Boardwalk Committee Meeting: Needle Exchanges & Social Services in Atlantic City

The recent Boardwalk Meeting on Dec 13, focused once again, on the growing amount of social services being provided in Atlantic City.

  • 68% of those who need social services have a substance abuse problem. They’re referred to the Atlantic County office at 1333 Atlantic Ave.
  • Those begging on the boardwalk and streets are offered a return bus ticket within a 1000 mile radius.
  • There are 150 parolees living in Atlantic City. 34 live in rooming houses.
  • Shelters do not accept any parolees or sex offenders.
  • 60% statewide are Megan Law Offenders. Police are notified of offenders. Residents are NOT notified.
Captain Jerry Barnhart – ACPD: Surveillance center is huge success. He’s hoping cameras will be installed along Pacific Ave in the near future.

Atlantic City is a magnet for ex-offenders, homeless, drug addicts. This may be due to the 55 rooming houses in town, many located inside the CRDA controlled tourism district.

Tennessee Ave. business worries about crime and drug addiction in that Atlantic City neighborhood.

Rooming houses need to be 1,000 feet apart from each other. AC License & Inspections is trying to clamping down on this, in order to lessen the density.

Landlords/operators are being pulled into court for violations and are being fined. If a rooming house is closed, city has to relocate the people. It costs $4,000 per person to relocate. Regulations must be followed or it ends up in court. Courts can order to keep the rooming house open. If the city closes rooming house, AC pays for shut down, and hopes to recover monies from owner, or city gets the property.

The Needle Exchange program has given out over 350,000 needles.

The needle exchange is more like a giveaway, than an exchange. Recently, new rules have been put in place. In order to get a new needle, you must have one in hand to exchange it for. ACPD is concerned about the program.

Comments and Questions from those in attendance:

Atlantic City carries more than its share of its social services burden. The AC Rescue Mission is an overnight shelter. Staffing down. Funds down. It is a private entity. Faith based. It serves breakfast and then the transients must leave. Goal is to get them employed. Where do they go during the day? Some become concerns for residents.

News & Info from Atlantic City

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