NEW JERSEY - Newark officials are trying a new approach to deal with homelessness in New Jersey's largest city.
It's called Hope Village, a collection of shipping containers that have been converted into modular residences. It is located near Newark Penn Station, which has a large number of people who do not have anywhere to stay.
The facility will also be used to temporarily house city residents displaced by disasters and provide shelter during "Code Blue" cold weather emergencies.
Mayor Ras J. Baraka says the village includes 7 code-compliant modular residences with dorm-style rooms, as well as two utility structures with private shower rooms and a multipurpose structure. The city plans to house up to 24 people at a time in the homes.
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"While we're working aggressively to place them in long-term permanent supportive housing, so this is a first step," Mayor Ras Baraka said. "We want to get them into this place, provide them with services that they need to transition them into permanent housing."
He noted that there are many more people who could use the housing than they can currently offer.
The rooms have simple furnishings including a heater and bunk beds.
Newark has estimated that it has nearly 2,000 homeless individuals.
Other states have also begun experimenting with modular containers for housing the homeless. Catholic Charities created a homeless shelter out of old shipping containers near Tampa.