|New Jersey SHARES Wraps Up Its "Winter 2001" Campaign After Giving $15 Million In Aid To Nearly 50,000 Households
Hackettstown, NJ — June 5, 2002 — New Jersey SHARES (Statewide Heating
Assistance and Referral for Energy Services) announced today that it is
formally wrapping up its year-long "Winter 2001" campaign after
providing grants totaling approximately $15 million to help pay the winter
heating bills of 49,244 New Jersey households.
Funding for the campaign came from legislation approved in February 2001
that allocated $15 million to New Jersey SHARES from windfall state sales
tax revenues generated by that winter's unusually high wholesale natural
gas prices. The law directed New Jersey SHARES to distribute the money
to needy individuals and families who sustained financial hardships as
a result of higher energy bills. By law, the entire $15 million fund had
to be distributed by June 30, 2002.
Lawrence P. Savitsky, executive director of New Jersey SHARES, said the
speed with which the funds were distributed is a clear indication of how
much they were needed. "There are hundreds of thousands of families
in New Jersey who face a daily struggle in making ends meet," he
said. "These include the elderly, the unemployed, the sick, the working
poor and others who have experienced financial difficulties because of
circumstances beyond their control. Thanks to these grants from New Jersey
SHARES, we were able to keep the lights on and the radiators warm in nearly
50,000 of these homes."
Savitsky explained that the guidelines approved by the New Jersey Board
of Public Utilities for the distribution of these funds allowed New Jersey
SHARES to provide grants of up to $1,000 - up to $750 for gas and up to
$250 for electricity - to needy customers. Eligibility criteria were also
expanded for this campaign to include customers receiving public assistance.
Now that the "Winter 2001" fund has been exhausted, New Jersey
SHARES will revert to its original grant limits of $500 per household
- up to $250 each for gas and electricity - and limit eligibility to those
individuals and families that do not receive assistance from other programs.
"On behalf of the nearly 50,000 households that were helped, New
Jersey SHARES wants to thank the State Legislature, the Governor's Office
and the Board of Public Utilities for making these funds available,"
New Jersey SHARES is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization which provides
grants through a statewide network of 49 community-based social service
agencies. Its Board of Directors includes representatives of New Jersey's
seven electric and gas utilities, Verizon, and non-profit groups including
The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, AARP, Association for Children
of NJ, Community Health Law Project and NJ Community Action Association.