Baraka announces plans for second Hope Village to provide housing

NEWARK, NJ — On July 14, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced plans for Newark Hope Village II and that the city is seeking a partnership with developers and architects to help create the site. The program follows the success of the original Newark Hope Village, an initiative to convert shipping containers to temporarily shelter the most vulnerable residents without addresses.

“We launched Newark Hope Village as a pioneering strategy to ease the difficulties of residents who have often rejected shelter, and provide them with a more welcoming setting that makes it easier for them to receive critical services,” Baraka said. “It succeeded as a safe and therapeutic shelter and helped a good number of people move towards permanent housing. This second village is another important step, among the many we are taking, to fulfill our moral obligation to eradicate homelessness in our city.”

Sakinah Hoyte, the city’s homelessness czar, said the first Newark Hope Village, which opened last March, has served 27 chronically homeless people who lived in tents or makeshift shelters around Newark Penn Station for more than a year.

“Of those 27 people, 16 are now scheduled to move into permanent housing,” she said. “Additionally, eight have found jobs, five engaged in our offered mental health services and three enrolled in intensive, outpatient drug programs. This is the desired effect of offering people a window of stability through safe, comfortable, temporary housing.”

Hoyte said the City Department of Engineering will partner with her office to accept bids to design a new village of up to seven International Code Council–certified containers, which will consist of 25 units and shelter for up to 50 homeless individuals and families.

The containers will be converted into code-compliant modular residences, consisting of 25 dorm-style rooms, and two utility structures with private shower rooms and a multipurpose structure. The rooms will have simple furnishings, including a heater, bunk bed with extra storage and a small dresser. Funding is being provided by the American Rescue Plan. The site is to be determined.