Tens of thousands of people across the state get help from the New Jersey SHARES program each year. Many of those that receive assistance are mode moderate income families. The fund has millions in dollars of funds and grants to distribute each year to people in need. The funding for the program comes from the state government, individual donations, local businesses, and matching grants from utility companies.
The official name of the program is the New Jersey Statewide Heating Assistance and Referral for Energy Services (New Jersey SHARES). The program and organization that provides the aid is structured as a non-profit organization, and their goal is to provide cash grants and other forms of assistance to families and individuals who need short term help for paying heating and utility bills.
People who apply can receive cash grants of up to $300 towards their electricity bills. In addition, participants can receive an additional $700 towards propane, natural gas, and/or heating bills. Last year, the average grant provided to applicants was just under $700.
The NJ SHARES program is not intended to be a long term charity program. However, what it will do is it will pay enough towards someone’s bill so that their service will not be shut off. It is intended to provide people struggling with paying their energy bills time so that they can work out a payment plan or some other type of solution with their utility company.
Another one of the huge benefits and one of the pros to the New Jersey SHARES program is that it will assist low to moderate income households who may not qualify for other state or federal programs because their income is too high. So it may benefit those who don’t qualify for LIHEAP. The income levels of people who apply can be much greater than a typical program. For example, a family of three with a gross household income of less than $6,100 per month can apply to the NJ SHARES program.
In addition to energy bill help, they also administer Verizon NJ's Communications Lifeline and Link Up America programs which provide help with phone bills. Read more on telephone assistance programs.
Contact NJ SHARES at 1-866-657-4273 to learn more or apply.
The SHARES program can also help with water bills. It will only assist the customers of certain companies though. Low income customers of New Jersey American Water who are struggling to pay their monthly water bills can decide to contact New Jersey SHARES for help. Staff from the non-profit will provide information, referrals and other resources for water bills.
New Jersey American Water has announced that the nonprofit organization New Jersey SHARES, which has historically provided grants for heating and electric bills, will oversee two water assistance programs for low-income customers. The nonprofit NJ SHARES will accept, screen, approve, and process applications and hand out grants on behalf of New Jersey American Water.
There are two components. The first is called H2O Help to Others, and this service is for those customers who have annual incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal government poverty level. Typically, a portion of a customer's water bill is paid through the program.
The second resource offered is the Low Income Payment Program. This will provide a rate reduction for customers water bills. The discount is offered each and every month on a monthly bill and it will save a household about 15 percent. Find additional ways to get help with water bills.
For more information on the NJ SHARES water bill assistance program, call 877-652-9426 to learn more or apply for help.
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