Greater Bergen Community Action
LIHEAP Counselors Go the Extra Mile
Trina Harris is one of six Intake Counselors and the only Outreach Counselor for GBCA’s Low Income Home and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). She has been a part of the program for almost 16 years. In addition to her counseling responsibilities, she also assists in the call center, helping refer clients to other GBCA programs that can help whatever situation they find themselves in.
As part of her job, Trina performs outreach at Mt. Olive Baptist Church on Wednesdays from 10AM-1PM and at senior centers by appointment. She will even visit potential clients who are disabled and are unable to leave their homes to educate them about the services the LIHEAP program offers.
“Sometimes it’s difficult because clients can be stressed out due to their circumstances,” Trina says. “Whenever I assist a client, I always try to put myself in their shoes and ask myself, ‘how would I want to be helped?’”
Trina strives to assist every client in any way that she can. Once, faced with a disabled client who wasn’t able to come into the office due to physical restrictions, Trina met with the client outside of her outreach hours to help her complete her application. She knows the clients served by the program already face many obstacles in their lives, and by easing the process for them and referring them to other GBCA programs that can help them, she ensures that she’s doing her job well.
Energy costs can strain a tight budget, especially when the household is experiencing a temporary financial emergency. Greater Bergen’s LIHEAP services are available at no cost to qualified low-income individuals and families in Bergen County. For more information about LIHEAP services go to www.greaterbergen.org or to apply in person, visit the office at 316 State Street in Hackensack.