This piece was produced by our partners at NJTV News.
By Briana Vannozzi
“There are 57 shelter programs in Essex County, 31 of which are in Newark, so again we’re not the first or only, but we’re able to meet a precious need right now for those who can’t get into the regular shelters, but need to get off the streets,” said Wade.
Dunston is one of many using the services. He has one backpack filled with his belongings and two new blankets.
“We’re blessed here with a roof over our heads. I’m very happy that I’m not in the streets, and my life is saved because it’s very cold outside right now,” said Dunston.
Diana Baldwin is saving up $162 to buy a bus ticket to Georgia, so she can stay with her daughter and stay out of the cold.
“It’s very bad, [people get] robbed, raped. It’s very bad out there, but there’s other places you can go where they’re giving out sleeping bags and blankets, but you can only go so far with that. In these temperatures, it’s very cold so, it was very nice they opened up a place like this for people like us,” said Baldwin.
“There’s an actual opportunity to connect folks who are unsheltered with sheltering possibilities and supportive services that are aimed at reducing recidivism, so that when the winter season is over they’re not just all put back into the street,” said Vicky Donaldson, director of social services for the Department of Health and Community Wellness.
You only need to go outside for a few minutes to know it’s not safe to stay. And forecasters aren’t expecting daytime temperatures to rise above freezing until after New Year’s Day. For a full listing of all the warming centers in your county, visit the warming centers’ website.