SOCIAL ISSUES

Point-in-time count finds small decrease in homeless population

BY Julie Daurio, Associate Producer |

An annual state count has found the number of homeless people in New Jersey declined since last year.

On the night of Jan. 22, 2019, volunteers from Monarch Housing Associates found 8,864 men, women and children experiencing homelessness across the state.

That’s an overall decrease of 5%, or 439 people, compared to the same night in 2018.

However, the count also found a 13.5% increase in the number of individuals who identified as chronically homeless.

Monarch Housing CEO Taiisa Kelly says the point-in-time numbers provide a snapshot — not the full story — and that the slight overall decrease doesn’t indicate a downward trend in all communities.

“Often the reality is that the number of individuals experiencing homelessness is two to three times larger than the number counted,” said Kelly.

But the count still provides a consistent, annual benchmark, she says, from which Monarch can evaluate how well strategies in different communities are working to help alleviate homelessness.

The annual count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in order to secure funding for programs that assist the homeless.