Mercer County Sees Decrease in Homelessness

Mercer Executive Brian Hughes
Addressed NAEH Conference

County Executive HughesOn July 29, 2014, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes presented at the National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference in Washington, D.C. Hughes discussed the success of Mercer County’s Rapid Re-housing program, which has helped lower the number of homeless people in the county.

According to NJ Counts 2014, the number of homeless families at any given time in Mercer County has decreased by 74% — from 271 to 71 — compared to a 38% reduction in New Jersey and 16% nationally.

At the conference, Hughes discussed why Mercer County has been so successful in bringing those numbers down.

While this data is impressive, County Executive Hughes remains concerned about the increased demand for homeless services, and wants to build upon Mercer’s success by intensifying efforts to improve the delivery of these services to the broader homeless population.

“Counties and states all over this nation are looking at this model and taking it very seriously. They’re looking at our model as an example of which way to go. We’ve been in the lead — we wouldn’t be getting national attention if we weren’t in the lead of bringing the numbers down.”

“We found that by putting families in permanent housing as quickly as possible, we gave them the opportunity to use social services more effectively. It’s a new way of looking at housing. We would like to drive homelessness down to zero, and in the interim we are going to work very hard to get families stabilized, because that’s where real progress comes from.”

Said Hughes.

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