JERSEY SHORE – Groups across the state will conduct a count of homeless people living in their communities by offering them food and supplies on Jan. 23.
The Point-In-Time Count is conducted annually to determine the number of homeless families, youth and veterans. They will be done at the following locations:
- The BEAT Center, 1769 Hooper Ave., Toms River, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 732-731-1410.
- Lakewood Community Center, 20 4th Street, Lakewood, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 732-678-3928.
- Ocean Community Church, 1492 Route 72, Manahawkin, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 609-994-3317.
Food, health screenings, flu shots, clothing, hygiene items and other donations and referrals to other services will be available.
In addition to these locations, volunteers will seek out homeless people where they dwell.
Last year, NJCounts 2018 reported 9,303 men, women and children who were homeless on the night of Jan. 23, 2018. This was an increase of 771 from 2017, according to a press release.
In Ocean County, there were 311 people experiencing homelessness in 2018. Of those, 52 were identified as chronically homeless.
This number might be impacted this year by a number of other factors, according to NJCounts. The current federal shutdown will put government employees at risk of missing rent or mortgage and might cause them to lose their home. Additionally, federal programs are lacking funding that would normally help people who are at risk, causing them to slip closer to being homeless.
Other reasons that the count might be higher include less funding for affordable rental housing, and the increasing cost of health insurance and treatments.
The count is mandated by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. The government uses these numbers to determine how to distribute aid. Monarch Housing Associates is coordinating the count, and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency funds NJCounts 2019. People who want to volunteer or donate items can email firstname.lastname@example.org.