As an attorney who performs transactions for people buying and selling their homes or commercial properties, I am extremely conscious of the many homeless people in the area. The official numbers say that there are 900 families in Jersey City who don’t know where they will sleep on any given night — but many advocates contend that this is a gross underestimate because many people fall under the radar, if not under the tressels.
In response to this home-grown humanitarian crisis, I have begun working with an interfaith-based community action group in Jersey City called Jersey City Together.
At the last meeting of about 500 people, over 30 Jersey City congregations of all varieties came together to arrive at unified goals and devise actions to address, amongst other issues, the housing and homelessness situation in Jersey City.
In an effort to formulate concrete plans, we continue to meet regularly to address the issues.
Readers in Jersey City may contact me about the next meeting of Jersey City together.
Another project in Hudson County that I am involved in is an affiliation of a national group which was set up to keep homeless families together. The Family Promise of Hudson County seeks to ease the impact of shelters’ strict policy of forbidding males over the age of 12 years from staying in the same shelter as families of mixed sex. Essentially it works by arranging congregations to house families without homes for one week at a time, with the intent of helping the family get back on their feet, into homes and jobs if needed.
Both of these programs borrow meeting space from churches, synagogues and mosques, regardless of their faith. Caring for other people is a shared value for many in the community, including in the diverse collection of congregations in and around Jersey City.
For me, this is a realization of personal goals I have always harbored to help people.