Today, New York City is conducting its annual homeless outreach population estimate.

An unidentified homeless man, center, and Jennifer Sherry communicate using sign language at the man’s encampment in Tompkins Square Park, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015 in New York. Sherry works for Goddard Riverside Community Center which is contracted by the city of New York to do outreach work with the homeless. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Homelessness in New York has been on the rise for the last 35 years, with more than 60,000 people spending the night in a shelter this week.

According to Coalition for the Homeless, the number of people without a place to call their own is at its highest since the Great Depression in the 1930s, and a great number of those people are children.

New York City Mayor de Blasio has vowed to fight homelessness at all levels and reduce the number of people in shelters by 2,500 over five years. One of the groups at the front line of the challenge is New York City’s Department of Homeless Services.

On Monday January 22, the DHS will conduct its annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate – HOPE.

HOPE is a citywide initiative that relies on community volunteers to count every New Yorker sleeping on the street across the five boroughs at the coldest time of year.

It is a point in time estimate that has been conducted every year since 2005. Between 10pm and 4am volunteers will canvass the city’s parks, subways, and other public spaces to estimate the number of people living on the street.

In order to make HOPE a success and gather the most accurate information, which is used to help determine annual federal grants, thousands of volunteers are needed. If you want to be a part of HOPE and help fellow New Yorkers you can sign up by clicking here.

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Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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