With the colder months rapidly approaching, keeping your home warm is a priority now more than ever. But for those struggling financially, heating the house is not as simple as flipping a switch. No family should ever have to go cold because of their economic status, which is why the Trenton Public Library and Department of Community Affairs are here to help.

Every Thursday from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm, residents are welcome to come to the Trenton Public Library for assistance with their utility bills. Interested participants will need to bring the following required documents with them:

  • Social Security cards (all household members)
  • Proof of income (one month’s worth)
  • Proof of address (lease, property tax bill if the home is owned)
  • Water and sewer bills (all pages)

Once at the library, representatives from Humanitaire Chretien Sans Frontiere (HCSF) will be available to help families apply for financial assistance for utilities. Humanitaire Chretien Sans Frontiere is a New Jersey-based non-profit that specializes in providing crucial social services to communities across the Garden State. As HCSF seeks to serve underserved populations, they specialize in aiding immigrant families to improve their living standards.

Interested applicants can apply for two different energy assistance programs through the HCSF initiative: the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Universal Service Fund (USF).

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program has an application period from October 1st-June 30th of the following year. To be eligible for LIHEAP, the applicant household must be responsible for the home’s heating or cooling costs and have a gross income at or below 60% or lower of the State Median income. The amount of the LIHEAP heating benefit provided is determined by income, household size, fuel type, and heating region. The medically necessary cooling assistance benefit amount will be $200, which will be issued as a direct credit to an active electric account, otherwise, they will be issued as a one-party check to the eligible applicant.

The Universal Service Fund is a program created by the State of New Jersey to make natural gas and electricity more affordable to low-income families. To be eligible, a household gross income must be at or below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level and pay more than 2% of its annual income for electricity, or more than 2% for natural gas. A household with electric heat must spend more than 4% of its annual income on electricity to be eligible.

If this program sounds like it may be of benefit to you and your family, please visit the Trenton Public Library on Thursdays from 10:30 am-6:30 pm. If you have any questions, please contact Humanitaire Chretien Sans Frontiere at hcsf@humanitairechretiensansfrontiere.org or (609) 968-8082.