Increased State and Federal Funding
Can Give us Significant Decreases
From 2007-2014, New Jersey saw one of the largest decreases in homelessness in the country.
This 33% decrease is due to the creation of supportive housing and the implementation of best practices in ending homelessness across the state.
These homeless count numbers come from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) recent report.
There was a more significant decrease during the first few years of this time period due in large part to affordable housing funding coming through the state Special Needs Trust and a steady stream of new Section 8 (Housing Choice) vouchers.
However, due to federal funding cuts and vouchers lost to sequestration, the rate of decline (only 2%) from 2013-2014 slowed to the point of being flat.
In addition, NJ’s Special Needs Housing Trust fund no longer has funding. This fund helped create quality-housing people can afford with needed supportive services for over 1,510 supportive housing units for a total of 1,753 persons with special needs throughout New Jersey. Many of these units were for persons were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Therefore, now is the time to:
- At the state level in New Jersey, the first thing to do to end homelessness and create housing for all New Jersey residents with special needs, is to renew the Special Needs Housing Trust Fund;
- At the federal level, fund the National Housing Trust Fund Trust Fund (NHTF) with revenue raised from modifications to the mortgage interest deduction (MID);
- Provide sufficient funding to renew Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers in use in 2014 and include in the FY 2015 appropriations $320 million for 40,000 targeted vouchers and
- Increase in funding for the HUD McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program that was included in the President’s FY 2015 budget. By $300 million dollars.
All of these are part of the policies for the Homes for the Homeless lobby days in 2014 and will be part of our efforts on March 2, 2015 as well as next July.
At the recent rate of 2% per year, ending homelessness in New Jersey is not a possibility. But with increased federal funding, we can make it a reality!