Energy Assistance Information

The energy assistance season is half over and funds are still available to households who qualify. Due to good planning and the allocation of extra resources more households will be eligible than ever before.  Due to an increased funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) last fall by Congress, the state of New Jersey was able to increase LIHEAP income limits to 225% of the federal poverty index up from 175%. Tens of thousands of additional households may qualify.

Due to the emergence of what some call a “perfect storm” additional state funds were also appropriated to help those households who are above the guidelines for regular energy assistance.  The state legislature recently passed a bill, recommended by Governor Corzine, allocating $10 million to the statewide nonprofit New Jersey SHARES.  These funds will be disbursed via SHARES’ extensive network of social agencies.  Recently NJ SHARES announced a change in their eligibility policy by capping aid to households with incomes to 400% of the federal poverty index. Exceptions were made for seniors and the disabled who qualify for the recently expanded property tax relief program, often referred to as the Senior Freeze program. For the first time in their 10 year history SHARES is offering help to households that heat with deliverable fuels, i.e. oil or propane. Spread the word.

Applications for LIHEAP and the Universal Service Fund (USF) programs are available online, although the information has recently been moved by state officials.  The Department of Community Affairs’ energy assistance program webpage is now located at http://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/eap.html. Please pass the word.

Local LIHEAP agencies continue to be inundated with both applications and telephone calls. To relieve their workload it is recommended that applicants call state hotline numbers rather than their local agency for information or questions on the status of pending applications.

State hotline numbers include: LIHEAP – 800-510-3102; USF – 866-240-1347; NJ SHARES – 866-657-4273.

Information on all energy assistance programs is available on the New Jersey Community Resources website at http://www.njcommunityresources.info/njliheap.html.

NJHelps.org

Recently an outreach worker from the Department of Human Services in Trenton sent me several dozen brochures on a free service and website known as NJHelps.org. Like a few other programs I know of, it is a resource that many, many people don’t know about. If you work for a nonprofit or know of someone who needs government help, please read on.

In one place through NJHelps.org you can be screened for dozens of government programs.  As the brochure states now there is a convenient way to learn more about various assistance programs and see if you may be eligible.  The programs are in such areas as: food and nutrition, children and family resources, income support for adults, health insurance, utility assistance, seniors, people with disabilities, or employment and training.

By visiting the website at NJHelps.org and completing a 10 to 15 minute questionnaire you can learn if you might qualify for benefits. The state does not guarantee that you are eligible but the results are very accurate – assuming you provide the right information and answers to the survey questions.

NJHelps.org is a free service. Check it out.

Morristown Food Pantry Seeks Client Services Coordinator

The following post appeared this week on a social services email forum. If you know of anyone who is seeking a position in the nonprofit field then please read on. Do not respond to this blog to schedule an interview. Instead contact the Interfaith Food Pantry. The original post reads as follows:

Dear Friends,

Could you please put this in your bulletin and/or post? Position is
available now with some flexibility in the start date. Thanks a lot!

Client Services Coordinator Full Time position, part time
considered. Interfaith Food Pantry in Morristown needs organized,
resourceful, self-starter with good people, communication and
computer skills. Will be responsible for managing the Home Delivery
Program, developing referral system with agencies throughout the
county, identifying client needs and developing workshops using
community resources, providing resource information to clients,
screening for Food Stamps and other support programs, maintaining
statistical data, supervising Nutrition Educator and Distribution
Coordinator. Degree and experience in social work or counseling
preferred. E-mail resume, letter of application and salary
requirements by August 22 to ifprosemary@aol.com or mail to
Interfaith Food Pantry, 540a West Hanover Ave., Morristown, NJ 07960.

Any help that you can give to get the word out will be appreciated!

Rosemary Gilmartin
Executive Director

If you would like to see this type of information posted on the blog please let me know.