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Jim Jacob, President & CEO
As the long and warm days of summer become shorter, darker and cooler days of fall, we urge folks to prepare for colder temperatures and winter months ahead.
October 1st marks the official start of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a federal energy assistance program designed to help low-income families and individuals with their home heating costs. An application to LIHEAP also provides 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. For those who need help paying their utility bills but do not qualify for these programs, please remember that NJ SHARES offers a safety net to meet their energy and utility burden.
This month, we celebrate 10 years of connecting our communities through our partnership with Verizon New Jersey – ensuring that seniors and low income households and all those in need have access to a landline telephone in their home case of an emergency. On a national level, efforts to raise awareness for the Communications Lifeline program come together with Communications Lifeline Awareness Week, which was held September 14-20, 2015.
When Verizon and NJ SHARES partnered in October 2005 to open the NJ SHARES Client Services Call Center, the goal was to educate and assist people on the application and enrollment process for Verizon New Jersey’s Communications Lifeline program and 10 additional programs clients can be categorically eligible for. Today, our partnership with Verizon is stronger than ever. We continue to help more than 100,000 households in need each year. The NJ SHARES Client Services Call Center is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and can be reached toll-free at 888-337-3339. For more information, visit: www.njshares.org/otherPrograms/communications-lifeline.asp.
Last, but certainly not least, NJ SHARES is proud to debut our American Winter video on the NJ SHARES website – www.njshares.org (see full article below). This powerful, compelling video provides a candid look into what real struggling households endure when utilities bills cannot be paid.
I invite you to watch the five-minute video – it really captures what our work here at NJ SHARES is all about. I am in awe of the courage and bravery of the folks featured in the video. We are grateful for their honesty and willingness to share their stories, which helps others find resources to make energy more affordable.
I wish to extend my many thanks to our donors, agency partners, utility and energy company friends and supporters for their continued support as we gear up for another heating season. Your efforts ensure that our New Jersey neighbors will continue to stay warm this heating season and avoid the tragedies associated with unsafe measures to light and heat their homes.
NJ SHARES Debuts American Winter Video on Website
You are invited to view our 5 minute customized American Winter Film, which provides a vivid illustration of what has been happening to families across America, including working families losing their homes, people who remain jobless or underemployed, children going hungry, families getting their heat shut off in the dead of winter, and people with health issues overwhelmed by medical costs. This video resides on our website, www.njshares.org and can be downloaded and shared if you would like to use it. NJ SHARES will be using this during our Fall/Winter Facebook ad campaign. Feel free to SHARE our posts regarding the film to your friends.
Through our partnership with the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition, NJ SHARES had the opportunity to work with acclaimed film directors and brothers Joe and Harry Gantz to edit their award-winning documentary to a shorter version to engage people and create impact and social change.
More than 150 NJ SHARES supporters came out to the game last year, we hope more friends will join us this year!
Save the Date! NJ SHARES Night with the DEVILS: Friday, January 8, 2016!
The New Jersey Devils will once again ‘Share the Warmth’ as they take the ice, on Friday, January 8, 2016 against the Boston Bruins, by offering DISCOUNTED stadium tickets to our supporters with proceeds benefiting NJ SHARES! In addition, each ticket purchaser will receive a free Devils gift!
So come out and see us, NJ SHARES will be recognized as the Devils’ Community Assist Non-profit of the game! You can mingle with us on the concourse and see our featured highlights during the game! Tickets could make great Holiday gifts and you can get your shopping done early – very early!
To purchase tickets visit: newjerseydevils.com/NJSHARES and use promo code SHARES16. To purchase 10 or more tickets email Mike Simonetta at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to view photos from last year’s game.
Michael Swayze received Honor from NJ SHARES' Board Chair, Alita Corbett.
