With ‘Housing First’ Initiative, N.J. Cuts Homelessness by Half in 10 Years

Yet, Efforts to End Homelessness Face Threats in Tax Reform

On December 7, 2017, WHYY reported on the recently released U.S. Dept. of Housing Urban Development Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) report, “With ‘housing first’ initiative, N.J. cuts homelessness by half in 10 years.”

New Jersey experienced an over 50% decrease in homelessness over the last decade.

Click here to read more about the AHAR report.

“No other state had a bigger decline in homelessness during that span, according to the research. Anti-homelessness activists in New Jersey say the decrease isn’t tied to just one factor, but many – including the increasing popularity of a ‘housing first’ model.”

Monarch Housing’s Jay Everett explained why the Housing First model has been so successful in ending homelessness. “We’re not going to screen out folks who haven’t been able to deal with either their substance abuse issues or their mental health issues prior to entering housing,” said Jay Everett with Monarch Housing Associates, which works to end homelessness in New Jersey.

“You have a better shot at solving some of the barriers that have kept you out of housing when you’re already housed,” he said.

Renee Koubiadis, executive director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, said decreasing homelessness by 50 percent is significant. But she worries that a change for the worse may be on the horizon. “We have a dearth of over 212,00 affordable homes in our state. And we have very low wages that haven’t increased over the last decade,” she said.

The Anti-Poverty Network was one of Monarch Housing Associates’ many partners for the July 26, 2017 Congressional Reception.

But unfortunately, the great progress that is being made to end homelessness in New Jersey is in jeopardy as Congress negotiates a final tax reform bill. Last week, Diane Yentel, Executive Director at the National Low Income Housing Coalition wrote wrote “Senate Republicans approved a tax plan today that, if enacted, would harm millions of the lowest income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, veterans, and other at-risk populations in need of federal investments to help them afford a roof over their heads. With this vote, Republicans in Congress are one step closer to providing massive, unpaid-for tax cuts for the rich and powerful, draining resources needed for other critical investments, including affordable housing.”

On Wednesday, January 24, 2017, all of New Jersey’s 21 counties will participate in NJCounts 2017 to get an updated snapshot count of homelessness in New Jersey.

WHYY Report

NJCounts 2017 Statewide Report

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