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Point-in-Time Count January 2011. What Does It Mean to Count Homeless People?. A “count” = collecting information about the sheltered and unsheltered homeless population in your community. Descriptive information on those counted Demographic Service Use Needs.

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Point in time count january 2011

Point-in-Time CountJanuary 2011

What does it mean to count homeless people
What Does It Mean to Count Homeless People?

A “count” = collecting information about the sheltered and unsheltered homeless population in your community

  • Descriptive

  • information on

  • those counted

  • Demographic

  • Service Use

  • Needs

Point-in-time count of homeless


Data on the

number of





It is possible just to do a count, but preferable to gather descriptive information, too - it will make your count much more valuable and informative!

Why is the pit important
Why is the PIT Important?

  • Identify gaps in services

  • Generates resources for the community

  • Local data for planning & measuring progress

  • Data is reported in CoC application

  • AHAR to Congress

  • HUD Data Exchange System (HDX)

Data collected
Data Collected

  • Subpopulation Information required for CoC

    • Chronically homeless

    • Severely mentally ill

    • Chronic substance abuse

    • Veterans

    • Persons with HIV/AIDS

    • Victims of domestic violence

    • Unaccompanied youth (Under 18)

    • Persons with physical disabilities

Additional data
Additional Data

  • Medical care

  • Transportation issues

  • Education

  • Employment

  • Childcare

  • Locality of homelessness

Methods for data collection
Methods for Data Collection

  • Provider data collection

    • Total number of households and persons residing in facilities on the night of the count

    • Number in each of the seven subpopulation categories

  • Client level data collection

    • Staff complete individual surveys for each client using case management records or their knowledge of the client

    • CoC staff, volunteers, or program staff interview clients directly

Challenges for rural areas
Challenges for Rural Areas

  • Lack of shelters

  • Where to look for unsheltered homeless people

  • Remoteness

  • Availability of staff and volunteer resources

  • Belief that there are no, or very few, unsheltered homeless

  • Limited resources/funding

Overcoming challenges
Overcoming Challenges

  • Engage local departments of social services

  • Call upon local colleges and universities

  • Utilize the faith community

  • Make contact with local jails

  • Mail carriers

  • Contact mental health agencies/community service boards

  • You may even want to contact local hotel owners that may know of people who stay periodically

When to start
When to Start. . .

  • At least 6 months prior to January due date

  • Train volunteers

  • Conduct a trial run for unsheltered count with emphasis on engaging street homeless

  • Meet with service providers

  • Review prior year’s survey for inconsistencies

Your survey tool
Your Survey Tool

  • Keep the survey instrument simple

  • Collect universal data elements (race, gender, ethnicity)

  • Develop key codes to ensure there is no duplication


  • www.hudhre.gov

  • http://www.hudhre.info/documents/counting_unsheltered.pdf

  • http://www.hudhre.info/documents/counting_sheltered.pdf

    You have not lived a perfect day...unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you.

    ~ Ruth Smeltzer