HUD requires counts of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons for those communities receiving federal funding from the Continuum of Care and Emergency Solutions Grant Programs. These are called Point-in-Time Counts (PIT), as they occur during one night in the last 10 days of January. HUD also requires the annual completion of a Housing Inventory Count (HIC), which provides an overview of a community’s homeless program inventory. The HIC must be completed on the same day as the PIT Count.
Point-in-Time Counts serve as an outreach effort in communities, allowing communities to reach out to those who might not be able to seek help on their own.
Point-in-Time Counts establish the dimensions of the problem of homelessness and help policymakers and program administrators track progress toward the goal of ending homelessness. Collecting data on homelessness can inform public opinion, increase public awareness, and attract resources that will lead to ending homelessness.
HUD uses information from the local Point-in-Time Counts and other data sources in the congressionally-mandated Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR). This report is used to inform Congress about the number of people experiencing homelessness in the U.S. and the effectiveness of HUD’s programs and policies in decreasing those numbers.