📰 NJ's homeless were counted on Jan. 24

📰 Most of New Jersey's homeless are in some type of sheltered location

📰 Courts are working through a backlog of evictions prompted by the pandemic

The results are in from a one-day count of the homeless in New Jersey.

Advocates haven't seen numbers this high since the middle of last decade.

According to the Point-in-Time survey, there were 10,267 people experiencing homelessness in New Jersey on the night of Jan. 24.

Of that group, more than 1,400 were sleeping in places not meant for human habitation, such as in the streets or at a train station. Most were in sheltered locations, such as transitional housing and emergency shelters.

"New Jersey hasn't seen a number over 10,000 since 2015, so this is really a huge increase in homelessness," said Nadine Azari, an associate with Cranford-based Monarch Housing Associates, which coordinates the count and analyzes its findings.

Annual counts need to be conducted in order for counties to secure federal funding related to homelessness.

About 1,300 of the households in the survey were counted as families. Twenty-four percent of New Jersey's homeless on that cold January night were under the age of 18.

The 2023 numbers presented continuing disparities among the homeless population. Black people make up about 12% of New Jersey's population, but account for 47% of the state's homeless count.

Homeless by county

⚫ Atlantic: 440 individuals (4% of New Jersey's count)

⚫ Bergen: 396 (4%)

⚫ Burlington: 933 (9%)

⚫ Camden: 613 (6%)

⚫ Cape May: 198 (2%)

⚫ Cumberland: 164 (2%)

⚫ Essex: 1,712 (17%)

⚫ Gloucester: 192 (2%)

⚫ Hudson: 998 (10%)

⚫ Hunterdon: 176 (2%)

⚫ Mercer: 714 (7%)

⚫ Middlesex: 664 (6%)

⚫ Monmouth: 479 (5%)

⚫ Morris: 466 (5%)

⚫ Ocean: 436 (4%)

⚫ Passaic: 408 (4%)

⚫ Salem: 67 (1%)

⚫ Somerset: 376 (4%)

⚫ Sussex: 159 (2%)

⚫ Union: 592 (6%)

⚫ Warren: 84 (1%)

Plenty of the 2023 uptick can be attributed to COVID-related supports running dry, according to Monarch. An eviction moratorium was lifted in the beginning of 2022 — many people who couldn't afford their homes were able to remain on site for several months as New Jersey worked through the coronavirus emergency.

"Eviction courts are back up and running. We're really seeing the strain on the system now," Azari said.

Monarch also cites a shortage of housing and affordable rents, as well as dwindling availability of rental properties.

Since 2019, New Jersey has seen a 35% increase in the number of people considered "chronically homeless," and a 12% increase since 2022.

In 2023, a total of 1,966 individuals were identified as chronically homeless (those with a long-term disabling condition who have been homeless for at least a year straight, or for a total of at least a year across four instances over a three-year period).

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