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11/26/08 Volume 3, Issue 8

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
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
During a Joint Legislative session on October 16th, 2008, Governor Corzine proposed $10 Million in energy assistance to be directed to NJ SHARES as part of his Economic Aid and Stimulus Package. On November 17th, 2008, the Assembly voted in favor of Assembly bill A3374 (67 yes; 10 no; and 1 abstention). On November 24, 2008, the Senate voted (35 yes; 0 no; and 5 abstentions) in favor of Senate bill S1. The bill is on its way to the Governor for signature.


NJ SHARES Executive Director Jim Jacob

A word from our executive director

Considering the state of the economy in New Jersey and the outlook for the near future, we know that all of our intake partners are gearing up for a long, hard and very cold winter.
However bleak the outlook, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Gov. Jon Corzine has recognized the looming crisis for New Jersey residents facing difficulties paying their utility bills and has reacted accordingly.
First, Gov. Corzine increased the income eligibility for LIHEAP to 225 percent of the federal poverty level, enabling thousands more of New Jersey families to benefit.
Also at the Governor’s initiative, the state Assembly and Senate have passed a bill directing $10 million in funding to NJ SHARES. That gives us the ability to cast our energy assistance safety net that much farther.
We thank the Governor and our leaders in the New Jersey Legislature for their support. Their actions will provide critically necessary heating assistance for thousands of our neighbors across the state.
At NJ SHARES, it has been an exciting and busy time. We recently entered into a partnership with the Fuel Merchant Association to offer energy assistance grants to our neighbors who heat by deliverable fuels such as oil and propane. For the first time in our 10-year existence, NJ SHARES will be able to assist customers of all fuel types.
So, while the winter may seem long, dark and cold, we will travel through it together making a difference for individuals and families in every county.

Events


NJ SHARES outreach team members Dena Passero, Barbara Gomes and Fran Sullivan work at the booth in the League's exhibition hall.

NJ SHARES at the 93rd League of Municipalities

Atlantic City was hopping November 17 through 20 when mayors and other municipal officials came to town for the League of Municipalities Annual Conference and NJ SHARES was right in the middle of it.
NJ SHARES was one of nearly 800 exhibitors at this gigantic event that draws governmental leaders from every community in the state. Our staff stayed busy spreading the word about our programs available to New Jersey residents through our network of intake agencies.



NJ SHARES participates in energy conferences

PSE&G, NJNG and ACE invited NJ SHARES to speak at its annual energy conferences held this Fall. The presenters were Fran Sullivan, Millie Mendez and Dena Passero.
The Energy Fair, sponsored by New Jersey Natural Gas and the United Way organizations of both Monmouth and Ocean counties, was held November 13 and featured NJ SHARES outreach specialist Millie Mendez. Her fellow speakers were representatives of state, county and municipal government, as well as other non-profit agencies.
At the PSE&G Energy Conferences, NJ SHARES was in great company, joining speakers from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and several representatives of PSE&G. Among the topics discussed were the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Universal Service Fund (USF), Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Winter Termination Program (WTP).
The WTP is a policy of Board of Public Utilities and grants protection from service shut off from November 15 to March 15 to residential customers who have a temporary financial crisis or receive benefits from these programs: LIHEAP, Lifeline, USF, PAAD, SSI, Work First New Jersey/Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and Work First New Jersey/General Assistance. The day-long event attracted hundreds of social services agency personnel.



Heating and Utility Crisis Panel Discussion

NJ SHARES’ executive director Jim Jacob was part of panel discussing The Heating and Utility Crisis at the Legal Services of New Jersey (LSNJ) annual conference held November 25 at its headquarters in Edison. LSNJ is an independent, non-profit organization that provides free legal assistance to low-income people in civil matters. The day-long conference attracted nearly 200 attendees who participated in the many workshops with topics such as affordable housing, families in crisis, workers’ compensation and public benefits. LSNJ can be reached 1-888-LSNJ-LAW.


Upcoming Events: Anti-Poverty Network 9th Annual conference

On December 9, NJ SHARES’ staff will be attending the Anti-Poverty Network (APN) of New Jersey’s Ninth Annual Conference at the War Memorial in Trenton. APN is an information-oriented forum open to all concerned with ending or eliminating poverty. It includes grass-roots and advocacy organizations, faith-based groups, people living in poverty, labor unions and others. Space for the conference is limited, so pre-registration is strongly recommended and should be made by December 3. APN can be reached at www.antipovertynetwork.org or call 732-572-9100.


Help keep your neighbors warm with the sound of music

Musician Mel White and the Rainbow Peace Choir will share the warmth in their hearts so they can warm their neighbor’s homes with a holiday concert to benefit New Jersey SHARES. It will be performed at St. Andrew and Holy Communion Church on Sunday, December 14, 2008, at 5 pm. This is a great opportunity to help others and get in the holiday mood at the same time.
Location: 160 West South Orange Avenue (corner of Ridgewood Road), South Orange, NJ. Suggested admission price: $10 for adults, $5 for children under 12 and seniors over 65 (but feel free to give more!). Admission will be collected at the door. Your tax-deductable donation may be eligible for a corporate match so please make sure you write your utility company on the envelope.
For more information on Mel White and her music, click www.smilingheartmusic.com or sample her music by clicking www.cdbaby.com/melwhite7.



