Jersey City commits $2M for more homeless assistance, including permanent showers, free laundry service

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and two city agencies announced Monday the expansion of the city’s homeless resident outreach efforts, with a $2 million commitment to provide more permanent solutions for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The options range from permanent shower facilities and free laundry to expanding case management operations and mental health services.

The Jersey City Housing Authority and the Department of Health and Human Services said they are significantly enhancing health and social services by utilizing the community partner and operator of Jersey City’s drop-in site, Garden State Community Development Corp. The initiatives stem from the success of Jersey City’s free public showers program, which specifically targets the homeless population to promote personal hygiene amid the pandemic.

A resolution will go before the city council April 15 to establish the partnership and commitment of funds for the renovated location at 514 Newark Ave.

“We are looking to take a more comprehensive approach to help our homeless residents, with a resource-oriented facility that can provide assistance in a setting that also provides dignity and respect,” Fulop said.

The existing drop-in center operated by GSCDC is largely funded by the city through the Division of Community Development to help those seeking emergency housing and street outreach. The new and expanding services will be provided by Jersey City’s Department of Health and Human Services. The site additions include the following:

  • Installation of permanent showers;
  • New congregate dining facility incorporating social distancing features;
  • New, free laundry facility;
  • Transformation of the building’s unused entry space into a new Welcome Center, incorporating social distancing features;
  • Renovation and expansion of the case management and intake facilities operated by Garden State Episcopal;
  • Renovation of bathrooms;
  • Installation of an elevator to ensure ADA compliance and to better serve residents.