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Newark To Transform Former Elementary School Into 24,000-Square-Foot Homeless Shelter And Services Center

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A former elementary school in Newark is slated to become a brand new housing center offering comprehensive homeless services.

This 24,000 square foot building on Miller Street, a portion of which dates back to the early 1900s, is about to undergo a massive transformation into a shelter and supporting homeless services facility.

Mayor Ras Baraka made the announcement Feb. 25.

"Everybody has the right to be in a comfortable, safe environment with a roof over their head... and we want to do our best to make sure that we can address that as quickly and as humanely - humanely, that's important - as we possibly can," Baraka said.

The facility is being targeted to those who usually reject traditional shelters, but are still in need of services.

"The Miller Street Pathways to Housing Center will offer a full area of services, including housing navigation, transportation, individual counseling and case management, behavioral health care, social services, nutrition services and a daily drop-in center for individuals to be able to shower, do laundry and have meals prepared for them," said Newark homelessness czar Sakinah Hoyte.

The plan is to offer:

  • 166 transitional beds,
  • 44 beds for women,
  • 84 beds for men,
  • 21 Code Blue beds,
  • and 17 beds spread throughout seven suites for families.

The facility is also being designed to address the additional health challenges of today.

"Because we were operating with a COVID backdrop, we were sure to create socially distant quarters. Additionally, we've incorporated in the design a medical examination room very close to the center's entrance in the event that an individual presents with symptoms at entry," said Hoyte.

The plan also includes a commercial kitchen for meals and job training. Mayor Baraka said this will be an opportunity for case managers to engage with those in need of assistance who have been hesitant to seek it out.

The shelter is slated to open in September.

CBS2's Meg Baker contributed to this report.

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