JERSEY CITY, NJ - The Jersey City Council pulled an ordinance from their October 11 meeting that would have used Affordable Housing Trust Fund money to rehabilitate a house on Crescent Place for possible use for prisoner reentry.

Several neighborhood residents, claiming that city officials had failed to meet them to talk about the use of the building, started a petition to the mayor and council claiming that the facility could pose a risk.

“We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge our leaders and Jersey City, NJ Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson to act now and prevent the establishment of a Prisoner Re-entry Program at 51 Crescent,” the petition read. ‘As Residents of the Ward F community we have a right to have a voice in decisions that will disrupt our community and potentially put our residence and schools in danger.”

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Chris Gadsden, principal of Lincoln School, said there was a concern among residents about the location of the facility, across the street from his school and within a block of an elementary school on Communipaw Avenue.

Gadsden said he had received mixed messages from the council when he sought more information.

Residents of the area said that they’d been told about the use as a reentry facility, and the ordinance itself said the final use would be for reentry, but apparently some city council members said it was for affordable housing for women and children.

Several council members said they, too, thought it was to be temporary housing for women and children as well.

“But it says in the resolution itself that it’s for prisoner reentry,” Gadsden said. “The problem is we don’t know what kind of prisoner reentry, and the community should be consulted."

“I was there for both of those,” Gadsden said of previous instances when the city had to pull back on plans to establish reentry programs near local schools, including one that would have been on the same block as a Catholic school.  There was also a proposal to put a similar facility near P.S. 29. “In this case, nobody has reached out to the community and clearly some residents don’t want this on Crescent Place.”

‘We’re waiting to see what the revised resolution looks like and if there will be community meetings to talk about what they plan to put there.”

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