VOA-Greater New York Participates in Annual Census of Unsheltered Homeless Individuals

Each January, often on one of the coldest nights of the year, thousands of volunteers gather to canvass the streets in every borough of New York City as part of the Homeless Outreach Population Estimate, or HOPE Count. Conducted annually since 2005, this critical “point-in-time” census organized by the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) helps to estimate the number of people sleeping unsheltered in public places such as streets, parks and subways. HOPE is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and helps to most effectively identify project service needs and allocate resources. Approximately 4,700 volunteers in all five boroughs of New York City registered for HOPE 2020.

Last year, DHS reported that 3,588 unsheltered individuals were counted on January 28, 2019, the night of the 2019 HOPE Count, which is a 2% decrease from 2018.

Committed to addressing the needs of the community, Volunteers of America-Greater New York (VOA-Greater New York) operates several transitional shelters that house men and women who are in need of immediate shelter. Once sheltered, our staff connect individuals and families with services that will help promote housing stability. VOA-Greater New York also dispatches outreach teams at JFK and LaGuardia Airports to engage with people who appear to be homeless. And through our Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, outreach teams work with homeless and at-risk veterans across New York City.

VOA-Greater New York has taken part in the HOPE Count for years, surveying neighborhoods from Washington Heights to Beaver Street, and Bedford Park to Flatbush, asking individuals if they have a place to sleep that night, and, if not, offering access to shelter. This year was no exception! Approximately 30 staff from around the organization stepped up to take part in the initiative.

"I’m so proud of our staff members who participated in this important endeavor to count and identify individuals living unsheltered on the streets of New York City,” said Tere Pettitt, President and CEO of Volunteers of America—Greater New York. “I hope that the outcome of this event helps New York City in its ability to respond most efficiently and effectively to those who are homeless.”