North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness

Conducting a Point-in-Time Count

Conducting a Point-in-Time Count is important for all communities. The count provides a snapshot of who is homeless on a given night. This information can be used to plan local homeless assistance systems, to tailor programs to meet existing needs, and to raise public awareness of homelessness.
 
The Point-in-Time Count is a one-day, statistically reliable, unduplicated count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals and families in the country. 
 
HUD requires that all Continuums of Care conduct a Point-in-Time Count each year during the last ten days of January. Programs that have beds dedicated to serve homeless individuals and families also conduct a bed inventory (the Housing Inventory Count). 
 

What time is the count?

The 2015 Point-in-Time Count will be held the night of Wednesday, January 28.
 
Communities should count people where they are on that particular night. On the night of the 28th, emergency shelters and transitional housing programs should count the persons who are residing in their programs. Permanent supportive housing programs and rapid re-housing programs should also count their residents. While these folks are no longer homeless and are not included in the total number of homeless persons, it's important to gather data on how many people we've moved into permanent housing.
 
Street counts of unsheltered homeless people should be done the night of the 28th. If you are planning on including a services-based count (counting unsheltered homeless persons at service agencies, such as soup kitchens), you would do this during the day after the count. Remember, if you do a services count during the day of the 29th, you'll be asking "Where did you stay last night (the 28th)?"  If the person stayed in a shelter or in transitional housing, you know they have already been counted. 
 

Resources for conducting a count

In order for communities to conduct a reliable and efficient count, NCCEH, HUD, and other partners release training and guidance. These resources are updated each year prior to the count in January.
 
Category: practice | Sub Category: point-in-time counts
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