NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- New Jersey officials on Monday announced the launch of Newark Hope Village, an innovative sheltering program that uses shipping containers to house homeless and at-risk residents.
The facility will also assist residents displaced by disasters and provide "Code Blue" shelter during extreme cold weather periods.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka was joined by City Homelessness Czar Sakinah Hoyte, Homes 4 the Homeless COO and Vice President Mike Loganbill, and United Community Corporation Executive Director Craig Mainor to unveil the shelter space.
The facility of seven containers will shelter 24 homeless individuals from the Penn Station corridor.
The containers have been converted into code-compliant modular residences and consist of dorm-style rooms, as well as two utility structures with private shower rooms and a multipurpose structure.
The rooms have simple furnishings, including a heater, bunk beds for extra storage, and a small dresser.
Funding is being provided by the CARES Act, the Essex County Division of Community Action through the State of New Jersey Code Blue Grant, and the City of Newark.
"Many of our residents without addresses have been traumatized by the system that was created to serve them," Baraka said. "Housing is the key, but we must first re-establish trust with those who have been scarred. NEWARK Hope Village will provide a welcoming atmosphere, where our most vulnerable have an opportunity to re-engage in services in a safe and therapeutic shelter. I will continue to work on pioneering strategies to end homelessness in our city in partnership with public, private, and non-profit partners."
With its population of more than 290,000 residents, Newark is adding shelter space for both homeless individuals and those displaced by disasters, such as fires or flooding, or in need of winter shelter.
Officials say the COVID-19 pandemic has added an urgent need for non-congregate housing, with each resident having his or her own private space.
Newark Hope Village is a no requirements, come-as-you-are safe sleeping village where people experiencing homelessness can have access to shelter and supportive services including assistance with transition to permanent housing.
Designed to attract individuals that are shelter adverse and have been disengaged from traditional shelters and supportive homeless services, the service model aims to transition chronically homeless individuals through targeted street outreach to an atmosphere within the village that can promote healthy living and a continuum of social service supports.
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