But Even Slight Increase in People Experiencing Homelessness Points to American Housing Affordability Crisis
According to the report,
As in previous years, there is significant local variation in the data reported from different parts of the country. Thirty-one (31) states reported decreases in homelessness between 2017 and 2018 while 19 states reported increases in the number of persons experiencing homelessness.
Jonathan D. Salant of the Star-Ledger reported on the 10.1% increase in NJ. According to HUD it was slightly higher than the numbers counted in January durian NJCounts. The increase is primarily due to the “the high cost of housing.” The article noted that “a household would need to earn $28.17 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment, but the average salary is $18.21 an hour.”
“That speaks to the housing affordability crisis in our state and how expensive it is to afford a home in New Jersey,” said Kate Kelly of Monarch Housing.
“Our state and local partners are increasingly focused on finding lasting solutions to homelessness even as they struggle against the headwinds of rising rents,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Much progress is being made and much work remains to be done but I have great hope that communities all across our nation are intent on preventing and ending homelessness.”
“Communities across the country are getting better and better at making sure that people exit homelessness quickly through Housing First approaches,” said Matthew Doherty, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “We know, however, that a lack of housing that people can afford is the fundamental obstacle to making further progress in many communities.”
Nan Roman, president and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, was surprised the overall numbers weren’t better.
“Just because I think there’s been a continuing investment in veterans, and an improvement in approaches,” she says. “We might expect to have seen a continuing downward trend. And we’re not.”
Roman says it’s increasingly difficult to find available units in some areas of the country to house the homeless. And she worries the problem could get worse.
HUD’s national estimate is based upon data reported by approximately 3,000 cities and counties across the nation.
Every year on a single night in January, planning agencies called ‘Continuums of Care’, along with tens of thousands of volunteers, seek to identify the number of individuals and families living in:
These one-night ‘snapshot’ counts, as well as full-year counts and data from other sources (U.S. Housing Survey, Department of Education), are crucial in understanding the scope of homelessness and measuring progress toward reducing it.
Click here to read more about NJCounts the statewide point in time count of the homeless in New Jersey in January 2018.
On a single night in January 2018, state and local planning agencies (Continuums of Care) reported:
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