Counting the Homeless

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More than 3,000 volunteers are expected to brave the city's freezing temperatures tonight to help count the homeless. It's the fifth time the count will be done citywide. According to statistics, there's been a 25 percent drop in street homelessness since 2005. On WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show today, Homeless Services Commissioner Rob Hess was asked whether the current recession would drive that number back up.

HESS: This is a very tough economy and many, many people who have been kind of on the edge are showing up at the front door of our shelters. That's especially true with families with children.

Last year just over 3,300 people were found sleeping on city streets. Homeless advocates often criticize the count as inaccurate because volunteers don't go into harder-to-reach places such as abandoned buildings.