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LIHEAP SEASON OPENS OCTOBER 1, 2014
LIHEAP Application Season Opens October 1
October 1, 2014 marks the start of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) application season. LIHEAP is a federal energy assistance program designed to help low-income families and individuals with their home heating costs. This program is seasonal – this year’s application period will be from the October 1st through April 30, 2015.
Please Note: The 2015 LIHEAP application is also an application for the access to the Universal Service Fund (USF), a New Jersey program that makes natural gas and electric bills more affordable for low-income households. USF is available year-round to low income customers based on their income and energy burden.
Additional information about LIHEAP and USF, including an application, is also available at www.energyassistance.nj.gov.
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. Call us toll free at (866) 657-4273 or e-mail us as email@example.com for more information.
Community Health Law Project
Community Health Law Project Lends A Helping Hand
Providing New Jersey Residents with Superstorm Sandy and ACA assistance
The Community Health Law Project (CHLP) is a statewide nonprofit advocacy and legal services organization, providing legal representation and advocacy services to low-income people with disabilities throughout the state. It is led by President/Executive Director Harold B. Garwin, who is a current member and Past President of the NJ SHARES Board of Trustees,
Founded in 1976, CHLP is unique in that it specializes in services exclusively for people with disabilities. Through negotiation, litigation and advocacy, CHLP removes discriminatory barriers, protects rights and preserves independence and quality of life. Its staff of 57 operates out of regional offices in Bloomfield, Elizabeth, Trenton, Eatontown, and Collingswood, an administration office in South Orange, and satellite offices in Atlantic, Hudson, Ocean, Salem, and Burlington counties. In its 37 years, the Community Health Law Project has provided services to more than 75,000 individuals. Additionally, CHLP educates thousands of practitioners of law, health and social work, as well as consumers and families, through conferences, special programs and its website.
CHLP is currently highlighting a few of their services, in hopes of raising awareness and lending assistance to those in need.
Superstorm Sandy Assistance
CHLP is helping New Jersey residents who were affected by Superstorm Sandy by offering legal services and providing assistance to clients looking to access various programs offered by the state and federal government.
These services are available to the nine designated counties impacted most harshly by the storm – Cape May, Atlantic, Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex, Union, Hudson, Essex, Bergen and Cumberland counties.
If you are interested in obtaining more information, please call one of the following numbers:
Bergen and Essex – (973) 680-5599
Union and Hudson – (908) 355-8282
Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean – (732) 380-1012
Atlantic and Cape May and Cumberland – (856) 858-9500
Affordable Care Act (ACA)
CHLP was recently awarded the Federal Navigator grant to assist individuals enrolling under the Affordable Care Act, either in Medicaid expansion or the general marketplace.
This service is currently being offered to those in Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex and Passaic counties.
New Census Data Released – NJ Poverty Rate On The Rise
According to new Census data released on September 18, it is reported that New Jersey’s poverty rate rose from 10.8 percent in 2012 to 11.4 percent in 2013 – indicating nearly 1 million people throughout the state now live in poverty.
The report also cited the fact that New Jersey was one of three states that saw both a jump in poverty rate and a jump in the number of folks living in poverty.
Even though the report indicates that New Jersey’s poverty level is increasing, it is important to note that it is still well below the national average, which is currently 15.8 percent.
The Census included numbers for counties throughout the state. According to the report, Cumberland County came in having the highest poverty rate in the state at 20.6%. Hudson County and Salem County followed at 19.7% and 18.4% respectively.
To learn more about the Census report, click through to this article published by NJ Advance Media for NJ.com reporter Carla Astudillo.
NJ SHARES' President & CEO Jim Jacob
This month, I’d like to highlight two New Jersey water companies, United Water and New Jersey American Water (NJAW), who have been dedicated to NJ SHARES and fully committed in their efforts to provide assistance to those in need for many years.
NJ SHARES is proud to partner with United Water and NJAW to help administer the following assistance programs:
United Water CARES
United Water and NJ SHARES partnered in 2005 to create a water assistance program called United Water CARES. UW Cares provides relief to people facing a temporary financial crisis by administering grants to help pay the water bills of households in need through a network of community-based social service agencies in United Water’s service territories.
UW Cares is supported by United Water and administered by New Jersey SHARES. For information on applying for assistance please call 1-888-942-8080.
For more information, visit: http://uwcares.org. For an online application and detailed eligibility requirements, click here.
NJAW – H2O to Help Others Program™ & LIPP
New Jersey American Water offers two assistance programs to help New Jersey households afford their water bills.
H2O Help to Others Program™ provides grants up to $500 for eligible customers to help pay their water bill. The grant is applied directly to a customer account.
The Low Income Payment Program (LIPP) takes the H20 Help to Others Program™ one step further by providing aid to NJAW’s most economically challenged customers with a reduced rate. This aid can be equivalent to as much as 20% of a customer’s monthly bill, depending on eligibility.
NJ SHARES administers the application process for these two NJAW customer programs. Customers are also screened for conservation benefits at the time of application.
