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January 15, 2017

Contact: Arianna Fishman (, o: 929-221-5249, m: 646-629-4723)



Agency recruiting thousands of volunteers to assist with annual HOPE survey of street homeless individuals in all five boroughs

NEW YORK—The Department of Homeless Services is asking New Yorkers to volunteer for its annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) to assist the Agency and community partners in estimating the number of unsheltered individuals on the streets, in parks, subways, and other public spaces across the city. This year’s annual point-in-time HOPE survey, mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will take place one week from today on Monday evening, January 22, 2018 from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m.

Having an accurate estimate of unsheltered New Yorkers is crucial to combatting homelessness. On the night of HOPE, thousands of New Yorkers volunteer to canvass the five boroughs and collect vital data which will assist the City’s HOME-STAT outreach teams in their 24/7/365 efforts to reach, engage, and encourage more individuals to transition off the streets to a more safe, stable environment. Those interested in volunteering and participating in this extraordinary citywide effort should visit to register and can watch a video to learn more about joining HOPE 2018 here.

"With the annual HOPE survey, New Yorkers in every neighborhood across the five boroughs can be a part of the citywide effort to address homelessness," said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. "As we redouble our efforts to support New Yorkers experiencing street homelessness, through increased funding, more dedicated resources, and strengthened collaboration with not-for-profit and Agency partners, the HOPE survey provides the City with vital information that will help our outreach teams continually improve year-round efforts to meet and engage our neighbors in need where they are. I encourage all New Yorkers with the time and ability to volunteer for HOPE 2018 and join the citywide mission to support homeless New Yorkers as they get back on their feet."

"It can take months of persistent, compassionate outreach and hundreds of contacts to build the trust that will encourage a New Yorker experiencing street homelessness to accept services and comes indoors. On HOPE 2018, every New Yorker can join the effort to gather information that will help us more effectively make those connections in our daily work," said Department of Homeless Services Administrator Joslyn Carter. "This citywide community volunteer survey provides important insights and informs our efforts to continually develop HOME-STAT programming that most effectively serves and supports homeless New Yorkers as they restabilize their lives."

New York City continues to be a national leader in investing in and developing programs to serve people living on the street, with outreach teams mobilized in all five boroughs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; specialized housing set aside for street homeless New Yorkers; and targeted funding to ensure the most effective delivery of resources to the individuals most in need. The City's HOPE survey is the largest effort of its kind nationwide, identified by HUD as a best practice survey method, and the City's HOME-STAT effort is the most comprehensive street homeless outreach program in the country. As part of the City's commitment to continually redoubling outreach efforts, the de Blasio Administration has committed unprecedented new resources to street outreach programs and providers:

  • We've increased joint outreach operations with City Agency partners to utilize each Agency's expertise, engage more New Yorkers, and offer more supports. As part of our HOME-STAT efforts, DHS regularly performs joint operations with community stakeholders and Agency partners, including the NYPD, the Parks Department, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Department of Transportation. Earlier this month, DHS and NYPD expanded joint outreach operations in Midtown, Manhattan to seven days per week, increasing the number of individuals with whom the City is constantly engaged as well as the number of contacts made in the effort to encourage homeless New Yorkers to accept services and transition indoors.
  • This Administration has more than doubled the City’s investment in street homeless programs, increasing by more than $50M (119%) from around $40M in FY14 to more than $91M in FY18.
  • We've also nearly tripled the number of beds dedicated to supporting street homeless New Yorkers citywide since 2014, with hundreds of beds opened during this Administration, hundreds more coming online this year, and an additional commitment to another 250 beds, increasing the operating total from 543 beds to more than 1,500 beds.
  • We more-than doubled the number of outreach staff canvassing the streets engaging New Yorkers 24/7/365 since 2014, from 191 to 387. Those outreach staff spend months building relationships by making regular—often daily—contact with street homeless New Yorkers: getting to know them, building trust, and sharing information about the resources available to them. It can take months of persistent and compassionate engagement to successfully connect street homeless individuals with City services (5 months on average).
  • We are building the City's first-ever by-name list of individuals known to be homeless and residing on the streets to improve delivery of services. Central to the HOME-STAT effort, these outreach teams continue to build the City's first-ever by-name list of individuals known to be homeless and residing on the streets, more effectively enabling the teams to directly and repeatedly engage New Yorkers in need where they are, continually offering supports and case management resources while developing the trust and relationships that will ultimately encourage these individuals to accept services and transition off of the streets. As part of that by-name list, outreach teams now know more than 2,000 individuals by name who are confirmed to be homeless and living on the streets and are actively engaging more than 1,500 individuals encountered on the streets to evaluate their living situations and determine whether they are homeless as well as what specific supports they may need.
  • We helped nearly 900 individuals off the streets who've remained off the streets. In the first year of HOME-STAT, the nation's most comprehensive street outreach initiative, the City helped 865 people transition off the streets into transitional programs or permanent housing. Since then, we more than doubled the number of street homeless outreach workers, who are dedicated to cultivating relationships with our street homeless neighbors and connecting them with the services they need.


About the Department of Homeless Services (DHS):

The Department of Homeless Services works to prevent homelessness before it occurs, address street homelessness, and assist New Yorkers in transitioning from shelter and street homelessness to permanent housing. DHS collaborates with non-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 by creating an integrated and streamlined management structure for DHS and the Human Resources Administration (HRA) under the Commissioner of the Department of Social Services. In February 2017, the Mayor announced his comprehensive plan to turn the tide on homelessness, neighborhood by neighborhood. The plan’s guiding principle is community and people first, and 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, including schools, jobs, family, houses of worship, and 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