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Queens has 335 homeless living outdoors: Count

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The March 7 Department of Homeless Services census estimated that 4,395 street dwellers live outdoors in New York City. It found 1,800 in Manhattan, 592 in Brooklyn, 587 in the Bronx and 231 in Staten Island. It was the city's third homeless count and the first time it was conducted in Queens and Staten Island. The city will use the annual tally to identify pockets of perpetual street dwellers and gauge outreach efforts to get them indoors, said Homeless Services Commissioner Linda Gibbs. "While we continue to have far too many individuals remaining on our streets, we now have a solid estimate of street homelessness citywide," Gibbs said in a statement. "We will be working aggressively to reduce this number on a community by community basis." During the count, volunteers canvassed 182 spots in the borough - generally stretches of two blocks each. High concentrations of homeless were found in south Jamaica and Astoria, said James Anderson, spokesman for homeless services. He could offer no concrete numbers. Andrew Martin, spokesman with Volunteers of America, a homeless services provider who helped the city draft the canvass areas, said homeless people congregate in those neighborhoods for two reasons: they have lots of business strips, which are good for panhandling, and lots of parking lots, where street dwellers like to crash. The count was aimed at getting a handle on the number of what he described as "hard-core" homeless, or those who often refuse city services. Since the night of the count was so cold, Martin said the city now has a pretty good idea about the total number of terminally homeless. Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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