New York

NYC's planned surge of outreach to street homeless brings hopes, concerns, mixed track record

FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2015 file photo, a homeless man holds a sign asking for money while sitting at the entrance to a subway station in New York. New York City plans to deploy hundreds of outreach workers who will canvass much of Manhattan every day with a deceptively simple goal: talk to as many homeless people as possible, as often as possible. Through frequent contact, the city hopes to persuade the chronic homeless, even those living on the street for years, to go to shelters. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2015 file photo, a homeless man holds a sign asking for money while sitting at the entrance to a subway station in New York. New York City plans to deploy hundreds of outreach workers who will canvass much of Manhattan every day with a deceptively simple goal: talk to as many homeless people as possible, as often as possible. Through frequent contact, the city hopes to persuade the chronic homeless, even those living on the street for years, to go to shelters. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)  (The Associated Press)

A surge of outreach teams set to be deployed by New York City to deal with its persistent street homelessness problem has a simple goal: Talk to as many homeless people as possible, as often as possible.

That increased frequency of contact, many experts believe, could help persuade the homeless, even those who have lived on the street for years, to finally go to a shelter.

The number of staffers doing the outreach will double to more than 300 by March.

They will flood an eight-mile stretch of Manhattan, checking each block daily to try to make contact with the estimated 3,000-4,000 people living on the streets of the nation's largest city.

The tactic has had mixed results in other U.S. cities.