However, NJ Homelessness Decreased in January 2017 to 8,500
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress which found that on a single night in the U.S. 2017, 553,742 people experienced homelessness.
This number represents an increase of less than one percent over last year. This slight rise in homelessness is the first increase in total homelessness since 2010.
The report estimates that in January 2017, there were 8,536 individuals experiencing homelessness in New Jersey. This is a 4% decrease from the homeless count in 2016 and a 38% decrease from 2010. According to NJCounts, between 2010-2017, New Jersey saw over a 50% decrease in homelessness, a decrease of 8,778 individuals.
Of the total in NJ:
- 5,433 people experiencing homelessness were individuals.
- It is estimated that 3,103 homeless families with children lived in New Jersey in January 2017.
- Between 2010 and 2017, New Jersey saw a 63% decrease in homeless families with children, a decrease of 5,239 families.
- NJ counted 492 unaccompanied homeless youth,
- 955 chronically homeless individuals, and
- 583 veterans experiencing homelessness.
- Of the total homeless count in January 2017, 83.4% of the homeless population was sheltered and 16.6% was un-sheltered.
- Ten in every 10,000 people in New Jersey experienced homelessness.
Despite the overall increase nationally, the report shows that most states and communities in the nation reported decreases in homelessness. In fact, current levels of homelessness remain two percent lower than they were in 2015, and 13 percent lower than in 2010.
The report finds a 12 percent rise in un-sheltered homelessness, with the largest increases in major cities. This increase is a cause for alarm as it may be a trend soon seen in smaller cities across the country. It also details increase among homeless veterans – despite significant decreases for the past several years – and the chronic homeless.
As Congress works towards a budget for 2018, it is critical that New Jersey’s congressional delegation fights to maintain and even increase federal funding for Housing Choice Vouchers and McKinney Vento Homelessness assistance. Now is not the time to cut funding and exacerbate the problem of homelessness in New Jersey and across the country.
“Full funding for HUD including renewal of all housing vouchers as well as for McKinney-Vent grants is critical of we are to maintain the progress we have made in NJ so that we end homelessness,” said Richard W. Brown.
NJ Advance Media covered the report’s release in a December 7, 2017 news story.
“Homelessness in New Jersey has seen a steady decline over the last few years and while the overall numbers are down, the Point-In-Time Count is HUD’s reality check; it tells us what we need to focus on,” Lynne Patton, HUD Region II Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey, said in a release about the report.
“I am aware of the good work and the passion our grantees, advocates, and volunteers invest in getting our men, women, and children into a place they call home; and I will continue to support them in this effort.”