More than 24,519 people found themselves turning to emergency shelters and housing for the homeless in New Jersey last year, according to a new report from the nonprofit Monarch Housing Associates.

The report, which relies on data collected from agencies that are part of the Homeless Management Information System, which receive federal and state funds, found that homelessness continues a downward trend in New Jersey but remains a problem for many families with children.

Cunningham said it's hard to count the exact number of people living on the streets, but it could be more than a thousand.

The data shows 46 percent of the state's total homeless population is under the age of 30. A majority of children with the families that turn to homeless programs are under the age of 6.

"We’re also seeing an increase in individuals being served between the ages of 18 and 24," Cunningham said.

“It can be anybody,” she said. “Many homeless mothers and fathers are employed but with how much they’re making they’re just not able to support. New Jersey is a really expensive state and it’s hard to afford housing across the state.”

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