FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2019
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 on Monday evening, January 28, 2019 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 nyc.gov/hope to register and can watch a video to learn more about joining HOPE 2019 here.
"The annual HOPE Survey is a unique opportunity for all New Yorkers to participate in the citywide mission to address street homelessness, one person at a time, by helping us collect vital data that will assist our outreach teams in their year-round outreach efforts," said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. "Thanks to increased investment, enhanced coordination, and improved data, our HOME-STAT outreach program has helped more than 2,000 New Yorkers experiencing unsheltered homelessness come off the streets and subways. We're calling on New Yorkers from all five boroughs to help us conduct our citywide survey so we can continue to get our unsheltered neighbors the help they need."
"I invite every New Yorker to join us for HOPE 2019 as we gather information that will help our outreach teams continually develop HOME-STAT programming that most effectively serves and supports street homeless New Yorkers as they restabilize their lives," said Department of Homeless Services Administrator Joslyn Carter. "Every one of the 2,000 New Yorkers that has accepted services and come indoors is an individual victory, and the insights we will gather on January 28th will help us take our persistent and compassionate outreach even further to meet all New Yorkers in need where they are as they get back on their feet."
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.
UNPRECEDENTED INVESTMENTS ENHANCING 24/7/365 CITYWIDE OUTREACH EFFORTS:
Since 2014, as part of the City's commitment to continually redoubling outreach efforts, the de Blasio Administration has dedicated unprecedented new resources to street outreach programs and providers:
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.
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.