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Urgency for Utility and Heating Bill Relief Increases

Over 100,000 residents in New Jersey lose heat due to financial circumstances that prevent them from paying their bills.

Funds that were supposed to be available in July 2010 are expected to finally be available starting in January 2011. These funds were part of a bill passed into law a full year ago allotting $25 million to NJ SHARES.

NJ SHARES is a non-profit organization that can provide grants of up to $1,000 to families facing temporary financial emergencies and are about to lose their heat because of past-due bills. These grants help the oft-forgotten middle-class families who do not qualify for LIHEAP benefits, who are at or below 400% of Federal Poverty Guidelines, or are facing temporary financial emergencies. An additional requirement is that they have good payment records.

AARP New Jersey continues to advocate for the oft-forgotten middle-class. The delay in receipt of these funds has put off the relief many households need in the cold winter months. AARP New Jersey is committed to working collaboratively with the State to promote the availability of funding for assistance with utility and heating bills. AARP continues to advocate as necessary for NJ SHARES funding and for consistent and meaningful benefits such as energy relief especially during such a challenging economic climate.

Approximately 32,000 households will benefit from this wave of financial relief and there are many more who are in need.

NJ SHARES accepts applications for both NJ SHARES and LIHEAP. New Jerseyans should call or 1-866-657-4273 to find if they are eligible for utility assistance.

In addition, AARP New Jersey encourages consumers to call the Governor’s office at (609) 292-6000 and urge Governor Christie to continue his commitment to providing energy relief to those in need.