The Point-in-Time Homelessness Count, Explained

Each year, cities across the nation undertake a massive effort to physically count their unhoused residents.

1 minute read

February 6, 2024, 11:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Small tents set up on sidewalk by unhoused people next to boarded-up one-story industrial building in San Francisco, California.

Tents belonging to unhoused people in San Francisco, California. | James Rice / Adobe Stock

An audio segment from KQED by Sydney Johnson describes how San Francisco city workers and volunteers conduct the annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, which aims to accurately count the number of people living unhoused in the city.

Workers in the story describe the challenges of identifying people who live in vehicles and other hard-to-find areas, as well as people who are semi-housed or live on and off with friends or family. According to the piece, getting an accurate count is particularly difficult in many parts of California because a larger percentage of the state’s homeless population is unsheltered.

The Point-in-Time Count is an annual nationwide effort conducted each January. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gathers the data into a comprehensive report. In 2023, the report revealed that homelessness increased by 12 percent.

Monday, February 5, 2024 in KQED

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