FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2022
NEW YORK— The Department of Social Services and Homeless Services (DSS) today announced that the annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) Survey of unsheltered homelessness in New York City, conducted annually since 2005, found 3,439 individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness in New York City on the night of January 25th, 2022.
The 2022 estimate was made before Mayor Adams’ historic investment of $171 million in new beds and services for the unsheltered and before plans to focus on unsheltered homelessness in the subways and encampments which prioritize getting our most vulnerable New Yorkers off the streets and into shelter.
HOPE 2022 is consistent with pre-pandemic patterns which suggests the difference between this year’s count and the 2021 survey results that showed about 1,000 fewer unsheltered individuals than this year, was primarily the result of changes caused by the pandemic, specifically, the overnight closure of subways between 1AM and 5AM. New York City has a unique legal right to shelter — which is why New York City consistently has the lowest unsheltered homeless rate of any major U.S. jurisdiction, according to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
“We can’t solve what we don’t measure,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “The HOPE count is an important tool in our ever-growing toolbox to end homelessness and help set unsheltered New Yorkers on a path to stability and permanent housing. We have taken historic steps in the past five months to invest in safe havens and shelters for people experiencing homelessness and will continue this work with care and compassion to serve the most vulnerable New Yorkers.”
“No New Yorker should be living in unsheltered conditions,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Ann Williams Isom. “Today’s announcement of the HOPE Count Survey results give us an indication of the steps that need to be taken along the journey to find every New Yorker a permanent home. I look forward to continuing to work with partners in government, advocates, and people with lived experience to implement the mayor’s housing and homelessness plan to make that goal of permanent housing a reality.”
“The HOPE count is a critical tool in understanding our New Yorkers living on the streets,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “This information helps inform how our housing solutions can meet the needs of our most vulnerable New Yorkers.”
“The point-in- time HOPE Survey allows New Yorkers to understand how many of our most vulnerable neighbors are suffering from unsheltered homelessness—and how we can get them necessary help and services,” said DSS Commissioner Gary P. Jenkins. “Our outreach teams and providers are on hand 24/7 to assist our clients and get them the resources they deserve. With the support of Mayor Adams and his direction to expand our outreach efforts in the subways and on the streets, we will continue to approach our complex work with care and compassion.”
This year’s HOPE Survey serves as a reminder that while the DHS staff and providers are doing a heroic job encouraging unsheltered individuals to come inside — but there is more work to be done and we will continue to serve our most vulnerable New Yorkers.” said Department of Homeless Services Administrator Joslyn Carter. “Our outreach teams go out every night to connect those who are unsheltered to the services and support that will help them get back on their feet. Together with our not-for-profit provider partners, we intend to keep coming back to rebuild the trust and make the breakthrough that can help more individuals rebuild their lives.”
The annual point-in-time HOPE Survey and resulting estimate are subject to external factors that vary year to year, such as weather conditions. This survey was conducted over four nights and was done by providers and staff-- compared to a pre-covid years where volunteers conduct the count in one night. This year, New York City experienced cold weather all four nights in 2022; historically, cold weather is associated with moves from the surface or streets to subway stations or trains. Overall, we found the largest decreases in Manhattan and Brooklyn and the largest increases were found in Queens and in the subways compared to 2020 and 2021.
The HOPE estimate is conducted in over 400 states and cities throughout the country in order to estimate the number of people sleeping in parks, streets, subways and other public spaces on a single winter night. In New York City in 2022 there were 400 fewer unsheltered people than in 2020, the last year the HOPE survey was conducted before the COVID pandemic.
New Yorkers who see individuals they believe to be experiencing homeless and in need of assistance should contact 3-1-1 via phone or mobile app and request outreach assistance for the most immediate response.
About the New York City Department of Homeless Services:
The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) works to prevent homelessness before it occurs, provides safe and service-rich emergency shelter and addresses unsheltered homelessness by providing outreach and drop-in services and placement into transitional and permanent housing. In close collaboration with a network of dedicated not-for-profit providers, DHS fulfills it’s moral and legal responsibility of assisting individuals and families transition to stability and permanent housing.
Together DHS and HRA/DSS focus on homelessness prevention and on rehousing as part of a holistic continuum to address the crisis of housing affordability in New York City. DHS addresses homelessness through a borough-based approach and emphasis on a trauma-informed service model. Following the guiding principle of putting community and people first, DHS gives homeless New Yorkers, who come from every community across the five boroughs, the opportunity to be sheltered closer to their support networks and anchors of life in the communities they called home in order to quickly stabilize their lives.
In February 2022, as part of a new and targeted focus on unsheltered homelessness, the Adams’ Administration released a new Subway Safety Plan, addressing public safety concerns and supporting people experiencing homelessness and mental illness, with a focus on New York City’s subways. The plan provides enhanced investments in outreach teams, drop-in centers, new safe haven and stabilization bed development, and clinical services; as well as cross-agency collaboration, including City and New York State agencies and the New York City Transit Authority.
About the City's HOME-STAT Program:
The most comprehensive street outreach program in the nation, HOME-STAT (Homeless Outreach & Mobile Engagement Street Action Teams) focuses on connecting individuals living on the street, who each have a unique path to the streets, with the unique combination of services that will enable them to transition off the streets. All street homeless outreach teams have licensed clinicians who work with clients on the streets. In addition to receiving on-going case management, people are assessed for immediate risk/crisis during each encounter. The teams also have psychiatrists who perform psychiatric evaluations on the streets and thereby help us understand and better meet the individual needs of each street homeless New Yorker.