APN News

APN announcements and press releases are below. Members of the press can reach APN Executive Director at renee@antipovertynetwork.org.
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  • 30 Jun 2016 10:39 AM | Anonymous

    Below is APN Executive Director Renee Koubiadis' statement on the proposed tax cut plan:

    Poverty is at a 50 year high in our state. Throughout the year we have discussed and proposed ways to tackle this pervasive problem. An essential piece of solving poverty, is raising revenue to make sure we can fund the programs that help support struggling New Jerseyans - people who are working hard but still not making enough to get by, those who are disabled, those who are unemployed for months on end, unable to find a job. Growing up in Camden County my family was one of those families that struggled to get by, that didn’t have food in the fridge, and that relied on public assistance to survive and avoid homelessness.

    If this deal goes through, the state will lose revenue that is needed to fund programs for the many New Jerseyans, like my family long ago, who can’t make ends meet. Each year, when APN talks with members of the budget committees, we lay out the arguments for investment in basic need programs. APN has repeatedly advocated for small and needed increases in these programs - increases that would total just $56 million a year. Yet we’re always told: we can’t afford it. If lawmakers “can’t afford” to help struggling New Jerseyans find stable housing, to help schools ensure no student goes hungry, to help more children receive high quality pre-K, then why can they all of a sudden afford to lose over a billion dollars in revenue?

  • 30 Jun 2016 10:27 AM | Anonymous

    Below is the testimony of Rev. Charles F. Boyer that he presented on June 20, 2016 before 
    the New Jersey Senate Law and Public Safety Committee on S.677which would require racial and ethnic impact statements (REIS) for certain bills and regulations affecting sentencing. 

    Thank you to distinguished members of this committee for the opportunity to speak on behalf of the New Jersey Annual Conference and the religious communities in New Jersey who support an end to racial disparities in our criminal justice system. Moreover, I am grateful to Senator Ronald Rice for his bold leadership and sponsorship of S.677. I urge this committee to vote yes on this bill, on behalf of the New Jersey Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 

    A new report published by the Sentencing Project out of Washington D.C. shows that New Jersey is the worst state in the nation regarding racial disparities in the state’s prisons. Nationally African Americans are 6 times more likely to be in prison than whites. In New Jersey, African Americans are 12 times more likely. Although African Americans are only about 13% of the states population we are over 61% of the state’s prison population.  

    Our ministries and members call us to comfort and serve those harmed by crime, support accountability, rehabilitation, and restoration for those harmed by unfair criminal justice practices. From this vantage point, we have come to recognize the need for fundamental changes to New Jersey’s justice system.  

    We applaud the introduction for S.677 and believe its enactment will be a critical turning point in New Jersey’s recognition for the impact of criminal justice policies on communities of color. Its passage will provide a new tool for lawmakers to evaluate potential disparities of proposed legislation prior to adoption and implementation. Practically speaking, it is important to address a policy’s unwarranted effects before it is adopted, as it is more difficult to reverse sentencing policies once they have been implemented. 

    We have a wide array of support for this bill. Not only are the 91 churches and 20,000 members of the AME Church in New Jersey in Support but clergy and laity from many denominations, rabbis and imams have expressed support, as well as members of the ACLU, NAACP, Drug Policy Alliance, New Jersey Parents Caucus, and Prison Watch.  

    New Jersey ought to be applauded for it’s work in criminal justice reform. But what stands today in front of us today is a major moral dilemma that does not give us time to celebrate. We must correct this injustice and a major step in doing so, is voting yes on Racial Impact Statement Legislation.

  • 01 Jun 2016 2:32 PM | Anonymous

    Please join us in asking Senate President Sweeney and Governor Christie to help reduce childhood poverty in our state by supporting a long overdue and necessary increase to the amount of assistance some of New Jersey’s poorest families receive through WorkFirst NJ (WFNJ).