For more information about both of the programs offered by NJAW, click here.
|a message from your legislator
Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson
A Message from Assemblyman Dan Benson (D) of the 14th Legislative District
I believe it is important to do everything we can to protect consumers from being barraged by unwanted and misleading calls including those from utility companies. We've seen a growing problem of consumers getting “slammed” by these calls, many of which appear to include false and misleading claims. “Slamming” is a process in which utility consumers are switched from their existing accounts without their knowledge or permission. For this reason, I sponsored legislation, A-3422 that bans electric power suppliers from making false and misleading advertising claims to potential residential customers. The measure was signed into law by the Governor earlier this year as P.L. 2013, c.263.
The Board of Public Utilities (BPU) is now required to adopt advertising and marketing standards for electric power suppliers that would prohibit suppliers from making false or misleading advertising claims to potential customers. It also provides that any electric power supplier that violates this law is liable up to the amount on the customer’s bill in accordance with any procedures as the BPU may prescribe. Further, any electric power supplier that violates the above provisions shall be liable for a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for the first offense, and up to $25,000 for the second and each subsequent offense.
Since the passage of A-3422, both the BPU and the New Jersey Attorney General have stronger tools to reign in misleading providers and marketers. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office filed charges in June against three alternative energy suppliers who allegedly defrauded customers by saying they would save money if they changed from their electric and gas utilities only to see their bills increase dramatically. In the complaints filed by the Attorney General, the state said it would seek civil penalties, fees and restitution for customers who were switched without their consent and paid more on their utility bills as a result. The state is also considering revoking companies’ licenses to sell gas or electricity in New Jersey.
I am grateful for the passage of this new law and am pleased to see the steps being taken to better protect consumers from energy suppliers who may use false and misleading claims to solicit for new customers. New Jersey has taken strong steps to protect consumers from aggravating telemarketing calls. Energy marketing calls should be no different.
Daniel R. Benson
Assemblyman, 14th District
(representing parts of Mercer and
Gina LaPlaca (left), Director, State Government Affairs for Verizon NJ with Barbara Gomes, Director of Development for NJ SHARES
NJ SHARES Names Verizon New Jersey Recipient of “Neighborhood Hero” Award In Conjunction with National Communications Lifeline Awareness Week
In celebration of its 15th anniversary year, NJ SHARES has selected a number of companies that have supported its mission since their inception and honored them with “Neighborhood Hero” Awards. NJ SHARES has named Verizon New Jersey as a recipient of this award for September.
At a special presentation at our offices, Gina LaPlaca, Director of State Government Affairs for Verizon, accepted the award on the company’s behalf.
“Verizon New Jersey is proud to support NJ SHARES programs and do our part to keep households connected to vital telephone and utility services,” said LaPlaca.
In 1999, Verizon, then operating as Bell Atlantic, generously donated its first corporate contribution outside of New Jersey’s energy companies to NJ SHARES. The partnership continued to grow in 2000 when a representative from Verizon was named to NJ SHARES Board of Trustees. In October of 2005, this partnership spurred the opening of the NJ SHARES Client Services Call Center. The Call Center works to educate and assist people on the application and enrollment process for Verizon New Jersey’s Communications Lifeline Program, which ensures that seniors, low income households and all those in need have access to a phone landline in their home.
“It has been nearly ten years since the opening of the Call Center and our partnership with Verizon New Jersey is stronger than ever,” said Jim Jacob, President and CEO of NJ SHARES. “We continue to help more than 135,000 households in need each year, and the Call Center has become a successful model for other Call Centers and Lifeline programs across the country.”
The NJ SHARES 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. For more information about NJ SHARES, visit: www.njshares.org. For additional information on National Communications Lifeline Week, visit: http://www.naruc.org/lifeline/
Kimberly Warrick, Call Center Manager, assists a client during
NJ SHARES Proud To Be A Presence at "AC Unites Here" Resource Center
In response to recent closures of three casinos in Atlantic City, NJ SHARES is proud to have had a presence at the “AC Unites Here” Resource Center at the Convention Center in Atlantic City, and when it moved to Boardwalk Hall.
Organized by the main casino workers union, Local 54 of Unite-HERE, the Resource Center was available to assist all recently laid-off casino workers in Atlantic City in filing unemployment applications; signing up for health insurance coverage under the ACA; finding information on NJ Family Care, mortgage and rental assistance, unemployment/re-employment, job training, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), energy/utility assistance programs and other state and federal resources; and talking to representatives from local food banks and other local assistance agencies available to those in need.
NJ SHARES was honored to be invited by Alita Corbett of Atlantic City Electric to be a part of the Resource Center and provide guidance to those in need. Corbett is a valued member of NJ SHARES Board of Directors, and we were proud to share a table with our friends at Atlantic City Electric.
NJ SHARES Call Center Manager Kimberly Warrick and volunteers were on hand to sit down one-on-one with folks, help navigate LIHEAP applications and provide detailed information on all energy and water assistance programs that are currently available to those in need.
NJ SHARES is happy to Offer Hope and Deliver Help to all those in need in Atlantic County and beyond – and we extend our sincere gratitude to our friends at Atlantic City Electric for the opportunity to be a part of this extraordinary Resource Center.
