Newark, NJ – April 24, 2023 – Mayor Ras J. Baraka and Newark’s Homelessness Czar Luis Ulerio hosted a visit by United States Interagency Council on Homelessness Senior Regional Adviser Nichele Carver to Newark today, in which they and community partners discussed solutions to the issues of unhoused residents. After the meeting, Ms. Carver visited two of the city’s Hope Village sites.
The day included a discussion in the City Hall Press Room, which involved members of the City of Newark’s Commission on Homelessness and community partners, who outlined the city’s strategic plan to end chronic homelessness in three years. Ms. Carver also presented the federal plan on addressing this issue at the national level and discussed ways to support Newark in its efforts.
“Newark has developed a comprehensive strategic plan to end chronic homelessness and is applying innovative measures to reach our most vulnerable residents through low-barrier housing models,” Mayor Baraka said. “Cities everywhere face the same challenge, but I think Newark finds its best solutions through our practice of collaborating across all sectors with a focus on the lived experience of those most affected by homelessness. In Newark, we lift up all our residents by working together.”
After the discussions, Ms. Carver and Mr. Ulerio visited Newark Hope Village I at 79 Newark Street, where they met with residents and village staff. From there, they visited the construction site of Newark Hope Village II at 51-63 Elizabeth Avenue and met with the development team overseeing the project.
“Itis amazing to see that Newark’s strategic plan to end homelessness The Path Home, Collaborating Across Our Community and All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness are seamlessly aligned, ”said Ms. Carver. “Mayor Baraka and Director Ulerio’s leadership, along with Newark’s public/private partnerships, are exactly what the Biden-Harris administration hopes to see communities forming across the country. I look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor and his team as Newark ends homelessness.”
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness is the only federal agency with a sole mission focused on preventing and ending homelessness in the nation.
Earlier this year, Mayor Baraka launched “The Path Home: Collaborating Across Our Community.” The comprehensive, data-driven plan was developed as part of a collaborative planning process involving more than 100 partners from public, private, business, non-profit sectors, and included the voices of residents experiencing homelessness through focus groups and surveys. It seeks to address the multiple needs of residents without addresses through temporary and permanent housing, employment, medical and behavioral health care, and support services. The plan aims to end chronic homelessness in Newark over the next three years, through public and private collaboration, prevention, and housing.
“Newark has taken the lead by establishing an ambitious goal to end chronic homelessness in our City and developing strategies that are aligned with the federal strategic plan and reflective of the unique needs of our residents,” said Mr. Ulerio. “We look forward to working with the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and their federal partners to implement Newark’s plan.”
Increasing low-barrier housing such as the Newark Hope Village model is one of many initiatives outlined in the plan. Launched in 2021, Newark Hope Village I was the first of its kind in the City of Newark, and one of a few charitable container projects addressing homelessness in the United States to meet the International Code Council (ICC)building codes for safe human habitation. It is designed to attract individuals that are shelter adverse and have been disengaged from traditional shelters and supportive services. Using targeted street outreach, the model transitions chronically homeless individuals into the village where the atmosphere and culture promotes healthy living and a continuum of social service supports.
Newark Hope Village II will be built in the South Ward and provide 20 chronically homeless Newark residents with transitional housing, meals, and supportive services. Following the success of Newark Hope Village I, the Mayor charged the Office of Homeless Services to build more communities that followed the same low-barrier model that was so effective in serving residents in the first village. For the second iteration, a team of professionals were assembled to design, construct, and improve the qualities of this next community. The design process was also informed by stakeholders and residents through several community meetings. As with the first village, the design of Newark Hope Village II and its living spaces will be critical to the program’s overall success.
For photographs of the visit, click here.
To view the City of Newark’s plan to end chronic homelessness, click here.