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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Thank you for your commitment to helping homeless New Yorkers. Read on to learn more about HOPE.

What is HOPE?

The Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) is a point-in-time estimate conducted every year citywide by the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) since 2005. The survey is conducted in January to produce an estimate of the total number of unsheltered individuals living in New York City. Volunteers are an essential part of this project, as thousands are needed in order to effectively survey the city and gather the most accurate estimate. 

What will I do as a volunteer?

Volunteers will be assigned to teams, each with an experienced team leader, to survey predetermined areas near their training site. You and your team will conduct a brief survey with each individual you encounter that is designed to assess each person's housing situation, and offer transportation to shelter to any homeless individual seeking services.

When is HOPE?

HOPE 2018 will be on Monday, January 22, from 10:00 pm until 4:00 am the following day. This is a late night event. If you register for the MTA "End of Line" training site (Manhattan - 40 Broad Street, 5th Floor), you will need to arrive at the training site by 9:30 pm. While we ask that you prepare to be out until 4:00 am, many volunteer teams complete their assignments earlier.

How do I sign up for HOPE?

Register online for HOPE 2018. All volunteers must be at least 18 years of age or older. Minors who are 16 or 17 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. We cannot accept volunteers younger than 16 years of age for this event.

How can my friends and family volunteer at the same site as me?

Volunteers can register for the same site by communicating ahead of time about which location to select. It is important to remember that sites are filled on a first come, first served basis, so please register as soon as possible.

Why can't I register for a site that I saw on the list earlier?

The training sites are filled based on the needs of the survey. If you do not see a site on the list, it means that it has reached the required number of volunteers. These sites are closed and cannot take additional volunteers. Please select one of our open sites.

I can't participate on the night of the survey, is there anything else I can do to help with HOPE 2018?

DHS needs to recruit thousands of volunteers to make HOPE 2018 a success! We appreciate any efforts you can make to encourage friends, family, and fellow community members who are 18 years of age or older to join us. We are happy to provide you with recruitment materials you can share. Please email HOPE@dhs.nyc.gov for more information.

What does it mean to be a team leader?

Team leaders are responsible for managing teams of three or more volunteers, ensuring team members understand the survey methods. and helping each member of their team to be as effective as possible. Additionally, volunteers may look to the team leader for guidance on approaching and interacting with homeless individuals. We therefore ask that team leaders have a social service background or have experience participating in previous street surveys. 

Will any safety and security measures be provided for volunteers?

Volunteers work in teams of three or more and are instructed to remain with their fellow volunteers at all times. No one should conduct this survey on their own. We do not send volunteers into abandoned buildings or private establishments; the survey is limited to public streets, parks, and subway stations (platforms and trains only). Staff remain at the training sites throughout the night to stay in contact with volunteer teams via cell phone. Based on NYPD's recommendations, police officers will accompany some volunteer teams to ensure their safety.

What if I have more questions?

Please send the HOPE team an email at HOPE@dhs.nyc.gov,  call the HOPE Hotline at 212-607-5366, or call 311 for more information.

Have any questions? 

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