The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires counts of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons for those communities receiving federal funding from the Continuum of Care (CoC) and Emergency Solutions Grant Programs. These are called Point-in-Time Counts (PIT), as they occur during one day in the last ten 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.
Collecting data on the numbers and characteristics of homeless individuals and families as well as homeless services capacity can serve additional purposes over and beyond meeting HUD requirements. Accurate counts offer several benefits including:
- Providing support for local planning efforts by identifying unmet needs and trends in size and characteristics of homeless populations
- Supplying guidance for development of more effective programming and services
- Raising awareness of homelessness
- Enhancing local homeless programs’ volunteer base
- Assisting with allocation of resources around local priorities
- Targeting interventions for certain homeless sub-populations
- Opportunity to conduct community outreach, engagement, screening, and triage to identify people experiencing homelessness in need of services
- Identifying community goals
- Assisting in measuring progress toward homelessness reduction goals
HIC and PIT Tools