The economy is improving, however many families are still finding themselves struggling to make ends meet. If you are having trouble paying for natural gas or electricity expenses then perhaps you are a candidate for the Temporary Relief for Utility Expenses (TRUE) program from the Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA).

New Jersey Natural Gas wants to let its customers know about the program and help them sign up by hosting an information session on April 11th from 10 am to 4 pm at the Ocean County Mall at the Ocean County Connection (near JC Penny).

The TRUE program is funded by the board of public utilities, and administers income based grants from the AHA as part of select Community Action Program Agencies. The program provides a onetime assistance to households who have experienced a sudden economic hardship and are having trouble meeting bills.

 

“We do get calls on a continuous basis from people who either didn’t know programs exists or wanted to know if they qualify.” Says Renee Amellio, corporate communications associate for New Jersey Natural Gas.

Amellio says what makes the program special is that it addresses the families in the lower and middle income brackets who often might find themselves left out of other assistance programs.

Noting that “for some people this is a first time experience when some people are reaching out and asking for assistance”

“For example a family of four with a household income between 44,712 and 100,252 dollars may qualify for the program. So it definitely does fill in that gap.”

Amellio explains the sudden unexpected economic hardships could include a sudden loss of employment, the death or illness of a family member, and the like.

She says families can qualify for a one time sum of up to 750 dollars per utility, noting that a household does not have to apply for both at the same time. Meaning that a household could receive 750 for electricity and another 750 for natural gas bills.

In addition to the information session, Amellio says anyone interested in applying for the grant can contact the Affordable Housing Alliance True Grant Program directly by calling 732-982-8710.

Amellio says one of the qualifications that a household must have to receive the grant assistance have made at least four “good faith” payments of at least twenty five dollars within the past six months on whatever utility they are applying for. At least three of those payments must be made within thirty days of the application.

When applying in person or via the phone, Amellio says applicants will be asked to have their social security card, driver’s license, and proof of income.