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New York's homeless census

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 01:36

New York conducts annual homeless count, delayed two weeks by winter weather, but critics say it's flawed. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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Thousands of volunteers fan out across New York before dawn to conduct the city's yearly homeless survey. Like other major U.S. cities, New York uses a count of people living on its streets to allocate resources for the poorest residents. The tally is also critical for accessing federal funding to tackle homelessness. Last year's count by the city's Department of Homeless Services found 3,357 street homeless people in New York City, most of them in the subways. A final count from Tuesday's tally will not be released for months. Critics say it grossly undercounts the homeless population. Eric Adams is the Brooklyn Borough President. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BROOKLYN BOROUGH PRESIDENT ERIC ADAMS, SAYING: "And so, this system of taking a sampling of the population gives us an indicator of the conditions so we can assure that we receive the federal funding. We can have a real form of resources that can go after the homeless problem. So, the science is not perfect; the condition is not perfect, but the people who are hitting the streets [to conduct survey] are perfect." According to recent tallies, the number of street homeless is down 24 percent from a decade ago. But the overall number of homeless people living at shelters or elsewhere is at an all-time high of about 60,000.

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New York's homeless census

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 01:36