Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) today announced a $75,000 grant from the PSEG Foundation to foster a partnership between Habitat for Humanity Newark & Greater Elizabeth (Habitat) and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ (BPU) Comfort Partners Program. The goal is to increase the energy efficiency and livability of homes in Newark, where PSE&G is headquartered.
Habitat, particularly through its Neighborhood Revitalization Program identifies and remediates home weatherization issues and provides rehabilitation, home preservation, and critical repairs as well as support for broader community development issues. The BPU’s Comfort Partners Program offers free energy-saving improvements and energy education for income-eligible families. PSE&G is one of six utilities in the state that help administer the Comfort Partners initiative.
“Over the last 15 years the New Jersey Comfort Partners Program has helped over 100,000 lower income residents and families save money on their energy bills by improving the efficient use of energy within their homes,” said Richard S. Mroz, President of the NJ Board of Public Utilities. “The Comfort Partners Program is one of many Board approved energy efficiency programs that in totality have invested more than $3.1 billion in nearly 1.5 million energy saving projects that have reduced electric use by approximately 7% - enough energy savings compounded over 15 years to power about 3.1 million homes.”
Courtney McCormick, vice president - renewables and energy solutions for PSE&G noted that, “PSE&G has a long-standing commitment to helping our customers save money and use energy more wisely. As a Newark-based company, it is especially rewarding when we can help in the neighborhoods and homes right in our own backyard. This grant and partnership will enable us to provide needed improvements to make homes safe, comfortable and affordable for families in Newark.”
The partnership and PSEG Foundation grant will allow the Habitat program and the Comfort Partners Program to work together to make repairs to homes that may not fit the criteria of either one program alone because too much repair work is required.
Jeffrey J. Farrell, CEO of Habitat Newark & Greater Elizabeth, said he is looking forward to the program expanding into other neighborhoods. It focuses on critical home repairs, such as roof repair/replacement, siding repair/replacement and window replacement with the goal of maintaining healthy living for low income families, seniors and veterans.
“There is a misperception in the community that Habitat for Humanity is just about building homes for our Partner Families,” Farrell said. “But the mission is much broader. While, yes, we are certainly committed to ensuring families have safe homes and can achieve the American Dream of home ownership, we are equally committed to building and safeguarding neighborhoods.”
“This generous grant opens the door for so much new opportunity in the neighborhoods we serve,” Farrell added. “We will leverage this funding to the greatest extent possible, urging other partners and sponsors to join in the effort. It is our full intention for this program to make a lasting, permanent mark on Newark.”
Habitat has an immediate goal of replacing roofs on 10 homes, replacing windows on eight homes and repairing or replacing siding on four homes. The organization will also match the $75,000 PSEG Foundation grant, while marketing the program to other potential funders.