Homeless Trust Funds Working to End Homelessness in Eleven NJ Counties

Counties with Homeless Trust Funds Collected $1.76 in 2017

According to data collected by the NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, the County-Based Homeless Trust Funds continue to have a significant impact on ending homelessness in NJ. Funds raised have been spent in local counties to provide a variety of activities that are ending homelessness.

These activities include:

  1. supportive services,
  2. case management,
  3. rental assistance and subsidies,
  4. security deposits payment of rent in arrears,
  5. support services and case management,
  6. homeless prevention,
  7. rehabilitation of affordable housing,
  8. temporary shelter for households waiting for permanent housing,
  9. fair housing and legal services, and
  10. financial counseling to help households achieve self-sufficiency.

The total of $1,758, 843 raised in 2017 includes funding for the following counties:

  1. Bergen – $276,366
  2. Cape May – $73,125 – the County has not yet distributed funds
  3. Camden – $294,029
  4. Cumberland – $52,398
  5. Essex – funds are being reviewed for allocations
  6. Hudson – $149,982
  7. Mercer – $117,040
  8. Middlesex – $240, 726
  9. Passaic – Being Finalized
  10. Somerset $120,342 and
  11. Union – $434, 835

Both Cape May and Essex counties is one of the ten counties with a Homeless Trust Fund and currently has applications being reviewed for fund allocations.

The county based Homeless Trust Funds, which was signed into law on September 8, 2009, provides funding for the implementation of locally developed Plans to End Homelessness.

Funding: Public Law 2009 Chapter 123 permits a county to impose a surcharge of $3 on each document recorded with a county, for deposit into a county homelessness trust fund, five per cent of which may be used annually for administrative costs related to the administration of the fund, and the remainder of the monies in the fund may be used solely for the operation of a homelessness housing grant program.

Counties that have established these funds in other states have reported leveraging their trust fund dollars with other public and private funding sources at an average rate of 1:5.

Uses: The uses of the Homeless Trust Funds are:

  1. for the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of housing projects, or units within housing projects, that supply permanent affordable housing for homeless persons or families, including those at risk of homelessness;
  2. rental assistance vouchers, including tenant and project based subsidies, for affordable housing projects or units within housing projects that provide permanent affordable housing for homeless persons or families, including those at risk of homelessness;
  3. supportive services as may be required by homeless individuals or families in order to obtain or maintain, or both, permanent affordable housing; and
  4. Prevention services for at risk homeless individuals or families so that they can obtain and maintain permanent affordable housing.

Projects that are approved must:

    • Measurably reduce homelessness
    • Employ evidence-based models
    • Show they can be replicated in other counties
    • Include an outcome measurement component
    • Be consistent with the local homeless housing plan.

Time to use the funds collected: Any monies in the trust fund that are not expended after four years will be transferred to the Department of Community of Affairs which will contract with a community based organization in the same county where the Homelessness Trust Fund exists for the purposes of law.

Implementation: To establish the fund a county must have or be in the process of developing a ten year plan and pass an ordinance or resolution to establish the Homeless Trust Fund and begin to collect the surcharge.

Time to use the funds collected: Any monies in the trust fund that are not expended after four years will be transferred to the Department of Community of Affairs which will contract with a community-based organization in the same county where the Homelessness Trust Fund exists for the purposes of law.

Implementation: To establish the fund a county must have or be in the process of developing a ten year plan and pass an ordinance or resolution to establish the Homeless Trust Fund and begin to collect the surcharge.

In addition, the county must establish a County Homelessness Trust Fund Task Force to advise local government on the creation of homeless housing plans and programs, assess priorities for funding, review applications, and prepare an annual report and measure utilization.

Currently there is legislation – A 1918 – that would allow counties at their discretion to increase the amount of the fee.

Email Arnold Cohen and Richard Brown for More Information

Homeless Trust Fund Legislation

2017 Data

Model Ordiannce

Text of A1918

A1918

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