During the annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE), teams of volunteers canvass select areas of the City and count the number of individuals sleeping on the street and in other public spaces, including the subway.

HOPE 2020 will take place on Monday, January 27 from 10 PM to 4 AM. 

You can volunteer to survey homeless individuals if you are 18 or older and willing to work from 10 PM to 4 AM, regardless of the weather. You will be trained before going out with your team.

If you are interested in volunteering, you can register and complete an online orientation.

The Department of Homeless Services will contact you to confirm your registration within one business day. About one week before the event, you will be contacted again by email (or by regular mail or phone if you didn't provide an email address) with information about where you should report on the night of the survey.

Register to volunteer for HOPE.

General volunteers do not need to have experience to participate in HOPE.

You can complete the online orientation on the HOPE website. You will also receive training on the night of the survey at a volunteer site.

Team leaders manage the general volunteers on their team and often begin communication with homeless individuals or assign team members to do so.

You can volunteer to be a team leader if you are comfortable working with homeless individuals and have social service experience, or if you have participated in HOPE in the past.

Examples of social service experience include:

  • Volunteering in a homeless shelter
  • Volunteering in a soup kitchen
  • Having a master's degree in social work
  • Doing casework with people in need

On the night of the survey, you should dress warmly with a winter coat, gloves, scarf, and hat. If it is raining or expected to rain, you should bring an umbrella or poncho.

Transportation during HOPE is not provided. You need a MetroCard to travel to and from the training site and survey locations.

You are strongly encouraged to carry your cell phone, so you can stay in contact with team members and site captains.

Light snacks and hot beverages will be provided to volunteers at the training site.

HOPE will only be rescheduled in the event of extreme winter weather. It will not be cancelled for rain or light snow.  

If there is an extreme weather event, you can find out if HOPE has been cancelled by checking the Department of Homeless Services' website or calling the on the day of the event.


Visit the Department of Homeless Services' website.


Call 311 for assistance.

You can call the HOPE Helpline if you have questions about the event. You can also get help registering if you don't have Internet access, or experience technical problems registering online.

If you are a City employee and aren’t able to register on the HOPE website, you can register using CityShare.

Call 311 for assistance.