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4/30/14

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


Jim Dieterle, AARP New Jersey State Director and founding Board member of NJ SHARES & Jim Jacob, President and CEO of NJ SHARES

NJ SHARES Receives $10,000 Donation from AARP Foundation

NJ SHARES was thrilled to accept a $10,000 donation from the AARP Foundation in support of our effort to provide energy bill relief to low-income 50+ seniors hit hardest by the record-breaking cold this past winter.

“We recognize the extreme hardship the seniors have faced, and know that many of them have already exhausted their financial resources in paying their energy bills,” said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, President of the AARP Foundation. “It is our hope that these funds will assist NJ SHARES’s efforts to provide financial assistance directly towards the heating costs of the 50+ seniors who need it the most.”

“We so grateful to receive this generous donation from the AARP Foundation,” said Jim Jacob, President and CEO of NJ SHARES. “This financial commitment speaks to AARP’s continued dedication to our organization and, more importantly, seniors throughout the state that are in need of assistance.”

For more information about all of NJ SHARES assistance programs, visit www.njshares.org/otherPrograms/




ACNJ's New Jersey Kids Count

ACNJ Releases New Jersey Kids Count - Growing Child Poverty Persists Across the State

Hunterdon County ranked number one out of all New Jersey counties in the overall well-being of its children, while Cumberland County ranked last, according to the New Jersey Kids Count annual rankings and county profiles released today.

Kids Count compares New Jersey’s 21 counties on 13 measures of child well-being, including child poverty, health, safety and education. Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Bergen and Middlesex were the top five ranking counties, while Cumberland, Atlantic, Salem, Camden and Essex were the five lowest.

The reasons counties move up or down the Kids Count rankings vary from county to county. Changes in a particular indicator, such as child poverty, in certain counties can affect the rankings of all counties.

“While the rankings shift every year, we see certain trends across many counties, including increasing child poverty, fewer child care options for working parents and high housing costs,” said Cecilia Zalkind, executive director of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, which publishes the Kids Count reports. “These statistics should be used to inform local, county and state leaders, as well as community organizations, in their efforts to improve the well-being of all New Jersey children.”

Better news may be on the horizon, however. All but one county — Cape May — experienced declines in unemployment, with many seeing substantial drops ranging from 20 to 30 percent from 2009 to 2013. It is not clear, yet, whether this will affect the child poverty rate. The latest data for child poverty is one year behind unemployment figures. Some labor experts say the decline in unemployment is due, at least in part, to people leaving the labor force all together.

“As children and families continue to struggle, it is more important than ever to make sound decisions to improve children’s lives and invest in the future of our state,” Zalkind said. “The Kids Count data should be used to inform our response to children’s needs and guide investments of our limited state resources.”

To read the reports, visit www.acnj.org.

 


President's message


Jim Jacob, NJS's President and CEO

Each year, I always look towards Spring with a great sense of appreciation and gratitude. The season provides much-needed respite, as we finally say “goodbye” to winter’s bitter cold and prepare for summer’s heat.

In this spirit, I’d like to highlight NJ SHARES’ continued dedication to all of those who benefit from the programs and assistance we provide every day, most especially families and children. We work with a variety of partnering agencies and organizations around the state to help relieve the financial burden for all those who are unable to afford energy and utility services.

Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) is one of our many partnering organizations actively working to make a difference in our community. ACNJ has had a place on the NJ SHARES Board of Directors since our inception, and is currently represented by Sheldon Presser. ACNJ’s mission is to identify the needs of children throughout the state through research, policy and legal analysis, and then, in turn, to raise further awareness of those needs and work with elected officials and other influential decision-makers to spur responses.

In late April, I attended ACNJ’s release of the New Jersey Kids Count annual rankings and county profiles in Trenton. The Kids Count report compares New Jersey’s 21 counties on 13 measures of child well-being, including child poverty, health, safety and education.

This year, the report indicated that there have been significant increases in children in extreme poverty, poverty and low-income households. As Cecilia Zalkind, executive director of ACNJ, noted, “As children and families continue to struggle, it is more important than ever to make sound decisions to improve children’s lives and invest in the future of our state. The Kids Count data should be used to inform our response to children’s needs and guide investments of our limited state resources.”

Through this valuable partnership with ACNJ, NJ SHARES remains dedicated to assisting those children and their families who need our services the most and continue to raise awareness on their behalf.

The Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (APN) is another valuable partner organization that seeks to aid in the prevention, reduction and elimination of poverty. NJ SHARES remains actively involved in APN, and I continue to serve as Chair. APN’s  overall mission is to supports all efforts and initiatives that have proven to be effective in providing essential assistance to Individuals, families and children living in poverty, while also helping to lift them out of it.

With this in mind, APN and the NJ Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-NJ) are co-sponsoring a special screening of the film “Inequality for All” at the NJ State Museum on May 29th at 10 a.m. This 2013 documentary film, directed by Jacob Kornbluth, examines the ever-widening income inequality gap in our nation, which is currently at historic highs, and its effects not only on our economy but American democracy as a whole. Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion about the film and its overall message. For more information,

visit: www.antipovertynetwork.org. To register: http://tinyurl.com/q5pq2ht

At NJ SHARES, we continue to support APN’s dedicated efforts to eliminate poverty throughout our state – and improve the lives of all the families and children they serve.

Again in a spirit of gratitude, I express my sincere appreciation for the relationships we have developed over the years with each of our partnering agencies and organizations. Together, we will continue to work toward maintaining and reinforcing an important financial safety net for those children and families who need it most – and strengthen our ties to the communities we serve.