NJ SHARES presents Mr. Michael Swayze with the ‘Neighborhood Hero’ Award and ‘Founding Father’ Recognition
NJ SHARES President and CEO Jim Jacob said, “Michael is an advocate for others, dedicating his life to bettering the lives of our neighbors through his work with the Division of Social Services as well as his commitment to NJ SHARES and the NJ Community Resources Website. He is a truly remarkable person, and we are honored to present him with this award.”
Michael is a true “Neighborhood Hero,” and his advocacy on behalf of NJ SHARES has laid the groundwork not only for NJ SHARES but for other fuel funds around the county. Mr. Swayze was recognized for his national work by the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition with the Sister Pat Kelley Award. This award recognizes a lifetime achievement of bettering the lives of low income Americans. His work with NJ SHARES provided the footing for the organization to build a fund that has helped close to 180,000 households with energy assistance. Even though he recently retired from the Union County Division of Social Services, Michael will continue to serve as a volunteer on the NJ SHARES Board.
Jim Jacob with Gina LaPlacca, Verizon's Director of State Government Affairs.
NJ SHARES Recognizes National Communications Lifeline Awareness Week
In today’s increasingly interconnected world, telecommunications services provide a vital lifeline to emergency services, caregivers, friends and family. Communications Lifeline provides crucial financial assistance for qualified consumers. The designated national week, September 13 – 19, is designed to both raise awareness of and participation in Communications Lifeline.
New Jersey SHARES celebrates 10 years in partnership with Verizon NJ by providing outreach and enrollment services for their Communications Lifeline program. “Verizon provides a unique and compassionate solution to their customers through their Communications Lifeline program and we are proud to partner with Verizon NJ to connect our neighbors with vital resources, said Jim Jacob, NJ SHARES’ CEO.”
“Verizon NJ is committed to keeping vulnerable households connected to vital services, said Gina LaPlaca, Verizon’s Director of State Government Affairs. Ms. LaPlaca added, “Working with NJ SHARES’ Client Service Call Center benefits our applicants because they receive information and referral services for other qualifying programs to provide a holistic solution for a vulnerable household.”
Assemblyman Chris A. Brown, a supporter of NJ SHARES was interview by Comcast Newsmakers recently. He explains how his office serves as one of NJ SHARES’ 300 intake sites around the state and how his staff was able to connect a deaf senior citizen with the Communications Lifeline program. Click here to watch the interview. http://njshares.org/NJ-SHARES-Assemblyman-Chris-Brown_0815.asp
Nationally, the Federal Communications Commission and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates have recognized Lifeline awareness week.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program Opens for Application October 1st
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program administered by the State through partnerships with social service agencies. This program assists the most vulnerable households with incomes up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) with a heating grant for their deliverable fuel or utility service. The application is also an application for the state’s Universal Service Fund (USF) program which is available for New Jersey’s natural gas and electric utility customers up to 175% of the FPL with a utility burden that is equal to or greater than 6% of their income. For more information and required documentation visit: www.energyassistance.nj.gov or call NJ211.
Pictured are Serena Rice and Jim Jacob at an Anti-Poverty Network event earlier this year.
Low Income Forum on Energy Webinar Features NJ SHARES and Anti-Poverty Network
The Low Income Forum on Energy (LIFE) webinar gave an overview of the need for coordinated efforts to address the deep roots of poverty and the complex economic problems that cause them.
Serena Rice executive director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (APN) and Jim Jacob of NJ SHARES spoke about their partnership and how individual organizations with similar ideals collaborate under the APN membership to advocate for the prevention, reduction, and end of poverty in New Jersey. By working together, the APN addresses both the causes and consequences of poverty through five core strategic activities: information sharing; community education; partnership building; providing a framework for public discourse on the causes, effects, and remedies of poverty; and advocating for effective policies and programs.
Serena Rice said, “The webinar was important to show the model structure we use in New Jersey to engage the work of other groups in other states." She continued, “New capacity for change is driven by connecting, sharing and enriching our partners. Building an engaged and educated community that can support cooperative work on key policy priorities such as Housing, Hunger, and Economic Empowerment as the central focus, can amplify the efforts of all the network partners. We are really excited about the collaboration we are building in New Jersey, and we want to encourage other states to do the same in effecting change for their policy priorities.”