    There has not been any cost-of-living increases in WFNJ assistance in nearly 3 decades. A family of three only receives a maximum of $424 a month today, which was the same amount 29 years ago.  

    Legislative bills A-30/S-1829 would increase assistance by 30% over three years and mandate cost-of-living increases each year thereafter. Providing a sufficient amount of assistance will help New Jersey families climb the ladder of self-sufficiency and economic opportunity.

    Since eligibility is based on this assistance, far fewer poor children are eligible for any help.  Whereas in the past most poor children received help from WFNJ, today eight out of ten children do not received any assistance. Unless something is done soon, WFNJ will cease to be a viable safety net for children.

    Please join us in taking action to make sure these critical bills become law:

    1. Email Elizabeth at elizabeth@antipovertynetwork.org to sign on-to this letter supporting A-30/S-1829. The letter is open to organizational and individual signatories. Please specify if you are signing on as an organization or individual.

    2. Call or email Governor Christie and Senate President Sweeney to ask them to help New Jersey’s poorest children by supporting A-30/S-1829, and ask them to make sure that the New Jersey state budget for FY 2017 includes a ten percent increase.

    3. Post this Action Alert to Facebook and Twitter.

    With your help, we can reduce deep childhood poverty in New Jersey.

  • 19 May 2016 6:14 AM | Anonymous

    The Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey and the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy have released a joint report that investigates the budgetary consequences of concentrated poverty in four New Jersey Cities. The report can be found here and a summary of the report can be found here.

    "As leaders, conceiving solutions to the crisis that is concentrated poverty is not only a public policy imperative, but a moral one," said Eric Jackson, Mayor of the City of Trenton. "I believe that we must work together to organize high-intensity partnerships with business, government, education and faith leaders to formulate solutions that are practical, effective and sustainable."

    The report, The Cost of Poverty: The Perpetuating Cycle of Concentrated Poverty in New Jersey Cities, examines the budgetary pressures in four New Jersey cities facing the challenges of decreasing resources to address persistent poverty: Bridgeton, Passaic, Perth Amboy, and Trenton.

    “These cities offer us important insight into the perpetuating cycle of concentrated poverty, depleted resources, and the inability to invest in needed services,” explained Serena Rice, Executive Director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, which commissioned the report. “There is a lot of discussion in Trenton right now about ‘tax fairness.’ This important research reveals the structural unfairness of burdening our cities with the overwhelming task of addressing concentrated poverty, while their resources to do so keep shrinking.”

    Among the report’s findings:

    • The most impoverished municipalities shoulder an unmanageable municipal tax burden – a greater burden than even their wealthy neighbors.

    • Services like healthcare, libraries, housing, mental health services, social wrap-around services, economic development, and infrastructure are crowded out of constrained budgets.

    • Due to the limits of public and affordable housing even in low-income areas, citizens of Bridgeton, Passaic, Perth Amboy, and Trenton must frequently spend over half their income on rent, leaving little else for other basic needs.

    "As urban mayors, our administrations are not only commissioned to economic development, constituent services and providing everyday vital services, but also addressing socio-economic challenges that other communities do not face directly.  This report lays out the wide-gaped spectrum of fiscal statuses within one of the wealthiest states in America," said Wilda Diaz, Mayor of the City of Perth Amboy.

    “I am grateful to the John S. Watson Institute at Thomas Edison University, the New Jersey Urban Mayors Association, HJA Strategies, and the Anti-Poverty Network for their exhaustive analysis on the history and causes of urban poverty and how it gets concentrated and perpetuated in urban cities throughout New Jersey, including the City of Bridgeton,” said Albert B. Kelly, Mayor of the City of Bridgeton. “I am even more appreciative of the recommendations that were shared with the communities featured in the report. Now it is up to us, both in the impacted communities and at the state level, to begin mapping a strategy to make systemic changes so we can restore our urban communities to a more prosperous and growth-oriented future.”

