The State of Homelessness in America

NAEH releases 2012 report
Homelessness up 7% in NJ

The State of Homelessness in AmericaOn January 18, 2012, the National Alliance to End Homelessness (the Alliance) released report, The State of Homelessness in America. The report finds:

  •  A total of 636,017 homeless persons in the U.S. in 2011 – an overall decrease of 1% (7,000 people) from 2009;
  • New Jersey saw a 7% increase in homelessness;
  • The largest decrease nationally was among homeless veterans, whose population declined 11 % while New Jersey saw a 31% increase in this population; and
  • Chronic homelessness decreased nationally by 3% and in New Jersey by 20% from 2009 to 2011. Nationally, the chronically homeless population has decreased by 13 percent since 2007.

Given the recession and the country’s slow recovery, the national decrease in homelessness may seem counterintuitive but it can be attributed to the federal investment in solutions including the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP.) HPRP held off an increase in homelessness even during the recession.

But as this critical program ends completely in the fall of 2012, the needs of the homeless and concern for the issue remains high as New Jersey and the U.S. face a slow recovery from the recent recession.

The report also examined economic factors from 2009 and 2010 and found the following:

  • Nationally, the number of poor people who spent more than 50% of their income on rent and who faced a severe housing burden and faced increased risk of homelessness grew by 6% and New Jersey has the 3rd highest rate of severe housing burden in the U.S. ;
  • The number of unemployed people increased nationally and in New Jersey 4%;
  • Nationally, foreclosure activity continued to increase including slightly in New Jersey; and
  • In New Jersey the number of people living doubled up with family and friends increased by 22% and the population of people living without health insurance increased by 7%.

Homelessness is a lagging indicator and we may not have seen the worse yet. With 40% of the homeless unsheltered, we know that we still have work to do. But the good news is that we know what works – investing in housing based proven solutions.

Click here to read the Alliance’s full report.

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