HOBOKEN — Over the years, various county and local politicians have said they’d focus on the issue of local homelessness, and then their plans faded quietly. Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who has experience as a tenants’ rights leader, announced this week that he plans to tackle homelessness, and that his task force will present plans to the public later this summer.
“It’s simply not enough to feed and house a person one night at a time,” said Bhalla. “We need to look at giving people the resources they need to stay off the streets long-term. That means access to proper mental and physical health care, education and job training, access to good-paying jobs, affordable housing, and more.”
The city has a homeless shelter which is often filled.
A press release said that the task force, “which is committed to developing comprehensive strategies for Hoboken’s homeless community and ensuring the quality of life for Hoboken residents,” is comprised of:
• Chief of Staff John Allen
• Deputy Chief of Staff Jason Freeman
• Constituent Affairs Chief Caroline Caulfield
• Community Development Director Brandy Forbes
• Health and Human Services Director Leo Pellegrini
• Police Chief Ken Ferrante
• Lieutenant John Orrico
• and Principal Planner Chris Brown
The task force will be partnering with the following local organizations:
• Hoboken Faith Community
• The Hoboken Shelter
• Hudson County Housing and Community Development
• CarePoint Health
• United Way of Hudson County
• and Hudson Pride Center
“We are grateful that the City of Hoboken will be expending such significant energy and resources towards the challenge of homelessness in Hoboken,” said Rabbi Robert Scheinberg of the United Synagogue of Hoboken and chair of the Hoboken Clergy Coalition. “Homelessness in Hoboken has a wide variety of causes and should be addressed through a wide variety of initiatives and through collaborations with many partner organizations, in support of our goals of compassionately helping people to move off of the streets into safer environments, and giving them the various kinds of support they need to live independently.”
“CarePoint is honored to work with the City of Hoboken as part of the homelessness task force and we commend Mayor Bhalla for his leadership on this issue,” said Randy Minniear, Executive Vice President for External Affairs for CarePoint Health. “Our team currently works with The Hoboken Shelter to provide regular health screenings for their residents, and we view this as an opportunity to expand on that outreach and develop a comprehensive strategy to find real solutions to address homelessness in our community.”
“Hudson Pride Center is proud to join the Hoboken Homelessness Task Force,” said Hudson Pride Center CEO Michael Billy. “The LGBTQ+ Community, especially our youth, face homelessness at an alarming rate. Additionally, our homeless community members have a difficult time finding shelters that both accept and respect gender identity or gender sexuality. We will be joining the task force to ensure those issues are addressed. We understand the importance of task forces like this and how they become instrumental in informing the city’s next steps for preventing and ending homelessness in Hoboken.”
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