    The report recommends a number of systemic changes to break the cycle of concentrated poverty:

    • Strengthening the safety-net for poverty-stricken families and their children.

    • Addressing the budgetary system that unfairly burdens both income-strapped families and impoverished municipalities.

    • Promoting family financial success through supportive work/family policies, adjusting the allocation of municipal budget State aid and support programming so that it prioritizes areas of concentrated need, and reimagining the fundamental structure of New Jersey’s property tax system.

    “A civil society embraces the duty of caring for all of its people,” said Barbara Johnson, Executive Director of the John S. Watson Institute of Public Policy at Thomas Edison State University. “I believe that this report sheds a light on the state of poor people in New Jersey and specifically the long history of bad policies and limited investments that lead to concentrated poverty in urban areas. We hope that it lays the foundation for dialogue that will lead to real solutions that provide safety nets to families when needed but more importantly, lead them out of poverty permanently.”

  • 17 May 2016 9:17 AM | Anonymous

    Renee Wolf Koubiadis

    The Anti-Poverty Network is pleased to announce that Renee Wolf Koubiadis will be starting as APN’s new Executive Director on June 20.

    “Koubiadis has worked to empower low and moderate income families in all parts of the state and has an impressive background in advocacy that supports APN’s mission to reduce and eliminate poverty in New Jersey,” said APN Board President Jim Jacob.

    Outgoing Executive Director Serena Rice echoed Jacob’s enthusiasm for Koubiadis’ expertise and passion for ending poverty in New Jersey.

    "Koubiadis brings commitment, deep awareness, and both personal and professional experience to this role,” said Rice, who is leaving APN to answer a call to the ministry. “I am confident that her leadership will empower the whole APN community."

    Having grown up in poverty in Camden County, Koubiadis is deeply committed to identifying and breaking down barriers that prevent many residents of our state from meeting their basic necessities for themselves and their families. Koubiadis has been an advocate and community organizer helping disempowered populations use their voices towards social change throughout New Jersey for over 13 years.

    "Having grown up poor in New Jersey and witnessing the struggles of many poor and homeless people in our state, I know that there are systemic issues that create poverty and barriers that prevent the residents of our state from moving to a better place economically,” said Koubiadis. “I am excited to join APN and our many partners and advocates in the fight to end poverty."

    Prior to coming to APN, Koubiadis served as the Advocacy Coordinator of the National Association of Social Workers – NJ Chapter (NASW-NJ) and as Assistant State Director for the Citizens’ Campaign, a statewide non-partisan movement of hundreds of citizens dedicated to innovative government reform and promoting citizen leadership. In her various roles over the last 13 years, she has educated thousands of people on issues of poverty, leadership, and civic engagement.

    Koubiadis has also been active in APN serving as a member of the Policy and Advocacy Committee, the Program and Summit Committee, and as a contributor to the Advisory Committee of APN's Structural Racism and Poverty project. In these roles, she has helped organize the Poverty Summit and other APN events, and helped formulate APN’s positions and advocacy plans on a number of issues.

    Koubiadis currently serves as Secretary/Treasurer on the Board of the Affordable Homes Group, Inc. in Burlington County and on the Board of Trustees for the NJ Coalition to End Homelessness (NJCEH). With her colleagues at NJCEH, Renee helped create Garden State Leaders, a leadership and advocacy institute for people with lived experience of poverty and homelessness. This year APN is partnering on the Garden State Leaders program. For over 10 years Koubiadis also co-chaired Poor Voices United, a grassroots organization based in Atlantic City that united poor and homeless people across color lines and other artificial divides for social change.

    Her degrees include an MSW from Temple University in Administration and Social Planning and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University.  While studying at Temple, Koubiadis coordinated Pennsylvania House Select Committee hearings on issues of poverty while interning for State Representative Lawrence Curry.  She was interning with Kensington Welfare Rights Union in Philadelphia and NASW-PA at the same time.

