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4/30/09 Volume 5, Issue 4

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

May 1 Marks Major Eligibility Change for Assistance Programs

As of May 1, the income eligibility rules for NJ SHARES will include a broader population of households.

With LIHEAP finishing as of April 30, please note that you may refer clients to NJ SHARES if their income ranges from 176% to 400% of the Federal poverty level. Clients may be referred to Universal Service if they are at 175% of Federal poverty or below.


Greenhouse Gas Initiative Provides $2.8 Million in New Funding

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has designated $2.8 million in funding for NJ SHARES to provide households in crisis with electric bill assistance. The funding, which should be available in early May to NJ SHARES clients, has been allocated through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. NJ SHARES will use the funding to help households in crisis who do not qualify for other assistance programs.

RGGI is a 10-state consortium that is seeking to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector 10% by 2018. Under the initiative, states sell emission allowances through auctions and invest the proceeds in energy efficiency, energy assistance and renewable energy.

The $2.8 million was made available to the Board of Public Utilities following RGGI’s December auction. The auctions will continue on a quarterly basis. We hope the Board of Public Utilities will continue to provide NJ SHARES with this resource.

Executive letter


With summer weather already upon us, NJ SHARES is looking ahead to the needs of New Jersey residents – particularly senior citizens and persons with disabilities – who may be facing difficulty paying their electric bills. Thanks to RGGI funding and the Board of Public Utilities, NJ SHARES has received a $2.8 million head start on providing assistance to low and moderate income households facing an electric bill payment crisis.

NJ SHARES would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to Board President Jeanne Fox, and all the Commissioners, for this new funding source, and for their efforts to continue RGGI grants on an ongoing basis.
All of us in the NJ SHARES network are deeply concerned about seniors and persons with disabilities who may have to choose not to cool their homes this summer due to a lack of resources. In particular, we are on alert for cases of heating distress, where households with non-working windows have no air conditioning or fans, creating life-threatening living conditions.

It is critically important that we continue to provide vulnerable populations with electric bill assistance to make their homes safe and livable. With continued RGGI funding, the Board of Public Utilities and NJ SHARES can help to keep the power on in thousands of needy households.

On other matters, NJ SHARES continues to work closely with Governor Corzine’s energy assistance working group, with partners from the anti-poverty network, and others, to dialogue about energy assistance needs across the state. Even in these difficult economic times, Governor Corzine has provided help to low and moderate income households. NJ SHARES could not continue our efforts without his support.

Looking back over recent months, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) played a key role in helping many households get through the winter. Thanks to programmatic changes – which increased eligibility from 175% of poverty to 225%, and extended the funding deadline to April 30 – LIHEAP helped many more people than ever before. Initial indications are that the program helped 20% more households in the 2008-09 heating season compared with last year.

LIHEAP could not have provided help to so many households without the support and hard work of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the LIHEAP intake network; thanks to everyone who took part in providing assistance to our neighbors.

Finally, be on the lookout for the NJ SHARES Annual Report, which provides an overview of last year’s activities, highlighting the stories of actual people in crisis who found help through NJ SHARES. Again, thanks goes out to all of you for making it happen through your hard work, patience and dedication to helping our neighbors in need.

Best regards,

Jim Jacob

Events


Abilities Expo

This month, NJ SHARES participated in the New York Metro Area Abilities Expo in Edison, NJ, dedicated to educating and improving the lives of Americans with disabilities, senior citizens, families, caregivers, healthcare professionals, professional therapists and corporate administrators.

NJ SHARES team members attended the Expo to seek out new agency partners with particular emphasis on disabilities. It proved to be a great opportunity to forge new connections and learn about how NJ SHARES can provide more help to state residents with special needs.


Agency Advisory Committee Inaugural Meeting

On April 8, NJ SHARES held its inaugural Agency Advisory Committee meeting at New Jersey Natural Gas headquarters in Wall, NJ. The committee of 15 members had an opportunity to interact with each other, as well as NJ SHARES staff, to share their experiences. NJ SHARES will use the meetings as an ongoing resource for new ideas and best practices.
agency toolbox


• RGGI funding will be available to clients in early May for electric bill assistance. Check your NJ SHARES intake system for ‘RGGI’ and a dollar amount available.

• With LIHEAP finishing as of April 30, please note that you may refer clients to NJ SHARES if their income ranges from 176% to 400% of the Federal poverty level. Clients may be referred to Universal Service if they are at 175% of Federal poverty or below.

• Agency Meetings - New Jersey SHARES will hold three agency interactive dialogue meetings around the state throughout the summer months. These meetings will be open to NJ SHARES agencies. Be on the lookout for email invitations and electronic registration.


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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