual data report which tracks trends in child well-being in Newark, found a decrease in uninsured kids, births to teens and admissions to the hospital for asthma.

While this is encouraging, poverty rates remain high in the city.  70 percent of Newark children live in low-income households – compared to the state average of 32 percent, and 62 percent of families spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent.  “What's also troubling is the limited child care options for working families,” Zalkind said. “With the more than 7,300 Newark children receiving child care subsidies, it's imperative that parents have access to reliable care, without having to worry about missing work or whether their child is well-cared for.”

To read the full report visit ACNJ.org.


Events


Pictured at the event are NJ SHARES' Jim Jacob and Dena Shipley with our partner, Rachel Lefkowitz from Sun National Bank.

NJ SHARES Participated in Family Food Relief of New Jersey’s Bi Annual Bulk Food Event

On March 30, over 2,000 families attended the Family Food Relief of New Jersey’s bi-annual bulk food sale at the Lakewood Blue Claws Stadium in Lakewood.  The event ensures that local families save significant amounts of money on essential holiday food items. 

NJ SHARES joined our Sun National Bank partners at the event to disseminate financial literacy and utility assistance information to the families who were participating in the bulk food sale.




Women’s Veterans Conference

NJ SHARES gave out bags of information on our energy, telephone and water assistance programs to the attendees of the Women Veterans Conference and Information Fair held March 11 in South River. The event, hosted by the MyVA New Jersey Veterans and the Community Collaborative Network was an opportunity for women veterans to engage with each other as well as VA representatives and service providers.




Pictured at the event are NJ SHARES' Community Outreach Coordinator, Dena Shipley and Middlesex County Office on Aging and Disability Services' Division Manager, Jaimi Mortillaro.

NJ SHARES Exhibits at the Disability Connections Event in Middlesex County

NJ SHARES joined local social services agencies and businesses in exhibiting resources at the Middlesex County Disability Connections Event sponsored by the Middlesex County Office of Aging and Disabled Services. The event held on Saturday March 18th at the Edison Township Senior Center, provided information and resources to adults with a disability looking for supportive services and caregivers looking for guidance and assistance at home.  Carole Tonks, Director of the Alliance Center for Independence presented.




Pictured at the event are Cindy Herdman Ivins from the Family Service Association, Alita Corbett from Atlantic City Electric and NJ SHARES' Kimberly Warrick.

NJ SHARES Participated in the Economic and Energy Assistance Expo

NJ SHARES took applications at the Economic and Energy Expo held on March 23 at St. Gianna Beretta Molla Church in Northfield. The event, sponsored by the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office R.E.A.L. Help Program, Atlantic City Electric, South Jersey Gas and others was an opportunity for the public to apply for various assistance programs.




Visit NJ SHARES at the Abilities Expo May 5-7

NJ SHARES will host an exhibit table at the Abilities Expo on May 5 - 7.  The three day event is FREE and will be held at the New Jersey Convention & Expo Center. Plan to attend and visit our table to talk to us about the energy, telephone and water utility programs tht we offer.


Agency Spotlight


Pictured seated is Cynthia Mendez, Director of Housing, standing from left to right are: Vanessa Lagares, Utility Coordinator, Elizabeth Wall Housing Coordinator, Lisa Beamer, Homeless Prevention Coordinator and Cecilia Avila,Princeton Site Director.

Arm in Arm

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.  “At NJ SHARES, we believe it is important to empower our communities to provide assistance in their neighborhoods so that people can find access to assistance in a place they feel comfortable asking for help,” said Jim Jacob NJ SHARES President and CEO. NJ SHARES is delighted to welcome Arm in Arm, formerly the Crisis Ministry of Mercer County to the NJ SHARES Agency Partner Network.

“Believing it takes a whole community to help everyone thrive, Arm in Arm connects people in need of food, housing and job support with people who want to help,” said Carolyn Biondi, Executive Director.  Ms. Biondi continued, “Partnering with NJ SHARES will help us to deliver utility assistance to our clients who need to stabilize their housing and remain in place - avoiding the dislocation, separation and disruption of school and work. We also provide security deposit assistance, back rent or foreclosure support.  Households with complex barriers to stability may be referred to Arm in Arm’s longer term support and case management program”.



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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