    As a member of NASW-NJ over the years, Renee has served on their board. In addition, she has co-chaired the Legislative and Social Action Committee, the Health Care Special Interest Group, the Peace & Social Justice Task Force, the Burlington County Unit, and served on the National Delegate Assembly three times helping to shape national policy for the organization.  

    Although she will not be stepping into her new role as Executive Director until June, she will be attending the May 25 APN General Meeting, to be held from 10-12 pm at Abiding Presence Lutheran Church in Ewing. APN members and other interested partners are encouraged to attend to welcome Koubiadis to her new role with APN. 

  • 16 May 2016 12:44 PM | Anonymous

    APN Executive Director Serena Rice testifies in support of S-15, the bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, before the Senate Labor Committee today

    Highlights from Rice's testimony include:

    • We cannot begin to end poverty without addressing one of its most virulent and persistent causes: wages that trap people in poverty, even when they are working full time. Unfortunately, that is what our current minimum wage does for the many struggling parents supporting families on just $8.38/hour.
    • People of color are significantly overrepresented in the low-wage workforce, making up more than 50% of workers who would benefit from a raise in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, even though they make up 41% of the total workforce. Seen another way, these populations are disproportionately harmed when we hold wages down.
    • The reality is that poverty-level wages hurt us all because they depress market demand and create tremendous need for social services. By gradually, but consistently, raising the wage to $15 by 2021, New Jersey will be making an investment in the economic health of our whole state.
    • As we sit here today, far too many New Jerseyans are working hard and not making enough money to pay for the most basic necessities. They are the cashier who rang up your coffee this morning, the preschool teacher who is caring for my child, the janitor who keeps the restroom clean for us all. They are people who are an essential part of our community.
    The full text of her remarks can be found below.

    Senate Labor Committee, May 16, 2016

    Testimony of

    Serena Rice, Executive Director

    Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey

    Good afternoon Chairman Madden, Vice-chair Vitale, and members of the committee. My name is Serena Rice and I am the Executive Director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, a broad-based coalition of organizations and individuals committed to the prevention, reduction and the eventual end of poverty in New Jersey.  Thank you for the opportunity today to express APN’s support of Senate Bill S-15 which would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021.

    One of the core principles of APN is that anti-poverty programs and services -- while vitally important for people struggling with the daily deprivations of poverty -- are not the end game of anti-poverty work. We also need poverty prevention in the form of economic empowerment.

    There are few things that are as fundamental to economic empowerment as decent wages. We cannot begin to end poverty without addressing one of its most virulent and persistent causes: wages that trap people in poverty, even when they are working full time. Unfortunately, that is what our current minimum wage does for the many struggling parents supporting families on just $8.38/hour.

    According to a report by New Jersey Policy Perspective, 1 in 4 workers in the state would receive a pay increase if S-15 is passed, and over a quarter of them are parents. Ninety-one percent are adults and more than 40% are over the age of 40. The majority of affected workers are working full time (61% are working 35 hours a week or more), and only 12% are working less than 20 hours/week. In short, we are not talking about extra spending money for High School students; we are talking about wages to pay the rent and electric bill, and to put gas in the car to get back to work tomorrow.

    By raising wages we will be raising the incomes of poor and very poor households. We will also be making a powerful investment in economic equity for people of color. People of color are significantly overrepresented in the low-wage workforce, making up more than 50% of workers who would benefit from a raise in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, even though they make up 41% of the total workforce. Seen another way, these populations are disproportionately harmed when we hold wages down.

    Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 6.39.43 PM.png

    These facts show the error of arguments that try to convince us that minimum wage workers don’t really need a living wage. The cost of living, economic justice, and basic human dignity all argue for higher wages.