Best regards,

Jim Jacob


a message from your legislator


Senator Christopher "Kip" Bateman

A Message from Senator Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R) from the 16th Legislative District

The importance of the work done by organizations like New Jersey SHARES has never been more evident than the past few months. During the seemingly endless winter, a record-setting bout of cold weather in January set a new high for winter electric use and sent power prices surging.

For many of New Jersey’s residents, who are already paying among the highest electric rates in the country, paying to heat a home during these times of extreme weather is a burden they can’t bear on their own. New Jersey SHARES commitment to providing energy assistance during these difficult times should be praised.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, New Jersey’s average household energy consumption and cost are both among the highest in the nation. This is a troubling reality. 

It’s important that utility providers be held accountable and that New Jersey consumers are given a fair rate. It’s equally important that as we find ways to lower costs, we look for ways to lower consumption and to further the transition to clean or renewable energies.

That’s why I have introduced legislation to increase the use of renewable, clean-burning bio-based heating fuel in New Jersey. My legislation, S-141, requires all heating oil sold in New Jersey for residential, commercial, or industrial heating use to contain at least 5 percent biodiesel by July 1, 2016. Biodiesel is an alternative fuel made from natural elements like vegetable oil.

Replacing even a small percentage of the heating oil used to heat homes and businesses across New Jersey with biodiesel can decrease pollution and dependence on foreign oil. Heating oil blended with biodiesel burns more cleanly and its production creates local jobs.

Taking these small steps now to make New Jersey a leader in using clean energy supplies will pay dividends in the future – especially the next time New Jersey is blanketed under snowfall after snowfall after snowfall.

Sincerely,
Christopher “Kip” Bateman
New Jersey Senate (District 16)
Senate Environment and Energy Committee
www.bateman.senatenj.com
 


Agency spotlight


Gloria Wierzalis, Union County Parish Access Center

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Newark - Union County Parish Access Center

NJ SHARES is fortunate to partner with more than 240 agencies around the state. Each organization has a different mission and focus but all provide holistic solutions to their community.  This month we highlight the Parish Access Centers of the Archdiocese of Newark.

Located in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union counties, the Parish Access Centers (PAC) are the primary contact sites for the parish leadership, parishioners, and people in search of assistance. Each center is the collaborative link between Catholic Charities and the community in connecting people with the Human Services they need.   It accomplishes these goals by providing a broad range of services to residents:  family support, advocacy, information and referrals and limited financial assistance

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark seeks to advance a mission of justice and compassionate care with respect to the dignity of others and their right to a decent standard of living, their right to be educated, and their right to live in peace and freedom. Catholic Charities was created as a witness to the scriptural commands to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and give hope to those in need.

'The Parish Access Centers deal with the realities of human existence daily and NJ SHARES is fortunate to partner with them to provide energy, telephone and water safety-net programs to their eligible clients', said Jim Jacob, President and CEO of NJ SHARES.

"It has always been a pleasure to work side by side with New Jersey SHARES.  The SHARES staff is eager to help all the clients we send to them maintain their service with the utility companies.  The Staff at New Jersey Shares provides fast, reliable and very efficient service.  If we have any questions regarding an application, they are always willing to offer guidance and ideas.”-Gloria Wierzalis, Program Manager, Union County Parish Access Center


Updates


Client Service Rep Joanne C.

News from the NJS-VZ Client Services Call Center

New Jersey SHARES Client Services has been assisting Verizon NJ Customers since October of 2005 and Joanne C. has been with NJ SHARES in the Verizon Lifeline Call Center since its opening.

“It has been a rewarding experience.  Addressing  Verizon customers’  issues and/or concerns  regarding  their  lifeline discount is the part of my job which provides me with  the most satisfaction;   once a problem is resolved  or questions answered   they are very appreciative.  A large number of our clients are elderly and therefore many need extra help with their applications or recertifying their lifeline benefit.  I advise them that we are here to help make their enrollment or recertification a smooth and easy transaction.  To our clients we are a ‘helping hand’ and they are very  grateful for our support.” 

If you need assistance paying your telephone bill, call us to see if you qualify for the VZ-NJ Communications Lifeline Benefits at 1-888-337-3339.




Social Security Administration

Social Security Benefits - Creating a My Social Security Online Account

At each stage of your life, my Social Security is for you. Your personal online my Social Security account is a valuable source of information beginning in your working years and continuing throughout the time you receive Social Security benefits.

If you receive benefits or have Medicare, you can:

Use a my Social Security online account to:

If you do not receive benefits, you can:

Use a my Social Security online account to get your Social Security Statement, to review:

  • Estimates of your retirement, disability, and survivors benefits;
  • Your earnings record; and
  • The estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid.

How do I create a my Social Security Online account?

To create an account, you must provide some personal information about yourself and give us answers to some questions that only you are likely to know. Next, you create a username and password that you will use to access your online account. This process protects you and keeps your personal Social Security information private.

Get Step by Step Instruction on creating a “my Social Security” account by downloading the instructions sheet here:  http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10540.pdf

Note

You can only create an account using your own personal information and for your own exclusive use.  You cannot create or use an account on behalf of another person, even if you have that person’s written permission. You can never share the use of your account with anyone else under any circumstances. Unauthorized use of this service is a misrepresentation of your identity to the federal government and could subject you to criminal or civil penalties, or both.



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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