Volunteers Count the State’s Unsheltered Homeless

Government Shutdown, Weather May Impact 2019 Homeless Count

On Wednesday, January 23, 2019 NJCounts 2019, the statewide Point-in-Time count of the homeless took place across the state counting individuals and households who experience homelessness.

In addition to extensive local press coverage, NJCounts 2019 recevied news coverage from NJTV and NJ 101.5

On January 23, 2019, NJTV’s Raven Santana reported that “Volunteers count the state’s unsheltered homeless.”

Monarch Housing’s Jay Everett was interviewed and explained the critical importance of NJCounts. “We’re really trying to get as close to the exact number of folks who are experiencing homelessness in the state because we need to know what types of services and what level of service we need in order to provide housing to them,” said Everett who is an Associate with the Ending Homelessness team.

Santana’s reported on the volunteers conducting outreach to count the homeless in Trenton and besides Everett, interviewed volunteers from community providers serving individuals experiencing homelessness.

“A lot of our homeless people during the daytime are on the move, so we have teams that are circulating throughout the city and throughout the county,” said Ben Thornton, director of outreach services at Anchor House (located in Trenton.) “But because people are on the move we have to find them in transit, and some people don’t want to be found, so sometimes those are some challenges with the count.”

“As far as the person that we’re interviewing, the only information we collect from them that identifies them is their first initial and the first two letters of their last name and their age,” said Bill Hackett, chief financial and administration officer for HomeFront (located in Lawrence Township.) “We have found that the people we talk to are very, for the most part, very open about what’s going on and happy to talk about it with you.”

On January 20, 2019, New Jersey 101.5 reported, “Government shutdown, weather may impact 2019 homeless count.” Jay Everett told Jen Ursillo, “Many of the programs that provide shelter, transitional housing or hotel and motel placements for homeless people already provide an idea of how many people in the state experience homelessness.”

Monarch reported that the ongoing partial government shutdown puts furloughed workers living pay check to pay check at risk of eviction and foreclosure and leaves programs receiving HUD funding worrying about making payroll.