NJ DEVILS Fundraiser to benefit NJ SHARES

Get your tickets for NJ SHARES NIGHT at the New Jersey Devils game and join us as the NJ DEVILS take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. The event will take place on Friday, January 30, 2009, at Newark’s Prudential Center. Discounted $35 tickets make great stocking stuffers, so order yours today. For Credit Card payment orders: Call John Tierney, Devils Group Sales, at 973-757-6250 or go to www.njshares.org for a downloadable mail-in form!


Did you know

• While LIHEAP guidelines have been dramatically extended in New Jersey, the program could be squeezed by a projected 20 percent average increase in heating bills and an influx of people applying for assistance due to sour economic conditions, high gas prices and a weak labor market.
Events


Verizon practices good cyber citizenship

As a practitioner of good corporate leadership, Verizon takes Internet safety and responsible online behavior seriously and has launched a program call Partnership for a Child-Safe Internet. The program’s goal is to alert people to the risks, help parents keep their children safe and help law enforcement preserve a safe and healthy Internet.
Last month, Dennis Bone, president of Verizon New Jersey welcomed leaders from law enforcement, business, education, government and civic groups to discuss the challenges of delivering a child safe Internet at a forum held in Trenton. The speakers’ roster included New Jersey’s Attorney General Anne Milgram, Dr. Steve Adubato who was the forum’s moderator, and Dr. Vito Gagliardi, former New Jersey commissioner of education.
The forum is another example of the telecommunications giant’s commitment to New Jersey communities. Verizon also offers a low-income discount program called Communications Lifeline in partnership with NJ SHARES that makes residential telephone service more affordable for qualified, low income customers. It provides a $16.29 maximum credit toward the monthly bill that includes a full credit for Touch-Tone service. Customers can choose flat rate service, moderate use message rate service, or low use message rate service. For non-Verizon customers, the company offers Link Up America that provides a 50 percent discount on telephone connection charges. The remaining 50 percent may be billed in 12 monthly payments.
Customers qualify for Communications Lifeline and Link Up America if they receive benefits from a state or federal program such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, or PAAD, among others. Senior citizens, aged 65 and older, who do not participate in a program can also enroll if their income is at or below 150 percent of the poverty guidelines.
For more information about Verizon’s Communication Lifeline or Link Up America or to receive brochures or applications. Contact NJ SHARES’ call center at
1-888-337-3339. The staff is available to answer questions Monday through Friday from 9 am to 6 pm.



Bryon Jones of A Partnership for a Better Tomorrow takes a moment to pose for a picture.

Welcome to the neighborhood

NJ SHARES is pleased to welcome the following organizations to our intake agency network:
A Partnership for a Better Tomorrow specializes in home ownership issues including those for first time buyers. They do credit repair, financial literacy, housing preservation including pre-foreclosure counseling, and small business development. They are located at 200 Claremont Avenue, Montclair, and can be reached at 973-509-1300.
V.I.S.I.O.N. at Hope Center is the human service component of Masjid Waarith, an Islamic community organization, Ud-Deen and its mission is to enhance the lives of those often identified as at risk populations. The agency offers programs for youth, a food pantry, and sponsors a Day of Dignity that supplied meals and other essentials to the participants. V.I.S.I.O.N. at Hope Center serves Union and Essex counties and can be reached at 973-373-8282 or email at visioncbo202@yahoo.com.



FAQ: Answers to your most important questions

Q. Do senior citizens residing in assisted living facilities and nursing homes qualify for the Verizon Communication Lifeline discount?
A. Yes, as long as the Verizon account is in the name of the senior citizen who meets the income eligibility, he or she can receive the discount.
Q. If a consumer used space heaters to heat over the winter, can they receive a $700 electric heat grant?
A. No. If the consumer’s primary heat source is not electric then they are not eligible to receive the maximum grant for electric heat. The client can apply for a regular electric grant. (Grants are $700 for natural gas and $300 for electric – with the exception of the client’s heating with electric can receive up to $700.)



Agency Toolbox

NJ SHARES’ website contains information to help our network of intake agencies in their work. Here are a few useful tips:
• We recently updated our scanner instructions and they are found on the right of the welcome screen after sign in under useful tools.
• Get your updated information packet by clicking on 2008-2009 Heating Season Training Packet under the Training Manual heading on the right side of your screen.
• When you need to, you can get in touch with us through our Agency Change Form. A member of the Outreach team will respond. A link to this form can be found on the sign in screen before sign in and on the welcome screen under the heading Agency Request Form.


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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