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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Gorman

Numbers Matter - Because People Matter

Understanding the Point-In-Time Count (Homelessness)

Each year a survey is conducted by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The exercise aims to gather data on individuals experiencing homelessness at one specific time usually on one day in January. The data gathered provides critical information about homelessness in the United States, helping key stakeholders understand the scope of the issue and make informed decisions when deciding how to respond.

The PIT Count is Important

Think of a camera with a zoom lens. When a PIT Count is conducted the lens is zoomed on local communities and data is captured to aid in decision making.   When the data for all the regions in the United States is collected and analyzed the lens is zoomed out and a national picture develops. This data at both the local and national levels is critical for public policy decisions and knowing how to allocate resources.

How is the PIT Count Conducted

On the day of the PIT Count people go out and find those who are experiencing homelessness. This leads the staff or volunteers to shelters, transitional housing programs, and those living on the streets, or locations that are not intended for habitation. The information gathered includes demographics, length of time being without a home, and the reason for their homelessness.

Challenges with PIT Count

The PIT Count is not without its critics as it is not a perfect measure of the number of people that are experiencing homelessness. Nothing is perfect but the PIT Count does give a broad overview of what is happening and enables better decision making.


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