During the Hope Survey in February, I participated in helping count New York City’s homeless population. The Hope Survey corresponded to my statistics class, as it dealt with populations and variables. Some of the variables considered included location, sex, age, and military status. In my statistics class, we consider many of these variables when conducting research. I found it particularly rewarding that I was able to use the knowledge I obtained in my statistics class to better New York City by participating in the HOPE survey.
My experience with the Hope Survey was quite interesting. My group only encountered one homeless man. I realized why we were required (as part of the survey) to ask each person we encountered whether or not they were homeless. The reason was due to the fact that there are more homeless people in New York City than the stereotype of a homeless person’s appearance that is often portrayed in the media. For example, my group ran into an elderly man who I did not consider to be homeless until we asked him if he had a place to stay for the night. When he responded no, I understood that appearance means nothing regarding one’s housing status. Although this man was dressed in nice clothes and at a glance appeared to be healthy, he did not have a place to stay at night. I believe the Hope survey re-taught me a very important lesson: never judge a book by its cover.
-Reid Cunningham (2016)