Volunteers for the HOPE Survey combed the streets of Brownstone Brooklyn Monday night looking to count and to assist the homeless. While conducting their audit, the searchers encountered one of the infamous and totally not homeless “Freegans” who make the garbage pile at Perelandra a nightly stop on their quest to save the earth and/or a dolla. No word on whether any of the HOPE crew correctly identified them – in the words of BHB uber-commenter my2cents – as “raccoons with iPods.”
Wall Street Journal: The four volunteers jumped over snow mounds, skidded on ice and stopped each and every pedestrian, whether or not he or she looked like someone who sleeps on the streets. With green surveys in hand, they asked a simple question: “Tonight do you have somewhere that you consider your home or a place to live?”
Most people cocked their heads in confusion.
At 1 a.m. the group passed the TD Bank sign on Montague Street, which reported the temperature at 22 degrees. The volunteers walked east along Cadmen Plaza while snow began to fall, a great contrast to last year when volunteers enjoyed 40-degree weather. This year, the Department of Homeless Services declared a Code Blue due to extreme weather conditions. That meant volunteers would ask any homeless individuals they encountered if they’d like a place to sleep for the night.
Continuing their tour of Brooklyn Heights, Group 12 passed Peralandra, an upscale health-food store on Remsen Street. A woman in a long down coat was picking through a cardboard box with discarded produce from the market. She declined to answer the survey questions.
“A few years ago I would have thought she was homeless. But I see this more and more,” said [Alex] Ward, who works at Heights Château, a nearby wine store. “She’s probably a forager and I think she was embarrassed. Times are tough, you’ve got to do what you’ve got do.”
Group 12 walked through the cold for almost five hours. They did not find any homeless New Yorkers.