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HUD reports homelessness numbers dropped statewide - Ocean City Sentinel: State

HUD reports homelessness numbers dropped statewide

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Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 10:58 am

NEW JERSEY — Homelessness continues to decline in the U.S., specifically among families with children, veterans and individuals with long-term disabling conditions, according to the latest national estimate by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Meanwhile, HUD’s 2016 annual homeless assessment report to Congress found the number of people experiencing homelessness in New Jersey on a single night in 2016 fell 11.9 percent, from 10,098 to 8,895. 

Specifically, HUD estimates that in 2016, New Jersey experienced a 14.2 percent reduction among homeless families, a 20.1 percent drop in veteran homelessness and a 40.4 percent decline in individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.  

In making the announcement, HUD Secretary Julián Castro noted that although the nation is making significant progress in reducing homelessness, the number of “doubled up” or rent-burdened families remains a vexing problem.

“Every person deserves a safe, stable place to call home,” Castro said. “The Obama administration has made unprecedented progress toward ending homelessness and today marks the seventh straight year of measurable progress. While we know that our work is far from finished, it’s clear we’re on the right track to prevent and end homelessness for good.”

“With among the highest housing costs in the nation, New Jersey’s drastic reduction in homelessness proves that it can be done anywhere,” said Holly Leicht, HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey. “Unprecedented collaboration at all levels of government and innovative strategies backed by federal resources have resulted in nearly 5,000 fewer homeless people in New Jersey now than when the Obama administration launched its ‘Opening Doors’ initiative to end homelessness back in 2010.”

During one night in late January 2016, tens of thousands of volunteers across the nation sought to identify individuals and families living on their streets as well as in emergency shelters and transitional housing programs. These one-night “snapshot” counts, as well as full-year counts and data from other sources (U.S. Housing Survey, Department of Education), are crucial in understanding the scope of homelessness and measuring progress toward reducing it.

“I want to thank HUD’s partners in New Jersey; all of the Continuums of Care, that count and provide services for the homeless, advocates, and all of the elected officials and their staff that committed to the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, and HUD New Jersey staff that work tirelessly to make homelessness a thing of the past,” said Maria Maio-Messano, HUD NJ Field Office Director. “Their passion for assisting those in need proves their commitment to continue until every New Jerseyan has a place to call home.” 

On a single night in January 2016, state and local Continuums of Care agencies in New Jersey reported:

— 8,895 people experienced homelessness, representing a 35.2 percent reduction from January 2010. Most homeless people were located in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs while 1,353 were unsheltered.

— The number of families with children experiencing homelessness declined 53.5 percent since 2010. 

— Veteran homelessness dropped by 20.1 percent (or 696 people) since January 2015. On a single night in January 2016, 556 veterans were experiencing homelessness. 

— Chronic or long-term homelessness among individuals declined by 40.4 percent (or 704 people) since 2015.

— The number of unaccompanied homeless youth and children appeared to decline in 2016 to 533. although HUD will launch a more robust effort to more accurately account for this important population in January 2017.

The Obama administration’s strategic plan to end homelessness is called Opening Doors — a roadmap for joint action by the 19 federal member agencies of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness along with local and state partners in the public and private sectors. The plan offers strategies to connect mainstream housing, health, education, and human service programs as part of a coordinate plan to prevent and end homelessness.

The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness is a White House initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama in 2014. In New Jersey, Bergen and Middlesex counties were certified by HUD, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) as having ended veteran homelessness, and were recognized in a White House ceremony this past Monday. In New Jersey, a total of 36 mayors and county executives have committed to the Mayors Challenge.

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