NJ SHARES team Kimberly Warrick, Linda Ellis and Dena Shipley talk with Seniors about our programs.
NJ SHARES' Staff Speak to Seniors at Bergen County Event
NJ SHARES participated in the annual Bergen County Senior Citizens Picnic on Wednesday, September 9, 2015. The annual event, sponsored by the Bergen County Department of Human Services Division of Senior Services, the County Executive, Mr. James J. Tedesco III and the Board of Chosen Freeholders, was held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Van Saun Park in Paramus.
The event, which hosts 3,000 senior citizens, was a great opportunity for NJ SHARES to talk to folks about our programs. In addition, Bergen county residents over the age of 60 were provided with lunch, a craft fair, music and entertainment. Representatives from various county agencies were on hand to provide information on available county services.
NJ SHARES Participates in PSE&G's Local Social Service Agencies Meeting
The family pictured was helped by a colloboration of utility, non-profit and government agencies working together. A great local example of this colloboration is the PSE&G hosted energy assistance education event, held September 29th, to inform local agencies of the energy assistance program updates and other resources available. With the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) set to open on October 1, this event was vital to ensuring resources are connected to qualified households through the social service network this heating season.
PSE&G played the NJ SHARES' American Winter video at their meeting.You can view the American Winter video and learn more about the family helped by visiting our website.
NJ SHARES was joined by other program representatives in presenting information and materials to the social services, non-profit and government attendees.
Juliette Serrano from Community Affairs and Resource Network and our own Dena Shipley take applications in Neptune at one of 17 of the New Jersey Natural Gas hosted Energy Assistance Days.
NJ SHARES Partners with New Jersey Natural Gas to Help Communities
NJ SHARES participated in the New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) sponsored energy assistance days, this month. The 17 events were a series of opportunities for the community to learn about the programs available and meet with social service providers to apply for federal, state and other programs available to assist economically disadvantaged households. We thank NJNG for hosting these events and inviting us to partipate in them. These events are another great example of how local colloborations betwen utility, non-profits and government agencies can make a positive impact for households in the community. A special thanks to our partners Community Affairs and Resource Network, Lakewood Resource Referral, Ocean Inc and Redbank Resource Network who were on hand to take applicaitons for NJ SHARES programs.
Pictured are Bayway staff and NJ SHARES partners’ Dominque Garrett and Medji Jean.
Bayway Family Success Center
NJ SHARES is fortunate to partner with more than 250 agencies around the state. Each organization has a different mission and focus but all provide holistic solutions to their community. This month we want to highlight our partnership with the Bayway Family Success Center. Family Success Centers offer primary and secondary child abuse prevention services to families and bring together concerned community residents, leaders, and community agencies to address the problems that threaten the safety and stability of families and the community. The Bayway Family Success Center is a sub-entity of Prevention Links. Prevention Links is a private, not-for-profit organization, which takes a leadership role in the prevention of drugs, alcohol, tobacco and related issues.
Director, Priscilla Machado said, “The Bayway Family Success Center is happy to be able to offer NJ SHARES programs to our clients. “These programs provide a much needed safety net for families who need the stability that utility assistance can provide so they can concentrate on other pressing matters to keep households on a path to success.”
On October 1st the NJ SHARES system will be updated with the USF and LIHEAP income guidelines. In order to do this the system will be unavailable after 6pm on September 30th until 9am on October 1st.
Qualified applicants above the LIHEAP program income guidelines can apply directly for NJ SHARES without getting denial letters from other programs. Applicants whose income falls within the LIHEAP program must have a denial letter from LIHEAP.
Starting October 1st, NJ SHARES will require the collection of IDs for ALL Household Members. The program packets have been updated with this new policy and are available for your reference and via download from the system when you sign in on October 1st. If you have questions or would like to schedule training contact email@example.com.