Organizations, agencies and others that plan community efforts to end homelessness will conduct the NJ Counts census. NJ Counts is being coordinated by Monarch Housing Associates.
“Many factors combine to push people into the streets, into the woods and into the shelter system,” said Taiisa Kelly with Monarch Housing who is directing NJ Counts. “We are grateful to have the opportunity to work with dedicated volunteers and staff in each of the counties. This year’s count is critical as we work to get an accurate count of the homeless that will inform our work to use best practices that we know can end homelessness and create affordable housing in New Jersey.”
Given the recent harsh and unusually cold winter weather, it is difficult to think of anyone living without a home. Monarch Housing believes that several factors will contribute to the results of this year’s count of homeless families, youth and veterans including:
A shortage of rental housing driving up demand and costs,
A failure to create more affordable housing and supportive housing,
Foreclosures causing many to lose homes,
Shortage of jobs that pay a living wage, and
Families and individuals still living without homes even one year after Superstorm Sandy. 43% of the households displaced by Hurricane Sandy were renters and 67% of those households earned less than $30,000 (Enterprise Community Partners, 2013)
“Affordable rentals are extremely difficult to come by in New Jersey,” said Staci Berger, president and CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. “Superstorm Sandy has made a bad problem worse, creating more competition for those affordable homes. Plus, rising costs of rent and mortgages, utilities, and groceries have outpaced any income growth. The lack of affordable home choices in the state has forced more people than ever before to seek assistance or even end up on the street.”
Click here for contacts for each of the twenty-one participating counties.
Monarch Housing Associates is coordinating NJ Counts 2014. For more information about Monarch’s work to ensure that every person will have quality affordable, permanent supportive housing that fosters freedom, independence and community integration click here.