NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The city will be converting Memorial Stadium into a place where New Brunswick's most vulnerable population can shower, use the bathrooms and be connected with other services and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Dignity Center will be up and running at the stadium on Joyce Kilmer Avenue, behind New Brunswick Middle School.
The center will be open Tuesdays and Fridays starting tomorrow at 8 a.m. It will be open 8 to 10 a.m. and noon-2 p.m. each day.
The showers will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. There will be separate places for men and women to shower since the city is making use of both the home team and away team locker room facilities.
Those wanting to use a shower must arrive no later than an hour before the end of the shift (before 9 a.m. for morning shift, and before 1 p.m. for the afternoon shift.)
Speaking Thursday during his daily COVID-19 report, Mayor Jim Cahill said the Dignity Center serves an important purpose because the homeless population in New Brunswick has had its access to shower facilities closed off. Ozanam Inn Men's Shelter on Abeel Street, for example, has had to close its shower facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cahill said.
The city is hoping to provide other resources at the Dignity Center, including casework to address shelter and other needs and wellness checks. The city will also be providing hygiene kits including soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes. The city is also hoping to provide sanitizing products and masks.
Guests will enter Memorial Stadium through the center tunnel and are required to sign in upon arriving. All guests must follow the similar rules of conduct that are in place for Code Blue (no fighting, no vandalism, no drug use or drinking of alcohol, etc.)
Social distancing practices are mandatory. Facilities will be cleaned before, during and after each shift.
FISH Hospitality Program on New Market Road in Piscataway will be offering transportation to and from the Dignity Center.
Cahill praised Chief of Staff Keith Jones II and the Parks Deportment for working to organize the Dignity Center.
The city is seeking volunteers to assist with sign-ins, distribution of information on available resources, tracking shower times and opening and closing the venue each day. The city has set up a page for volunteers to use to sign up.