Written by Colleen O'Dea, NJ Spotlight
Roughly 12,000 New Jerseyans were counted as homeless last year, the lowest level in at least the last five years, according to data from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
HUD recently released its 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress detailing point-of-time counts of the homeless throughout the nation. On one night during the last week of January each year, Continuums of Care Homeless Assistance Programs conduct a simultaneous count of the homeless in order to come up with an accurate, unduplicated estimate of how many people are living in shelters or on the streets.
In New Jersey, the state’s 17 CoCs counted 12,002 homeless people in the 21 counties. About 12 percent of those were unsheltered and a little more than 1 in 10 were considered chronically homeless, meaning they had a disability and had been homeless for at least a year or had had four episodes of homelessness in the prior three years. Almost half of the homeless were members of families – as opposed to individuals – and 4 percent, or 540 in total, were veterans.
The statewide numbers represent a drop of about 8 percent over the prior year, 2012, and an 11 percent decline since 2008.
Hudson County had the largest one-year drop of any county statewide, with the number of homeless counted cut by half to 942 last January.
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