New Jersey’s homeless population in 2023 is considered a win by officials
⚫ New Jersey released 2023 homelessness numbers through October 31
⚫ The number of “homeless” people increased, but the total number decreased
⚫ More people are looking for services to prevent worst-case scenarios
New numbers from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs indicate the state is very close to its goal of reducing the number of people living on the streets, in cars or in a tent in the woods by 25%.
Compared to the same time period last year — Jan. 1 through Oct. 31 — unsheltered homelessness decreased by 23.4% in the Garden State, according to an annual report from DCA’s Office of Homelessness Prevention.
According to the report, the number of unprotected people for 2023 is 7,669. Last year’s number was just over 10,000.
Overall, homelessness in New Jersey decreased by 1.37%, the report says. This includes a 12% jump in the number of individuals living in homeless shelters.
A quarter of people who have no physical place to live in 2023 are in such a situation because they have been asked to leave shared accommodation – this is the most common reason. Eviction is reason #2.
“You don’t get diagnosed with a serious mental illness. It’s not because you suffer from addiction. It’s because you’re an ordinary person struggling with the realities of our economy,” said Michael Callahan, director of OHP. “They are living on the street and they should not be, because life has helped them. So our mission is to improve and fix the reasons for that.”
Compared to the same time frame in 2022, the report recorded a nearly 29% increase this year in the number of people accessing prevention programs, which work with people in crises to prevent them from becoming homeless.
OHP aims to reduce unsheltered homelessness by 25% statewide by 2025; This is a federal goal.
“While we still have more work to do, we are very encouraged by the tangible progress that has been made to address one of the most pressing issues we face as a country,” said Jacqueline Suarez, DCA Acting Commissioner.
Officials presented their findings Monday during a news conference at HomeFront, a social services organization in Lawrence Township.
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