NJ Homelessness Decreased 28% 2007 to 2014
The 2015 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR) Part 1 provides a snapshot of homelessness with information collected during Point-in-Time (PIT) Counts.
HUD requires every community to conduct a yearly count of people staying in shelters or other homeless programs. On odd-numbered years, such as 2015, communities are also required to count un-sheltered homeless persons, too (though the vast majority of communities choose to conduct annual un-sheltered counts).
The 2015 AHAR Part 1 shows that homelessness has continued its downward trend. In the report, “2015 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report to Congress,” HUD states that overall homelessness has declined 2% to 565,708 people on a given night since the 2014 count, contributing to an overall decline of 11% since 2010.
Among the other findings of progress between 2014 and 2015:
- Chronic homelessness declined nationally by 1% but increased 3% in New Jersey
- Veteran homelessness declined nationally by 4% and less than 700 veterans were found in New Jersey
- Homelessness declined in 33 states including a 13.9% or 11,211 person decrease in New Jersey.
- 90% of the homeless in New Jersey stayed in shelters with the remaining 10% staying other places including outdoors
On November 19, 2015, the Asbury Park Press reported in “Life on the Streets: Is homelessness down in NJ?” that, “local advocates for the homeless caution that many New Jerseyans without a permanent home — and those most at-risk to be — are missed by such “point-in-time” counts.
‘The reality is that there are lot more people that are at-risk or meet other definitions of homeless,’ said Monarch Housing’s Taiisa Kelly.
For example, “Keith St. Clair, 53, who has been living at The Center in Asbury Park for four months. In the three years since he last had a home to call his own, St. Clair told the Asbury Park Press that he’s spent countless nights sleeping at friends’ apartments.”
Despite the count happening on a point in time in January and February with very cold weather, Kelly maintains that the count is a “valuable tool to measure the problem.”
“If you are sleeping outside in the middle of January then you really have no other options,” she said.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also released Part 2 of its 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) providing an analysis of homeless shelter data from throughout 2014.
According to the 2014 AHAR report, across the United States:
- In 2014, 1,488,465 people used homeless shelters, a 4.6% increase from 2013, but a 6.3% decrease from 2007 and
- Nearly 9% (131,697 people) who used shelter in 2014 were identified as veterans.
And between 2007 and 2014, New Jersey saw the following decreases in the sheltered homeless population:
- 2,526 or 28% in the total number of homeless individuals
- 1,138 or 16% in sheltered homeless individuals
- 3,117 or 37% in homeless people in families with children
- 1,375 or 5% in chronically homeless individuals
- 822 or 52% in sheltered chronically homeless individuals by state