Sussex County Completes 10th Point in Time Homeless Count
Sussex County completed its 10th "Point in Time" homeless survey count on January 30, 2013. This homeless count is completed annually on a standardized date in order to get a snapshot of the homeless population throughout the state on one given day. The Point in Time survey provides the human service community, county government and officials, volunteers and the general public an unduplicated count of our homeless and chronically homeless, according to HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Development) definition. This data is used for planning, Need Assessments, for service decisions and funding applications & proposals.
This year's Point in Time report has just been completed and will be using 2013 as a baseline year to begin tracking two new data sets due to the data quality being so high. The County, for the first time, can begin to reliably look at gender, age, causative factors and duration of homelessness to explore correlations among these demographics. The 2013 report also sets the baseline for new statistics on the number of children who are homeless with their parents, where they are staying, and the duration of their homelessness.
A total of 303 people completed the survey. Out of the total number, 40 met the HUD homeless definition indicating that they were staying in an emergency shelter, transitional housing program, or sleeping in a place not habitable for human beings such as an abandoned building, on the street, under a bridge, amongst others. The remaining 263 respondents of the survey reported that they were receiving Emergency Assistance (EA) or Temporary Rental Assistance (TRA) through the Division of Social Services. Other individuals indicated that they were living with family or friends on a temporary basis.
In this report, two trends have been identified that require further investigation and action. The number of homeless women ages 18 to 30 remains high and consists of 28.8% of the total homeless population surveyed. The contributing factors for this population are also of significance. Of the women surveyed, 59% cited the high cost of housing as a factor in their homelessness, followed by break-up of a relationship/death (56%) and loss of a job without being able to find another (56%). In addition, the number of respondents who have been homeless for longer than one year, continues to rise and is now 52.2% of the total population surveyed.
Human Service agencies will be reviewing this data in partnership with county government to try to detect trends on the local level within the past ten years of collecting the Point in Time data. The data will be used to effectively plan for next year's count, utilize existing resources for current homeless services and advocate for future services. For more information, please contact Christine Florio, Human Services Advisory Council Coordinator, at (973) 948-6000 ext. 1381 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To download the full report, please go to http://www.sussex.nj.us/documents/dhhs/2013PIT.pdf.