Hospital Homeless Count

Counting the “hidden homeless” in New York City hospitals 

With all that is happening in healthcare and housing reform, the Consortium saw the need to conduct research to better identify and understand the health and housing needs of Bronx residents so that we can coordinate our existing services more effectively and advocate for more resources necessary to meet those needs. Every January, the NYC Department of Homeless Services conducts its annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) Count. This event, which takes place in the middle of the night during the winter, consists of an outdoor street count throughout the five boroughs and MTA system to identify homeless individuals.

Understanding that homeless and unstably housed populations are a significant driver of hospital-based health care utilization, in 2014 the Consortium began its own count of people experiencing homelessness in hospital emergency departments on the night of the DHS HOPE Count. These patients can be considered the “hidden homeless” because they are indoors and not subject to being counted during HOPE. 

2020 Hospital Homeless Count Report Coming Soon!

2019 Findings

On January 28, 2019—the same night of the New York City Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) Count on NYC streets and subways—the Bronx Health & Housing Consortium led an independent effort to count the number of people experiencing homelessness who were seeking care or shelter in NYC hospitals.  Volunteer teams surveyed individuals found in emergency department (ED) treatment areas and waiting rooms as well as other non-medical care locations such as lobbies or chapels. 

unsheltered homeless people

30 hospitals were surveyed in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, including all 11 NYC Health + Hospital (H+H) sites.

70% of unsheltered homeless individuals were counted at a NYC Health and Hospital (H+H) site.

Only one third of unsheltered homeless individuals were known to be registered for care.

An additional 36 individuals were identified as homeless and living in a shelter.