Each year, homeless networks around the country are required by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to conduct a census of who is homeless on the last Wednesday in January. The majority of people who are experiencing homelessness on that night are sleeping in temporary shelter, but, to be sure we have counted as many people as possible, teams of outreach staff go out and speak to people who are spending the night outdoors or in other places not meant for human habitation.
The Point in Time count, or PIT Count, is only a count of who was homeless on one particular night. By itself, it is not a reliable predictor of how many people will be homeless or receive housing resources in a year. When used along with other data it can help paint a picture of the need and how well we are doing, as a community, to address the problem of homelessness.