As we face another cold front in New Jersey, the harsh realities of the winter season affect us all. For some it involves shoveling snow, the inconvenience of a difficult commute, missing an appointment or trying to find childcare during a snow day. However, for far too many people, the chilling cold of a winter season triggers a crisis situation as the higher cost of utility bills cause them to slip deeper and deeper into debt.
NJ SHARES is a statewide non-profit corporation providing assistance to individuals and families in need of help meeting their energy and utility burden. Through assistance, advocacy, community outreach, education, information and referral NJ SHARES connects low, working poor and moderate income households with available resources.
NJ SHARES helps families and individuals by providing utility bill assistance when they need it most. During the bitter cold months heating and electric bills can cause stress for homeowners. NJ SHARES offers energy assistance programs to help ease the stress of costly gas, oil, propane and electric heat bills. Eligibility is based on household size and income. Financial assistance can be up to $700 for heating source, and can be up to $500 for electric service. Learn how your warm heart can heat a home this winter. http://www.njshares.org/howYouCanHelp/index.asp
Additionally, there are a variety of state and federal programs available to help families struggling with difficult economic circumstances during the winter. The Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which has helped countless people in New Jersey meet their heating costs throughout the winter and assists those with medically necessary cooling needs. Visit http://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/heausfincomefact.html for more information.
Those applying for LIHEAP assistance automatically have their application submitted to the Universal Services Fund (USF), created by the State of New Jersey, which helps reduce the energy burden for eligible households. Visit http://www.state.nj.us/bpu/residential/assistance/usf.html for more information about the USF and how you can qualify for assistance.
For more information on NJ SHARES Energy Assistance programs, visit, http://www.njshares.org/aboutNJShares/energy-assistance.asp
About NJ SHARES
NJ SHARES began in 1998 and was able to serve 71 households. As of July 2013, NJ SHARES has provided 177,600 households with $70.7 million in energy assistance. The NJ SHARES Client Services Call Center was established in 2005 and aids more than 150,000 households annually in enrollment services. In addition, NJ SHARES provides weatherization, conservation and efficiency information with our 300 plus partners around the state. In our efforts to reach households in our densely populated state, NJ SHARES has grown from working with 50 agencies to more than 300 agency partners. Visit www.njshares.org to learn how you can help your neighbor stay warm this season.
Cheryl B. Stowell