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Posted Thursday, October 1st, 2020

A federally required annual count of homeless persons in New Jersey, which includes breakouts for all 21 counties in the state, found an increase in overall homeless numbers statewide, but a decrease in Morris County, according to a “snapshot” survey conducted in January of this year.

NJCounts 2020 found 9,663 men, women and children in 7,365 households experienced homelessness across New Jersey.  This number increased by 799 persons (9 percent) from 2019.

The data is based on an annual “Point-In-Time Count” in New NJCounts Point-In-Time logoJersey that takes place during the last 10 days of January, when county and local social services representatives and volunteers try to identify people residing in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, safe havens and living on the streets or other locations not fit for dwelling.

In Morris County, on a count taken on the night of Jan. 28, a total of 243 households, including 354 individuals were found to be experiencing homelessness, according to the survey report.  The numbers show an overall decrease of 34 persons, or 9 percent, from 2019.

Of those Morris County residents counted, 51 persons were identified as chronically homeless and 29 were not sheltered on the night of the count.

Between 2016 and 2020 there was a 9 percent decrease in persons staying in emergency shelter, a 17 percent decrease in persons staying in transitional housing and a 15 percent decrease in persons identified as unsheltered in Morris County. The report also found that 38 percent of the homeless household respondents in Morris County reported that their last permanent address prior to becoming homeless was outside of the county.

Commissioned by the N.J. Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, Monarch Housing Associates coordinates NJCounts activities in the state and completes analysis of data collected from the Point-in-Time Count survey.

The full statewide report and county by county reports are available at https://monarchhousing.org/njcounts-2020/

Some key statewide findings of the NJCounts 2020 as compared to NJCounts 2019 include:

  • 1,743 persons, in 1,601 households, were identified as chronically homeless, representing 18 percent of the total homeless population, an increase of 281 persons, or 19.2 percent, from 2019;
  • 1,786 persons were living without shelter, showing an increase of 304 persons (21 percent);
  • 1,076 households were counted as families, showing an 8 percent increase in family homelessness (a family is defined as a household with at least one child under the age of 18 and one adult);
  • 45 unaccompanied youth under age 18 were identified in the count, which represents a 32 percent increase in the number of unaccompanied homeless youth households from 2019.

Counties across the state annually conduct NJCounts as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to secure federal funding for programs serving persons experiencing homelessness.