Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Morris and Union Counties Prepare and Count
NJCounts 2016, the January 27, 2016 statewide point-in-time count of the homeless, continues to earn attention from the press across New Jersey.
All twenty-one counties participated in NJ Counts 2016 and conducted counts of the homeless on January 27, 2016. The count’s results will continue to guide efforts to end homelessness across the state.
Networks of organizations, agencies and others that plan community efforts to end homelessness coordiante the local counts.
Monarch Housing’s Katelyn Cunningham spoke with NJ101.5about why Monarch Housing coordinates the statewide NJCounts 2016 effort.
“It’s important to really see the demographic of the population that you are serving. It really points out the need of the population.”
Permanent housing whether through Housing First or Rapid Re-Housing is the best practice for ending homelessness in new Jersey.
“Communities are focusing less on transitional housing as a step and moving people more immediately from the street or emergency shelters straight in to permanent housing. They’re really trying to, kind of, put them on the fast-track to permanent housing.”
In Cape May and Atlantic Counties, the Courier-Post reports that
“Despite the weekend’s wild weather conditions and coastal flooding, the count will go on as scheduled in Cape May and Atlantic counties.”
“Freeholder Carol Musso said earlier the results of the count help ‘guide planning efforts to help decrease homelessness in the county as well as show the need to bring more federal funds into the county.’”
“We have an obligation to care for the most vulnerable persons in our community, to make sure that persons who have fallen on very hard times, who don’t even have a place to live in Morris County, get at least the basic necessities of life.’’
The newly approved federal funding package threatens the progress to end homelessness. Fewer housing vouchers means that very low-income individuals and families live on the brink of homelessness. The NJCounts 2016 data can aid advocacy efforts.
“The state and Morris County use the results of the annual count to obtain consistent data about the number of individuals and families experiencing homelessness, to better understand the causes of homelessness, to determine service and housing needs, and to obtain federal funding to aid the homeless.’’
“Lisa Falcone, director of Homeless Outreach Services for the Mental Health Association of Morris County, has highlighted the need to make sure homeless people with serious mental illness issues are appropriately counted, as they represent a growing population that has been subject to not only a weak economy, but a compromised, fragile and underfunded public mental health system of care in New Jersey.”
“While homelessness is a year-round issue, it usually reaches the public consciousness the most during these current cold weather months. Gary Denamen, director of the Morris County Office of Temporary Assistance, explained that county policy guarantees that no one is refused shelter during extreme weather conditions.”
“Executive Director, Linda Flores-Tober says ‘Every year we see more and more homeless families and individuals who are losing their homes attend this event. Through this event, we are able to help them gain information and access to resources to help them move out of homelessness and into stable housing. These counts are also critical to inform HUD of the community’s needs to ensure that social service agencies like the Coalition get the support they need to address the needs of the growing homeless and chronic homeless population in Union County.’”
The Asbury Park Press reports that Monarch Housing’s Kate Kelly made the case for how the NJCounts 2016 results will help advocacy to increase funding to ending more homelessness.
“Getting a more accurate count can help make the case for increased funding and prioritizing funding for the best practice that best serves the homeless population in the community.”