While the Union County economy is strong, it is important to recognize that any person or family can fall upon hard times. As a community we strive to lend a helping hand to those in need, and the annual Point in Time Count provides valuable insights into the issue of homelessness in our neighborhoods. NJCounts 2018 found that 9,303 homeless men, women and children were counted across the state of New Jersey on the night of the Point-in-Time County. This was an overall increase of 771 persons, or 9%, compared to the 2017 count.
The “working poor” are people who spend 27 weeks or more in a year in the labor force either working or looking for work but whose incomes fall below the poverty level. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 9.5 million of people who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force were poor. That year, the working poor comprised 6.3 percent of all individuals in the labor force. Most of the people who live below the poverty level do not work, but this includes children, the elderly and the disabled poor.
New Jersey is famous for having one of the highest costs of living of any state in the country. And as the state becomes less and less affordable, towns are being tasked with building hundreds of thousands of units for low-income residents. Many towns are fighting their given quotas.
Poverty is rising in New Jersey. Is your town part of that trend?
New Jersey has one of the lowest poverty rates in the nation, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census. But poverty has been on the rise for the past 5 years in the Garden State. The threshold for poverty is set when people can no longer afford those things that mainstream society often takes for granted. Most Americans spend at least one year below this threshold at some point. See what percentage of your community is living below the poverty line.