How County Homeless Trust Funds Could Help End Homelessness

County based Homeless Trust Funds would provide funding for the implementation of the locally developed Ten Year Plans to End Homelessness.

States across the country have helped localities dramatically reduce their homeless populations by enabling them to fund the implementation of local plans to end homelessness through local Trust Funds. In these states, this has resulted in a reduction of costs to the public sector and community. A recent example is the King County Homeless Housing and Services Fund, created when the Washington State Legislature passed the Homeless Housing and Assistance Act of 2005 (ESSHB 2163) establishing an additional $10 document recording fee dedicated to funding homeless initiatives. This year this assisted more than 200 low-income, homeless individuals and their families will be able to move into stable housing where they can receive the supportive services they need to maintain that housing. The goal of the legislation in Washington State was to reduce homelessness by 50% in ten years.

The same results could happen in New Jersey.

In New Jersey, a minimum of ten thousand (10,000) people in the New Jersey will experience homelessness this year, nearly half of whom will be in families with children. Homelessness will worsen the mental and physical health of these children and adults, and it will undermine their treatment, education and employment prospects.

Homelessness will place additional strain on the schools that struggle to keep homeless children enrolled and learning, and the hospitals and emergency rooms that must care for homeless people whose illnesses would never have occurred if they had permanent housing.

The paths into homelessness are many, ranging from the onset of illness to natural disasters. It is experienced by veterans returning from war, people who have lost their jobs, people with disabilities who languish on the streets, and families who were evicted from their housing.

The path out of homelessness relies on programs funded by HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants and state funds. However, locally funded Homeless Trust Funds can leverage this scarce funding and insure success in ending homelessness. Supplemented by dedicated staff, volunteers, and resources from the private sector and local, state and federal governments, locally funded Homeless Trust Funds, could help thousands of families and individuals in New Jersey move into permanent housing. By providing a healthier, more stable living environment, homelessness programs can reduce public costs to hospitals, emergency rooms, law enforcement and foster care systems.

If you are interested in helping with the campaign we encourage you to read the sign on letter and have your organization become one of the leaders in this important campaign. For more information contact Randi Moore.

For a fact sheet click here or for a description of possible uses and populations to be served click here.