NJCounts 2019 Finds over 2,500 Homeless Children and Youth

Less than 20% of Homeless Youth Report Earned Income: Almost Half of Homeless Youth Population Asked to Leave Shared Residence

NJCounts 2019 found 8,864 men, women and children, in 6,748 households, experienced homelessness across New Jersey. This number decreased by 439 persons (5%) from 2018. NJCounts 2019 counted individuals who were homeless on the night of January 22, 2019.

Monarch Housing’s Nadine Azari who is an Associate with the Ending Homelessness team gave us a deeper analysis of the snapshot of youth homelessness in New Jersey.

In the NJCounts 2019 survey and report, youth are defined as persons under the age of 25 who are not accompanied by a parent or guardian. The population of homeless youth can include individual unaccompanied youth, youth only households made up of two or more youth presenting together as a household, and pregnant or parenting youth who are the legal guardians of one or more children.

In 2019, NJCounts 2019 found there were a total of 715 (8%) identified homeless adults between 18 and 24 years old and 1,831 (20%) children under 18 years old experiencing homelessness on the night of the count.  That makes for a total of 2,546 youth and children who experienced homelessness.

NJCounts 2019 also found that 25% of youth households identified were households with adults and children (163), 69% were households without children which consist of youth over the age of 18 but under the age of 24 (448) and 5% were households with only children, youth under the age of 18 (34).

Breaking down the homeless youth by gender, more homeless youth identified as females at 55.2% of the youth population. (44.3% identified as male and less than 1% identified as transgender and gender non-conforming).

Homeless youth reported through NJCounts 2019 where they were living.  Six hundred and four (604) homeless youth reported living in emergency shelter, 253 reported living in transitional housing and 60 were living unsheltered. 

By race, 78% of homeless youth identified as Black or African American, 25.4% identified as Hispanic/Latino, 16.2% identified as White, 3.3% identified as Multi-Racial and less than 3% identified as American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian.

NJCounts 2019 connected youth homelessness and poverty. When asked about their source of income, 18.1% of youth reported receiving work income and/or wages, 17.1% reported receiving income support through the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and 49.5% reported receiving no source of income.

Unfortunately, NJCounts 2019 reports that homeless youth may not have strong connections with and support from family and friends. The Phase One Study Findings from the Center for Social Information, released in March 2018, refers to this lack of connections as “Network Impoverishment,” a phenomenon in which it is not only the individual or family, but the entire network, that lacks the economic and social capital necessary to prevent and end homelessness.

The most common cause of homelessness among youth was that they reported being “Asked to Leaved Shared Residence.” This was reported by 44.6% (229) of the homeless youth population.

Click here for more from NJCounts 2019.