Developers hope to build new homeless shelter

JERSEY CITY — Potential plans to build a new homeless shelter in Jersey City were revealed Thursday.

The new shelter will have a minimum of 150 beds, including a separate ward of 14 beds for people suffering from AIDS.

According to the CEO of Catholic Charities, John Westervelt, “homelessness in the city has grown since the shelter first opened in 1986 and has been on the rise in the last few years.”

In addition to the shelter, the city is also building a new affordable housing complex. Westervelt says this is an important part of the initiative to lower the rate of homelessness.

“Right now you can house a lot of people in that building but if you don’t get them back into society where they should be, that’s what the affordable housing is for. You need to move people out of the shelter back into society,” says Westervelt.

The $15 million project is being funded through public-private partnerships through a density bonus. This would permit a developer to increase the allowable development on the site in exchange for funds.

“We thought the most palatable way to do it is to put additional units there that would be tax paying and then get them to pay for a brand new shelter,” says Mayor Stephen Fulop.

City Council will vote on the proposal in January.