Newark, NJ – December 21, 2022 – Mayor Ras J. Baraka, joined by Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin, Essex County Board of Commissioners President Wayne L. Richardson, Chair of the City of Newark Commission on Homelessness Jim Pelliccio, Newark Homelessness Czar Luis Ulerio, Newark Alliance President and CEO Evan Weiss, Newark Municipal Council members, Newark resident and advocate Teresa Pringle, and other dignitaries today announced the City of Newark’s strategic plan to end chronic homelessness, entitled: “The Path Home: Collaborating Across Our Community.” The launching took place at the Newark YMCA, located at 600 Broad Street, in the City’s downtown.
This comprehensive, data-driven plan was developed as part of a collaborative planning process involving more than 100 partners from public, private, business, and non-profit sectors, and including committed individual residents. It seeks to establish a cooperative structure to address the multiple needs of residents without addresses such as 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 collaboration, prevention, and housing, and eliminating systemic barriers to delivering services during difficult circumstances.
“My administration has continued to invest in solutions, including opening the historic Newark Hope Village, the innovative program using converted containers to shelter residents who are at-risk or without addresses,” said Mayor Baraka. “We also renovated the former Miller Street Elementary School building to now provide shelter and support services to residents without addresses, seeking a more stable life. I believe wholeheartedly that homelessness is a moral issue that demands our greatest efforts to achieve a solution. We need to provide our most vulnerable residents with decent homes and the tools they need to regain control of their lives. This plan does just that. Together, by lifting up those most in need – our residents without addresses – we can lift up our entire community.”
In January 2022, there were 1,914 residents without addresses in Essex County. Of that, 1,695 were in Newark, and 134 were unsheltered.
“The Murphy Administration stands alongside the City of Newark in its efforts to end chronic homelessness, which takes an immense toll on people who are affected by the stress of not having stable housing,” said Lt. Governor Oliver, who also serves as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA). “The DCA administers several innovative homelessness prevention programs such as the Eviction Diversion Initiative, Homeless Diversion Initiative, and Housing Choice Vouchers, which are making a difference in communities like Newark. We look forward to strengthening these programs and creating new ones to help provide individuals and families in need with safe and decent housing and a better quality of life.”
“I applaud Mayor Baraka for his plan to end chronic homelessness in Newark,” said Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr., in a statement. “No American should have to sleep on the streets in a country with so many resources to help them. This plan will help people who deal with homelessness get the resources necessary to get them off the streets and into permanent housing. It is a great plan that will give these Americans shelter and provide them with hope for the future.”
“When creating policy, lawmakers keep in mind the community in which they serve. It is amazing to see what can happen when bills become action. We can and we are doing more to protect our families, residents, and veterans by coordinating with the City of Newark, the State of New Jersey, and City-Wide organizations that interact with the homeless population daily. It is a guarantee to improve access, transform the culture in shelters, and to create new housing,” said Assemblywoman Pintor Marin.
“Essex County, Newark and countless community-based organizations work together every day to bring services and hope to residents coping with homelessness,” said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., in a statement. “The plan introduced by Mayor Baraka will be another tool we can use to address chronic homelessness and assist some of our most vulnerable residents in our state’s largest city.”
“Homelessness is a chronic problem across the United States. With the implementation of this strategic plan, Newark will again be a shining example to the rest of the country that with the cooperation of government, community, the private and public sectors, no problem is insurmountable. Every person should have a roof over their head. Congratulations to the City of Newark, The County of Essex, and the State of New Jersey for taking this bold action to end homelessness,” said President Richardson.
The plan, which is attached to this press release, has three priorities:
· Better Address Street Homelessness by working with consultants to get real-time data about who comes in to support facilities, when, and where. These will include enhanced street outreach efforts; multiple entry points to shelter and services; coordination with mobile behavior health services to reach street homeless; and strengthening health care partnerships.
· Improve Access and Services Throughout the Shelter System, to address the complete range of needs for these persons, from temporary shelter to health care to job training and employment. These will include integrating coordinated entry into emergency shelters; improving access to behavioral health services in shelters; and developing more flexible space options in shelters.
· Expand Prevention and Housing Serviceswill include developing a public and private funding plan to expand housing and services; creating the Landlord Task Force; securing additional Rental Subsidy Vouchers; supporting creative housing solutions; and expanding the number of Permanent Supportive Housing units.
“This plan will marshal the considerable resources of this commission, our community partners, the private sector, elected officials, and state and government agencies,” said Mr. Pelliccio. “We will focus this effort on more effectively addressing chronic homelessness, improving access, and services throughout the system, collectively investing in prevention and housing.”
“Newark refuses to be a city that accepts that some residents will inevitably experience prolonged homelessness. We know that there are best practices that work to bring people off the streets and into long-term housing, but the City cannot implement solutions in isolation,” said Mr. Ulerio. “Lasting progress requires our community to act collaboratively to make system-wide reform, and we are doing that.”
“The City of Newark has undertaken a major collaborative effort to acknowledge and serve our most vulnerable neighbors with a homeless plan. “This will bring great healing to our city and serve as a model to other cities experiencing this great challenge,” said Ms. Pringle.
“The Newark Alliance, representing the anchor institutions of this city, has named addressing homelessness as one of its three priorities for our 2022-25 Transformative Project cycle,” said Mr. Weiss. Under Mayor Baraka’s leadership, alongside Lieutenant Governor Oliver and County Executive DiVincenzo, we are confident Newark can be an exception to the national trend of rising homelessness and deliver exceptional solutions that will continue to be a model in this state and across the country. The Commission and Homelessness Czar Ulerio have done a remarkable job of identifying tangible solutions from housing to healthcare that the Alliance will work to match with private sector resources and expertise.”
The array of participating organizations are listed in the strategic plan, some of which include: Newark YMCA; Prudential Financial; New Community Corporation; Newark Housing Authority; Apostle House; Newark Emergency Services for Families; Newark Downtown District; Catholic Charities; Edison Properties; Integrity House; Newark Community Street Team; Newark Alliance; and Yglesias Properties.
The City has already taken dramatic steps to address homelessness. These include establishing the City of Newark Commission on Homelessness in 2018 and the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services earlier this year. The City also opened the Miller Street Shelter, a “state-of-the-art” facility with 166 beds, which included a “Drop-In Center” that provides access to bathrooms, meals, and support services. In 2018, Mayor Baraka created the Equitable Growth Advisory Commission to prevent gentrification and assure equitable growth. Drawn from the city’s academic, business, and non-profit sectors, the commission works to ensure that development policies and projects in Newark incorporate the principle of equitable growth.
To view the actual plan on the City website, click here.
For photos of the event, click here.
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