The homeless population in Hudson County is up nearly 12 percent compared to the homeless population in 2014, according to a survey conducted by the Hudson County Alliance to End Homelessness.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
A total of 917 persons in 728 households were experiencing homelessness in Hudson County: an increase of 96 persons (11.7 percent) and 101 households (16.1 percent) from 2014, according to a study conducted earlier this year.
Specifically, the finding is the result of a one-day Point-in-Time (PIT) count conducted on February 4 by the Hudson County Alliance to End Homelessness (HCAEH).
“The Hudson County Division of Housing and Community Development coordinates this Point-in-Time count and works with Monarch Housing to gather an accurate and unduplicated count of homeless individuals and families across the County,” added Hudson County spokesman Jim Kennelly.
Officials also noted that the survey was conducted between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m and targeted the Hudson County Welfare Office, homeless shelters, hospitals, outreach workers, and other organizations serving homeless people in Hudson County.
Other findings of the 2015 PIT count include:
The rate of chronic homelessness, as a percentage of overall homelessness, is 19.3 percent.
175 households (24 percent) reported that their homelessness was caused due to a loss or reduction of job income or benefits.
43 veteran households were counted.
New Jersey’s annual PIT counts “provides a statewide snapshot of homeless households in our communities; where they find shelter, what their needs are, and what factors contribute to making them homeless,” the description of the study states.
The creation of a homeless street outreach team, led by Garden State Episcopal Community Development Corporation, and the Kearny Warming Center – operated by the County – contributed to a more efficient count this year, officials also said.
“There are still too many homeless households in our communities. In these times of reduced resources, it is crucial that we work together to find solutions to ending homelessness in Hudson County,” Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise said in a statement.
“While there is an overall increase, we should credit our non-profit homeless housing providers for their hard work,” he added.
During his State of the County address on February 12, DeGise stressed the importance of the county providing more assistance to homeless veterans.
In his State of the City address about two weeks later, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop spoke about the emphasis he is putting on affordable housing to benefit both low-income families and homeless veterans.
As part of the funding the Hudson County Division of Housing and Community Development receives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), this count is required to identify the needs created by the ongoing issue of homelessness – both sheltered and unsheltered – in Hudson County.
Shortly after being sworn-in late last year, Hoboken Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante said his department was going to be placing a high priority on quality of life issues such as homelessness.