NJ Counts 2014 Builds Momentum
to End Homelessness in NJ!
NJ Counts 2014 – the statewide Point-in-Time Count of the homeless was held on January 29, 2014. Thousands of volunteers reached out across NJ to count the homeless.
Monarch Housing Associates is pleased to be coordinating NJ Counts 2014.
“Many factors combine to push people into the streets, into the woods and into the shelter system. 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.”
Said my colleague, Taiisa Kelly, who directed NJ Counts.
Given the recent harsh and unusually cold winter weather, it was difficult to think of anyone living without a home.
However, as we prepared for this NJ Counts 2014, we were disturbed by the comments on some of the newspapers websites.
Among the comments:
If they wait a week the cold snap will solve the problem.
It is a reminder of how far we still have to go to end homelessness in NJ.
When we read that comment we were reminded of Pope Francis who recently said:
“How can it be, he wrote, that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”
The solution to homelessness is not blaming our neighbors or letting them die of exposure. It is achieved by creating more supportive housing – permanent, affordable and independent rental housing with available support services.
It is critical that we know how many individuals and families are in need of housing, what counties they are from, and what their service needs and circumstances are. Accurate and timely data is necessary to implement and expand on strategies that have proven to be best practices in ending homelessness including:
- Housing First,
- Rapid Re-Housing,
- Centralized/Coordinated Assessment to create a more efficient homeless assistance system and
- Re-Tooling Transitional Housing to reduce the amount of time that households wait for permanent housing.
Working together we can and must end homelessness for our brothers and sisters.