Every year, as part of the effort to keep track of those New Jersey residents who are homeless, a so-called Point in Time Count is conducted on one night. This year, it took place on Jan. 28. Unfortunately, the results were not uplifting. In fact, #NJCounts 2020 found 9,663 men, women and children, in 7,365 households, homeless across the state. That was an increase of 799 (9%) over the 2019 count.
Taiisa Kelly, CEO of Monarch Housing Associates, which coordinates NJCounts activities and analyzes data collected from the Point-in-Time survey, said, “The lack of affordable housing continues to be a major barrier in achieving the goal of ending homelessness,” adding that, “According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition Gap Report, NJ has a shortage of over 275,000 homes that are affordable to people making up to 50% of the Area Median Income. This is New Jersey’s reality pre-pandemic. As COVID-19 continues to take a toll on our health, housing and economy, we are nervous about the impending impact on our existing housing crisis as the eviction moratoriums end and the economy struggles to bounce back.”
Other key findings in the count:
- 1,743 people, in 1,601 households, were identified as chronically homeless. They make up 18% of the total homeless population, an increase of 281 (19.2%) from 2019;
- There was an 8% increase (1,076 households) in family homelessness, with a family defined as a household with at least one child under the age of 18 and one adult;
- 45 unaccompanied youth under 18 were identified in the count, a 32% increase in the number of unaccompanied homeless youth.