NJ Increases Funding For Home Heating Assistance Programs

NEW BRUNSWICK—Last week, Gov. Jon S. Corzine announced an $88 million increase in state and federal funding that will be aimed at helping struggling New Jerseyans keep their homes heated this winter.

Last year, LIHEAP (the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) served about 196,000 households in New Jersey. The additional funding allows the State to expand eligibility by raising the income limit to qualify from 175 percent to 225 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($47,700 for a family of four), and will quadruple the Oil household benefit to an average of $1,300 per household. It is estimated that the funding increase will provide aid to an additional 50,000 New Jersey families. Federal funding is provided through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the program is administered through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Community Resources.

The governor also announced additional funding from the state will go largely to allow NJ SHARES (Statewide Heating Assistance and Referral for Energy Services) to expand the number of residents who receive temporary assistance in paying their energy bills. Traditionally, qualified recipients have received a one time grant of up to $700 for gas, up to $300 for electric, or up to $700 for electrically heated homes. The program is being expanded to include those using deliverable fuels, such as oil, to heat their homes.

“Gov. Corzine’s commitment to assisting New Jersey residents in these difficult times and his expansion of LIHEAP means that approximately 50,000 more households in the state are now eligible for the program,” said DCA Commissioner Joe Doria. “I hope that everyone who is eligible for LIHEAP will reach out to their local application agency so they can get the heating assistance they need during the upcoming winter months.”

“In this time of economic crisis, it is crucial that the needs of New Jersey’s low and moderate income people are not overlooked,” said Reverend Bruce H. Davidson of the Anti-Poverty Network. “Governor Corzine is to be commended for his speed and foresight in acting to address the needs of those whose health and safety would surely be compromised if home energy assistance were not made available.”

For further information on home heating programs, call toll-free: 1-800-510-3102.

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