Newark, New Jersey Seeking Chief Sustainability Officer

The following post appears on a City of Newark, New Jersey government website.

Job Posting: Seeking Chief Sustainability Officer

The City of Newark is recruiting a Chief Sustainability Officer who will work closely with an interdepartmental Sustainability Team drawn from key city departments, the Newark Environmental Commission, community partners, and businesses. The team is charged with achieving a healthier, greener Newark in all five wards. The Sustainability Team will build on the framework of the Newark Sustainability Action Plan, guided by principles of environmental and social justice, to ensure all members of the community benefit from the city’s progress.

See job description here.

Applications submitted before July 25, 2016 will be given priority. Position will start in mid-September.

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Disparities in New Jersey Prison System

A report by the Sentencing Project provides a mixed picture of the social justice system in the state of New Jersey.

The report states,”Truly meaningful reforms to the criminal justice system cannot be accomplished without acknowledgement of racial and ethnic disparities in the prison system, and focused attention on reduction of disparities. Since the majority of people in prison are sentenced at the state level rather than the federal level, it is critical to understand the variation in racial and ethnic composition across states, and the policies and the day-to-day practices that contribute to this variance. Incarceration creates a host of collateral consequences that include restricted employment prospects, housing instability, family disruption, stigma, and disenfranchisement.”

Key findings include:

  • African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at a rate that is 5.1 times the imprisonment of whites. In five states (Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, Vermont, and Wisconsin), the disparity is more than 10 to 1.
  • In twelve states, more than half of the prison population is black: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Maryland, whose prison population is 72% African American, tops the nation.
  • States exhibit substantial variation in the range of racial disparity, from a black/white ratio of 12.2:1 in New Jersey to 2.4:1 in Hawaii.

On a positive note, New Jersey has witnessed and been a leader in reducing its prison population. Since 2000 the state has reduced the number of individuals in prison by 28%. It also has Re-entry Task Forces in a majority of counties. For more information on these community, county based groups contact the NJ State Parole Board by writing to: NJSPB_Public_Info_Office@spb.state.nj.us.

You can take action to help reduce racial disparities in our criminal justice system. Ask your State Senator to support bill S677. The text of S677 is available online.

Special thanks to NJ Advance Media reporter, S.P. Sullivan for his recent article, “Racial disparity in NJ prison rates highest in U.S., report finds”.

The Sentencing Project is a national non-profit organization engaged in research and advocacy on criminal justice issues.

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NJ Housing Choice Voucher Enrollment, Part 2

Beginning today and lasting until Friday, June 17 5pm, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) will be accepting pre-applications for the Housing Choice Voucher Program (previously known as Section 8 rental assistance). Application can only be made online at https://www.waitlistcheck.com/NJ559.

A number of questions have been raised with respect to the application and screening process. Here are a few questions with answers supplied by DCA’s Division of Housing and Community Resources.

1. If the household income listed on the HCV pre-application is over the income limit will the application be rejected immediately?

If the income listed on the pre-application is over the income limit, the applicant will be notified that the pre-application cannot be accepted. The applicant will have the opportunity to correct their entry on the pre-application if they made an error.

2. Somewhere I read, “only one pre-application per household per county will be accepted”. Does this mean a person may apply in more than one county?

Yes, a household may submit pre-applications for multiple counties.

3. How is county of residence a screening factor, based on self-disclosure?

At the pre-application stage, the applicant is asked to list county of residence. Should the pre-application be selected for the waiting list, when the applicant is selected from the waiting list, they will be required to verify all information submitted. Misrepresentation of information is grounds for denial of entrance into the program

4. Would a person considered homeless be able to choose which county to apply in?

A homeless person may submit applications for all counties, as any other applicant may do. In terms of the county of residence, a homeless person may submit as their county of residence the county in which they stayed on the night before the submission of the pre-application.

5. Can you explain sorting preferences?

As described in DCA’s Administrative Plan, preference points will be awarded to the people who are disabled, victims of domestic violence and to those residing in the county in which they submitted a pre-application. Should a pre-application be selected for the waiting list, the applicant will be required to verify all information submitted. Misrepresentation of information is grounds for denial of entrance into the program.

6. A person accepted should continue to furnish updated information, especially if there is a move on their part. Should they report changes/update information to a local DHCR field office?

