HOMELESSNESS IN SUSSEX COUNTY
HOMELESSNESS IN SUSSEX
Q & A SHEET
Are there really homeless people in Sussex
A: According to the most recent
Point-in-Time Homeless Survey, conducted on January 25, 2007, 284 adults
and 111 children were homeless in Sussex County.
And this number includes only those who meet the HUD definition of
Q: What is the HUD
definition of homelessness?
A: HUD defines a homeless
person as anyone who is living on the streets or in places not
meant for human habitation, living in emergency shelters or transitional
housing and those living in motels being paid for by an agency.
Q: Are there other homeless
people in Sussex County?
According to the 1/25/07 survey, an
additional 84 households were "sharing", doubled up, or
without their own housing and moving from one couch to another.
There may be
more that we don't even know about.
Q: Where are these homeless
A. Sussex County
has 3 shelters for families: Samaritan Inn, Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN), and the DASI shelter for domestic violence victims.
Although IHN does
shelter single women, there is no shelter in our community for single men; they
are housed in rooming houses and motels.
Some live in the woods, in abandoned buildings,
or under bridges. Some families and
individuals live in housing that is temporarily paid for by Social Services.
Many homeless people live with mental illness.
Sussex County made its first application for federal
homeless funding to provide permanent supportive
housing for 4 mentally ill homeless clients, bringing Advance Housing into our
community. Since then Advance
Housing has expanded to provide permanent supportive housing for 19 formerly homeless residents of our county.
Q. Are these homeless people
A. Some are and some are not.
A large number of homeless people are working.
reform legislation, the number of families on welfare has dropped sharply, in Sussex
County from over 400 to
150. Most people receive "welfare"
for just a short time
between jobs. But due to low wages
and lack of affordable housing, households moving
from welfare to work are faring poorly.
In Sussex County,
the necessity of
car ownership for successful employment adds another barrier.
Q. Isn't rental assistance
A. Rental assistance "slots" are limited.
County currently has about
700 slots. For 2
years our county has been closed to applications, meaning that no one could even apply. Recently the
state allowed Sussex County
to take applications from September 14 through
October 1, 2007, creating a new waiting list of 1000 eligible households. About 150 of
these new cases will be open to reach our county's maximum level of 824. This
means that rental assistance is available to only a small percentage of those who need it.
Q. What about low income
A. There is limited low income
housing units in our county. The
average renter household income in Sussex County is $9.40 per hour. Current Fair
Market Rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in
County is $1103.* In order
to afford this level of rent and
utilities, the average renter would spend their entire take home pay for a month
This means that even with 2 full time incomes, housing is not affordable.
income available for food and other necessities, these families are only an accident,
illness or paycheck away from homelessness.
Q. What about the "high
rise" apartments in Newton?
A. Brookside Apartments in Newton offers a limited
number of subsidized units. The others
rent at market rate (currently $1151 for a 2- bedroom) or, if income eligible at the
basic rate (currently $1099 for a 2-bedroom).
Without some form of subsidy these
are unaffordable for many low wage workers.
Q. What is being done about
A. Sussex County
has developed a Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness which has been adopted by our Board of Freeholders.
Many local agencies are working together to help end homelessness in our community.
Q. How can you help?
A. Each year
County participates in the
annual Point-in-Time Homeless Survey. This year's survey will be conducted on
January 29, 2008. On that
same day, we will join many other communities across the
United States by sponsoring Project Homeless
a one-day one-stop event to deliver services to people experiencing homelessness. For more
information or to volunteer for this day, contact Nick Kapetanakis, Sussex County Division of Social Services, 973-383-3600 ext