UNION COUNTY, NJ— January 26, 2022 — On Tuesday, January 25th, Union County kicked off their annual Point-In-Time (PIT) Count and Survey of the Homeless population throughout the cities in their jurisdiction. The PIT, also known as NJCounts, takes place every January and asks for a count of unsheltered and sheltered individuals experiencing homelessness. This program, which will run through Wednesday, February 2nd, is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and for the ninth year, Monarch Housing Associates is coordinating the statewide effort.
“There are so many reasons an individual can become homeless, and as we are still recovering from the pandemic from the last two years, it is so important to find these individuals and make sure they are aware of the resources available,” said Rebecca Williams, Chair of the Union County Board of Commissioners. “Being out in communities, seeing where people are living and having an opportunity to speak with them truly gives a rich perspective on the severity of this issue and will help us in the long-run in addressing this concern.”
Due to the pandemic, Union County has altered how they will conduct the count versus previous years. This year, teams of Union County staff, government officials and local nonprofit organizations will band together in smaller groups of 4-6 people in three separate shifts during the morning, afternoon and late evening hours. Smaller groups will survey people throughout the County who “sleep outdoors, in parks, alleys, under bridges, or places not meant for human habitation, such as cars, abandoned buildings, garages, or other structures without electricity or water.”
The Eviction Moratorium ended in New Jersey on January 1st, 2022 and there are concerns that as courts are beginning to see eviction cases and as lockouts are being issued, there will be a large number of persons entering the homeless service system. It is critical to have the data from NJCounts 2022 to assess the system’s current capacity and prepare for the influx of households that will enter the system.
“It is our hope that we get as accurate of a count as possible so we can continue to provide services to all of those in need,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, Liaison to the Human Services Advisory Board. “The data that is gathered during this survey will provide us with the necessary information we need to raise public awareness and develop better strategies to assist our Human Services Department in strengthening their services and response to our most vulnerable residents. No one should be without a roof over their head, and together we can combat this issue.”
The data collected during NJCounts also helps determine how much McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance HUD funding New Jersey will receive. The State will then decide how it will use the money to fund various statewide programs.
For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.
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