BOERUM HILL - The number of Brooklyn and city homeless residents is declining, according to data collected by thousands of volunteers on foot.

More than 2,000 people braved the bitter cold in the early morning hours Tuesday for Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) 2007. Volunteers canvassed thousands of city blocks and subways asking anyone they saw whether they had somewhere to sleep. The city uses the annual HOPE count to determine whether homeless services are being utilized. However, the Department of Homeless Services, which trained the volunteers, says getting homeless people to cooperate can be difficult.

The city says this year's count shows a 13 percent decrease from last year's number of almost 4,000 homeless residents.