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New Jersey Ranks Nationally as One of Top Five States to Decrease Overall Homelessness; Reduces Veteran Homelessness by Twenty Percent Since 2015
Home > Media Room > HMFA in the News > News 2016 > New Jersey Ranks Nationally as One of Top Five States to Decrease Overall Homelessness; Reduces Veteran Homelessness by Twenty Percent Since 2015
For Immediate Release: Contact:
December 15, 2016 Tammori Petty
Emike Omogbai
609-292-6055
 

New Jersey Ranks Nationally as One of Top Five States to Decrease Overall Homelessness; Reduces Veteran Homelessness by Twenty Percent Since 2015

National 2016 HUD Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress Provides Snapshot of Homelessness from January Point-In-Time Estimates
 
TRENTON – New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Charles A. Richman today announced that the 2016 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, released in November 2016, details that New Jersey has significantly outperformed national trends on decreasing homelessness. New Jersey was listed in the AHAR as one of the top five states with decreases from 2007 to 2016 in Overall Homelessness, Homeless Single Individuals, Families, and Chronically Homeless Individuals.
 
The report highlights data from a Point-in Time (PIT) count, which is derived from an annual snapshot of homelessness on a single night in late January. The PIT count, based on HUD’s methodological standards, provides estimates of the number of people experiencing homelessness within different populations.
 
“We are proud New Jersey is setting a national trend in decreasing homelessness,” said Commissioner Richman. “While the data shows numbers are decreasing, there is still work to be done. That is why we are now dedicating up to 500 tenant-based State Rental Assistance Program (SRAP) vouchers to transition formerly homeless people currently in permanent supportive housing initiatives to vouchers for people who are stable enough to live independently.  Many people, after stabilizing in permanent supportive housing, no longer require the high level of supportive services associated with such housing, but still need assistance to pay their rent. These dedicated SRAP vouchers will be used to house additional homeless individuals and families in need of a high level of services and housing.”
 
Data from the AHAR report shows:

  • Percentage Decrease in Overall Homelessness from 2007 to 2016. New Jersey has experienced a 48.6 percent decrease in overall homelessness since 2007 (8,419 fewer people), while the number of homeless people nationally has declined 15 percent since 2007.
  • Percentage Decrease in Homeless Single Individuals from 2007 to 2016. New Jersey has experienced a 38.3 percent decrease in homeless single individuals (3,432 fewer homeless individuals) since 2007 while the number of homeless single individuals nationally has declined 14 percent since 2007.
  • Percentage Decrease in Homeless Families from 2007 to 2016. New Jersey has experienced a 59.8 percent decrease in the number of homeless people in families since 2007 (4,987 fewer homeless people in families), while the number of homeless people in families nationally has decreased 17 percent since 2007.
  • Percentage Decrease in Chronically Homeless Individuals from 2007 to 2016. New Jersey has experienced a 72.1 percent decrease in chronically homeless individuals since 2007 (1,821 fewer individuals), while the number of chronically homeless individuals nationally has decreased 35 percent nationally. Part of the decrease in chronically homeless individuals is due to a change in HUD’s definition of chronic homelessness, which was applied nationally.

In addition, veteran homelessness in New Jersey dropped 20 percent since 2015, while nationally veteran homelessness decreased 17 percent since 2015.
          
To date, DCA has awarded more than 3,600 vouchers to decrease overall homelessness in New Jersey. In FY 2017, more than $7 million will support the following homelessness prevention and shelter support services:

  • 500 State Rental Assistance Program vouchers awarded in Statewide Housing First Initiative, along with $250,000 in funding for supportive services:
    • 425 for chronically homeless households who are frequent users of public systems; and
    • 75 for homeless veteran households.
  • 50 vouchers awarded to Camden Coalition of Health Providers for chronically homeless households that are frequent users of hospital emergency rooms in Camden.
  • 50 vouchers awarded in 2016 and 100 to be awarded in 2017 in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) for the Keeping Families Together Initiative, serving families that are homeless or at risk of homelessness and involved with the child welfare system.
  • 100 vouchers awarded in partnership with DCF for the Youth At Risk of Homelessness Initiative, serving young adults who have aged out of the child welfare system and are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
  • 273 project-based Housing Choice Vouchers awarded to projects that will serve veteran households that are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
  • 859 Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers administered for veteran households that are homeless or at risk of homelessness. DCA has also “graduated” 30 households using these vouchers, meaning when households stabilize and no longer need the services associated with VASH, DCA provides Housing Choice Vouchers to these households, thereby freeing up the VASH vouchers for other homeless veteran households.
  • $2.35 million awarded to six agencies to administer the FY17 Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP) to provide assistance and stabilization services, including back rental payments, security deposits, case management and other assistance to families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Another seven agencies have active FY16 grants as well.
  • $2.541 million awarded to 19 agencies representing all 21 counties to administer the FY17 Homelessness Prevention Program, serving families that are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
  • $3.66 million awarded in FY17 Shelter Support Funds to 27 shelters and transitional housing facilities is supporting 1,230 existing beds and 65 new beds.

A link to the full 2016 HUD Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress can be found here:  https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/2016-AHAR-Part-1.pdf
 
The DCA participates in the Governor’s Working Group on Homelessness, which was created to collaborate across departments, identify gaps in service, brainstorm solutions, and share practices gleaned from their programs and includes two public members and representation from the Departments of Human Services, Health, Children and Families, Community Affairs, Labor and Workforce Development, Military and Veterans Affairs, Corrections, The State Parole Board, the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, and staff from the Governor’s Office.
 
DCA is a State agency created to provide administrative guidance, financial support and technical assistance to local governments, community development organizations, businesses and individuals to improve the quality of life in New Jersey. DCA offers a wide range of programs and services that respond to issues of public concern including fire and building safety, housing production, community planning and development, and local government management and finance.