January 26, 2010
More than 150 St. John’s University students and administrators
walked the streets of Brooklyn and Queens last night and into the
wee hours of this morning counting the number of homeless living on
the streets of New York. The volunteers were partnered with the NYC
Department of Homeless Services (DHS) for its Homeless Outreach
Population Estimate (HOPE) 2010 street survey.
Hope 2010 Video
Students from St. John’s (the largest group to participate in
the survey) received a warm send-off from DHS Commissioner Robert
V. Hess, during an orientation session held in the Little Theatre
of the University’s Queens campus.
“St John’s is now the number-one college in the City of New York in
terms of helping us with volunteers and helping us address the
critical issues around people experiencing homelessness in our
city. And I just couldn’t be prouder of St. John’s, or more honored
to be here tonight to say ‘thank you,’” Hess said.
and St. John’s have a long-standing partnership through the
Institute for Social Action. VISA provides an organizational
focus through which faculty and students can work together to
explore the causes of and develop solutions to poverty and social
injustice throughout the world.
“We are incredibly proud of you as St. John’s students. You came
out and you’re doing this for our city and for people who
desperately need the services that are offered by DHS,” said Rev.
James J. Maher, C.M., Vice President for Student Affairs and
Executive Director of VISA.
Walking the streets in small groups, volunteers (estimated to be
close to 3,000 in all five boroughs) were armed with pens and
clipboards in hand to better account for and serve the homeless in
NYC with appropriate street survey data.
“It’s great that there are so many more people who want to get
involved and who see this as an opportunity to help out,” said
Scott Denninger, 21, accounting major and president of Pi Kappa Phi
at St. John’s. Denninger and his team were assigned to the Local 7
Among the St. John’s participants was Campus Minister
Angela Seegel who supervised one of the volunteer groups.
“You guys are doing great. Keep it up,” she told her team as she
stayed at the back of the group as her students walked the quiet
streets of Queens in the early morning hours.
“St. Vincent knew that he couldn’t do it by himself – that he had
to bring other people into the picture. When you can bring
everybody together, you can move it forward in a way that you
couldn’t do alone,” said Seegel.
English major Patrick Hester, 21, who was celebrating his birthday
while participating in the survey said, “Tonight’s event coincides
with the mission of being Catholic, Vincentian and
Maggie Bach, Coordinator of Leadership Development and Service, who
organized St. John’s involvement, said that this year’s turnout of
148 students doubled last year’s number. “I think our
students truly believe in our Vincentian mission. I think it says
that we are true to our values: we say that we are, and we show
that we are,” Bach said.