Join us at HOPE Count 2015

Each winter, we partner with the New York City Department of Homeless Services in their annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE), a unique overnight event during which volunteers fan out across the city and conduct a census of New Yorkers sleeping outside. The information gathered that night is invaluable, as it helps us adjust our efforts to make the greatest possible impact on helping the chronically homeless to realize better lives.

For Common Ground, it’s not only a once-a-year harvesting of critical data, but also an important opportunity for staff and volunteers to experience street outreach up close like never before. It educates participants about the different sub-populations that outreach workers regularly deal with, and the judgment required to evaluate each unique situation.


When does the HOPE Count take place?
It’s an annual event. This year’s count has been rescheduled to Monday, February 9th, at 10:30 p.m. until about 2 or 3 a.m.

Are you recruiting volunteers?
Yes. We are looking for about 100 volunteers to join us at this event. If you’re interested or know anybody who is, please sign up today.

Isn’t this a city-wide event? Why are you only recruiting for Midtown Manhattan?
New York City’s Department of Homeless Services runs the HOPE Count throughout all five boroughs. For the past several years, they have engaged Common Ground to conduct the midtown Manhattan count.

What would I be doing if I signed up?
Volunteers meet at our Times Square residence, receive a brief training, and are assigned to groups of three to four. Your team leader will be experienced and be able to answer any questions you have. Teams leave The Times Square just after midnight. As you encounter homeless people on the street, your team leader will help complete the surveys. You can participate as directly as you like. The entire experience is designed to make the volunteers feel comfortable and to keep everyone safe. When you have completed the canvas of your assigned area, your team returns to the Times Square to turn in their documents, receive t-shirts, eat a hot breakfast, then return home for some much deserved sleep, typically around 2 a.m.

Why would I want to do this? It sounds cold and I don’t usually stay up that late.
We recognize that this opportunity isn’t for everyone. But many of our volunteers return year after year, describing it as a truly meaningful experience. After all, this is the city that never sleeps!