Volunteers help count borough's homeless

Volunteers walked around the borough Monday for the sixth annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE).

HOPE 2008 conducted a count of the homeless people in the borough. About 2,500 volunteers walked 8,000 miles, conducting a survey of homeless people and offering them a warm bed. Target areas for the homeless included city parks and public areas like the subway.

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS), which conducts the survey, says the count is a way to reach out to the homeless, because the volunteers will be offering people a way into the shelter system.

HOPE 2008 is part of Mayor Bloomberg?s five-year action plan to improve homelessness. It also serves as a gauge to determine if measures currently in effect are working to help the homeless.

One measure is the Citizens Advice Bureau?s (CAB) weekly efforts. CAB says it makes over 1,200 yearly contacts with the homeless, and works to place them in permanent housing.

DHS and CAB members participated in Monday night?s count. Results from last year?s count showed a decrease in the number of homeless people from 2005.

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