FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2019
Point-in-time survey results consistent with outreach teams' real-time by-name list of street homeless individuals
NEW YORK—The Department of Homeless Services today announced that the federally mandated Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) street homeless survey conducted on January 29, 2019 found that 3,588 individuals were experiencing unsheltered homelessness on the streets of New York that night, 2 percent fewer than last year and 18 percent fewer than the first HOPE Survey conducted in 2005. This is the second year in a row that this point-in-time survey has shown a decrease, with the estimated number continuing to align with and affirm what the City's HOME-STAT outreach teams have been seeing on the ground. At the same time, since the launch of the HOME-STAT program in 2016, through persistent and compassionate outreach efforts, HOME-STAT outreach teams have helped more than 2,200 New Yorkers experiencing unsheltered homelessness come off the streets and subways into transitional and permanent settings.
"Since we launched the most comprehensive outreach program in the country two years ago, we have helped 2,200 homeless New Yorkers off the streets,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “While there is always more to do to address this decades-in-the-making challenge, our outreach teams have made a real difference for thousands of New Yorkers who are back on the path to stability.”
“Helping those who’ve fallen through every social safety net get back on their feet, person by person, is one of the toughest challenges facing any government and a priority of this administration,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio. “Thanks to dedication of our HOME-STAT outreach teams, we have helped more than 2,200 neighbors regain their footing. This year’s HOPE Survey reflects our efforts to achieve the individual breakthroughs that matter.”
“While the results of this year’s HOPE Survey show encouraging reductions reflecting what our outreach teams see on the ground every day, we know we have more work to do and we’re leaving no stone unturned as we address the challenge of street homelessness,” said Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, HOME-STAT outreach teams across the five boroughs are engaging New Yorkers in need and offering assistance, helping more than 2,200 New Yorkers come off the streets and subways into safe, stable settings citywide, 24 percent more than nine months ago. We remain committed to redoubling these efforts and building on this momentum as we continue to turn the tide on homelessness citywide.”
HOME-STAT: Offering a Helping Hand 24/7/365
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to ending homelessness. HOME-STAT (Homeless Outreach & Mobile Engagement Street Action Teams) encapsulates all of New York City's street homeless outreach efforts across the board—the most comprehensive outreach program in the nation—including the 24/7/365 citywide outreach effort, through which hundreds of highly-trained not-for-profit outreach staff, including licensed social workers, canvass the streets, proactively engaging homeless New Yorkers, offering services and assistance, and working to gain their trust with the goal of addressing the underlying issues that may have caused or contributed to their street homelessness in order to ultimately help these individuals transition off the streets.
By-Name: Engaging New Yorkers Experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness Person by Person
As part of this round-the-clock effort, outreach teams canvass the five boroughs, building the City's first-ever citywide by-name list of individuals known to be homeless and residing on the streets in order to more effectively engage these individuals where they are by developing the trust and relationships that ultimately encourage these individuals to accept services and transition off the streets. The City’s by-name list changes in real time to reflect what outreach teams see citywide every day, with those teams actively connecting clients confirmed to be homeless with available resources while also working to engage 'prospective clients' or individuals encountered on the streets to determine whether they are homeless and what services they may need. With this information the most accurate real-time reflection of what outreach teams see on the ground every day, the City publicly reports a summary of this precise by-name information on a quarterly basis. Learn more about the quarterly report and find our most recent update here.
Annual Point-In-Time Survey Reaffirms HOME-STAT Efforts as Outreach Teams Help More than 2,200 Off Streets
While we know we have more work to do, the 2019 point-in-time estimate of 3,588 individuals experiencing street homelessness reaffirms the progress that the City’s dedicated outreach teams have made in meeting the need citywide, with outreach teams across the five boroughs actively engaging a comparable number of New Yorkers in need every day.