    What is more, it is not just the workers who need a higher minimum wage. The reality is that poverty-level wages hurt us all because they depress market demand and create tremendous need for social services. By gradually, but consistently, raising the wage to $15 by 2021, New Jersey will be making an investment in the economic health of our whole state. We will be investing in our people, and by doing so we will be investing in the very customers that drive economic growth and strong jobs. In short, we will be investing in economic empowerment for New Jersey.

    As we sit here today, far too many New Jerseyans are working hard and not making enough money to pay for the most basic necessities. They are the cashier who rang up your coffee this morning, the preschool teacher who is caring for my child, the janitor who keeps the restroom clean for us all. They are people who are an essential part of our community.

    S-15 is an important first step in addressing one of the most pervasive causes of poverty - poverty-level wages. I ask you to join me in supporting this effort to create a stronger, more empowered New Jersey where every resident has the opportunity for economic independence.

    Thank you for your time and your thoughtful consideration of this important legislation.

    Submitted by:

    Serena Rice, Executive Director, Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey

  • 04 May 2016 4:35 PM | Anonymous

    Advocates, service providers, and impacted individuals are united in their frustration in response to Governor Christie’s May 2 conditional veto of legislation that would have modified the state’s Emergency Assistance (EA) program. 

    “The Christie administration has made homelessness in New Jersey far worse – not better,” stated Jeff Wild, executive director of the New Jersey Coalition to End Homelessness. “Tragically, about a year ago, this administration launched a campaign to cut back on EA: the last resort for our most vulnerable adults and children, which serves many thousands of homeless statewide. This administration has reduced EA dramatically, as much as 40%, creating a crisis for NJ’s poorest, leaving men, women, and children out in the cold.”

    The veto is consistent with action taken by the Department of Human Services in July 2015, which ended the practice of providing extensions for EA as a means of supporting housing security for the most vulnerable. That move caused an outcry from advocates and service providers who have since seen an increase in homeless individuals and families with no access to state support. The bill, in contrast, would have addressed the crisis by eliminating the arbitrary time limit on receipt of this assistance for four categories of recipients – recipients with long-term disabilities, those caring for disabled family members, recipients over 60, or the chronically unemployable. These groups are already exempted from the cash assistance time limit for the Work First New Jersey program (of which EA is one element).

    “This veto is beyond disappointing. It is an action of callous disregard for the most vulnerable members of our state,” said Serena Rice, executive director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey. “Societies are judged by how we treat the most vulnerable – the poor, elderly, children, and disabled. With this decision, the administration has walked away from that fundamental function of society, and left our safety net with a gaping, unnecessary, and short-sighted hole.”

    The Governor’s veto message expressed an unwillingness to “fundamentally alter the purpose of this temporary program,” but Staci Berger, President and CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, rejects that premise. “What is the fundamental purpose of the program if not to prevent homelessness? Arbitrary time limits for people who have no realistic prospect of finding affordable housing are a bureaucratic excuse to abandon people in desperate need.”

    That is exactly the situation facing Beth Vigeant, an SSI recipient who has lost EA benefits and is scrambling to find housing before temporary Intensive Case Management benefits expire and she is left with nothing. "My income is $767 a month, and they are sending me to look at housing that costs more than $600 a month, before utilities,” explained Vigeant. “This is the ‘affordable housing’ that is out there, and even that housing is in drug infested communities that I know are not safe for my sobriety. That is why I still need EA. Because there is nothing else."

    The current crisis is also creating an intense strain on the state’s homeless providers, as explained by Connie Mercer, Executive Director of HomeFront in Mercer County. “Agencies like ours that serve homeless and at-risk clients are struggling to stay open as our already tight budgets are stretched to the breaking point in the wake of government cuts.  More importantly, the families that we see every day are struggling more than ever to make ends meet.  The line at our door continues to grow and our families are desperate for a comprehensive approach from our state to strengthen the programs that serve them.”

    It is the lack of a comprehensive approach that makes this retraction in the EA program so devastating. 

