HUD logo

NOTE: The Cape May County Herald is offering full coverage of the COVID-19 / coronavirus emergency to all, with no payment required. We are committed to ensuring our readers can make critical decisions for themselves and their families during this ongoing situation. To continue supporting this vital reporting, please consider a digital subscription or contribution. For more coverage, subscribe to our daily newsletter.

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) Part 1 to Congress March 22. 

According to a release, the report found that 9,662 people experienced homelessness in New Jersey on a single night in January of 2020, an increase of 9% from January 2019. 

The report found that between 2019 and 2020, homelessness increased significantly among unsheltered populations and people experiencing chronic homelessness. Veteran homelessness increased slightly (0.4%), and homelessness among families with children was relatively unchanged, increasing 0.1% since January of 2019. The report also found that people of color are significantly over-represented among people experiencing homelessness. 

“The findings of the 2020 AHAR Part 1 report are very troubling, even before you consider what Covid-19 has done to exacerbate the homelessness crisis,” stated HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we are, once again, putting housing first to end this crisis and build strong, healthy communities, as reflected in the American Rescue Plan. I look forward to working with President Biden to implement this historic package to deliver robust, equitable relief to those experiencing homelessness. Housing should be a right, not a privilege, and ensuring that every American has a safe, stable home is a national imperative.”

“Even a slight pre-pandemic uptick in veteran homelessness after significant declines since 2010 is extremely concerning,” stated Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough. “The Biden administration’s recommitment to housing first – a proven strategy and dignified way to help veterans and others achieve stable, permanent housing — will help accelerate progress in preventing and eliminating veteran homelessness. The American Rescue Plan will also make a major impact in improving outcomes for veterans by expanding access to community-based homeless prevention and rapid re-housing services for those who may not qualify for VA care."

“Preventing and ending homelessness is a top priority for HUD and the annual point-in-time count is vital to help us understand where we are so we can assist people most in need,” stated Justin Scheid, HUD Newark Field Office director. “Providing decent, safe, and affordable housing to those experiencing homelessness is essential. The American Rescue Plan will provide federal funding that will directly assist New Jerseyans in the form of Emergency Housing Choice Vouchers, so needed during the Covid-19 crisis.”  

In New Jersey, the 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report found that 9,662 people were experiencing homelessness in the following categories:

  • Overall Homeless Individuals: 6,413
  • Overall Homeless People in Families: 3,249
  • Overall Homeless Veterans: 595
  • Homeless Unaccompanied Youth (Under 25): 514
  • Overall Chronically Homeless Individuals: 1,603
  • Sheltered Homeless: 7,881
  • Unsheltered Homeless: 1,781

Through the American Rescue Plan, New Jersey will receive a total of $2.2 billion that includes funding for Emergency Housing Choice Vouchers and funding for the HUD HOME Investment Partnerships Program to be used for the rehabilitation, acquisition, or construction of rental housing. This funding will flow to the Garden State to assist individuals and families in New Jersey experiencing and at risk of becoming homeless. 

The funding detailed above is in addition to the $52,486,276 renewal grants awarded in 2020 to New Jersey Continuums of Care, and $83,597,907 in CARES Act Covid relief funding for New Jersey through the Emergency Solutions Grants, which provide funding for essential services to people experiencing homelessness, including childcare, education services, outreach, employment assistance, outpatient health services and rapid re-housing.

HUD releases the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress in two parts. Part 1 provides point-in-time (PIT) count estimates, offering a snapshot of homelessness—both sheltered and unsheltered—on a single night. The one-night counts are conducted during the last 10 days of January each year. The PIT counts also provide an estimate of the number of people experiencing homelessness within particular homeless populations, such as individuals with chronic patterns of homelessness and veterans experiencing homelessness. 

In 2020, the PIT estimates of people experiencing homelessness in sheltered and unsheltered locations, as well as the number of beds available to serve them, were reported by 16 Continuums of Care (CoC) in New Jersey. Continuums of Care provide housing and services that meet the needs of the individuals and families who experience homelessness.

The point-in-time counts of homelessness and the housing inventory information are based on data from January 2020, and thus do not reflect the health or economic consequences of the Covid pandemic for levels of homelessness or characteristics of people experiencing homelessness.

