For students like Daniel Diaz ’13TCB, solving New York City’s
homelessness problem begins with hope – the annual Homeless
Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) program, to be precise.
“It’s tragic to see men and women sleeping on the streets of the
city,” explained Diaz. “That’s why the Night of Hope is so
important, providing students like myself with an opportunity to
roll up my sleeves and make a difference.”
Created by New York City’s Department of Homeless Services, the
HOPE initiative sends thousands of volunteers across the five
boroughs to conduct a street survey of New York’s unsheltered
population. This survey is necessary to help ensure funding for
homeless services, and hundreds of St. John’s University students
have signed up to do their part.
“Throughout the night, we comb the streets of a particular
neighborhood to find those in need,” Diaz continued. “We meet
individuals who are sleeping in parks, streets or a variety of
other public places, so we mark that down and inform these people
of how they can receive help from street outreach programs.”
Night of Hope is particularly unique because it humanizes the
homelessness statistic. Instead of merely dealing in numbers,
students meet and get to know the individuals who they are
“Without a doubt, it feels great to know that we’re helping to
reduce the number of people sleeping outdoors,” said Diaz. “But
when you meet these individuals face-to-face, you forget about the
raw numbers and start thinking solely about that unique person.
That’s a big reason why the initiative has such a powerful effect
on participants like myself.”
You can help ensure that our students can continue to take
advantage of service opportunities like this by making a gift
to St. John’s today. The generosity of our alumni and friends makes
it possible for students to carry their commitment of helping
others into their personal and professional communities.