Poverty And Family Homelessness Are Up In Bergen County | Bergen , New Jersey | North Jersey
The poverty level in Bergen County has risen by nearly 75 percent in 20 years, but the public’s perception of the county as a place of wealth has hindered efforts to address the problem, according to a new report.
“We’re seeing the spread to the suburbs of poverty and particularly homelessness, and people aren’t prepared to deal with that,” said Ralph da Costa Nunez, president of the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness. The New York City anti-poverty group produced the report.
Many non-profit groups that run programs for the homeless and the hungry have a difficult time raising funds because donors don’t think of the county as a place where poverty is an issue, the institute found.
It based its findings on census data, along with the county’s surveys on homelessness. The census put the Bergen County poverty rate for 2010 at 6.8 percent. The institute’s report concluded that the biggest challenge facing the county is the growth in homelessness among families.
And the increase is not simply a function of the bad economy, Nunez said.
“Poverty’s been increasing in this country for many years,” he said. “Poor people are leaving the urban centers, and as they replant themselves in the suburbs, some of that poverty is following them.”
The findings come as no surprise to officials of non-profit organizations that deal with the homeless in Bergen County.
via North Jersey