HOPE Count 2016 to tackle homeless outreach

Never give up HOPE.

Though the blizzard of 2016 might have postponed this year’s Hope Count—a night where over 3,000 citywide volunteers set out to count the chronically homeless in all five boroughs—the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) is dedicated to lowering the number of those living on New York City streets, and providing them the help they need to stay off of them.

The rescheduled HOPE 2016 will take place on Monday, February 8 from 10 p.m. to around 4 a.m. and will have volunteers surveying parks, subways and other public places in an effort to get a count of the number of individuals living unsheltered in the city.

Since its start in Manhattan in 2003—and eventually spreading citywide in 2005—HOPE volunteers have been sent out in teams to get a “point-in-time estimate of chronically unsheltered individuals,” according to DHS. The information gleaned is used to project service needs, allocate resources for the street homeless population, and educate and engage New Yorkers about the issue.

“HOPE Count each year is so important to the City of New York because it’s essential to find the homeless living on our streets, to count them and to reach out to make sure that services can be attained in every district, in every borough,” said District Manager of Community Board 10 Josephine Beckmann at a press conference held in conjunction with local activist Liam McCabe, founder of the Willie McCabe Memorial Run. “It is a very hard task so we need volunteers. I’m here to advocate with Liam so that anyone who is available for the HOPE Count—right here in Bay Ridge—[comes out] so we can make sure that our numbers of homelessness are counted.”

“My father was a homeless veteran and to help get them some housing and some of the other resources they might need, that’s the point of this organization,” said McCabe of the organization he founded in memory of his father. “As far as the HOPE Count this year, it depends on over 3,000 volunteers spread out across the city and it really gives an accurate count of how many homeless there are.

“It’s something that the city could never do with its own infrastructure,” he continued. “So, its imperative because based on that, the city can go out and try to help those homeless people and anyone that’s found that night. There’s police, fire personnel, EMTs and agents from the Department of Homeless Services able to help them. We wanted to get the word out and remind everybody in honor of my father.”

According to the HOPE Count’s website, New York City has been nationally recognized for its efforts in addressing the issue of homelessness. The annual HOPE Count has allowed DHS to understand better where these individuals are living throughout the city, to determine which resources are needed in which specific areas, and find out how effective the outreach services have been in throughout the five boroughs.

For more information about HOPE Count 2016, or to volunteer, visit www.nychope.cityofnewyork.us.

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