Mayor Steven Fulop, the Jersey City Housing Authority (JCHA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), have announced the expansion of Jersey City’s homeless resident outreach efforts. The effort will include a $2 million commitment to provide more permanent solutions for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. According to a press release, the city is significantly enhancing health and social services and will utilize the operator of Jersey City’s drop-in site, Garden State Community Development Corporation (GSCDC).
The initiative was an outgrowth of Jersey City’s free public showers program, which targeted the homeless population to promote personal hygiene during the pandemic.
The city hopes to target the health problems of the homeless by offering services ranging from permanent shower facilities and free laundry to expanding case management operations and mental health services.
A resolution will go before City Council on April 15th to establish the partnership and commitment of funds for the renovated location at 514 Newark Ave in Jersey City.
“We are looking to take a more comprehensive approach to help our homeless residents with a resource-oriented facility that can provide assistance in a setting that also provides dignity and respect,” said Mayor Fulop.
“Garden State Community Development Corporation is excited to partner with the City of Jersey City on the redevelopment of the program space for GSCDC’s Hudson CASA Coordinated Entry Program for the Homeless, which serves Hudson County’s homeless individuals and families. With Jersey City providing showers, laundry, and food service to our program, it will greatly improve the level of service provided to some of our most vulnerable residents,” said Carol Mori, GSCDC Executive Director.
The existing drop-in center operated by GSCDC is largely funded by the City through the Division of Community Development to help those seeking emergency housing. The new and expanding services will be provided by Jersey City’s Department of Health and Human Services. The site additions include the following:
- Installation of permanent showers.
- New congregate dining facility incorporating social distancing features.
- New, free laundry facility.
- Transformation of the building’s unused entry space into a new Welcome Center, incorporating social distancing features.
- Renovation and expansion of the case management and intake facilities operated by Garden State Episcopal.
- Renovation of bathrooms.
- Installation of an elevator to ensure ADA compliance and to better serve residents.
“Now more than ever, the growing need for vital health and safety services is critical for everyone in our community,” said Vivian Brady-Phillips, JCHA Director. “By transforming this site, we’re creating a one-stop center and trusted resource for anyone experiencing homelessness where they can find a longer-term solution for housing and access essential support services.”
“What we have already been able to accomplish at our Mobile Showers Site alone has been tremendous, especially during the pandemic where hygiene has proven to play a critical role in reducing the spread throughout the community,” said Stacey Flanagan, Director of HHS. “In the past year, we’ve seen an exponential increase in residents asking for help with food and other basic necessities. By building a more permanent resource with a myriad of services available to those in need, we are providing the tools for long-term stability and success.”