Newark converts shipping containers into shelters for homeless, at-risk residents

NEWARK, N.J. (WCBS880) — Newark has launched a new initiative to provide the homeless and at-risk residents with a place to stay by converting shipping containers into shelters.

NEWARK Hope Village, located at 79 Newark Street, is described as "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."

Seven containers have been transformed into code-compliant modular residences with 20 dorm-style rooms complete with a heater, bunk bed with extra storage and a small dresser.

There are also two utility structures that include private shower rooms.

According to a press release, the facility was "designed to attract individuals that are shelter adverse and have been disengaged from traditional shelters and supportive homeless services."

Through outreach efforts and support services, the facility hopes to transition chronically homeless individuals and promote healthy living.

"Our service model taskforce aimed to leverage the safe and tranquil village atmosphere, with the various service provision offerings including: substance abuse and behavioral health services, intensive case management and housing navigation to promote healthy living and ultimately a smooth transition to permanent housing," said Sakinah Hoyte, City of Newark's Homelessness Czar.

The facility will shelter 24 homeless individuals from the Penn Station corridor.

"Many of our residents without addresses have been traumatized by the system that was created to serve them," Mayor Ras 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."

The facility will also be used to help those displaced by disasters, such as fires or flooding, or those in need of "Code Blue" winter shelter.

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.

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