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1/31/11

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

US Department of Health and Human Services Issues 2011 Federal Poverty Guidelines

The US Department of Health and Human Services has issued the 2011 Federal Poverty Guidelines. The changes affect the NJ SHARES program caps for energy, telephone and water assistance programs. All income rules have been updated and will be effective Tuesday, January 25, 2011.

NJ SHARES Energy, Verizon Communications Lifeline and New Jersey American Water Assistance Training Packets and Useful Tool materials are updated to reflect the income guideline policy change. NJ SHARES’ partner agencies can download this information from the intake system. For questions, contact outreach@njshares.org.

NJ SHARES Receives Escheat Funding

This month, the State of New Jersey provided $884,300 to NJ SHARES to offer energy assistance to New Jersey households in need. Funds were made immediately available. With the State’s support these funds have afforded New Jersey SHARES the opportunity to avert potential tragedies for our neighbors in every county during these cold winter days. These funds have already been expended in all but seven counties.

The money is provided through the State Treasury Department's Office of Unclaimed Property, from a special utility trust fund, to New Jersey SHARES. The trust fund is maintained by the unclaimed-property office and contains money turned over to the state by utility companies.


Pictured: Jim Jacob, Cheryl Stowell and Assemblyman Chivukula

Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula Receives NJ SHARES’ Legislator of the Year Award

This month, NJ SHARES gave Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula an award that celebrates his exemplary commitment to New Jersey households in crisis. Assemblyman Chivukula has been a legislative champion for NJ SHARES’ mission to Offer Hope and Deliver Help. He and his staff continue their tireless efforts in partnership with us to promote NJ SHARES’ programs, and to help us achieve legislative recognition of our need for sustained funding.

Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day - January 28, 2011

You could be eligible to get more money back from the IRS – as much as $5,666. For more information visit: www.njcommunityresources.info.

If you earned less than $48,362 from wages, self-employment or farming last year, you may qualify for a refundable tax credit called the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. But you must file a federal income tax return claiming the credit to get it.

EITC can be a big financial boost for working people hit by hard economic times. Many individuals who saw their incomes drop in 2010 may qualify for the first time.



Discount Heating Oil Available through Citizen’s Action Group

Discount heating oil is available through Citizen’s Action Group, an organization that provides members with hundreds of dollars a year in savings on their oil heating bills. The organization was formed in 1983 to provide consumers with an alternative to the high cost of heating fuel. All New Jersey residents and businesses who heat with oil are eligible. Citizen’s Action Group uses bulk purchasing power to negotiate discount prices for members. To learn more visit: www.njcaoilgroup.com.
president's letter


As we trudge through what we hope will be the worst of this winter’s weather, it’s a good time to focus on some of the real-life scenarios that can result in an urgent need for utility bill assistance.

How does a fixed- or middle-income household find itself slipping into what feels like insurmountable debt? Whether prompted by a job loss, illness or family crisis, every story is different. However, the theme is the same: Helping households through a temporary financial crisis, via utility bill assistance, can play a major role in keeping individuals and families out of poverty.

One client, for instance, needed help catching up with her electric bill after suffering severe burns while cooking for her elderly mother. The responsibility of caring for her mother – while at the same time recovering from her injury, with no medical insurance – made it difficult to hold a job and keep up with her expenses. A NJ SHARES electric bill grant played a significant role in helping this woman to get her finances back on track.

Offering hope, delivering help – that is our mission. NJ SHARES is doing what it can to help those who fall through the cracks of other assistance programs – through our energy assistance, Verizon Communications Lifeline and Link-Up America telephone assistance and the New Jersey American Water and the United Water Cares water bill assistance program.

This year, NJ SHARES is again challenged to secure assistance for thousands of needy households. We are deeply grateful to all of our partners, supporters and friends for their ongoing support in helping us in our mission.

Best regards,

Jim Jacob

Events


NJ Devils Host NJ SHARES Night

The NJ Devils hosted a NJ SHARES night on Jan. 20 to help raise awareness for NJ SHARES and its programs. The Devils took on the Pittsburg Penguins at the Prudential Center in Newark, with a final score of 2-0, for a Devil’s win. NJ SHARES’ programs were showcased in front of 14,890 hockey fans. Thanks to our friends at PSE&G and Verizon, NJ SHARES raised nearly $3000 from the sale of box seats.

NJ SHARES Highlights its Programs at United Way Energy Expo

NJ SHARES had the opportunity to showcase its energy programs this month at the 2011 United Way Energy Expo in Bridgeton. The expo gave NJ SHARES a platform to answer questions and connect members of the public with appropriate programs.

NJ SHARES Participates Chamber of Commerce Washington Event

NJ SHARES took part in the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Walk to Washington on January 27 and 28. The event, which included a Congressional dinner, was attended by state government leaders, New Jersey’s Congressional delegation and other prominent business and political leaders from the Garden State. The event was an excellent opportunity for NJ SHARES to raise awareness about our programs and the people we help.
ACE’s 85 Ways to Save Money and Energy


ACE's Tip for the month of January

Atlantic City Electric’s tip of the month: Dust or vacuum radiator surfaces frequently. Dust and grime impede the flow of heat. Also, keep lamps or television sets away from the thermostat. Heat from these appliances is sensed by the thermostat and could cause your furnace to shut off sooner than is needed to provide adequate warmth.
Agency toolbox

Department of Labor Goes Paperless

This month the NJ Department of Labor went paperless. Thus changing the format of the unemployment benefit documents. These documents are needed as back-up materials in showing household income when processing applications. NJ SHARES has been working with the NJ Department of Labor to reformat our ‘Training Packet’ language and ‘Useful Tool’ information.

Currently, any client who has unemployment benefits is required to provide the unemployment benefit letter (must be dated within 26 weeks of application date) OR most recent continuation/extension of benefits notice OR Most recent DOL LOOPS print-out. Agencies can address their questions using one of three communications vehicles: 1) the Priority Support Request, located as a large icon in the top right corner of your system Welcome page, 2) call the NJ SHARES Agency Hotline: 609.883.1616 ext 1399 or 3) email: grants@njshares.org.


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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