Operating a comprehensive street outreach program, DHS deploys teams 24 hours per day, seven days a week, Citywide, aiming to engage street homeless individuals and encourage them to move from the streets into housing. According to the 2015 Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE), this February there were 3,182 individuals living on streets, parks, subways, and other public spaces of the city, down from the 3,357 people counted in January 2014. Looking at this number against the total population of New York City, about 1 in 2,642 New Yorkers experience street homelessness. This compares to 1 in 294 in Los Angeles.
DHS understands that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to ending homelessness. Our Street Outreach Program offers alternatives to traditional shelter that this population of clients may be more likely to accept. With a dedicated provider for each borough (Manhattan Outreach Consortium, led by Goddard Riverside, in Manhattan; Common Ground in Brooklyn and Queens; BronxWorks in the Bronx; and Project Hospitality on Staten Island), the agency has helped more than 4,100 chronically homeless individuals transition from the streets into housing.
Although the work of outreach workers is always important, it becomes all the more urgent during times of harsh winter weather, or extremely high summer temperatures. Implementing its Code Blue and Code Red procedures respectively, DHS aims to further protect clients who are living unsheltered, thereby doubling the number of outreach vans in the field and enabling teams to check on individuals more frequently. Additionally, when these procedures are in effect, individuals experiencing homelessness may access any of the agency’s adult facilities, including shelters and drop-in centers, without going through the usual intake process.
Every day, DHS and its street outreach providers work to assist street homeless clients. We remind all New Yorkers to dial 311 (or contact us through the 311 mobile phone app) if you see an individual who appears to be homeless or in need of services. One call can make a difference!
Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) Shows Five Percent Decrease in Unsheltered Population Since 2014 (May 7, 2015)
A Pocket Guide to Accessing Homeless Services
View a list of DHS' intake centers and drop-in centers (in PDF)