Every year, local agencies and organizations conduct a count to determine the extent of homelessness in each community.

Vstock LLC

This information is utilized in the submission of a Continuum of Care (CoC) grant through the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD requires providers who participate in CoC Homeless Assistance Programs to complete a point-in-time (PIT) count of the people who are homeless in their community. Aside from eligibility to compete for HUD homeless funding, an accurate count offers several benefits including:

Monitoring trends of homelessness in our local area,
Supporting local efforts by identifying unmet needs and characteristics of the homeless,  Assisting in development of new programs and services or re-distribution of programs and services
Raising community awareness of homelessness
Raising political awareness of homelessness

HUD requires all CoCs to complete an annual count of sheltered homeless during the last ten days in January. CoCs are required to conduct a PIT count of homeless persons at least biennially (TX BoS CoC conducts this portion of the count on a yearly basis).

The count has several components. To meet HUD requirements, local homeless coalitions and communities will count people who are sheltered (living in emergency shelters or transitional housing) and also provide information about the characteristics of homeless persons in shelters such as whether they have a mental illness, substance use disorder, HIV/AIDS, or whether they are victims of domestic violence or veterans. The coalitions will also count people who are unsheltered and will review where individuals and families are known to stay when they are homeless on the street, for example: local parks, libraries, truck stops, 24-hour stores & restaurants, abandoned buildings and streets. HUD acknowledges that the street count will not totally reflect the exact amount of homeless in communities, but hopes to approximate the number of homeless through this outreach.

Homeless persons identified by the unsheltered count may be offered transportation to a shelter, food or a food voucher, water, blanket, and a list of available resources in the community. This outreach is being offered to build trust in hopes that the homeless will reach out for help. The purpose is to inform homeless persons of the community resources in the area and to help meet their immediate basic needs.

The Housing Inventory Count (HIC) and the PIT are integrally related to each other. The HIC and PIT should be conducted on the same night during the last ten days in January. Thus, the total number of persons counted on the HIC in emergency shelter (ES) and transitional housing (TH) combined (i.e., sheltered homeless persons) should equal the total number of sheltered homeless persons included in the PIT Count (ES + TH).

The Texas Balance of State CoC has determined that the annual Point-In-Time Count will be held on Thursday, January 26th, 2017.

More From 97.5 KGKL