NEWARK (Feb. 25, 2021) – Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced earlier this week that construction will begin to renovate a 24,000-square foot social services facility into an emergency shelter and with supportive services to transition homeless Newark residents into permanent housing.
“This project is yet another positive milestone in our ongoing community-wide efforts to address and eradicate homelessness and provide critical, low-barrier, transitional support services to the most vulnerable among us,” said Mayor Baraka. “I’d like to thank the many project partners that have made this project a reality and look forward to watching the upcoming construction take shape.”
Those partners include Claremont Development and Arc Building Partners, which jointly with the City hope to have the new center completed by September of this year.
“The Miller Street Pathways to Housing Center is a great example of public, private, and non-profit collaboration undertaken with the best interests of our residents without addresses in mind,” said City of Newark Homelessness Czar Sakinah Hoyte. “Under the leadership of Mayor Baraka, we will continue to actively address the issue of homelessness and catalyze pathways to individual independence, while pushing forward with our progressive strategy through targeted initiatives.”
More than 100 years ago, the building was a public elementary school, where children sat at wooden desks with inkwells, facing a blackboard. In 2012, the Miller Street Elementary School, at 47-63 Miller Street, after several expansions in the 1950s, was closed. Today Catholic Charities currently operates and offers an array of emotional, behavioral, and health support services at the site, which is owned by Claremont Development.
As part of the City of Newark’s focus on homelessness and community health, Claremont Development has worked in conjunction with the City and Catholic Charities for roughly five-years to develop the structure re-use plan.
Expected service offerings at the Miller Street Pathways to Housing Center will include, but are not limited to: transportation, individual counseling and case management, behavioral health services, social services, nutrition services, and a daily “drop in” center for individuals to bathe or shower, do laundry, and have meals prepared for them. As such, a full commercial kitchen for on-site food preparation will be created with service training for meal production for people in the shelter residence and the greater community.
The new facility will comprise a total of 166 transitional beds for men, women, and families. Eighty-four beds will be for men, 44 for women, and there will be 21 “code blue” beds, and seven individual suites with a total of 17 beds for families. The daily “drop in” facility will feature the individual bathrooms (showers, bathing, and changing facilities), washers and dryers, and tables, chairs, and televisions.
-- DAVID LIPPMAN, NEWARK NEWS