Dept. of Homeless Services kicking off annual HOPE outreach program

The city’s Department of Homeless Services is launching its annual HOPE survey in an effort to get a pulse on the housing status of New Yorkers citywide.  
HOPE, which stands for Homeless Outreach Population Estimate, is a one-night event where volunteers travel through community public spaces to survey people about their housing status. The data collected helps the city get an understanding on how many people are experiencing homelessness in the boroughs.  
Organizers say they’re expecting over 1,500 volunteers at the event that kicks off at 10 p.m. on Tuesday night. The survey will take place from 12 a.m. to 4 a.m., where participants will show up at various sites across the city that are near their location to receive training and go off in groups.  
All of the survey data gets tracked on an app. Some advocates have raised concerns that if only people in public spaces are being counted, the full picture isn’t being given.  
“They are counting people who are sleeping in public spaces, so if people are bedding down in let's say the atrium of a building. That's not a public space so they're not counted,” said Dave Giffen, executive director for the Coalition for the Homeless.  
DHS Commissioner Molly Park says that the department has found success in these counts in recent years by doubling the number of outreach workers and placing nearly 1,000 people in need in permanent housing.