Palisades Emergency Residence Corporation

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Palisades Emergency Residence Corporation (PERC) founded 1981, is a not-for-profit social service agency located in Union City, New Jersey. The organization provides numerous programs and services with the aim to combat poverty and end the cycle of homelessness and hunger in Hudson County, New Jersey. In April 2012, the agency celebrated serving over one million meals.[1] A survey conducted on one night, January 30 2013, counted 947 homeless people, 198 of whom were children. Information extrapulated from the indicates about 1950 persons are homeless in the county during the course of the year.[2][3]


PERC, originally founded as Saint John's Shelter on Palisades Avenue in Union City, New Jersey, was one of the founding homeless shelters in Hudson County. Operating in a church basement, the organization outgrew its location and moved to 37th Street and Park Avenue in 1994. In 2011, PERC added 8 studio apartments in a newly renovated facility as permanent housing for chronically homeless individuals. The facility occupies two city blocks within the city.

As a nonprofit organization, PERC is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and managed by an Executive Director.

PERC is a member of the New Jersey Advocacy Network to End Homelessness.[4]

Program overview[edit]

PERC provides 40 beds to men and women who are in need of shelter. Once situated, the clients receive clean clothing, have access to in-house laundry service, grooming facility, showers, meals and support programs to receive job training, employment, and social services.[5] This is about one quarter of all of the available shelter space in Hudson County.[6] It is one of only three shelters in the county.[7]

PERC serves 200 free meals daily to clients and the community at its 37th street location. In November 2006, PERC opened the only family shelter in Hudson County. Families living in the shelter have access to all programs that PERC offers.

With grants from the State of New Jersey and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as part of a combined project with the United Way of Hudson county and Jersey City Episcopal Community Development Corporation, PERC provides lease based affordable housing to help transition the homeless into permanent housing. In addition, construction began in 2008 to build eight long term housing units for individuals considered chronically homeless under HUD guidelines. These individuals will have ongoing case management and access to PERC services.

PERC operates a multi-service community center with educational classes, vocational training and social services. All classes are free and open to the public. Classes offered include Computer Training, ESL, job training, resume writing, literacy, art and health classes.[5] Through education, advocacy and outreach, this community center acts as a support network to secure stability and growth within the area.

Starting in 2007, PERC began an education program for low-income children age 6 to 12. These classes are designed to complement and expand upon regular school programs and assist those needing additional educational assistance. PERC also provides a Summer Activities Program for children.

In media[edit]

Oak Hil, a film starring Sally Kirkland, and directed by former Guttenberg mayor Peter Lavilla, about three former entertainers whose depression and addiction has led to their living in a homeless shelter, was partially filmed in Union City's PERC homeless shelter. In 2008, it was entered into the Sundance, Tribeca, and Hoboken Film Festivals.[8]


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  4. ^ "NJANEH Members" (PDF). New Jersey Advocacy Network to End Homelessness. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  5. ^ a b Castano, Edwin (2008-07-23). "Shelter needs help to give its PERCs to people". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  6. ^ Clark, Amy Sarah (2008-08-11). "Homeless number seems much too low". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  7. ^ Kaulessar, Ricardo (2008-07-25). "Doing More for the Homeless". Hudson Reporter. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  8. ^ Tricia Tirella. "Movie filmed at U.C. shelter" The Union City Reporter November 25, 2008; Pages 1 & 6.


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