Poor living conditions exposed in Newark shelter

Poor living conditions exposed in Newark shelter

NEWARK, N.J. (PIX11) — Residents of a shelter in Newark claim mice, bedbugs, and lack of hot water are some of the conditions they are living in.

Most of the people that live here came from another shelter that was shut down.

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This shelter was only supposed to be temporary but the lack of low-income housing in Newark and the city’s commitment to get homeless people off the streets will keep it as a long-term project.

“Lots of mice,” stated Luanne Greco, a resident of what was known as hotel Riviera. The vacant building on Clifton Avenue in Newark became a homeless shelter 10 months ago.

“They have to train the workers so that they know they can’t abuse homeless, sick and destitute people. Sometimes there is hot water, sometimes there is not, the lights on your bathroom work, then they don’t work,” she added.

There are about 275 people housed here.

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“They have bed bugs here,” said Barry Betts. He shared pictures of his room with PIX11 news and says he shares the room with three other men. “I have a guy in my room who does drugs and I gotta deal with and I shouldn’t have to. I’m not a drug user.”

Luis Ulerio, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services, says the city has been addressing these concerns.

“There are some rooms that may have 4 in a room, but those are the ones we are focusing on decreasing because the goal is to have less in a room,” stated Ulero.

When asked if he believes that residents are in livable conditions, Ulero said yes. “Absolutely. What we have really is work to be done,” he answered. He added that the bed bugs was an isolated issue addressed immediately.

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Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark oversees case management and social services here.

“The biggest issued is substance, secondary mental, and then you have then you have some that homelessness is just the way of life,” said Claudia Marks, Catholic Charities Division Director of Shelters and Housing.

The mayor’s office of homeless services stated they couldn’t give us a tour of the facility today but did say they will give us one in the future.

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