Point in Time Count Demonstrates Value of Homeless Trust Funds
Mercer County advocates say funds help reduce homelessness, provide ray of hope

NJ Counts 2014, statewide Point-In-Time (PIT) count of homeless people took place yesterday. The PIT count is a count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons on a single night in January. In Mercer County, the count took place with services for the homeless at Shiloh Baptist Church located at 340 Calhoun St. Trenton.
"Poverty and homelessness affect residents in every corner of our state, but dedicated funding in Mercer County are helping create affordable homes with supportive and prevention services, we are seeing rays of hope," said Staci Berger, president and chief executive officer of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (the Network).
According to the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness, they have seen a 58% decline in homelessness since 2007. Housing advocates point to Housing First as one of the programs in the County as a driving force behind the decline in homelessness. The Housing Trust Fund is one of the sources that supports Housing First in Mercer County. The Mercer County Homeless Trust Fund is supported by a $3 fee on every deed recorded in the county. Approximately, $280,000 was collected in Mercer County during the 2013 fiscal year.
"The Mercer Housing Trust funds help prevent people from becoming homeless and and gets people into safe, quality homes they can afford. It's smart, it's cost-effective and it works," said Berger. The Network was a champion of the 2009 New Jersey legislation that allowed counties to enact homeless trust funds.

The following year, housing advocates were successful in their effort to get Mercer County to enact its own homeless trust fund. Support of the organizations working toward this effort was made possible through the generous support of the Princeton Area Community Foundation (PACF) which promotes philanthropy to advance the well-being of Mercer area communities.

The Housing and Community Development Network supports New Jersey’s community development sector, collaborating with more than 250 members including Community Development Corporations and other organizations to create affordable homes, expand economic opportunities, and build strong communities. For more information on the Network, visit www.hcdnnj.org.

For more information: Nina Arce
Housing & Community Development Network of NJ
(609) 393-3752 x12
[email protected]
Twitter: @hcdnnj
Facebook:  facebook.com/hcdnnj