With dedicated and experienced not-for-profit outreach providers canvassing each borough (the Manhattan Outreach Consortium, led by CUCS, in partnership with Goddard Riverside and Breaking Ground, in Manhattan; Breaking Ground in Brooklyn and Queens; BronxWorks in the Bronx; Project Hospitality on Staten Island; and BRC in the subways), HOME-STAT outreach teams:
It can take many months—5 months on average—to establish the trust that will encourage street homeless New Yorkers to accept assistance and come indoors. Accepting outreach efforts, including services that will help homeless New Yorkers transition indoors from the streets, is voluntary. It can take months of persistent and compassionate engagement and hundreds of contacts to successfully connect street homeless individuals with City services. Together, the City and not-for-profit outreach service provider partners remain undeterred in the ongoing effort to engage unsheltered New Yorkers proactively, offering services and support, until making the connection that will help them transition off the streets and out of the subways. HOME-STAT outreach teams continue to reach out to these New Yorkers to offer services and help them come indoors. Learn more about the specialized services and supports that HOME-STAT outreach teams provide to those experiencing unsheltered homelessness here.
Key Survey Context: City Making Steady Progress Amid Global Economic and Environmental Variables
This year's count was conducted during a cold winter in New York City and amid a continued housing affordability crisis here and across the nation, with economic factors, including rising rents outpacing incomes, continuing to drive homelessness. This year, it was 28 degrees on the night the survey was conducted, with less than one inch of snowfall in the preceding 30 days. By contrast, in 2018, it was 37 degrees on the night the survey was conducted, with ten inches of snowfall in the preceding 30 days; while in 2017, it was 40 degrees on the night the survey was conducted, with less than an inch of snowfall in the preceding 30 days.
On the economic front, between 2005 and 2015, median household income in New York City increased by just 4.8% in real dollars while the median rent increased by 18.3% in real dollars. At the same time, New York City experienced a net loss of over 150,000 rent-stabilized units citywide between 1994 and 2012. While the city’s overall rental vacancy rate of 3.5 percent poses challenges for people of all incomes, renters only able to afford an apartment costing $800 or less must search in a market with a vacancy rate of just 1.15 percent in 2017, down from 1.8 percent in 2014.
Overall, the City is making progress towards addressing decades of increasing homelessness driven by economic inequality, including rising rents that have outpaced wages, and inaction from prior administrations in Washington, Albany and New York City. Through the range of aggressive prevention and permanent housing initiatives implemented since taking office, this Administration is beginning to reverse the trend, with the DHS shelter census in 2017 and 2018 remaining roughly flat year over year for the first time in more than a decade and now beginning to decrease. Results of the 2019 HOPE survey similarly indicate that the number of people residing on the streets during the night of this point-in-time count has continued to decline slightly, building on last year’s progress. These results demonstrate that the City's comprehensive strategies for addressing homelessness are taking hold.
“Since launching HOME-STAT, the most comprehensive street outreach program in the nation, we have made unprecedented investments to support those New Yorkers who have fallen through every social safety net—doubling the number of outreach staff, tripling the number of dedicated beds for street homeless New Yorkers, and helping more than 2,200 homeless New Yorkers back into safe, stable housing. This year’s HOPE Survey results confirm that these efforts are taking hold and heading in the right direction,” said Department of Homeless Services Administrator Joslyn Carter. "Together with our dedicated outreach partners across every borough, we will continue this progress, building the trust needed to help New Yorkers living on the streets and subways come indoors – each one, an individual victory in its own right."
“For the second year in a row, a groundswell of over 2,500 New Yorkers volunteered for the HOPE Survey, dedicating their time and efforts to help to help our HOME-STAT outreach teams gain essential information that further informs our 24/7/365 outreach efforts,” said Department of Homeless Services Senior Policy Advisor Annie Mabus. “These volunteers demonstrate our City’s fundamental compassion, and we thank them for their support as we redouble and refine our outreach every day to most effectively engage our neighbors in need and build the trust that will enable them to accept services and come indoors, one person at a time.”
UNPRECEDENTED INVESTMENTS ENHANCING 24/7/365 CITYWIDE OUTREACH EFFORTS:
Since 2014, we have continually redoubled our outreach efforts, dedicating unprecedented new resources to street outreach programs and providers:
“CUCS and our partners in the Manhattan Outreach Consortium have worked hard to place hundreds of our fellow New Yorkers who are living on the streets and other public spaces in Manhattan into housing this past year,” said Tony Hannigan, President and CEO, Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS). “The new initiatives CUCS has developed include a Street Medical Outreach Van to expand the care provided by our street medical program and we have every expectation of continuing to reduce the number of street homeless individuals in Manhattan this year. We appreciate the resources and support provided by the Department of Homeless Services.”