    “The fundamental challenge in NJ impacting the EA program is the lack of housing affordable to those on very low incomes with disabilities,” according to Gail Levinson, executive director of the Supportive Housing Association. “Permanent and more efficient housing solutions can be created for those living in poverty, but right now we must extend benefits to those who will otherwise fall into homelessness at a cost far greater than the EA budget.”

    Frank Cirillo, Executive Director of the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness, also reinforced the fiscal expediency of investing in Emergency Assistance as a component of a strong homelessness prevention system. 

    “In New Jersey’s Housing First and Rapid Rehousing models the EA program has proven to be a valuable tool in promoting permanent housing supported by case management. The veto of this legislation and the imposing of further restrictions on the access to EA seem, therefore, to be curious contradictions to recent State initiatives to further explore Housing First strategies, and the recommendations of the Governor's Interagency Council On Homelessness. Moreover, our Housing First model relies on a strong shelter and transitional housing system to act as essential first line responses to individuals and families experiencing homelessness.. The individuals and families served in our shelters are our most vulnerable and their link to humane care and decent housing should not be jeopardized by a draconian policy interpretation that limits access to EA.”

    While the Governor’s veto is a setback other options can be explored. “This is not a partisan issue,” said Rice. “The legislation passed 37-0 in the Senate, because it is a common sense, simple way to stop vulnerable people from ending up on the street while we work toward a more effective and adequate permanent housing solution. The anti-poverty community is asking legislators and the leadership to review all of their options in finding a solution for what is truly a crisis situation.” 

  • 15 Apr 2016 12:34 PM | Anonymous

    The second annual Garden State Leaders program will begin accepting applications on Friday, April 15. Garden State Leaders, a program coordinated by the New Jersey Coalition to End Homelessness and the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, is an advocacy and leadership program for New Jerseyans who have experienced poverty.  The program seeks to empower leaders with lived experiences of poverty or homelessness to become advocates for Poverty Solutions.

    “Through the Garden State Leaders Program, we are working with people who have lived experience of homelessness and poverty to share their voices and stories for effective change,” said Jeffrey Wild, Executive Director of NJ Coalition to End Homelessness

    Jean Paul Steinberg, a graduate of the 2015 class and currently a student at Kean College, says the program helped him realize that there are many others who have experienced homelessness and poverty.

    "Not only have I met and become friends with some amazing peers, I have had the chance to connect with educators and legislators willing to listen to those of us who have been affected by poverty and homelessness and are ready to engage in conversations about reform," said Steinberg. "We may still have a ways to go but with organizations like the New Jersey Coalition to End Homelessness and the Anti-Poverty Network and programs like Garden State Leaders we can all see a very bright light at the end of a tunnel that no longer seems so distant."

    This year’s class will practice storytelling techniques, learn how to navigate the legislative process as an advocate, and gain an understanding of the structural impediments to economic opportunity in New Jersey.

    "The experience of poverty can feel incredibly disempowering, because it is often the result of economic and social realities that are outside of the individual's control," explained Serena Rice, Executive Director of the Anti-Poverty Network. "But these experiences can also be incredibly powerful in advocacy, and the Garden State Leaders program provides the opportunity for impacted individuals to learn how to use that power to call for changes that will help our entire state."

    Interested applicants can fill out the online form found here or call Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, Communications Manager for APN, at 917-273-7088. The program will be held at Thomas Edison State College in Trenton.

  • 11 Apr 2016 1:11 PM | Anonymous

    APN Executive Director Serena Rice will be honored at New Jersey Citizen Action's Annual Awards Dinner on May 5 as a champion of social and economic justice. 

    "Serena is a champion for racial, economic and social justice in New
    Jersey," said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, Executive Director of New Jersey Citizen Action. "She is committed to working with partners throughout New Jersey
    to ensure that our state is a place where everyone has the opportunity
    to succeed."

