Home Hudson County Jersey City Non-Profit Highlight: The York Street Project

Jersey City Non-Profit Highlight: The York Street Project

by Jordan and Joelle Hernandez
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Homelessness is a nationwide issue. Here in Hudson County, nearly 1,000 people experience living without a permanent address at any given time, with more than half of that number dwelling in Jersey City according to NJ.com and Patch. Living without shelter often means other needs such as food security, physical safety, and education are lacking as well. Enter the York Street Project, a non-profit 501(c)3 based in Jersey City whose mission is to build programs that help those experiencing homelessness or lack of resources. The Hoboken Girl sat down with Camryn Hadley, Communications and Events Manager of The York Street Project to learn more about the organization, chat about how to get involved and hear about the community members it supports. Read on for our conversation with York Street Project.

About The York Street Project

The York Street Project is no stranger to helping those in need. Dating back to 1891, the Sisters of St. Joseph’s of Peace founded the organization to support poor immigrant women with housing, jobs, and training. Fast forward to 1989, YSP shifted its focus to include women and their families who may be experiencing different barriers such as homelessness, lack of child care, and who are in need of services and social work support. Not having access to any one of the areas in which YSP supports can lead to a life of struggle making it hard to prevail.

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When asked about the cycle of poverty, a system in which many of the women seeking support from YSP find themselves in, Camryn shared “The cycle of poverty is multi-generational and swallows whole generations of families. In order to support herself and her children a woman needs a decent job, but in order to get a decent and well-paying job, she needs a decent education. However, to get a decent education, she needs someone to entrust with the care of her children while she is at school. The only way to break the cycle is to take it all on at once, something most don’t do. YSP is really unique in that its array of holistic services takes on those barriers and  treats each aspect of needs for the whole family.”

Read More: This Jersey City Woman is Giving Back to the Shelter She Once Lived In

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YSP Today

As an active part of the community, YSP has a number of different programs for its guests. YSP has two on-site locations as well as apartments within the community. St. Joseph’s Home hosts 25 families experiencing homelessness or emergency shelter. St. Mary’s Residence is a boarding house for 44 single working women. Additionally, 40+ families are part of the Rapid Rehousing Program in sponsored apartments to assist in the return to independent living. The Nurturing Place is a child development center that serves children from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds including homeless, low-income, and York Street neighborhood infants and children ages two months to five years old.

These programs are designed to provide the life skills and resources needed for independent living. And they work! Over 70% of guests who complete programs with YSP are living on their own and doing very well. While York Street Project is proud of the work it has accomplished, the goal is to get that number to 100%. That can be done with the support of the community through volunteer work, monetary donations, or supply drop-offs. Over the years, YSP has seen former clients who benefitted from the resources of the organization go on to be case managers at YSP and even serve on the Board of Trustees.

Camryn shared a touching story of how one client was not only able to work to support her own education but helped change the narrative for others.  “A recent story is one of a former client who was a victim of human trafficking. She participated in all of the programs we offer and truly made the most of every opportunity. Later, she decided to continue her education by going to college. Unfortunately, since she was brought in illegally, she did not qualify for financial aid. With her determination and the assistance of our Executive Director, she not only got her education but her case got a federal policy changed so those who were brought into the country by human trafficking can qualify for financial aid.”

See More: Organizations + Non-Profits to Give Back to in Montclair

How to Support YSP

In order to continue with the incredible work York Street Project does, support of the community is vital. Recently, YSP felt the love of the community at its Evening Under the Stars event. Sixteen local food and beverage vendors gathered to serve over 300 attendees to raise money for YSP this past June. While the next Evening Under the Stars won’t be until June 2024, the organization hosts plenty of events throughout the year including street festivals, galas, and golf outings. For those who would like to get involved with York Street Project immediately, volunteer options and an Amazon wishlist can be found on the organization’s website. Monetary donations are the largest need and a great way to know these resources can continue on for the community. Be sure to join the organization’s mailing list and follow @yorkstreetproject on social media to stay up to date with the latest events and needs.

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