NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- City workers and volunteers spread out throughout New York City overnight in a block-by-block attempt to count the number of homeless people living on the streets.
Mayor Eric Adams joined the workers at P.S.116 in Midtown Manhattan late Tuesday night to kick off the city's annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) Count.
The count is utilizing volunteers this year for the first time since the pandemic, which may result in a more accurate count of those living in the streets.
3,439 homeless people were counted last year, a return to pre-pandemic levels.
The 2021 count of 2,376 was likely affected by homeless people living in hotel rooms during the pandemic and an overnight subway shutdown for coronavirus cleaning.
The count is a federal requirement.
But the Coalition for the Homeless says this annual survey historically undercounts people, is merely the city checking a box and is of little value.
The 2023 count comes as shelters and city services are being overwhelmed by a flood of asylum seekers being bused in from the southern border.
Mayor Adams cites "more than 41,000 asylum seekers arriving in New York City since last spring and nearly 28,000 asylum seekers currently in our care."
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