Conducting a Point-in-Time Count
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 country.
It is required that communities applying for HUD Continuum of Care funding to serve the homeless do a count each year in the last week of January. Programs that have beds dedicated to serve homeless individuals and families also conduct a bed inventory during the count.
What time is the count?
The 2012 Point-in-Time Count will be held the night of Wednesday, January 25.
It's best to set a 24-hour period of time for a count. The 2012 count will begin at 6pm on January 25th and end at 6pm on January 26th. On the night of the 25th, emergency shelters and transitional housing programs will count the persons who are residing in their programs. As of 2009, permanent supportive housing programs 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 supportive housing.
You might do your street count the evening or night of the count, or early on the morning of the next day. 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 count during the day of the 26th, you'll be asking "Where did you stay last night (the 25th)?" If they 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, the following resources are available: