Advocates To Attempt Homeless Count

We heard this on New Jersey 101.5 FM this morning.

Advocates To Attempt Homeless Count

Monday, January 22, 2007 – Millennium Radio New Jersey
By: Martin Di Caro
This Thursday, volunteers will fan out across New Jersey’s 21 counties in an attempt to count the state’s homeless population. Advocates say an estimated figure is necessary for federal and state officials to determine funding levels for homeless services.

“More money should go where you have more homeless people,” said Sandy Accomando, chairwoman of the New Jersey Alliance for the Homeless and the director of a homeless shelter in Essex County. “I will tell you that my shelter is at 100% of capacity 100% of the time. For the first time in fourteen years, I’m looking out my window to an underpass of Route 280, and people have set up living space there.”

The homeless count will take part over the course of one day to comply with an order by the federal Housing and Urban Development department.

“HUD will use these statistics that they get to distribute funding,” said Accomando. The high cost of housing is believed to be the biggest factor behind homelessness. “Rents in New Jersey are the third or fourth highest in the country.”

A recent national report estimated there are 744,000 homeless people in the United States. A little more than half were living in shelters, and nearly a quarter were chronically homeless, according to the report Wednesday by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, an advocacy group.

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