APN Annual Summit December 4, 2014
SAVE THE DATE: Anti-Poverty Network’s Annual Summit To Be Held December 4th
The Anti-Poverty Network will host its Annual Poverty Summit on December 4, 2014 at the Crown Plaza Monroe (390 Forsgate Dr, Monroe Township) from 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. The Summit will feature a keynote address from Dr. Kasturi Dasgupta, Chair of the Sociology Department at Georgian Court College; skill-building workshops for advocates; issue-based workshops; networking opportunities and more. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.
#Giving Tuesday is back!
#GivingTuesday Is Back!
We know you’ve heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, NJ SHARES is delighted to be taking part in #GivingTuesday once again!
#GivingTuesday is a national movement that encourages community giving around the holiday season. It will occur on Tuesday, December 2nd after the rush of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
We are encouraging everyone to think of NJ SHARES when taking part in this year’s #GivingTuesday and help your neighbors in need stay warm in their homes this winter. And the giving isn’t just reserved for #GivingTuesday – you can be charitable and generous any day! Between now and December 31, 2014, we have set the bar high and hope to exceed our goal of $10,000 in donations.
To give, kindly visit: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/nsha/full.
Our utility partners (Atlantic City Electric, Elizabethtown Gas, Jersey Central Power & Light, New Jersey Natural Gas, PSE&G, Rockland Electric and South Jersey Gas) have agreed to match their customer contributions to our #GivingTuesday campaign. Be sure to choose your utility company when you visit, https://secure.qgiv.com/for/nsha/full.
Share our link and spread the word about our #GivingTuesday campaign efforts via your social media websites – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
We will be sure to keep you informed of additional partners who agree to match donations between now and the end of the year. If you or your company/organization are interested in matching, kindly contact Barbara Gomes, Director of Development, at (609) 883-1201 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
So, what will you give this year?
Linda Kleppinger, JCP&L Customer Outreach Specialist & NJ SHARES Volunteer
NJ SHARES Volunteer, Linda Kleppinger of JCP&L Retires
It is with bittersweet emotions that we say goodbye to Linda Kleppinger, as she announced her retirement this past month. Linda has volunteered with NJ SHARES since 2002, and served as a JCP&L Customer Outreach Specialist.
“Linda was instrumental in gaining support for so many of our community events over the years,” said Jim Jacob, President and CEO of NJ SHARES. “She was a vital part of our team, actively involved in the important work NJ SHARES does on a daily basis. We wish her the very best in her future endeavors.”
Linda sent along this note to NJ SHARES upon her retirement:
To My Friends at NJ SHARES,
Congratulations on 15 years of helping so many in need!
I am so proud to know that your organization is celebrating 15 years, and how much you have grown in the diversity of services offered and numbers served. Again, congratulations!
I am thankful for my experience with NJ SHARES and happy that I was a part of a team whose goal was, and continues, to have a positive impact on the lives of so many New Jersey residents and beyond. I have always felt that NJ SHARES was built on a solid foundation, thanks to its leadership, committed board members, and dedicated staff.
I will continue to follow your ventures and accomplishments via your newsletter. Thank you for keeping me in the loop! Of course, I will be volunteering and remaining in touch with my local community, as well as other adventures I hope to pursue. Take care my friends. I wish you continued growth and success!
Helen Stove, Social Services Specialist pictured at the most recent Atlantic City Electric Summit
Neighbors Who Care Resource 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 Neighbors Who Care Resource Center.
The Neighbors Who Care Resource Center is committed and dedicated to compassionate services for individuals and families residing in the Lindenwold and Camden County Communities. Their outreach ministry is part of a non-profit faith based organization. They are servants shining a light in their community offering hope. It is their passion to help, assist and empower the community by providing support, education and programs that improve their quality of life.
“During times of hardship, The Neighbors Who Care Resource Center focuses on providing avenues of training and assisting households resulting in an increased number of strong self-sufficient families within our community. " NJ SHARES is another resource to assist our neighbors in becoming more self sufficient, “ said John and Nadine Washington, Directors for Neighbors Who Care Resource Center.
News from the NJS-VZ Client Services Call Center
New Jersey SHARES Client Services Call Center has been assisting Verizon NJ Customers since October of 2005 and Ana S. has been with NJ SHARES in the Verizon Lifeline Call Center since 2009.
My name is Ana S. I have been working for NJS-VZ Life Line Call Center since April 2009. I am a Part Time Bilingual Client Services Representative taking a high volume of Spanish Calls on a daily basis.
Every day, after leaving my daughters at school, I come in to work with a smile on my face ready to help clients get enrolled in the Verizon NJ Communications Lifeline program, which has been helping lots of families for several years with their Verizon land line bills all across the State of New Jersey.
It has been a great and satisfactory experience all these years. It is gratifying to hear lots of people’s stories about how this program has helped them out, especially in this devastating economy.
I encourage you to contact our toll free line at 1-888-337-3339 for more information, we will be more than happy to assist you!