All 21 New Jersey Communities Participate in NjCounts Count of the Homeless
On Wednesday, January 24, 2018, networks of organizations, agencies and others that plan community efforts to end homelessness will conduct the NJCounts 2018 across New Jersey’s twenty-one counties. Volunteers will ask homeless shelter residents and those in unsheltered locations where they spent the night of January 23, 2018.
Monarch Housing Associates is coordinating NJCounts 2018. NJCounts 2018 is the annual statewide Point-in-Time count of individuals and families experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness in the New Jersey.
The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mandates that local communities conduct a sheltered count each year. HUD will use the 2018 count for tracking efforts to end youth homelessness.
New Jersey and local Continuums of Care (CoC) employ the annual count to obtain consistent data about the number of individuals and families experiencing homelessness and to better understand the causes of homelessness and their service and housing needs.
NJCounts 2018 is designed to understand the nature of New Jersey’s homeless population so that limited housing and services resources can most appropriately meet its needs.
The overall findings of NJCounts 2017 included:
- 8,532 homeless men, women and children were counted across the state of New Jersey on the night of the Point-in-Time Count.
- This number was an overall decrease of 409 persons, or 4.6%, compared to the 2016 count.
- 1,092 persons, in 992 households, were identified as chronically homeless, an increase of 256 persons, or 30.6%, compared to the 2016 count.
- 1,415 persons were unsheltered; a decrease of 1.9% from the 1,442 persons counted in 2016.
Key findings of NJCounts 2017 include:
- The number of homeless persons in emergency shelter, transitional housing and those unsheltered decreased 4.8%, 6.1% and 1.9% respectively. The overall homeless population in New Jersey has decreased at an average rate of 8% per year over the last 5 years.
- 1,017 (16%) of the 6,340 homeless households counted through NJ Counts 2017 were families with children under the age of 18. There was a 10.9% decrease in homeless families as compared to 2016.
- 49 unaccompanied youth households under 18 were identified in the count. This represents a 44.1% increase in the homeless unaccompanied youth population.
- 1,939 children under the age of 18 were homeless. Of these children, 977 (50.4%) were five years of age or younger, and 962 (49.6%) were between the ages of six and seventeen. Children under the age of 18 represented 22.7% of the homeless population.
- 46.2% of homeless persons reported some type of disability. Among homeless adults over the age of 18, 57.3% reported a disability. The most prevalent disability reported was mental health issue.
- 20% of households reported that they had been homeless for more than one year.
- Top factors contributing to homelessness were: being asked to leave a shared residence (20.6%), eviction (13.8%) and loss or reduction of job income or benefits (12.8%)