Key New Jersey Findings from HUD’s 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report:

  • On a single night in January 2020, 9,662 people – about 10.9 of every 10,000 people – experienced homelessness across New Jersey. This represents a 9% increase from 2019.
  • After steady reductions from 2011 to 2017, homelessness increased by 13.19%, from 8,536 in 2017 to 9,662 in 2020.
  • The increase in homelessness was primarily due to the rise in the unsheltered homeless population and the number of homeless families with children.
  • Unsheltered homelessness increased by 20.18% from 1,482, in 2019, to 1,781, in 2020. 
  • Homeless families with children increased 9.50%, from 2,967 in 2019 to 3,249 in 2020.
  • Veteran homelessness increased by 7.99% in 2020, from 551 in 2019 to 595 in 2020.  
  • Youth homelessness increased 3.63%, from 496 in 2019 to 514 in 2020. 

Key National Findings of HUD’s 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part 1:

  • On a single night in January 2020, 580,466 people – about 18 of every 10,000 people in the United States – experienced homelessness across the United States. This represents a 2.2% increase from 2019.
  • After steady reductions from 2010 to 2016, homelessness has increased in the last four consecutive years.
  • The increase in homelessness was due to the rise in unsheltered individuals (a 7% increase from 2019), and this increase impacted the large increase in individuals experiencing chronic homelessness (a 15% increase since 2019). The increase in unsheltered homelessness is driven largely by increases in California and coincides with increases in overall homelessness.
  • Veteran homelessness did not decline in 2020, and it was the first year that homelessness among family households did not fall since 2010.
  • Youth homelessness is slightly down (a 2.2 percent decrease from 2019).
  • People of color are significantly over-represented among people experiencing homelessness. 

National Homelessness Among All People  

The total number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January 2020 is 580,466, an increase of 2.2% from January 2019 driven by increases in the unsheltered homeless population. The number of people experiencing homelessness nationwide increased by 2% between 2019 and 2020, or 12,751 more people. This marks the fourth-consecutive year that total homelessness has increased in the U.S.

National Chronic Homelessness  

On a single night in January 2020, 110,528 individuals were experiencing chronic homelessness, just over one-quarter of all homeless individuals. This is the first time since 2011 that the number of people with chronic patterns of homelessness exceeded 100,000. The number of people experiencing chronic homelessness increased 15% from 2019.  

National Unsheltered Homelessness 

 On a single night in 2020, nearly four in 10 of all homeless people (39% or 226,080 people) were in unsheltered locations, such as on the street, in abandoned buildings, or in other places not suitable for human habitation. Between 2019 and 2020, the number of people counted in unsheltered locations rose by 7% or 14,787 people. 2020 marks the first time since data collection began that more individuals experiencing homelessness were unsheltered than were sheltered. 

Between 2019 and 2020, the number of unsheltered individuals increased by 7% while the number of sheltered individuals remained largely unchanged. Increases in the unsheltered population occurred across all geographic categories.  

National Family Homelessness  

There were 171,575 people in families with children who experienced homelessness on a single night in 2020, essentially the same as in 2019. Nine in 10 people experiencing homelessness in families with children were sheltered, 154,908 people. Ten percent of people in families with children, 16,667 people, were found in unsheltered locations.  

National Veteran Homelessness  

On a single night in January 2020, 37,252 veterans were experiencing homelessness in the U.S., 8% of all homeless adults. Between 2019 and 2020, the number of veterans experiencing homelessness increased by less than one percent (167 more people). The increase was entirely among veterans staying in unsheltered places (859 more veterans). However, in 2020 36,115 fewer veterans were experiencing homelessness than in 2009, when these data were first reported, a drop of nearly 50%.  

National Homelessness Among People of Color  

African Americans and indigenous people (including Native Americans and Pacific Islanders) remained considerably overrepresented among the homeless population compared to the U.S. population. Almost four of every 10 people experiencing homelessness in January 2020 were Black or African American (39% or 228,796 people). A higher percentage of people in shelters were Black or African American (47% or 167,205 people) than were people experiencing homelessness in unsheltered locations (27% or 61,591). Almost a quarter of all people experiencing homelessness, 23%, were Hispanic or Latino (counting people of all races who identify as Hispanic or Latino). 

Together, American Indian, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian populations account for 1% of the U.S. population, but 5% of the homeless population and 7% of the unsheltered population.

Get 'The Wrap', a new way to get the news.

We wrap up the news from the Shore you love, and deliver it to your inbox, weekly.

Load comments