With few shelters in New Jersey’s largest city, a rising cost of living, and nearly 15,000 people on a waiting list for public Newark Housing Authority rentals, homelessness remains a crisis in Newark as it has for decades. Now, a new facility in the city’s Central Ward is aiming to give a home to some residents who have long been experiencing homelessness.
‘A Better Life’ has officially opened its doors at 93-101 14th Avenue, between Bergen Street and Camden Street near University Hospital. This new two-story building was constructed at the site of a vacant lot that was not utilized for decades, was developed by the nonprofit New Community Corporation (NCC). lwdmrARCHITECTS of Jersey City designed the building, and the NCC’s Chelsea Construction Company and Claremont Construction were involved in the project too.
According to the NCC, which has been constructing housing in this neighborhood for nearly 50 years, this $8 million development includes around 20 studio apartments, with an accessible restroom and kitchen in each unit. Plus, there are several resources inside for residents, including “an engagement center, library, dining area, laundry room and common areas.”
Residents of this ‘permanent supporting housing’ community will be referred to A Better Life by University Hospital, and services for these individuals will be provided by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care. Funding has been provided in part by agencies at the municipal, county, state, and federal levels, according to the organization.
A grand opening celebration, which was attended by officials such as 10th District Congressman Donald Payne, Jr., Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr., and Anthony Marchetta of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, was held on October 18th.
The opening of A Better Life comes amid reports that a shelter for veterans who are currently homeless is planned for the East Ward and that the Newark municipal government could soon develop its own emergency shelter.