    Other honorees include John M. Abeignon, President of the Newark Teachers Union; Tai Cooper, Senior Policy Advisor for the City of Newark; Mary Cruz, District Director, Office of Congressman Donald Norcross; Steven Flax, Administrative Vice-President - Community Reinvestment Group. The Legislator of the Year award will be going to Assemblyman Daniel Benson of the 14th District. 

    "I am humbled and honored to be recognized by New Jersey Citizen Action," said Rice. "I have felt lucky to have the chance to work with many of Citizen Action's committed staff and I have learned and been inspired by them all. The organization plays a vital role in educating, advocating, and serving the needs of the New Jersey community."

  • 08 Apr 2016 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    At last week’s APN General Meeting we heard from advocates from the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, New Jersey Policy Perspective, the Drug Policy Alliance, the League of Women Voters of New Jersey, and the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey about several important issues. Below is a round-up of these issues, as well as information on bills on Governor Christie’s desk that need your action, and Poverty Solutions bills in the legislature. 

    APN General Meeting Round-Up:


    Estate Tax: There is a bipartisan effort underway to eliminate the estate tax, New Jersey’s most progressive tax. This tax is owed by just 4 percent of all estates in New Jersey – the state’s wealthiest estates -- and brings in about $300 million a year, needed revenue to fund human needs programs. For more information on this important tax and why we must preserve it, check out NJPP’s testimony on this issue. NJPP has also been busting the myth that New Jersey’s taxes cause the wealthy to leave our state. Check out the facts here

    SNAP Benefits and Childless Adults: The SNAP (Food Stamp) program has work requirements, and time limits on how long “able-bodied” adults without dependents (called “ABAWDs”) can receive SNAP benefits without meeting those work requirements. For many years, these time limits have been “Waived” (not enforced) by the federal and state governments because high unemployment makes it hard for people to meet the requirements. A recent state decision, however, now means if you are considered an ABAWD, you may only receive SNAP benefits for a total of 3 full months during any 36-month period, unless you are exempt or meeting the work requirement. 

    Legal Services of New Jersey has created this form that service providers can help recipients fill out to determine if they are either already meeting the requirement, or if they should be exempt. The form and any verification should be submitted to the recipient’s County Welfare Agency, and the One Stop Career Center if he/she has been told to go there. Legal Services has also created a fact sheet on this issue inEnglish and Spanish. Some counties have received temporary waivers, which means that the time limits will not start until later in the year. For a breakdown of counties, their waiver status, and when termination of benefits may begin please click here

    Voter Registration: Non-profits (including 501(c)3 organizations) can do a lot to engage potential voters, including holding voter registration drives. For information on voter registration deadlines and links to voter registration forms, please visit theLeague of Women Voters of New Jersey website. The League is also available to help with voter registration drives and to answer questions about what non-profits can do.


