NJ Counts 2014 Executive Summary

On the night of January 28, 2014, 13,900 homeless men, women and children were counted across the state of New Jersey. This was an overall increase of 1,898 persons, or 15.8%, compared to the 2013 count.

The reports and data are now available for NJ and each county.

NJ Counts 2014 Overall Results

  • 13,900 homeless men, women and children were counted across the state of New Jersey on the night of January 28, 2014.
  • This was an overall increase of 1,898 persons, or 15.8%, compared to the 2013 count.
  • 1,499 persons, in 1,246 households, were identified as chronically homeless, an increase of 278 persons, or 22.7%, compared to the 2013.
  • 931 persons were living un-sheltered; down 33.4% from the 1,399 persons counted in 2013.

NJ Counts 2014 Key Findings

  • 2,181 of the 9,202 homeless households counted through NJ Counts 2014 were families with at least one child under 18 years old and at least one adult, a 193 (9.7%) increase in families compared to 2013.
    • NJCounts 2014 Changes639 homeless veterans were identified, down 20% from 2013. Only 75 of these veterans were unsheltered on the night of the count.
    • The number of homeless persons in transitional housing (3,183) and living unsheltered (931) both fell, but the number of those staying in emergency shelters increased by 2,538 persons (35.1%). A portion of this increase can be attributed to the fact that through NJ Counts 2014 unlike in years past, a number of counties counted persons receiving Temporary Rental Assistance (TRA) from Boards of Social Services as homeless persons in emergency shelter. Counties utilize TRA to serve persons who meet the definition of homeless.
    • Number and Percentage of Households40% of homeless persons reported some type of disability, with more reporting mental health issues (20.4%) than any other type of disability.
    • 106 unaccompanied youth, in 75 households with only children under 18, were identified in the count. However, this is most likely an undercount due to the fact that more accurate ways of counting this population are needed.
    • 24% of households reported that they had been homeless for more than one year.
    • 4,098 children under the age of 18 were homeless. Of these children, 2,004 (48.9%) were five years of age or younger, and 2,094 (51.1%) were between the ages of six and seventeen.
    • 3 in 10 Homeless Were ChildrenThe top reported sources of income by homeless households on the night of the count included: having no source of income (28%), General Assistance (23.9%), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (18.6%). The top non-cash benefits reported were Food Stamps (55%) and Medicaid (42.5%).
    • Top factors contributing to homelessness were: being asked to leave a shared residence (20.4%), loss or reduction of job income or benefits (18.3%), and eviction (14.4%).
    • Burlington, Essex, and Union Counties each had 12% of New Jersey’s homeless population, which was the highest percentage throughout the State.
    • Mercer County had the lowest lengths of homelessness among households, with only 6.4% reporting being homeless for over a year; 70.2% had been homeless for less than 3 months.

For more information, contact Monarch Housing Associates:

The Tri-County CoC covers Warren, Hunterdon and Sussex Counties.

The Southern NJ CoC covers Camden, Gloucester and Cumberland Counties.

2 comments add yours

  1. I am for ending homelessness. I support the efforts of all of the housing advocacy groups and government agencies which focus on ending homelessness and increasing the number of supportive housing units in the state.
    At the same time it appears the major means of both reducing housing costs, ending homelessness is seldom mentioned. Discriminatory zoning and exclusive zoning designed not to create inclusive and diverse communities but to keep the homeless, the poor and people with disabilities out. Until and unless policy changes and zoning changes are made to permit multi-generational homes, multi-family homes in addition to McMansions, on 5 plus acres, the problem of homelessness and the lack of accessible affordable and supportive housing in NJ may not improve.
    We live in Morris County. Our daughter is 29 and needs a wheelchair accessible home or apartment. Truly accessible homes with barrier free entry, 36 inch or wider doors, 36 inch hallways and roll-in shower simply do not exist. The feasibility of modifying the home for full accessibility is limited by both the supporting walls in the existing structure and costs. My daughter prefers to live independently, remain close to family, and remain in the local area. We investigated building a two unit fully accessible ranch home, with separate utilities, to permit our daughter to live next door to mom and dad and in the future next to one of her siblings. Do to zoning restrictions and the highlands act, thus far we have found it impossible to build a two unit accessible 2 bedroom 2 bath accessible ranch with separate utilities in our local area. The square footage of such a home is projected at less than 3000 square feet. While the two unit with a small foot print is not permitted because of zoning and the highlands act, on some of the lots we explored purchasing we could build a single family home with 6 bedrooms, five plus baths and 5,000 plus square feet of living space. Clearly, the zoning has little to do with the environmental impact of the home. Multi-family homes today consist primarily of condo/ apartment developments. Where in NJ today can one build a two or three family home on a quarter acre lot?
    We have also explored transitioning to an “adult community” but although adult communities have many amenities which adults with disabilities could utilize and enjoy, we were not able to find an adult community where our daughter could live in the home next door to us. Many adults with disabilities and their aging parents would prefer to live together or next door to each other as long as possible. Public policy makes this option difficult if not impossible.
    Project based housing vouchers are not an ideal answer. The individual in need of a housing voucher is forced to move to an area he or she is not familiar with and forces individuals to leave their local community, move away from the life and natural supports he or she has in his her local community. Moreover, the person who moves to a project based housing option risks loosing his/her housing voucher if he or she desires to move for whatever reason. In short while addressing a housing need, project based vouchers limit choice, and freedom of movement for individuals and families.
    Until the zoning and public policy issues are addressed more families will move out of NJ to states where the cost of housing is less, taxes are less, and zoning is not as restrictive and exclusionary. The result, a greater tax burden, higher housing costs, and the housing needs of the homeless will continue to be unmet and more individuals and families will be at risk.

Join the conversation!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.