From the Editor

Welcome to this year’s final issue of the Natural Hazards Observer, dedicated to homelessness and disasters.

In January 2013, my friends and I volunteered for the New York City Point-in-Time (PIT) count of unsheltered homeless individuals. This survey takes place every year and the data, like data from other PIT counts across the country, is used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for its biannual reports on homelessness in the United States.

Our survey site was located on the border between two of Brooklyn’s most dangerous neighborhoods, Brownsville and East New York. It was an extremely cold New York winter night and the streets were completely deserted when we left the school where we had gathered to get our instructions. For the next four hours, we combed an area of about one square mile, looking for people who were sleeping rough in plain sight. Two police officers—tasked with keeping us safe that night—followed us from a distance.


Natural Hazards Observer