    • Restore Support for Emergency Assistance: Following recent devastating but reversible policy shifts in the Emergency Assistance program, the Administration has proposed a nearly 30% reduction in funding for Emergency Assistance (WFNJ and General Assistance) compared with FY15 expenditures. This reduction reflects deliberate restrictions in access to the program, rather than a reduction in need. The Emergency Assistance program is essential to a functioning safety net and adequate appropriations must be included in the budget in order to support restoration of this support to the individuals that need it, including implementation of the provisions ofS983/A2568 to provide exemptions from EA time limits for the most vulnerable.S983/A2568 - $46 million 
    Please call the Governor and ask him to sign S983/A2568 to make sure that the poorest of the poor do not become homeless because of arbitrary time limits.
    • Restoring Heat & Eat: Restoring “Heat and Eat” to the state’s SNAP program would benefit approximately 159,000 of New Jersey’s neediest households and cost the state approximately $3 million dollars. In turn, this investment is estimated to generate $300 million in federal funds into the state’s economy.S650/A1210 - $3 million (For more information on Heat and Eat and other hunger issues, please click here.) 
    Please call the Governor and ask him to sign S650/A1210 to maximize federal dollars for nutrition assistance for the hungry.
    • Waivers from SNAP Time Limits: Legislation to require the department to request time limit waivers for ABAWDs for certain areas of the state where unemployment remains high has also been passed by the legislature.S993/A2777 
    Please call the Governor and ask him to sign S993/A2777 to protect hungry adults who are unable to find work.
    • Pay Equity: New Jersey women, particularly women of color, earn substantially less than their male counterparts and current protections do not do enough to help women hold their employers accountable for fair pay. Legislation to strengthen pay equity protections (S992/A2750), extend the statute of limitations, and require reporting for state contracts has been passed with strong bi-partisan support from both houses. For more information, seethis letter to the Governor from the Time to Care Coalition. 
    Please call the Governor and ask him to sign S992/A2750 to strengthen New Jersey’s pay equity protections.
    • Removing ban on General Assistance: Legislation (S601/A889) has passed the State legislature that would provide access to this essential safety net program for individuals with past drug distribution convictions (the only group currently banned for life). This access will allow individuals to receive the treatment and supports they need to reintegrate into society, and poses a minimum cost (est. $3.9 million). 
    Please call the Governor and ask him to sign (S601/A889) to give New Jerseyans with drug convictions a second chance.


    • Supporting the State Rental Assistance Program: The Governor’s budget proposal includes flat funding for SRAP, including $18.5 million of line-item appropriation and an additional $20 million appropriated through language. This flat funding is inadequate to maintain existing vouchers given increasing housing costs, much less to address that large unmet need for deeply subsidized rents. Legislation passed by the Assembly provides an additional $10.5 million appropriation which would provide the resources to fund an additional 1,000 rental vouchers. A1000 - $10.5 million
    • Welfare grants: Eligibility and cash assistance provided to families in WorkFirst New Jersey has not been increased in 29 years. Legislation passed by the Assembly and passed through committee in the Senate would increase assistance by 30 percent over three years and require cost of living increases every year thereafter. This would directly benefit over 80,000 parents and children and 28,000 adults without dependents who are enrolled in WFNJ, as well as make eligible many other New Jerseyans who now live in extreme poverty without access to assistance. A30 - $14.6 million. (To learn more check out this report from NJPP.) 
    • Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit: The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is perhaps the most celebrated bipartisan anti-poverty program, with strong positive impacts for both low-income families and local economies. New Jersey’s state EITC is currently set at 30% of the federal EITC, and legislation passed by the Assembly would increase this to 40%, making New Jersey’s credit arguably the strongest state program in the nation. The increase would boost the incomes of nearly 600,000 working families in the state who aren’t paid enough to get by, lift or keep many of these people out of poverty, and make the local and state tax structure more equitable. A40 - $122 million
    • Supporting the expansion of School Breakfast: Restoring the school breakfast incentive fund and targeting it to only those schools serving breakfast after the bell would bring an estimated $75 million in federal dollars into the state, even if it only went to school districts in which 30-80% of the children were eligible for free or reduced price meals. The incentive fund would provide a 10 cents/meal supplement to school districts that implement the “breakfast after the bell” approach in order to encourage districts to use this evidence-based model of increasing participation. There are no definitive estimates of the cost, but OLS estimates it could cost up to $6 million for A1567. (To bring the breakfast after the bell program to your school please contact Diane Riley at driley@cfbnj.org.)
    • Funding to the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund Restored! In response to concerted advocacy, Governor Christie added $10 million to state funding for lead remediation. More than $50 million has been steered into the general treasury since 2009, instead of into this fund to help families eliminate the lead contamination in their homes. Lead is known to cause permanent neurological damage in children, negatively affects academic performance, and can cause a wide array of learning disabilities and behavioral issues. 3,100 children in the last year alone have been diagnosed with elevated blood lead level. APN joined in the advocacy for S996/A1378, which requires this investment of $10 million.

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