Advocacy Tool Kit: County Homelessness Trust Funds
In 2009, with substantial bi-partisan support, the New Jersey Leglislature passed a law authorizing counties to impose a surcharge of $3.00 for each document recorded by the County Clerk, to be deposited into a Homelessness Trust Fund. The Trust Funds are to be used to assist families and individuals who are homeless or to prevent homelessness. For the nine counties that have established Trust Funds (Bergen, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic, Somerset and Union), they have proven to be a flexible and cost-effective resource. On average, counties have raised over $100,000 annually for their funds.
The Trust Funds have provided short-term rental assistance, eviction prevention services, case management and the development of new affordable housing. Trust Fund directors and elected officials from both sides of the political spectrum overwhelmingly support them, with no reported complaints having been received from taxpayers about the $3.00 document fee.
In this time of limited resources, the Coalition hopes that more NJ counties will adopt Trust Funds. We designed this Toolkit to assist advocates in their efforts to help create Trust Funds in the 12 counties that do not have them. Coalition staff is available to assist advocates in counties that would like more information about this valuable tool.