Newark expands pilot program to house the homeless using retrofitted shipping containers

An innovative pilot program to help house the homeless in Essex County has gotten the green light for a second location.

News 12 Staff

Jul 23, 2021, 2:33 AM

Updated 1,002 days ago

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An innovative pilot program to help house the homeless in Essex County has gotten the green light for a second location.
Newark Hope Village was a program that transformed shipping containers into housing. The city has now announced plans for a second Hope Village, which will house even more of the city’s homeless population.
“Most of the individuals that came into Hope One were living in tents on the street for a number of months. Some years,” says Newark Homelessness Czar Sakinah Hoyte.
News 12 New Jersey visited the first Hope Village earlier this year that is located at Newark Street and Central Avenue. The location’s first residents once called Newark Penn Station home.
“Our baseline goal was to get them off the street and to accept shelter and everyone we intended to do that with, did it,” Hoyte says.
Hope Village is an alternative to traditional shelters. It's an adult-only bridge housing program using retrofitted shipping containers as temporary dorm-style housing. Each room accommodates up to two adults. A separate container houses private bathrooms. Up to 40 people could live at the location.
Newark officials are hoping to go bigger with the new location, housing up to 50 residents and adding meeting rooms.
“We really want to make sure that there’s enough space for individuals to have confidential conversations with their case managers,” says Hoyte.
“There are just over 2,000 people in homeless shelters in Newark. About 300 of them are identified as homeless and unsheltered, all with varying reasons declining the traditional shelter route. Of the 27 people living at Hope One, 16 of them are now on the path to permanent housing, eight have found jobs and others have enrolled in mental health services and out-patient drug programs.
“We have to, as a community, offer the right supports in order to help people to achieve their goals,” says Hoyte. “We have to meet them where they are. We have to provide the resources that each individual needs.”
A location for Hope Two has not yet been decided. Officials will be doing walkthroughs in the upcoming days. They are also looking for partnerships and architects to submit designs.
The program can be contacted by emailing nwkhope2@ci.newark.nj.us.
There are limited requirements to be eligible for housing. The goal is to have Hope Two set by November.


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