Every year during the last ten days in January, the Continuum of Care conducts a Point in Time census count of people staying in homeless shelters and places not meant for habitation, such as tents, automobiles and abandoned buildings. The Point in Time Count is one of the requirements given to CoCs to be eligible for federal funds from the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants.
The Point in Time allows us to look at the overall trends in homeless demographics, such as age and race of people who are homeless. It also allows us to look at the number of shelter beds and bed availability.
The Point in Time does have drawbacks. Night to night there is some variation in guests who stay in shelter, or are found during the street count of people who are not in shelter on that night. There can be changes to the way counts are held that might increase or decrease the final numbers of people counted. Even so, the Point in Time is the most reliable way to estimate how well our homeless programs are working at a national level, and how the homeless population is changing over time.
Past Point in Time reports are available here:
The Continuum also collects information on available beds in the region, known as the Housing Inventory Chart, or HIC. Our Continuum’s HIC report is available here: