NEWARK, NJ – As Newark officials make efforts to get COVID-19 vaccines to underserved communities, the city launched a program this week to ensure equitable distribution to its homeless residents.

The initiative aims to send nurses and practitioners to provide vaccinations to residents of 18 shelters across Newark. This program was officially launched on Tuesday in the YMCA building on Broad Street. In addition to these efforts, city officials said they are continuing to run homeless tests, which began in May 2020.

“A year after our first positive COVID-19 case in Newark, we can now offer vaccines to protect and protect our residents without addresses,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said in a statement. “One of the goals of my administration is to provide them with the services, housing and care that all of our residents deserve.”

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The city’s Department of Health and the Office of Homeless Services are working with the North Jersey Community Research Initiative to deliver the vaccines.

Officials will also unveil a mobile strategy to offer vaccines to some of the area’s most vulnerable residents in the coming weeks.

The city’s initiative is part of at least two additional efforts officials have made in recent weeks to support the homeless population.

Earlier this week, the city’s Hope Village launched, a small shipping container village near the Penn Station corridor, as the next step in helping needy residents.

The Newark Street location has seven containers that can accommodate up to 24 vulnerable or unaddressed people. It will be part of a 90-day program that will give people with homelessness access to the units and support services, including assistance with moving to permanent housing.

Led by Sakinah Hoyt, the Tsar for Homelessness in Newark, the project aims to attract people who are in temporary shelters and have been separated from traditional shelter and support services. The model, a first of its kind in the city and only one of three in the country, aims to change the chronically homeless through public relations and promote healthy lifestyles.

Two weeks earlier, the city had teamed up with two developers to convert the former Miller Street Elementary School building into an emergency shelter for the homeless.

The facility is part of a partnership between the city and developers Claremont Development and Arc Building Partners to provide year-round protection and support services to the homeless in the area. The building is expected to open in September.

The $ 10 million project is the latest in a citywide initiative to partner with nonprofit developers to provide nearly 300 temporary and permanent supportive housing units in Newark.