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Jim Jacob, President & CEO
As the freezing cold of winter settles upon us, I wanted to share some of the key findings from our Annual Impact Evaluation. This important report helps us assess the impact of our grants as well as the characteristics of those we assist, in order to help us to review and improve the services we provide. By providing grants to households not eligible for other energy assistance programs, NJ SHARES serves as a safety net offering assistance to New Jersey residents who have had a temporary crisis and cannot meet their current energy payments.
The vast majority of grantees have only received assistance once in the last ten years. Our Impact Evaluation illustrates that NJ SHARES serves the most vulnerable households – 50 percent had a child 18 or younger in the home and 53 percent had a household member over the age of 50. In addition, 82 percent of households NJ SHARES assisted had employment income with a good payment record. The report also shows that in the year following their grant, recipients paid an average of 90 percent of their current bills and the second year after grant receipt were able to pay an average of 108 percent of their current bills. Having a safety-net made all of the difference for our neighbors.
I want to remind New Jersey residents struggling to pay their energy bills that there are programs available to help. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a federal energy assistance program, is 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 year-round New Jersey program that makes natural gas and electric bills more affordable for low-income households. The Winter Termination Program (WTP) is another important safeguard that protects many New Jersey residents from having their utility service interrupted or turned-off during the coldest winter months. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ WTP runs from November 15 through March 15 and shields customers receiving public benefits from having their gas or electric service discontinued as long as they are making good faith payments, if they are able.
Finally, let me take this opportunity to thank our agency and legislative partners, our utility company partners and generous donors who make it possible for us to do the work that we do. Without their support, we would be unable to provide our New Jersey neighbors with the financial assistance, support and resources they need to stay safe and warm.
A few of NJ SHARES' supporters join Barbara Gomes and Dena Shipley pictured on the Jumbotron.
NJ SHARES Night with the NJ DEVILS
January 8th was a fun night at the Prudential Center where the NJ DEVILS took on the Boston Bruins. The Devils made sure that NJ SHARES fans got a special treat with discounted tickets, a viewing of our PSA during the game and other special acknowledgements.
NJ SHARES’ Barbara Gomes and Dena Shipley hosted a table on the concourse to talk to fans about NJ SHARES programs and energy conservation tips. The Devils Foundation will make a donation to NJ SHARES that we will use toward energy assistance for households in need.
Thanks to the NJ DEVILS and all of our donors, supporters and friends for another great event!
Client Services Staff Member, Jennifer B
NJ SHARES Client Services Team Member: Jennifer B.
NJ SHARES wants to introduce you to Client Services Staff Member, Jennifer B, who joined the NJ SHARES team three months ago, providing support for Verizon’s Communication lifeline program.
“I take great satisfaction in being able to help the clients that need our assistance the most. I enjoy working with the diverse group at NJ SHARES and I look forward to my future as part of the NJ SHARES Client Services Call Center team.”
Bilingual Client Services Staff Member
Assmeblyman Joe Danielsen pictured with NJ SHARES' Kimberly Warrick.
Joe Danielsen - D-17
As a member of the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee, Assemblyman Danielsen has been active in supporting legislation that enhances issues in public utilities and energy for the betterment of all citizens of our State.
He served as a prime sponsor on a key bill (A3455) that was signed into law as Chapter 52 of the Public Laws of 2015 by the Governor, which amended the definition of Class II renewable energy to include hydropower facilities with a capacity of greater than three megawatts but less than 30 megawatts.
Serving as a volunteer firefighter in Franklin Township, he was a key sponsor on A1408, which requires all public utility companies to provide bill credits to volunteer fire companies, emergency rescue squads and non-profit homeless and domestic violence shelters.
He also sponsored bills that protect new senior housing through the installation of emergency power generators, and new State buildings by having solar and geothermal energy systems installed. The Assemblyman looks forward to partnering with NJ SHARES on key legislation which will better protect citizens in their need for assistance.
Pictured are Sharnica Barnes-Coleman, Owner/Executive Director and Yashica S. Smith, Daycare Coordinator.
NJ SHARES Welcomes Mrs. Barnes’ Playhouse.
The new year brings new partners. NJ SHARES is fortunate to partner with more than 230 agencies around the state. Each organization has a different mission and focus but all provide holistic solutions to their community. This month we are pleased to highlight our new partnership with Mrs. Barnes’ Playhouse.
Mrs. Barnes’ Playhouse Youth & Family Service Program is a home away from home, a place that not only warms the soul, but nourishes the heart. It is where the matters and concerns that make the difference in a child’s life are embraced. As an energetic, caring and concerned child care provider since 2002 in the South Jersey area, Founder Sharnica Barnes-Coleman saw and realized the dire, growing need to provide safe, quality and affordable child care for as many families and children as possible. This passion motivated her to open a facility that would cater to parents facing economic challenges who need to work varied shifts. Mrs. Barnes’ Playhouse Youth & Family Service Program believes that an after-school program that addresses many of the issues faced by today’s wayward adolescents will lessen the educational achievement gap and offer an alternative to juvenile delinquency.
“NJ SHARES is happy to be partnering with Mrs. Barnes. We believe our partnership will help the working families who participate in affordable day care programs”, said Jim Jacob, NJ SHARES CEO.
“Bringing information about NJ SHARES assistance programs can help with some of the economic challenges that are often obstacles for families who are working, yet still struggling to provide the necessities, such as a warm home, childcare and nourishment,” said Mrs. Barnes-Coleman, Owner/Executive Director.
US Department of Health and Human Services Issues 2016 Poverty Guideline
All NJ SHARES administered programs will be updated with the US Department of Health and Human Services 2016 Poverty Guideline effective February 1, 2016.
On January 25, the Department of Health and Human Services updated the poverty guidelines adjusting them on the basis of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. The poverty guidelines are used as an eligibility criterion by the Community Services Block Grant program and a number of other Federal programs.
If any of our partnering agencies have questions, please contact the NJ SHARES outreach team at firstname.lastname@example.org.