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Pictured, Barbara Shissias, FirstEnergy, Mike O'Bremski, Area Manager for JCP&L, and Jim Jacob, NJ SHARES
Jersey Central Power & Light Named Recipient of NJ SHARES “Neighborhood Hero” Award
In August, Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) was named a recipient of our “Neighborhood Hero” Award. Mike Obremski, Area Manager for JCP&L, accepted the award on behalf of JCP&L President James V. Fakult at a special presentation held at the company’s offices in Morristown, NJ.
"JCP&L congratulates NJ SHARES for their 15 years of service to our community, and I am honored to accept the ‘Neighborhood Hero’ award on the company’s behalf,” said James V. Fakult, President of JCP&L. “This award recognizes the work that both JCP&L employees and customers along with our fellow utilities started many years ago – to lend a helping hand to neighbors in need. We believe that working towards a greater good makes for better business, and that involves supporting the communities where we live and work each and every day."
“As we celebrate our 15th Anniversary, NJ SHARES is honored to recognize JCP&L for their continued support of our mission,” said Jim Jacob, President of NJ SHARES. “We greatly value our partnership with JCP&L. Their dedication to our organization has allowed us to consistently respond to the financial needs of those New Jersey households in need of assistance.”
NJ SHARES President & CEO Jim Jacob
Where did the summer months go? As the warm days of summer come to a close, we urge folks to prepare for the colder temperatures and winter months ahead.
For those who struggle with home heating costs, help is available.
October 1 will mark the 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. This program is seasonal, and typically runs from October through the winter months to the end of April.
An application to LIHEAP also provides families and individuals with 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. The program ensures that the most vulnerable can afford their energy bills by requiring customers pay up to 3% of their annual income toward each utility – or up to 6% for natural gas and electric combined.
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. Through assistance, advocacy, community outreach, education, information and referral, we work to connect households with the available resources they need most.
Keeping with the spirit of preparedness, I was recently reminded of the frequency by which NJ SHARES is called upon to offer our advice on alternative energy providers.
I urge individuals and families to take the time to thoroughly research such providers and carefully review the contracts they provide. While the decision to shop for new energy providers may be financially driven, individuals and families must make sure they choose a plan that works for their own needs.
For those currently shopping for new energy providers, a list of authorized providers as well as useful information on what questions you should be asking when considering a new contract can be found on the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ website at: www.state.nj.us/bpu/residential/.
To all of our agency partners, utility and energy company friends and supporters – we once again thank you in advance for your support as we gear up for another winter 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.
Pictured from left are Theresa Munford, Joann Swiney-Williams; Director, Brad Manuel, Amalia Aldana and Pastor Deloris Keels
New Community Corporation
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 New Community Corporation of Newark (NCC).
For about a month, Olivia was in the dark. Saddled with a combined electric and gas bill of close to $2,000, the Newark resident turned to New Community’s Family Resource Success Center for help. “Every month I was getting a shut-off notice,” said Olivia, who lives in a three family house in Newark’s Vailsburg section and works for the Urban League of Essex County as program administrator for mature workers.
She approached Joann Williams-Swiney, director of NCC’s Family Resource Success Center in Newark, who knew just the solution for Miller: NJ SHARES. The statewide nonprofit provides grants to pay the utility bills of households in need.
“We are getting an increasing number of individuals like retirees, homeowners, the working poor and families who are struggling to pay their utility bills,” explained Williams-Swiney. “Many are under tremendous amount of stress and don’t know where to turn.”
The majority of NJ SHARES applicants fall under the category of the “working poor,” but some have also lost their jobs due to the recession.
Under the NJ SHARES Program, the applicant is still required to make at least a $100 contribution towards their utility bill balance prior to the grant being awarded. Olivia is happy to report that she was able to get her electric and gas turned back on the first week of June.
NJSHARES' President & CEO Jim Jacob Chats With Steve Adubato on Caucus NJ
Recently, NJ SHARES’ President and CEO, Jim Jacob had an opportunity to sit down one-on-one with Steve Adubato at a taping of his acclaimed show, Caucus: New Jersey. This was a wonderful opportunity to discuss NJ SHARES, all of our Energy & Utility Assistance Programs and how, we “Offer Hope and Deliver Help” by working together with over 240 Social Service Partners and Legislative Offices statewide.
You can check out Jim’s interview on our homepage at www.njshares.org or by clicking this link:
NJ SHARES' Mobile Giving is Now Activated!
NJ SHARES’ Mobile Giving is now activated!
Donating is simple – all you need to do is text any of the designated keywords below to 50155 to initiate a donation.
Keywords include: WARMHEART, SHARETHEWARMTH, BEATTHEHEAT, SHARES, NJSHARES
NOTE: Keywords are not case sensitive.
Donations are tax-deductible & will help your New Jersey neighbors in need of assistance with their energy bills.
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 Ashley A. has been with NJ SHARES in the Verizon Lifeline Call Center since her senior year at Steinert High School.
I have been with NJ SHARES since my senior year of high school working through the Work Program at Steinert High School. NJ SHARES continues to work around my schedule throughout my college career as well. I enjoy helping our client’s each day to attain the Lifeline credit on their Verizon phone bills. I have recently begun working with our Outreach Team and participating in their events and trainings. Knowing that I am able to help our clients makes the work and the trips worthwhile. I am very thankful to have been given the opportunity to work for such a rewarding organization.
Social Security Administration Update
LIHEAP Clearinghouse Releases New Report
August 5 — The LIHEAP Clearinghouse has published a four-page issue brief titled A New Framework for "Heat and Eat:" LIHEAP and SNAP After the 2014 Farm Bill.
For years, over a dozen LIHEAP grantees coordinated their LIHEAP and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP) to help low-income households both heat their homes and feed their families. They did this through programs known as "Heat and Eat," under which they provided a nominal benefit—from $1 to $5—to help low-income households maximize their SNAP benefits.
This practice changed with passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, which required that the LIHEAP benefit in Heat and Eat be more than $20. The issue brief examines the history of Heat and Eat; the impact of the 2014 Farm Bill; and how LIHEAP grantees, federal lawmakers, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have responded to the Farm Bill's requirement.