The Department of Homeless Services is gearing up for their annual count - Homeless Outreach Population Estimate 2006. Among the people to be counted are some people recruited to pose as "homeless decoys" to ensure the counts are statistically accurate. AM New York was on hand with Columbia University anthropologist Kim Hopper was giving instructions to the decoys for Monday's potentially all-night count:

"You have to dress in solid, crappy layers of Ivy-League stuff. Wear a lot, and top it off with a really ratty blanket or cloth.... This is not an Everest climb. This is a stupid research project. Do not lose your toes."

Last year's count found just under 4,400 homeless on the streets, and other reports say that the number of homeless in NYC is the highest since the 1980s.

And it looks like you can still volunteer for the census (counting homeless people, we think) in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Here's the form.