Increased Federal Housing and Services Funding Needed to End Homelessness in NJ

More Robust McKinney-Vento Funding Needed for the Over 9,300 New Jerseyans Experiencing Homelessness

This year’s Congressional Reception theme is Opportunity Starts at Home: Building a Necessary and Secure Foundation for Healthy Communities. The Congressional Reception will be held on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

We will be advocating for five Federal Policy Priorities around Housing and Services, Medicaid, Affordable Homes, Fair Housing, and Housing Development. During the event, people impacted by homelessness will speak about how these federal programs supported by these priorities have helped change their lives, and the importance of policymakers supporting these priorities.

Leading up to the 2019 Congressional Reception on July 24, we will highlight one of the Federal Policy Priorities each week.

This week, we will focus on the Housing and Services priority. We request that our elected officials support an increase of $217 million to $2.6 billion in funding for the McKinney- Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, and we are going to tell you why.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Programs provide funds for homeless shelter programs. These programs include the competitive Continuum of Care (CoC) Program and the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) formula grant program.

These programs provide Americans experiencing homelessness with outreach services, shelter, transitional housing, supportive services, rent subsidies and permanent housing. Due to the success of these programs, the number of people in the U.S. experiencing homelessness has decreased for a consecutive of seven years.

However, in 2018, homelessness increased by 0.3 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This may seem like a small number, but it is actually catastrophic. The 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) announced that 552,830 people experience homelessness in a single night.

Meanwhile, 48 percent of people experiencing homelessness have nowhere to go, according to the report. Shelters are at full capacity, forcing many people, families, veterans, women and children to live in dangerous outdoor places.

NJCounts 2018 found that 9,303 homeless men, women and children were counted across the state of New Jersey on the night of the Point-in-Time County. This was an overall increase of 771 persons, or 9%, compared to the 2017 count. 

In January of this year, HUD announced that over $44 million was awarded to support over 200 Continuum of Care projects in New Jersey. This funding was awarded through the competitive CoC grant application process. CoC funding provides support to programs serving those experiencing homelessness with a goal of helping communities quickly rehouse individuals and families while working to minimize the trauma caused by homelessness. 

An increase in funding for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Programs will help ensure that people impacted by homelessness receive the necessary services in order to produce change. Adequate outreach, shelter, transitional housing, supportive services, rent subsidies and permanent housing are essential in preventing homelessness. With the number of people impacted by homelessness on the rise, we need more of these services, which requires more funding.

You can add your voice to our call for our elected officials in Washington to support increased funding for housing and services. We encourage your attendance and support at this year’s Congressional Reception on July 24th from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Please visit Monarch Housing’s website for more information.