The Live Newark Home Façade Improvement Program provides homeowners up to $15,000 through a forgivable loan for exterior repairs (replacing doors, windows, roofs, porches, painting, driveway, landscaping) to promote pride in ownership, preserve or increase value of residential properties in the city, and correct existing housing code violations. “These kinds of improvements functionally improve the conditions of their home and beautify the neighborhood,” said John Palmieri, director of economic and housing development, at the October 16 municipal meeting.
There have been 86 approvals for the loan program to date; currently 61 of those projects are complete according to Palmieri. However, projects are still concentrated in certain parts of the city. According to the economic and housing department, the project was originally designed in 2016 to serve Model Neighborhood Initiative (MNI) areas in the south and west wards, but began to expand to other areas last year after concerns that there was not enough distribution throughout the city.
The city launched a program to distribute over 40,000 water filters to reduce lead exposure after a study revealed that corrosion control is “no longer effective” in some parts of the city’s water network. PUR water filtration company announced last Thursday that they will donate 20,000 faucet filtration units and 500 water filter pitchers valued at $450,000.
Homes built prior to 1989 — the year lead lines were banned — are most at risk. More than 18,000 properties, and at least 15,000 homes, are estimated to have lead service lines. Affected properties include parts of the north, south, west, and central wards. Longer-term solutions include implementing new corrosion control measures, a process Pennington says takes six to eight months, and a $75 million fund to defray costs for property owners to replace lead service lines.
“There is no lead in the source water,” said Eric Pennington, Business Administrator for the City of Newark. Water becomes contaminated when it enters service lines that contain lead. The water coming from the Newark reservoirs are “pristine,” he said.
The Department of Water and Sewer Utilities has set up distribution centers throughout the city and is delivering filters door-to-door. Residents should bring a driver’s license or government issued ID, proof of residency and photos of their kitchen sink faucet to determine which type of filter is required.
Research shows that suspensions impair students’ academic performance and that suspended students are more likely to dropout of school and become ensnared by the juvenile justice system. Inconsistent reporting practices paint a picture that Newark has eliminated suspensions, indicated by incomplete data in state published school report cards. Data collected for the 2015-2016 school year from the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights reveal:
More than 25% of students who received out-of-school suspensions (OSS) were from Central, Newark Early College (now part of West Side) and Malcolm X Shabazz where majority of students are black
7 out of 10 black students received OSS and 7 out of 10 were referred to law enforcement (receiving a ticket or being arrested), though black students accounted for 46 percent (less than half) of overall enrollment
Less than 3 out of 10 Hispanic students received OSS and 3 out of 10 were referred to law enforcement, though Hispanic students accounted for 45 percent of enrollment
Across the nation, Black students in the public schools make up 15.5 percent of enrollment, 19 percent of suspensions
The 28 percentage gap between enrollment and suspensions for black students in Newark exceeds 23.5 gap that exists nationally
Newark Alliance Announced Aisha Glover as their New CEO this month. Glover oversaw community-focused economic development initiatives and was a marquee strategist who spearheaded the Amazon HQ2 bid, landing Newark in their shortlist of 20 cities to consider.
Lyneir Richardson, Executive director of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers Business School, will be interim CEO of until a permanent hire is made.
Newark joined New York and London as cities that have installed “Link” kiosks along pedestrian thoroughfares, providing high-speed Wi-Fi, mobile phone charging, free domestic phone calls, navigation assistance and more, all at no costs to users or taxpayers. The first of Newark’s 45 planned kiosks are already starting to appear around the downtown district, and will eventually be sprinkled throughout all five wards.
There will be kiosks around Penn station, Prudential Center, along Broad and Market streets, Martin Luther King and Irvine Turner Boulevards and neighborhood corridors like Clinton Avenue, Ferry Street, South Orange avenue, Bloomfield Avenue.
The funds are aimed to improve the state’s child care subsidy payments rates, create incentives to expand infant care, and improve child care quality and services. Rate increases will take effect in January 2019. With 60% of households in Newark headed by one parent and 30% of households living below poverty level, higher child care subsidies can provide much needed relief for families with low incomes.
The $15 million program should increase access to capital for small businesses to grow in New Jersey. Access will provide borrowers, including women-and minority-owned businesses, with more flexibility that place emphasis on cash-flow, less on hard collateral.