No Chronic Homeless People in Somerset County, Report Shows

Even among those who have been homeless less than a year, they still find shelter in Somerset County, according to a recently released government report.

Somerset County homeless statistics (Credit: NJ Spotlight)
Somerset County homeless statistics (Credit: NJ Spotlight)
New Jersey's homeless population has been dropping over the past five years, and the news was even better for Somerset County. According to a recently released government report, the county was one of five regions in the United States where there were no unsheltered chronically homeless people.

Even so, Somerset County still experienced a slight increase in the number of the homeless who were not considered to be chronic cases - that is, people who have been without a home for over a year, or who have had several episodes of homelessness in the past few years. 

There were 312 homeless people in Somerset County, according to a NJ Spotlight report, making for a 5.8 increase in their number since 2012.

The statistics were drawn from a U.S. Housing and Urban Development paper, the 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress and the Source for Housing Solution's report on New Jersey released in May. Both reports conducted surveys on one night in January in an effort to provide a snapshot of homelessness, of both sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations, NJ Spotlight said.

Somerset County's increase in the number of the chronically homeless was up 1.5 percent in 2013, to 197 individuals.

But there was more good news for Somerset County. While there were 99 chronically homeless veterans who were reached during the January survey, they all had shelters that they used, the HUD report said, as did 39 other chronically homeless Somerset County individuals.

Somerset County was much different than other areas of the state. The largest number of the homeless were in the Union County area, where 1,648 of the roughly 12,000 homeless people in New Jersey reside. Union County also was where 18.7 percent of the state's homeless families - approximately 371 families comprising 1,122 individuals - reside.

The biggest reason for homelessness, from surveys conducted among the homeless, is the loss of a job and an inability to find work, according to the Source for Housing Solutions. The high cost of housing, relationship breakups, and eviction followed job loss on the list of causes.
Alcoholism and drug abuse were also listed as causes of homelessness, as were mental and emotional problems, the Source for Housing Solutions report said.


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