JOINT STATEMENT BY THE U.S. INTERAGENCY COUNCIL ON HOMELESSNESS AND THE DEPARTMENTS OF EDUCATION, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT ON COLLABORATIVE YOUTH POINT-IN-TIME COUNTS
August 12, 2013
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and the Departments of Education (ED), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) strongly encourage Continuums of Care (CoCs), Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) providers, and state and local education liaisons to collaborate around planning and conducting HUD’s 2014 Point-in-Time count.
At the local level, collaboration among homeless service providers significantly benefits communities as they strive to collect better data on youth experiencing homelessness. The 2014 Point-in-Time (PIT) count is an important activity for collaboration and partnership between CoCs, RHY providers, and state and local education agencies (SEAs/LEAs). The process of planning and administering PIT counts that include a focus on youth can facilitate the development of meaningful partnerships among homeless providers and other mainstream service stakeholders to collect better data on youth experiencing homelessness. However, the benefits of collaboration among homeless providers extend beyond the PIT count, and can also assist communities as they strive to improve service delivery to youth experiencing homelessness.
Each year during the last ten days in January, HUD requires that communities across the nation count the number of people experiencing homelessness. This count, referred to as a PIT count, always includes people served in shelter programs, and every other year must also include people who are unsheltered. The most recent unsheltered count occurred in 2013 but many communities will choose to conduct an additional unsheltered count in 2014. Because the PIT counts are conducted in every community around the country, this presents an opportunity to adapt the current tools and practices local organizations use so that they can more accurately determine the number of homeless youth.
For ideas on how CoC providers, RHY providers, and SEAs/LEAs can collaborate when planning a HUD PIT count, read Urban Institute’s Youth Count! Process Study report. Youth Count! was a community driven initiative that was designed to learn how best to collect data on unaccompanied homeless youth through innovative implementations of HUD’s 2013 PIT count. Nine diverse and dynamic communities participated in this initiative. The report provides an overview of promising practices and challenges for collaboration among CoC providers, RHY providers, and LEAs when planning a PIT count and strategies for conducting a count of unaccompanied homeless youth.