skip to main content skip to main navigation
Photo of Governor Corzine, Secretary Fisher, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes and Commissioner Doria - Click to enlarge
More than $163 Million Helping Thousands of New Jerseyans
For Immediate Release: May 11, 2009
Contact: Robert Corrales

(609) 777-2600

(WEST TRENTON) – Governor Jon S. Corzine announced today that more than $28 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) benefits and State Food Purchase Program assistance will be distributed throughout the state beginning this week.

The funding, part of the Governor’s Economic Assistance and Recovery Plan, includes $26.4 million for LIHEAP and $1.85 million for food assistance. This brings the total for assistance funds disseminated to over $156 million for home energy assistance and $7 million for food banks.

“Tough economic times have placed an added burden on struggling residents who simply cannot afford their home energy needs or put food on the table for their families,” said Governor Corzine. “I am proud that with the help of the Legislature, we expanded income eligibility for programs like LIHEAP and added funding for the State Food Purchase Program so that we are providing more relief to more our citizens in need than ever before.”

Beginning this week, over 101,900 households in New Jersey will be receiving checks for LIHEAP assistance. To date, $156,995,877 has been dispersed to 251,724 households throughout the state for the period of December, 2008-May, 2009. This represents an increase of 65,420 households and $68,439,882 million compared to the period November, 2007-May, 2008.

Administered through the Department of Community Affairs, LIHEAP provides low-income households with assistance in paying their heating or cooling bills. Last fall, Governor Corzine raised income eligibility for LIHEAP from 175% of the federal poverty level to 225%. The increase has allowed approximately 50,000 more households to be eligible for the program this year.

“Governor Corzine understands the difficult economic times that New Jersey residents are living through, which is why he expanded eligibility for this program,” said Commissioner Joe Doria. “Thanks to the Governor’s foresight, over 65,000 more households in this state will be receiving this much needed assistance this year.”

Many LIHEAP eligible households will receive Universal Service Fund (USF) benefits as well. USF is utility rate payer funded assistance that helps make energy bills more affordable for low income customers. Homes heated by gas will get an average $1,289 per household while those heated by electric will receive an average $982 per household. Homes heated by deliverable fuel will get an average $1,200 per household.

The number of New Jersey residents seeking food assistance during these tough economic times also has intensified from a year ago. New Jersey’s Department of Agriculture is issuing State Food Purchase Program checks totaling $1,856,593 to the state’s six emergency feeding operations this week. Food banks use the State Food Purchase Program funds to buy fruits and vegetables and other nutritious foods and distribute the items to their network of 793 food pantries, homeless shelters and soup kitchens.

In December 2008, Governor Corzine included an extra $3 million in his Economic Recovery and Assistance Plan to help ease shortages that were being reported throughout the state. The food banks have received $6,852,843 million from the State Food Purchase Program during Fiscal Year 2009. Four million dollars were allocated for the program in the original FY 09 state budget.

“Thanks to the efforts of Governor Corzine and the State Legislature, our food banks are reporting that there is an ample supply of product available for individuals and families in need of food,” said Agriculture Secretary Douglas H. Fisher. “This fourth quarter funding comes just as our state’s growing season has begun, so nutritious Jersey Fresh produce will be among the foods purchased with this money and distributed to food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters around the state.”

Receiving State Food Purchase Program funding are: Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Hillside ($1,238,468); Food Bank of South Jersey, Pennsauken ($251,068); Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Neptune ($181,176); Mercer Street Friends, Ewing ($86,222); Southern Regional Food Distribution Center, Vineland ($64,994); NORWESCAP, Phillipsburg ($34,665).

The State Food Purchase Program began in 2006 with a $3 million allocation for nutrient-dense food purchases for the hungry, which enabled the state’s food banks to purchase 3.9 million pounds of food that fed an average of 262,695 pounds of food monthly that fed 69,110 recipients each month for the first year of the program. Another million dollars was used to buy needed equipment, such as refrigerators and freezers for the local distribution agencies. In 2007, the program was continued with $4 million for food purchases, with $100,000 used to assist gleaning operations.

For further information on LIHEAP or USF call toll-free: 1-800-510-3102, or log on to For information on the State Food Purchase Program,visit: