FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 30, 2023
NEW YORK— The Department of Social Services and Homeless Services (DSS-DHS) today announced that the annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) Survey of unsheltered homelessness in New York City, conducted annually since 2005, estimated that there were 4,042 individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness in New York City on the night of January 24th, 2023. In keeping with NYC’s recovery from the pandemic, this year’s Survey effort welcomed volunteers back into the fold for the first time since HOPE 2020, after the onset of the pandemic.
The HOPE 2023 estimate is consistent with the pre-pandemic volunteer-led estimate from 2020 when the Survey estimated 3,857 New Yorkers experiencing unsheltered homelessness but higher than in 2021 and 2022. Decreases in the estimate in 2021 and 2022 were also informed by key pandemic-related factors, including the FEMA-funded use of commercial hotels and the State-mandated overnight closure of the subways in 2021, and colder weather.
Since the start of this Administration, we have made unprecedented investments in new low-barrier beds and outreach services for New Yorkers experiencing unsheltered homelessness and have connected thousands of New Yorkers, including nearly 5,000 from the subway system alone, to these services.
Despite the impact of the pandemic and the unprecedented influx to our City of tens of thousands of asylum seekers, thanks to this administration’s historic investment in new beds, resources, and intensified outreach efforts for New Yorkers experiencing unsheltered homelessness, the HOPE 2023 estimate shows that our efforts are making a difference: New York City continues to have one of the lowest rates of unsheltered homelessness of any major U.S. jurisdiction, according to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 95% of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness are sheltered. In Houston, for example, only around 50% of people experiencing homelessness are sheltered. Furthermore, in New York City only 39 per 100,000 people are unsheltered, while in San Francisco it is 500, and in Phoenix it is 114.
“Over this past year, our agency has responded to a massive humanitarian crisis while ensuring that we are effectively delivering on our mission to address homelessness in New York City,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Molly Wasow Park. “Our shelter census nearly doubled over an incredibly short span and New Yorkers are still recovering from the devastating impact of the pandemic, but thanks to our intensified outreach efforts, bold solutions, and vital investments in specialized beds, NYC continues to have one of the lowest rates of unsheltered homelessness of any other major US city. Against the backdrop of an unprecedented crisis and the ongoing impact of deinstitutionalization, the HOPE 2023 estimate reflects actual progress, and we remain undeterred in our efforts to reach every vulnerable New Yorker on our streets and subways to help them stabilize their lives.”
“Each year, the HOPE survey offers a reminder that while DHS and its provider-partners work immensely hard every day to raise the bar, there is still work to be done to meet the needs of our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Department of Homeless Services Administrator Joslyn Carter. “Despite having endured extraordinary challenges and a meteoric rise in our shelter census over the past year, we remain steadfast in our efforts to support unsheltered individuals on our streets and subways. Our outreach teams work 24/7 to assist our most vulnerable neighbors by linking them to the vital services they need and ultimately connect them to housing."
In February 2022, as part of a new and targeted focus on unsheltered homelessness, the Adams’ Administration released a new Subway Safety Plan, to strengthen interagency efforts to better support people experiencing homelessness and mental health challenges, 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. As a result of these efforts, as well as our 24X7 above-ground HOME-STAT outreach – one of the most comprehensive outreach programs in the nation – we have connected thousands of individuals to services, including nearly 5,000 as a result of the Subway Safety Plan alone.
Key Survey Context:
This survey was conducted on the night of January 24, 2023, by volunteers and outreach provider-partner staff unlike the past couple of years when the Survey was conducted only by outreach staff because of the pandemic and on multiple nights.
The federally-mandated point-in-time estimate is subject to external factors that may vary year to year, such as weather conditions. To that end, the 2023 HOPE Survey was conducted during an exceptionally mild winter in New York City, at 41-44 degrees on the night the Survey was conducted, with no snowfall in the preceding 30 days. Comparatively, in 2021 and 2022, it was 21-35 and 25-38 degrees on the nights the Survey was conducted, with some snowfall in the preceding 30 days.
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.
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.