New York, NY —
The city conducted its sixth annual survey of homeless people early this morning. Nancy Downing of the organization Covenant House was among the thousands of volunteers who canvassed the city's streets, parks, and subway stations to identify and tally the number of unsheltered individuals.
"I have the opportunity once a year for a very short time to get some sense of the experience of being out on the street in the middle of the night," Downing says.
The city says the homeless counts have been declining over the past five years. Downing says logistics and safety concerns do contribute to undercounting, as volunteers aren't allowed to go into abandoned buildings or other places hidden from plain view.