The 2013 Point-in-Time Count and Beyond

HUD requires Continuums of Care (CoCs) to count the number of people experiencing homelessness in the geographic area that they serve through the Point-in-Time count (PIT). Conducted by most CoCs during the last ten days in January, the PIT count includes people served in shelter programs every year, with every other year also including people who are unsheltered. In 2013, CoCs are required to count people who are unsheltered. Data collected during the 2013 PIT count is critical to effective planning and performance management toward the goal of ending homelessness for each community and for the nation as a whole.

The HUD PIT count is the main data source used for measuring progress in meeting the goals in Opening Doors and collects important data on the general homeless population and subpopulations of homeless persons, including Veterans, families, chronically homeless individuals, and youth. The unsheltered count provides the best biennial snapshot of where progress is being made and where redoubling of effort is required, both geographically and for different subpopulations. This data also provides the opportunity for CoCs to amplify the information they gather with more in-depth surveys of individuals using tools like the Vulnerability Index and partnerships with a 100,000 Homes Campaign if they are part of a campaign community. This coordinated data collection event also provides communities with the opportunity to go beyond a count, working with outreach teams, health care, and service providers to make this night an opportunity for those experiencing homelessness to get connected to housing and vital services.

For the 2013 PIT count, there was unprecedented Federal participation from headquarter and field office staff from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Health and Human Services in addition to USICH staff. This mobilization illustrates the importance that all Federal agencies place on understanding the population of Americans experiencing homelessness in order to serve them better. USICH Staff and partners across the country share their experiences in blogs you can read below. From the bitter cold of Chicago to rooftops and underpasses in Las Vegas, teams conducting PIT counts embody the commitment and collaboration needed to end homelessness in America. We encourage you to read their blogs and to get involved in your community’s efforts to end homelessness.


Making it Count: Reflections on Boston's Annual Homeless Census by Executive Director Barbara Poppe

Sub-Zero Snapshot: Experiences in Chicago's Point-in-Time Count by USICH Regional Coordinator Beverley Ebersold 

Counting the Hard to Find in Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nevada by USICH Regional Coordinator Matthew Doherty

Everyone Counts in Winston-Salem by USICH Regional Coordinator Amy Sawyer 

Homelessness in Washington, DC: Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Fellows participate in DC's Point-in-Time Count by Aurelia De La Rosa Aceves, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute & USICH Graduate Fellow

The People Behind the Count: A PIT Count Reflection from HUD's New Hampshire Field Office Director Greg Carson by Greg Carson, HUD New Hampshire Field Office Director

PIT Count Coverage Across the Nation by USICH Communications

HOPE: A Word on New York City's PIT Count from Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond by Seth Diamond, NYC Department of Homeless Services Commissioner

New York City PIT Count: A Reflection by USICH Regional Coordinator Bob Pulster 

The Youth Point-in-Time Count: Philanthropy Partnering with Government to End Youth Homelessness by Anne Miskey, Executive Director of Funders Together to End Homelessness

Reflections from the Philadelphia Count: Re-dedicating to the Mission by Barbara Poppe, USICH Executive Director

Reflections on the Omaha Point in Time Count by Erin Porterfield, Director of MACCH; Craig Howell, Chief Service Officer for the City of Omaha; and, LaFonda Tanner, Emergency Shelter Directer at the Stephen Center

The NOLA 2013 PIT Count: A Reflection by Bob Pulster, USICH Regional Coordinator

Guidance and Resources

Every year HUD also provides guidance and resources to communities participating in the count through the Homelessness Resource Exchange web page.

Access HUD’s PIT and Housing Inventory Count page here.

The data collected in Point-in-Time counts are analyzed and compiled by HUD for their Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR), which also includes Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) data. There was a separate supplement in 2012, which compiles just PIT data collected in January 2012.

Access the most recent AHAR, using 2011 data, which was released in November 2012.

Access the most recent PIT data from 2012.