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Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) 2015 Shows Five Percent Decrease in Unsheltered Population

  • Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island show significant reductions
  • City to invest additional $7 million in executive budget to continue fighting street homelessness

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) announced the results of the annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE). A total of 3,182 individuals living unsheltered throughout New York City, which represents a five percent reduction in the number of people living on streets, parks, subways, and other public spaces of the city, down from 3,537 people counted in 2014.

"The HOPE Count provides valuable information in regards to the resources necessary to successfully combat street homelessness in New York City," said DHS Commissioner Gilbert Taylor. The count also offers a valuable opportunity to raise awareness about the issue of street homelessness and to encourage the public to dial 311 if they see an individual in need of services.

This year's HOPE Count was conducted by over 3,500 volunteers citywide, the highest number of volunteers since the HOPE Count started in 2005. HOPE is required by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to assess the number of individuals living in New York City's public spaces. It is typically conducted in New York City on the last Monday in January. This year's count was postponed two weeks due to a forecasted blizzard.

This administration has actively worked to move homeless individuals from the streets and into shelter. In the Executive Budget, the City announced additional funding to curb street homelessness: $7 million for FY16, $9 million for FY17, and $19 million for FY18. This will allow for an expansion in the number of low intensity shelter beds targeted at chronically street homeless individuals from 800 to 1,400 by FY18. There are an estimated 1,700 chronically street homeless individuals that DHS outreach teams keep regular contact with and work to bring off the streets and into shelter.

Since January 2014, the City has:

  • Invested over $14.2 million for homeless outreach and partnered with the MTA to invest $6 million to expand homeless outreach in our subways
  • Increased the number of outreach staff working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to encourage homeless individuals citywide to move into shelter
  • Expanded hours at drop-in centers; the majority are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Added 130 beds at Safe Haven sites, which offer shelter to street homeless clients who are shelter resistant

"We will continue to work across the city to assist individuals living on our streets and utilize what we learned from this year's count to allocate resources and target services in areas in which we saw increases," Commissioner Taylor added.