For many years we have been aware of a small group of people who try to exist under a bridge in Palisades Park. Our staff person, Angelica, has befriended them, providing coffee and sandwiches especially in the coldest weather. Our efforts to get more services for them from county agencies have resulted only in the suggestion that they can come to the county shelter in Hackensack. However, this has not worked for various reasons, including the fact that they are never welcomed into the regular shelter but only into the “sit-up” section, and they must leave by 7 a.m. Mostly we are advised that they don’t want to be helped so we might as well not try.
This bitter winter our staff was able to persuade two of the workers to go with them to the shelter on the day the government is trying to count the homeless. They were welcomed, provided with showers and haircuts, clean clothes, and food. They left feeling good about themselves and looking terrific. The last we heard, those particular people were still sober (see photo).
We are hoping that this may be a beginning of a turnaround for some of them. If we can persuade a few to go regularly to the shelter, where they can have showers and meals any time, would some of you (CoFiA members and friends) be willing to give them a ride? Just let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or call CoFiA at 201-598-2253. Truly a good deed, and easy!