This is the first part of a letter to 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 City 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 helping 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. [End of Part 1]
Very truly yours,
Advocates for Peace and Social Justice