Keep Showers for Homeless and Expand Services

photo of free showers for homeless usage in Journal Square - photo by Erik-Anders Nilsson

Dear Editor:

To the Editor and To the Elected Leaders of Jersey City:

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Several organizing members of Jersey City Peace Movement, (a peace and justice organization that also volunteers and advocates for the needy and homeless for almost two decades in Hudson County / Jersey City now), recently visited the new shower facility trailers in Journal Square for our homeless population.

After many years of activists suggesting a similar service to the needy, we were pleased to find this provision finally in late 2019. The persons in charge of this program explained to us that the days and hours available for the homeless to shower themselves are between the morning hours of 7 a.m. until 10 a.m., and only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

We strongly advise this service be continued and expanded to at least 5 days a week – although 7 days a week would be ideal, and with much longer hours of operation, to perhaps 6 hours per day, minimum. Currently, only 9 hours-per-week collectively is way too short a time for our growing displaced and homeless population to take advantage of these warm shower-trailers. We also advise moving this sanitary shower program from temporary trailers to a permanent city-owned building, as this elevates the quality of life not only for our homeless neighbors, but for the entire city in general.

Over our years of activism and outreach to needy and homeless friends, we’ve seen many pass away – and we remember those who have literally died on the sidewalks of Journal Square. Unfortunately, we also need to recall the past attacks on the homeless, from threats of jail and steep fines for ‘panhandling’ / begging, to having public benches removed and even metal spikes being fastened to sitting areas and parapets throughout our Square.

The hip slogan of, “Jersey City, Make It Yours” and the proclamation of our great Jersey City being a ‘sanctuary city’ seem to be lost on the current streetwise population and growing influx of homeless survivors. We celebrate this program and need it expanded.

JERSEY CITY PEACE MOVEMENT
Organizers and Activists