New Jersey’s homeless population has risen 7 percent between 2009 and 2011, according to the Homelessness Research Institute of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. There were an estimated 14,137 homeless in 2011. This ranked New Jersey 16th in the country in terms of the rate of homelessness as a percentage of the general population.
Of this population, 5.3 percent are considered chronically homeless — but that’s nearly 20 percent less than in 2009. On the other hand, homelessness among veterans has jumped 31 percent, since there were about 811 veterans among the population in 2011.
On Wednesday, Gov. Chris Christie signed an executive order creating an Interagency Council on Homelessness, which will be asked to come up with a 10-year plan to address the problem. The council will be co-chaired by the commissioners of the Department of Human Services and the Department of Community Affairs and will have representatives from various state agencies in addition to 15 members of the public.
Christie’s 2013 budget calls for money ($2.3 million) to expand a veteran’s transitional housing program, $4.4 million for the Homelessness Prevention Program, and $23.3 million in shelter and housing assistance programs.