Hoboken has seen a staggering amount of growth in the last few years, as economic factors have made the city’s real estate among the most desirable in the country. Meanwhile, the increase in homelessness in our area has also become readily apparent, with Hudson County having the second highest rate of homelessness in New Jersey.
In an effort to address the issues that contribute to homelessness, the City of Hoboken’s Homelessness Task Force has developed a plan of action to work with community organizations toward compassionate solutions.
“Our efforts are multi-faceted, addressing the root causes of homelessness,” says Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “Not only are we getting folks off the street, but we are equipping them with the tools necessary to avoid falling back into homelessness.”
Hudson County Division of Housing and Community Development has secured 25 Housing Choice Vouchers for the long-term homeless in our region. Valued at about $10,000 annually, the vouchers are part of a Pilot program to provide supportive services to homeless individuals who are frequent users of the Hoboken University Medical Center and Jersey City Medical Center Emergency Rooms.
Hoboken University Medical Center has pledged $50,000 a year to Garden State Episcopal Community Development Corporation (GSECDC) to provide supportive housing services to 5 permanently housed clients. Jersey City Medical Center will expand their existing supportive housing program and hire a full-time case manager to provide services to 20 additional individuals.
The Homelessness Task Force has also secured property in The Harlow (1330 Willow Ave) for $1/year to provide a base of operations for Easterseals. The non-profit will use this space to offer supportive employment services for adults with special needs and employment training and preparedness services for seniors.
The Task Force will also work towards the opening of a food pantry in the Hoboken Community Center, formerly known as the YMCA. The pantry will supplement work already being done at the Hoboken Shelter, hopefully alleviating that organization’s considerable workload.
Eight donation meters, sponsored by Hudson Pride Center, will be placed around Hoboken for residents to give money to nonprofits addressing homelessness. The donations are collected and distributed by the United Way of Hudson County.
The City’s initiatives are in addition to the already significant work being done by other organizations in town. Hoboken American Legion Post 107, for instance, is moving ahead with the construction of their new community center and housing facility for homeless veterans. St. Francis Hoboken is hosting a 5K on October 6th to support the Father Michael Food Pantry. While the Hoboken Shelter Hobooken 5K fundraiser is a few weeks after that, on October 27.
Business owners or other organizations looking to get involved in the Task Force are urged to contact Caroline Caulfield, Chief of Constituent Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.