ADVOCATES FOR PEACE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
6900 Park Avenue – # 3091
West New York, New Jersey 07093-4482
August 22, 2012
Mayor Jeremiah Healy – Jersey City
Peter Brennan – President Jersey City Council
Viola Richardson Councilwoman-at-Large
Rolando R. Lavarro, Jr. Councilman-at-Large
Councilman Michael Sottolano- Ward A (Greenville)
Councilman David Donnelly- Ward B (West Side)
Councilwoman Nidia Lopez- Ward C (Journal Square)
Councilman William Gaughan- Ward D (The Heights)
Councilman Steven Fulop– Ward E (Downtown)
Councilwoman Michele Massey- Ward F (Bergen/Lafayette)
Jersey City Town Hall
280 Grove Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302
Re: Homeless People in Jersey City
Dear Mayor Healy and Members of the Jersey City Council:
My name is Migna Khan. I am the Executive Director of Advocates for Peace and Social Justice here in Hudson County. I am addressing you today concerning the Homeless population of Jersey City.
It is imperative that the Council address the issue of the homeless in Jersey City. There is a shortage of shelters for them and, to date, no 501c3 organization has been effective in truly assisting the homeless with basic essentials or helped them to rebuild their lives.
The numbers of homeless persons in Hudson County is staggering and increasing with each passing day in a depressed economy where thousands are becoming unemployed and homeless. The homeless are not all criminals, mental cases or substance abusers. Their ranks are heavily comprised of veterans coming back from unnecessary wars in the Muslim world to find they have no job and no prospect for getting gainful employment. The ranks of the homeless include entire families that have been foreclosed and are unemployed with no benefits and no family members to turn to for shelter.
New Federal regulations have affected the ways in which Federal monies can be used and the 501c3 status has become the latest legal scheme to take Federal monies and leave the destitute as they are. Sandwiches and meals on holidays are nice but they do not meet the need of the homeless to eat daily. Organizations, such as my own, do what we can do to provide fresh fruits, water, clothing, and other essentials, when available, to the homeless but the fact remains that they need much more than that. They need shelter, transitional housing, medical care and social services to help them get back into the mainstream.
The purpose of this letter is to propose that the City of Jersey City work in conjunction with the Administration of Hudson County to ensure that Federal monies budgeted to the homeless are used to restore abandoned buildings into shelters and transitional housing for the homeless coupled with access to clinics for medical treatment and access to social services.
The homeless cannot procure employment without proper documentation, a street address or telephone number. Under my proposal they would be provided all these essentials by the City and County as the shelters and transitional housing will fulfill the basic requirement for address and telephone number for prospective employers.
I also purpose that a public shower and laundry facility be made in the immediate for the homeless. Showering is a critical need. They are human beings that need to shower as the rest of us do. We cannot expect the homeless to seek employment without proper hygiene or clean clothing.
What I am proposing is a do-able thing given the perimeters and regulations that are now in place from the Federal Government. It is clear that the 501c3s are not going to solve any problems for the homeless and are just reaping gains for themselves while the homeless sleep on the streets. My proposal would be a source of employment to Jersey City residents as there would be a need for employees at various levels to provide necessary services.
I do not want anything for myself. I am here pleading with the Mayor and Council of Jersey City to take a proactive step to deal with the problem of the homeless. I am willing to work with the Mayor and Council to make this proposal manifest. It is in the best interests of the Mayor and Council to show the residents of Jersey City that they can do something other than serve the interests of Goldman Sachs, and other private interests, or create ordinances for financial gain at the expense of the taxpayers of Jersey City. The Council has sat for far too long ignoring this problem. It is time to face the fact that if we don’t do something the ranks of the homeless will continue to swell and Jersey City will have more problems than it can handle.
Criminalizing the homeless is not the solution. The Federal Government has apportioned about $5 million dollars through HUD for the homeless. The City and County cooperating with each other is the fastest way to get the homeless shelter, housing and other assistance which will enable them to return to the workforce and stand on their own again. Corruption and wasting of funds on crony contractors is out of the question. Clear transparency and efficient management of the monies is absolutely essential.
In light of all the above, I am hereby making a formal demand for Jersey City to partner with Hudson County to bring this proposal into manifestation. The Mayor and City Council of Jersey City must not continue to sit idle while the homeless are on the streets being abused in every conceivable way possible.
My proposal will yield a triple benefit in that the homeless get the help they need, that the City deals with the homeless problem proactively and new jobs are created for all. Please do not continue to ignore the homeless or trust on 501c3’s to be effective because they are not doing a blessed thing to actually make a difference.
Very truly yours,
Advocates for Peace and Social Justice
Published by Jersey City Independent at:
Published by Hudson County News at:
Published by Outside.In at:
Published by the Jersey Journal printed edition and online at: http://www.nj.com/hudson/voices/index.ssf/2012/08/letter_the_jersey_city_city_co.html
[It is a sad reflection on the Jersey Journal that it felt the need to censor the parts of my letter which referred to FRAUD, CORRUPTION and CRONISM. I left the link to the full letter in the comments section on the online version but, sadly, those who only read the printed edition did not have opportunity of reading the letter in its entirety and grasping the total message therein. SHAME on the Jersey Journal for ‘sanitizing’ the news.]
Published by Hudson Reporter in two parts printed and online edition at:
Part 1: http://www.hudsonreporter.com/view/full_story/20080402/article-Re–Homeless-People-in-Jersey-City-%E2%80%93-Part-1?instance=jersey_city_letters_story_left_column