School of Social Work Professor Leads Effort to Improve Accuracy of 2007 NYC Homeless Count

December 14, 2006 @ 5:00 am

December 14, 2006

New York, NY:  Dr. Julien Teitler, a professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW), will lead the Shadow Count study with several other Columbia University researchers for the 2007 Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) survey. The HOPE survey is an initiative of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s ‘Uniting for Solutions Beyond Shelter’ five-year action plan to end chronic homelessness in New York City. The 2007 survey will be held on the night of January 29, 2007.

The Shadow Count study is funded by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to increase accuracy in the HOPE survey. On the night of the homeless count, decoys will be given specific instructions and sent to designated locations throughout the five boroughs to see how many are counted. Information on the number of decoys that are counted will be used to adjust the official New York City homeless figures.

ìShadow Count allows for a more accurate estimate of the homeless population in New York City,î says Julien Teitler ìAn accurate estimate is critical for developing effective programs. This collaboration between the University and DHS is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about research while contributing to an important social cause.î

“Having the School of Social Work take the lead on this project seems like a perfect fit,” says Dr. Lenna Nepomnyaschy, an Associate Research Scientist at CUSSW, who is also coordinating the study.

Volunteers who are interested in participating in the study as a paid decoy or volunteer organizer may contact Marilyn Rincon at 212-851-2384 or

For more information or to interview Dr. Teitler, please contact Jeannie Yip at 212-851-2327 or