NEWARK, NJ — The City of Newark’s image rehabilitation at Newark Penn Station has successfully tightened up security in the main Amtrak waiting area. nd pushed the city’s homeless population to the fringes of the facility at the south end bus terminals.
Given the city’s previously announced plan to go “Code Blue” and open a handful of emergency homeless shelters, forcing the homeless out of Penn Station would not appear to be a major issue on Thanksgiving night, even when the forecasted temperature is set to drop to the teens.
But there’s a question of whether there are enough shelter beds – enough warm spaces – to care for Newark’s chronically homeless.
"It is critical tonight that people have some place to go and people don't," said community activist Donna Jackson. "There are still people sleeping on the streets.
A chart released by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka’s Press office tells a big part of the story. Two out of the city’s three adult-only homeless shelter have no beds available.
That leaves Newark’s one open adults only shelter – 224 Sussex Avenue.
Its address should ring a bell because PIX11 News fought successfully this summer – repeatedly - to help keep its doors open.
But if you’re homeless in Penn Station – it’s quite a gamble to set out on a 35+ minute walk on this cold night with no guarantee there’s a bed available when you get there.