All applicants are responsible for keeping their contact information current with DCA, so that DCA may contact them when their application is selected from the waiting list. Applicants may update their information through the waitlistcheck website, or through DCA’s customer service unit, which may be reached at 609-292-4080 or via email at customer.service@dca.nj.gov.

Other questions and answers may be obtained by reading the Housing Choice Voucher Program FAQ (English) or Housing Choice Voucher Program FAQ (Spanish).

The Housing Choice Voucher Program’s Administrative Plan FY2017 is also available online.

Keep in mind the waiting list website may be slow due to the number of people trying to access the site. DCA issued the following announcement this morning, “Please note that the waiting list is lottery based and the date and time that you apply will not affect your chances of being selected, as long as your application is submitted before Friday, June 17th at 5 PM. Any pre-application submitted by 5 PM on Friday, June 17th has an equal chance of being selected for the waiting list.”

DCA added, “You will receive confirmation once your application has been received. If you do not receive confirmation within 90 minutes of your application submission, it’s possible that your application was not received and you should apply again.”

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Housing Choice Voucher Enrollment Begins June 13

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Division of Housing and Community Resources (DHCR) will be accepting pre-applications on-line for 10,100 Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) in all twenty-one (21) New Jersey Counties. The Enrollment Period is from Monday June 13, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. to Friday June 17, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.

The number of pre-applications being accepted by County are:
Atlantic – 350; Bergen – 900; Burlington – 500; Camden – 575; Cape May – 200; Cumberland – 275; Essex – 850; Gloucester – 350; Hudson – 725; Hunterdon – 200; Mercer – 450; Middlesex – 825; Monmouth – 650; Morris – 525; Ocean – 625; Passaic – 600; Salem – 175; Somerset – 375; Sussex – 200; Union – 575; Warren – 175.

Key requirements and information related to the pre-application process:

  • All pre-applications submitted online from June 13, 2016 at 9:00am to June 17, 2016 at 5:00pm will be entered into a database and a lottery system will be used to select pre-applications.
  • Pre-applications for housing assistance will be accepted from very low-income individuals and families based on the income limits established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Applicants must be eighteen (18) years of age or older to apply, or be an emancipated minor. YOU MUST HAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS TO APPLY.
  • Only one (1) pre-application per household per county will be accepted.
  • Web browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer 10 or higher are recommended.
  • The HCV Program is a federally funded program that provides housing subsidies on behalf of low-income persons for decent, safe and sanitary housing. Persons applying must meet all of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) income and eligibility requirements.
  • Maximum Income Limits: Your total household income cannot exceed the limits shown on the income charts for the County in which you are applying. Be sure to use the figure for the size of your household. The chart only goes up to 8 household members. If you have a larger household, please contact DCA at 609-292-2528 for assistance in determining the maximum income limits for
    your household. Click here for Income Limits.
  • If you are disabled and need assistance with submitting your pre-application, please contact DCA at 609-292-4080 and select Option 1 or 8 from the Menu and request a reasonable accommodation.
  • Individuals selected by the lottery will be notified via email which may take several weeks.

More Information on the Pre-Appliction

HCV Income Limits

Link to Apply Beginning on June 13th

Source: Monarch Housing Associates. Reprinted with permission.

There are a few other items to keep in mind when making application. First, the pre-application form will only be available online and the applicant must include an email address for notification purposes. No paper applications will be taken. Free email accounts are available from a number of Internet providers. They include, but are not limited to: Gmail, Outlook or Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL Mail, GMX.

It is recommended you also read the Department of Community Affairs’
Housing Choice Voucher Program – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

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LIHEAP Emergency Assistance Extended

There are additional opportunities to request energy assistance under LIHEAP’s emergency assistance program in New Jersey. Please share the information below with friends, family, partners or networks. A few points of clarification.

1) Eligible LIHEAP households can request Emergency Assistance until May 31, 2016. The state received a second allocation from the Department of Health and Human Services in the amount of $12.6M in April.
2) Newly granted SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) households who did NOT receive a May 1 LIHEAP benefit have until May 31 to contact their local LIHEAP/USF agency to apply or correct wrong information. Cases will be re-evaluated if they are currently in “pending status”.
3) Although the LIHEAP season is ending, keep in mind that applications for USF (Universal Service Fund) are available year-round.

A listing of the local LIHEAP/USF agencies is available online at www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/agencydirectorylist.html.

Additional information on LIHEAP and other energy assistance programs is available on the NJ Community Resources NJ Energy Assistance Programs webpage.

