North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness

Point-in-Time Count Resources

Conducting a point-in-time count is important to all communities. The count is a tally of who is homeless on a given night and provides a snapshot of who experiences homeless throughout the year. 

The Point-in-Time Count is a one day, statistically reliable, unduplicated count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals and families in the county. 
It is required that communities applying to use HUD Continuum of Care funding to serve the homeless do a count each year in the last week of January. Communities will also be conducting a bed inventory of housing dedicated to homeless individuals and families. 
The North Carolina Interagency Council on Coordinating Homeless Programs (ICCHP) is coordinating this statewide one-night count in North Carolina on January 30, 2008. 

What time is the count?

It's best to set a 24 hour period of time for a count. This year's count will begin at 6pm on January 30th and end at 6pm on January 31st. On the night of the 30th, have transitional houses and shelters do their count. You might do your street count that evening or night, or early on the morning of the 31st. If you are planning on including a service-based count (where you go to a service location where it is known that homeless will be, such as a soup kitchen), you would do this during the day of the 31st. Remember, you'll be asking where did you stay last night? If they stayed in a shelter or transitional housing, you know they have already been counted. 
In order for communities to conduct a reliable and efficient count, the following resources are available:
 Document Description   Download
North Carolina's State
Point-in-Time Count Template
This is the form you'll need to turn in with your community totals to Martha Are, the State's Homeless Policy Specialist.  

This form may also be given out to the sites who will be doing a sheltered count.  Ask for it to be returned to you, so you can tally the data and send it to Martha.
 view pdf
North Carolina's Survey Tool Use this form for interviewing persons during your count.  The information gathered by using this form will help you complete the CoC application, as well as inform your community's planning process.

This form is especially helpful when doing your street count.  It may look daunting at first, but your interviews can be prepared to make it easy on the folds you are interviewing.  For example, you wouldn't need to give all of the options to the question; simply check the answer they give you.  This will save a lot of time.

PLEASE NOTE: The bold items on this form are questions that you'll need to ask in order to complete the point in time count template for the state and for the HUD application.  The items in the gray box will need to be completed as well.  The questions not in bold are not required to complete these forms; however, we believe this information may be helpful to your community's planning efforts.
 view pdf

Materials from the January 8, 2007 Point in Time Count Training

Preparing for Point-in-Time  Counts of Homeless Persons
and Annual Housing Inventory Updates: Standards, Methods,
and Key Steps
Erin Wilson and Michelle Abbenante walked participants through this PowerPoint presentation.

  • Reviews HUD's expectations for conducting point-in-time (PIT) counts of homeless people and updating housing inventory
  • Discusses methods for counting sheltered and unsheltered homeless people
  • Identify key considerations and steps in planning and implementing your PIT count
   view pdf 
Using Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) for Point-in-Time Counts of Homeless Persons  Using your HMIS to supplement the point-in-time count can save you time and can supply needed subpopulation and demographics information.  This PowerPoint presentation by Erin Wilson, Abt, Associates, covers the benefits of using HMIS for the count, which HMIS data elements are needed, as well as a timeline and major steps in planning and executing the count.

*Please note: If you are a CHIN user, contact Hunter Thompson regarding how to use CHIN to conduct your count.
 view pdf
Planning for the 2007 Point-in-Time Count of Homeless Persons  Worksheet to help your community plan the count.  
Deciding Which Methods Are Best  Covers key questions to consider when deciding which approach to use for your community and general guidelines.  view pdf
Next Steps for Planning and Implementing the Count  Worksheet to help you map out the next steps for your community.  

Resources from HUD

 A Guide to Counting Sheltered
Homeless People
Comprehensive guidance from HUD on conducting a count.  view pdf 
 A Guide to Counting Unsheltered
Homeless People
 Chapters One and Two are a good introduction!

***HUD has redesigned the Homeless Population and Subpopluations chart for the Continuum of Care application.  Of significance is the charge to count the number of households with and without children.
You will need to know the number of households represented by singles, couples without children and unaccompanied youth in addition to the number of households represented by families.
This change is reflected on the NC Point-in-Time Template.

Chart for 2007 CoC Application:

Category: practice