Cardinal Tobin joined Jersey City officials this morning for a ribbon cutting at the brand new St. Lucy’s Complex, a 60,000-square-foot facility providing housing and supportive services to assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
The 612 Grove St. facility opened after about two years of construction and includes multiple affordable housing solutions, emergency shelter, transitional housing, and comprehensive supportive services provided by Catholic Charities.
“This is 13 years in the making … Over time, it was very challenging to keep it at the forefront of making sure that our most vulnerable people were taken care of. That was a priority for … us to change that,” said Mayor Steven Fulop.
“It’s really remarkable what’s been achieved here. The city has prioritized how our uh unsheltered residents are finding additional resources,” he added.
Fulop said they’re working on building a community center in Journal Square to provide further resoucres as well.
“I’m very happy I’ve had the privilege of being part of this project almost from the beginning,” he declared, not that they expect to move in people from the existing shelter across the street in the next month.
He noted the project is part of a continuing partnership between the city and the Archdiocese of Newark.
“It took a long time to get this to move and build something. Without the Archdiocese’s support, we wouldn’t have been able to do it,” John Westervelt, CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark, said.
“Each person who enters our doors will be treated with dignity and respect. We will provide each client with a multitude of services to help them become more independent and work towards self-sufficiency.”
Tobin expressed great enthusiasm about the project reaching completion.
“I can’t tell you how grateful and excited I am to see this great project come to fruition,” he began, noting that the dystopian grim view of the future portrayed in the novel 1984 is what life is like for the homeless.
“In urban communities like this one … we too often encounter individuals who have fallen on hard times and are facing harsh realities of homelessness. Homelessness is never an isolated concern. It is a crisis that affects individuals, families, and whole neighborhoods. It sends ripples through the community. It is a crisis that requires our attention and collective action. Safe and affordable housing is a fundamental human right.”
He continued that one of the church’s top priorities is help the disadvantaged and marginalized.
“Today is a special day. When I was a little girl, I lived in a shelter, St. Anthony’s. I was too young to understand. We used to sleep on a small cot, near the floor,” began Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31), the Democratic nominee for state Senate.
“To come in here and see how clean it is and to know there are so many social services for people … it just warms my heart.”
The new complex will have several social services for people to treat HIV and AIDs and mental health services, including counseling and substance abuse assistance. It will also have an area for people to grab a meal, take a shower, and do laundry.
Catholic Charities will also provide assistance with individuals who are looking for a job and permanent housing.
They’re going from providing 120 to 150 beds for homeless men and women. The men’s floor will have 120 beds, while the women’s floor will have 30 beds.
There will be 15 affordable housing studio apartments that will serve as permanent housing for the homeless and vouchers will help them afford it.
Additionally, 30 percent of their income will go towards rent. Catholic Charities will coordinate with Hudson County’s social services to determine who is eligible for the studios.
There will be 14 transitional housing units for those with HIV and AIDs, where they can stay for up to 18 months without paying.
A new building will be built on the church complex by Claremont Development and he shelter across the street will close.
Initially, there were five townhouses on the site that were demolished. As a result, individuals were provided an alternative residence while construction was ongoing and were able to move into three-bedroom condominium units that are part of the complex.
“We’re community partners who recognize our responsibility to uplift those who need it most and make a difference in our community, and it’s incredibly rewarding for our team to see this project come to fruition,” addedFrank L. Ciminelli II, President and CEO of Arc Building Partners.
“The St. Lucy’s project represents our unwavering dedication to creating spaces here in New Jersey that foster hope, dignity, and an opportunity for a fresh start. We believe everyone deserves a chance to rebuild their lives, and this shelter is a testament to that belief.”
The team at Arc Building Partners is collecting items for the residents as they transition into this important new facility and is asking the community to join them in this effort.
Items needed include toiletries and basic household necessities and Donations are accepted 24/7 on site.