Cost of Sheltering the Homeless
It is also extremely expensive to care for the least among us. In 2010, Catholic Charities spent $4,558,300 on its emergency shelters and on its transitional and permanent low-income housing.
Why did it cost so much?
A weak economy is forcing many to become underemployed or unemployed. More and more New Jersey residents are finding it difficult to sustain their basic need for food and shelter.
Consider these facts:
1986, when Catholic Charities opened its first shelters for the homeless, the local and state governments fully supported their operating costs. Now, as a result of a 13% cut from state-and local-government funding, Catholic Charities must raise over $600,000 a year to keep the shelters running at full capacity.
- According to the 2011 report issued by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition and the Housing Community Development Network of New Jersey, a family must earn $51,044 a year in order to afford the fair-market rent of $1,276 a month for a two-bedroom apartment. That means an individual making $7.25 an hour must work 135 hours or have three and a half full-time jobs a week in order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment.
- The number of homeless families recorded on a single night in New Jersey increased by 45% between 2008 and 2011 according to the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness. During that same time, the number of homeless children increased by 20.3%.
- Jersey City residents with incomes below the poverty level (Federal poverty guideline for a family of four is $22,350) is now at 16.6%. Newark residents with incomes below the poverty level is now at 28.4%.
- The unemployment rate among African Americans and Latinos in Newark and Jersey City is estimated at 27%, the highest it has been in decades.
- According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops what compounds the affordable housing crisis for poor families is that the most severe housing shortage exists at the lowest end of the economic spectrum. On average, for every 100 extremely low-income families (those making less than 30% of the area median income) there exist only 39 units of affordable housing.
Now more than ever Catholic Charities needs your help in providing a safety net to those in need. Please make your contribution today.