As of November 1, seven Newark homeless shelters have started accepting applications and registration for semi-permanent housing. Previously, Newark has only opened shelters during extreme weather conditions of heat and cold, citing lack of funding as a rationale for the absence of a more permanent solution.
In a statement released on October 30, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka stated, “The City of Newark can’t deal with homelessness by ourselves in isolation. Our role is to work collaboratively with the organizations that do operate quality shelters and to participate with the State, County, HUD [(U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)], Housing Authority, Corporate Community, Non-profits, Colleges and Universities, Community Organizations, and Churches to develop and implement solutions to homelessness. By distributing our available funds to a group of sheltering organizations, we are strengthening that collaboration.”
The seven shelters will serve different demographics, including single women, families with children, adults only, and LGBTQ individuals. These shelters are Apostles’ House on Avon Avenue, St. Rocco’s on North 7th Street, Circle of Life on Tillinghast Street, Newly Destined on Broad Street, Fairmont Health on Fairmont Avenue, H.E.L.P. Center on Sussex Avenue, and Isaiah House on North Munn Avenue in East Orange.
According to the Monarch Housing Associates’ 2018 analysis of homelessness in Essex County, surveying the population throughout the county on January 23, Newark held 1,928 of the 2,229 homeless individuals in Essex County (86.5%). Of the Newark homeless, 320 went unsheltered that day (16.6%). Of the Essex County population, 38.9% are Black and 22% are Hispanic, but they make up 71% and 15.1% of the homeless population respectively. Of the homeless individuals surveyed, 36% reported having one or more disability, such as a mental health disorder, substance abuse disorder, physical disability, or HIV/AIDS. Seventy-seven of the individuals were veterans, an increase from 52 in 2017.
Year-round housing will hopefully help to alleviate the issues of our most vulnerable citizens within and around Newark, especially in time for inclement weather.
Photo by Mary Brown/City of Newark Press Office