New Life for a Closed Church

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A former church in New Jersey is set to begin a new life as supportive housing, thanks to an Episcopal community development organization.

Incorporated in 1846 and closed by the 140th Convention of the Diocese of Newark in 2014, St. John’s Church in Union City is being converted into a facility to house homeless men in the area.

Garden State Episcopal Community Development Corp. (GSECDC) of Jersey City is rehabilitating the church, along with a neighboring vacant two-story building. “I give thanks for the ministry of St. John’s, and that an Episcopal entity — GSECDC — is repurposing its mission to provide housing and support for homeless men,” the Rt. Rev. Mark M. Beckwith, Bishop of Newark, told TLC by email.

GSECDC will develop 13 units of permanent supportive housing for people with special needs, according to the organization’s website. There will be seven one-bedroom apartments and six studios.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the project, at Palisade Avenue and 15th Street in the city, was held April 28. In the time since, crews have completed interior demolition and begun construction.

Matthew Townsend


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