This will come as a surprise for those who meet panhandlers in the streets and subways almost everyday. Street homelessness is down by 12 percent compared to 2007 figures.
The city now has 3,306 unsheltered individuals according to latest figures by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS). This latest statistics released on March 4, 2008 is the result of the annual street survey conducted by DHS on the night of January 28, 2008 in the streets and subways all over the five boroughs of the city.
Borough-wise, Manhattan still tops the list of unsheltered homeless individuals on the streets at 1,263, followed by 336 in Brooklyn, 279 in the Bronx, 152 in Staten Island and 135 in Queens. On the street count includes unsheltered individuals found in the streets and parks, not subways. Some 1,141 unsheltered individuals were found in the subways.
About 1,700 volunteers walked a total of 8,291 miles and surveyed more than 1,000 subway cars to carry out the survey.
But advocates for the homeless people questions the accuracy of the survey figures. Patrick Markee of the Coalition for the Homeless said in March 5, 2008 issue of Metro newspaper that the figures do not reflect the actual number of unsheltered homeless people in the city. “Most street people do not sleep in visible locations.”
Eric Deutsch of DHS says not all panhandlers are homeless but his contention was challenged by Metro in the same issue saying a survey conducted by the daily in Union Square found every panhandler homeless.
Will the real homeless man on the street please stand up?