Our hats are off to Emily Brown, Elizabeth Fasanya, Shanira Griffith, Aluta Khanyile, Jackie Moore, Jana Pohorelsky, Mizraim Reyes, Rosalind Williams, and Brittany Zenner. These nine Project Renewal staffers volunteered to be DHS HOPE surveyors. So, on Monday, January 27th, they were out in the frigid night, traveling some of this city’s meaner avenues, looking for anyone living on the streets.
As Emily Brown, who recruited our volunteers explains, DHS (NYC Department of Homeless Services) purposely chooses January to do the annual HOPE (Homeless Outreach Population Estimate) count, so that they can identify chronically homeless individuals, who tend to tough it out during the colder nights rather than use the shelter system.
HOPE count data factors into how the city allocates resources. An undercount could result in an shortfall of services and/or facilities and supplies on hand. So we are proud of our PRI staffers who braved the chill themselves so that when vulnerable New Yorkers seek help in the future, they will not get left out in the cold.
One of them, Mizraim Reyes, of our Medical Department, went a step further when she encountered a man who hadn’t eaten in a while. “I offered to call the DHS Van for him,” she recalls, “but he didn’t want to go to a shelter and leave behind his two shopping carts full of his possessions, which the shelter can’t accommodate. So I asked him, ‘Well what do you want us to do for you?’ and he said ‘I’m hungry,’ so we went to a deli and got him something to eat.”
A huge thanks to you all, our Project Renewal Champions of HOPE!