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Report Sheds Light on Ocean County's Homeless Population

Homelessness down slightly in Ocean County in 2014, report shows

Tent City in Lakewood (Patch File Photo)
Tent City in Lakewood (Patch File Photo)
The results of the NJ Counts annual census of homeless New Jerseyans showed Ocean County bucked a statewide trend that showed an uptick of nearly 16 percent.

The 2014 census of homeless New Jersey residents is conducted annually by Monarch Housing, a Cranford-based organization that advocates for better services for the homeless. This year, the count was taken the night of Jan. 28.

In all, the census takers counted 627 homeless Ocean County residents, ranging from those who were staying at shelters or transitional housing to those who were staying in encampments in wooded areas throughout the county.

The census showed the county's homeless population has fluctuated in recent years, with a definite uptick in 2013, when there were 682 people counted.

"This jump in 2013 was likely due, in large part, to the impact of Hurricane Sandy, which caused extensive damage to housing stock and displaced many County residents," the census documentation said. The total number of people staying in transitional housing went up by 29 in 2014, a 171 percent increase from 2013.

The census also took into account what the organization calls "homeless households," essentially, groups of people who shared sleeping arrangements on the night of the count who would live together if sheltered.

The census found that of the 405 homeless households counted in Ocean County in 2014, 97, 24 percent, were families with at least one child under the age of 18 and one adult. These families included 293 people, 172 children under age 18, and 121 adults.

There were no unsheltered families with both adults and children.

The vast majority – 60.6 percent – of homeless adults were over the age of 24, with those between the ages of 18 and 25 making up just 9.9 percent of the total population, the report said. But those between ages 25 and 34 represented the highest percentage group overall, representing 21.2 percent of the total population.

The vast majority of homeless Ocean County residents, 74.2 percent, were white. Women and men were somewhat evenly split – 53.3 percent of homeless residents were male and 46.6 percent were female.

A total of six homeless people counted in the survey identified themselves as veterans.

When asked what caused them to become homeless, the majority – 102 – said they were asked to leave a shared residence. Job or benefits loss was the second-most referenced category, at 62, and domestic violence led 51 people to homelessness, the census said.

Though there was a slight drop in homelessness in Ocean County, the report's authors reported 13,900 homeless people living in New Jersey overall, a 15.8 percent increase over 2013.

The full Ocean County report can be found online.
Franklin Towers June 10, 2014 at 07:18 PM
Marynary, your comment speaks far more of what type of person YOU are than what type of people the homeless are.
Av June 10, 2014 at 07:21 PM
Feed them raw meat
anonymous June 11, 2014 at 08:23 AM
Really amy ?????? I will not believe you feel that way you are too good a person. --anonymous

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