The good news is that according to recent reports, the number of people living without a home has declined.

The bad news is that there are still nearly 8,000 New Jerseyans who are homeless.

The problem with the reporting is that it is a one-day snapshot, so there are likely people who are not being counted.

Getty Images
Getty Images

In January 2023, the count exceeded 10,000 people and by November the number had shrunk to 7,669. It's not surprising that the highest numbers tend to be in Essex and Camden counties with Newark continuing to struggle.

Beyond expanding funding for programs like "Code Blue" and offering best practices and partnership facilitation to counties throughout the state, we need to fix our economy and restore public safety. Streamlining the approval process for addiction services and working with the legislature to help parents of adult children get help for their sons and daughters will go a long way.

The use of Narcan would come with mandatory rehabilitation without legal consequences to the user and friends who may have reported it to the police.

Opioid Overdose Treatment Narcan Available In Vending Machine In Wheaton, Illinois
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On the side of affordability, an interesting stat stood out to me. Newark was named the worst place in the nation to rent which exacerbates the problem of displaced lower and middle-income earners.

We have a huge issue crushing our local towns with undue burdens on budgets and infrastructure as the government and the courts force the latest wave of high-density housing on our suburbs.

What we really need to do is reverse the trend of crime and joblessness in our cities and create an environment for the use of the high-density housing we already have in our cities.

The plan is simple, but not easy.

First, we need to immediately start enforcing federal detainer orders against illegal aliens. Then suspend "bail reform" through an emergency declaration so we can start to move perps through the system and deliver proper sentencing while they remain locked up.

Asylum Seeking Migrants Wait In Line For Immigration Customs Enforcement Appointments
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Next, we need to increase the number of state troopers in order to secure the NJ borders against the influx of more illegals. Overall police recruitment needs to increase, that starts by re-instituting a cost-of-living increase for pension earners and incentivizing police hiring through tax incentives.

New Jersey State Troopers
Scott Roth/Invision/AP

We need to lower the CBT for a carve-out of businesses that employ between 100 and 500 people in order to encourage relocation or diggin' into the Garden State. Lowering the rates for taxpayers using the NJ-BAIT program is critical to give our small businesses a boost.

Small business owners couple
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Increasing employment, safety, and infrastructure will not only help reduce the number of people without homes but create an opportunity for our cities to be the economic engines and sources of prosperity that we should except.

LOOK: Most common jobs 150 years ago in New Jersey

Stacker compiled a list of the most common jobs in New Jersey 150 years ago using data transcribed from the 1870 U.S. Census.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

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