“Working closely with the City, communities, and our partner nonprofits, Breaking Ground is reaching and serving more people on the streets than ever before,” said Brenda Rosen, President and CEO, Breaking Ground. “Our outreach teams are on the streets every day, 24/7; our new drop-in center in Queens is helping to bring the local homeless population inside; our increased Safe Haven beds are providing more opportunities for the most vulnerable New Yorkers to access services and begin to transition into permanent supportive housing -- and our work won’t be done until everyone has a home.”
“We’re proud of our outreach teams who do the crucial work each day of helping New Yorkers move off the streets and into permanent housing,” said Dr. Roderick L. Jones, Executive Director, Goddard Riverside. “We look forward to working with DHS to continue finding solutions to the challenge of homelessness.”
“BronxWorks remains staunchly committed to supporting our most vulnerable neighbors and building the trust that encourages New Yorkers experiencing street homelessness to come indoors,” said Eileen Torres, Executive Director, BronxWorks. Today’s results reflect continued progress made by the street outreach teams. Over the last decade, our consistent and dedicated efforts continue to improve the lives of homeless individuals and reduce the number of street homeless individuals in the Bronx.”
“Project Hospitality is relieved to know that the resources of the NYC and the hard work of our outreach team and DHS supported continuum of care has resulted in a decrease of street homelessness on Staten Island in 2018,” said Reverend Dr. Terry Troia, President and CEO, Project Hospitality. “It is a long road home for many of our homeless Staten Islanders, most of whom struggle with disabilities, illness and aging. We are honored to help our homeless neighbors make it to shelter and services.”
Every day and around the clock BRC’s Homeless Outreach Teams are offering a hand up rather than a handout, to New Yorkers living unsheltered. And every year we assist thousands on their path from homelessness to home,” said Muzzy Rosenblatt, President and CEO, Bowery Resident's Committee (BRC). “As others come along and take their place, we continue undeterred, determined to reach anyone all who will accept our help.”
“Participating in the HOPE Count for the last several years has shown me firsthand the challenges and burdens New Yorkers face in accessing safe and secure housing,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “I applaud efforts by the City to deepen investments in street homeless programs and outreach, and know we still have more work to do. I look forward to continuing to work with the administration on these efforts and bringing thousands of more New Yorkers off the streets and into homes.”
“I passed Local Law 217 to codify an initiative that was started by this Administration, so that for generations to come we are not only tracking data on a critical issue, but also humanizing street homelessness,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “While this first point of contact is an important step, I look forward to working on both preventative and proactive legislation to ensure that every New Yorker has a safe place to live.”
New Yorkers who see individuals they believe to be 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, address street homelessness and assist homeless New Yorkers in transitioning from shelter and the street to permanent housing. DHS collaborates with not-for profit partners to provide temporary shelter and services that homeless New Yorkers need to achieve and maintain housing permanency. In April 2016, Mayor de Blasio announced a major restructuring of homeless services in New York City, followed by the release of a comprehensive plan in February 2017 to turn the tide on homelessness, neighborhood by neighborhood. The plan’s guiding principle is community and people first; giving 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 more quickly stabilize their lives. Learn more about how DHS is turning the tide on homelessness, neighborhood by neighborhood, at nyc.gov/tide.
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. These clinicians and psychiatrists help our outreach teams connect with street homeless individuals who may be difficult to engage. Many have fallen through every available safety net, and experience trauma and challenges, including mental health and substance use challenges that may make outreach more complicated. Accepting outreach efforts, including services that will help homeless New Yorkers transition indoors from the streets, is voluntary, but we remain undeterred in our efforts to engage them proactively and aggressively, and offering assistance and services, until we make the connection that will help them transition off the streets. Our teams continue to reach out to these New Yorkers to offer services and help them come indoors. HOME-STAT also provides aftercare services, continuing to work with individuals who receive placements to ensure that they receive the support they need to remain in housing and off of the street.