After 7 Years of Service, Newark Prohibits Tree House Cares from Serving Neighbors without Addresses
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: CITY OF NEWARK NJ HAS BANNED ANY ORGANIZATION OR PERSON FROM THE DISTRIBUTION OF FOOD OF ANY KIND AT NEWARK PENN STATION AND SURROUNDING AREAS
We regret to inform the community, that the Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness, the Newark Police Department, and New Jersey Transit Police Department have prohibited any person or organization from feeding our neighbors without address at Newark Penn Station, Peter Francisco Park, or any of the surrounding areas.
We are extremely disheartened and disappointed by the decision made by the City of Newark, as we have been serving this population, at this very location--for the past 7 years.
Tree House Cares has met several times with the Director of Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness, the Newark Police Department, and New Jersey Transit Police Department to discuss changing the location of the feedings to St. John's Church on McCarter Highway on assigned days.
During our most recent meeting, Newark Police Department informed us that they would not provide city support, as they did at our previous community feedings, and that we would be required to sign waivers stating that we would be solely responsible for any incidents that might occur during the time we provide services. We were also told to explain to the community why the relocation was “necessary”.
Our question to the Director of Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness was, “If you want us, and the neighbors to move, why don’t YOU explain it to the public? And, what exactly is the reason that we are being forced to relocate?”
The Director of the Newark Health Department responded by saying, that even his daughter does not like to travel through that area because of the homeless community presence.
“But, please, do not tell the public!” he insisted.
We continued the conversation by asking about housing and shelter for our neighbors. We asked for assistance in acquiring one of the many vacant properties around the city of Newark. That subject was ignored by the Newark officials, and we were told to keep the focus on the feedings. We were told that the people would simply "go wherever the food goes.”
Newark Penn Station has been a last hope safe haven for the homeless population in Newark, NJ--for decades. It is disheartening that the Newark city officials we look to for support, are choosing to ignore this population, and refusing to contribute towards a solution.
We, here at Tree House Cares, make a promise to our community to continue to do all that is in our power, to serve the people in our communities with dedication, love, and constant consideration for the people and families across New Jersey.
Tanya Veltz Founder, Tree House Cultural Arts and Entertainment