The 2-1-1 Partnership can provide information on LIHEAP emergency assistance procedures by calling 2-1-1 or 800-510-3102.

The extension of the emergency period in New Jersey follows the release by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of an additional $335million in April of which New Jersey received $12,666,956. A press release appears on the LIHEAP Clearinghouse website.

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NJ Clean Energy Appliance Rebate Program Now Online

For more than a dozen years New Jersey consumers have been taking advantage of rebates available to them under the New Jersey Clean Energy Program. What better way to acknowledge Earth Day 2016 than to participate in a rebate program for being a conscientious, energy minded consumer?

Since March 1 consumers have had the ability to make application for the appliance rebate online. The application process is reported to be simple, allowing customers to track the progress of their application and receive their rebates sooner.

The appliance rebate program applies to ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washers , clothes dryers and refrigerators. Rebates vary from $50 to $75 for refrigerators and washers and $100 to $300 for select energy efficient dryers.

The online application simplifies the process for both the customer and for the program administrator. The customer can verify that the appliance meets the qualifications for the rebate prior to submitting it and no longer needs to mail in the application.

The online application reduces the turnaround time for customers to receive their rebate.

New Jersey Clean Energy Program , administered by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, offers financial incentives, programs and services to New Jersey residents, business owners and local governments to help them save energy, money and the environment. It promotes increased energy efficiency and the use of clean, renewable sources of energy. For more information call 866-NJ-SMART (866-657-6278).

On a related note, here are a few links with energy savings tips and ideas.

  • ENERGY STAR – a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. You can view their website to identify energy efficient products.
  • New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program energy tips.
  • Energy Saver Guide published by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Support Earth Day 2016 .

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America’s New Working Class Demands Respect

The following excerpt was written by and first appeared last week on BillMoyers.com under the title, America’s New Working Class Demands Respect.

Tamara Draut’s new book, Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America, is officially out today. In it, she examines the struggles and challenges faced by today’s workforce and how that force is shifting the country’s political landscape, striving toward a renewal of the power that once defined our industrial working class. Below, through personal experience, interviews and research, Draut tells us why American workers demand and deserve the restoration of respect and fair treatment.


 

Nine out of 10 fast-food workers say they have experienced some type of wage theft, when employers illegally withhold wages by not paying overtime, forcing workers to work off the clock or not giving workers a full paycheck. In 2012 alone, $993 million was recovered in stolen wages thanks to the combined efforts of government officials and private lawyers. That’s nearly three times the amount of money stolen during robberies in the same year.

I’ve been talking to members of the new working class as part of the research for my new book, Sleeping Giant. The people I’ve spoken with take pride in contributing to the success of the company they work for and the happiness of their customers. They also expressed a common desire for more respect. As a general laborer for Coca-Cola put it, “We’re making them billions of dollars. Why are we being treated like something you step on in the grass?”

The disrespect that the working class has faced on the job for decades is now trickling up to the professional middle class. For example, roughly half of all college faculty members are only employed part-time. While it used to be that college faulty members consistently earned a middle-class salary, today’s adjunct professors often end up living near or below the federal poverty line.

Today’s professional class face a near-constant expectation to be “on-call” 24 hours a day, ignoring the needs of their families so they can respond to emails at all hours. Tech workers’ jobs are increasingly at risk of off-shoring. After his second lay-off, Rick, a 45-year-old computer engineer, was forced to train his foreign replacement as a condition for receiving his severance pay.

Unless the new working class reclaims the economic and political authority once enjoyed by the mostly white, blue-collar working class of the industrial era, anyone who is not truly affluent will remain living on a precipice of economic anxiety and insecurity. Why? Because the same philosophy that has decimated living standards for the working class is responsible for the weakening of the middle class.

An economy based on disrespect that ignores the needs of workers and their families is not sustainable. We need to address the root cause of these destructive policies to create prosperity that is widely held. We need a new, Better Deal for the working class. We need to invest in people and rebuild our infrastructure. We need to provide high-quality child care for every infant and toddler. We need to transform our current bargain-basement economy into one where all jobs pay a decent wage, labor laws are actually enforced and workers are paid exactly what they are owed.

This is the Better Deal we all need. The alternative — to sit back and watch as the needs of most Americans go unaddressed — simply cannot be an option.

Look for Tamara Drant’s new book, “Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America”.

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