The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports that about 12,000 people in New Jersey were classified as homeless in 2012. HUD's newly released 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, that is the lowest level of officially counted homelessness in the Garden State in at least the last five years, NJ Spotlight reports.
On one night during the last week of January each year, HUD's Continuums of Care Homeless Assistance programs count homeless across the nation 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, 12,002 homeless people were counted in 21 counties, which the article said represents a drop of about 8 percent from 2012 and an 11 percent drop from 2008. About 12 percent of those were unsheltered and a little more than 10 percent were disabled, had been homeless for more than a year or had had four episodes of homelessness in the previous three years. Almost half of the homeless in family groups and four percent were veterans.
In Morris County, the number of homeless rose: 346 people were counted as homeless in 2013, up 23.1 percent from last year and a hike of 14.6 percent from 2009's 302. Of those without homes, 299 were in shelters, 47—13.6 percent—had no shelter. Of the 346, 201 are homeless on their own; 145 are in 57 "households," one of which is unsheltered, the article said. The disabled and chronically homeless make up 13.9 percent of the overall population without residences.
Morris was not alone in experiencing an increase in the annual point-in-time homeless counts despite the state's overall drop. Atlantic, Essex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset and Union counties saw larger numbers. Ocean City, which more than doubled its homeless population and boasts Lakewood, home of a post-Sandy tent city, experienced the largest increase. Union County has the largest number of homeless people, 1,648.