By: Kyra Henderson
On January 23, 2020, Texas Homeless Network led efforts for the annual Point-in-Time Count (PIT), which aims to provide a snapshot of the individuals and families experiencing homelessness in a geographical area over the course of one night. Survey responses are self-reported and/or observed and may not be representative of the entire homeless population. This count takes place over the course of 24 hours during the last ten days of January as mandated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Additionally, communities have the ability to participate in the Service-Based Count methodology. The Service-Based Count allows an additional seven days to count those that are experiencing homelessness but not accessing resources on the day of the PIT Count.
5,728 people were counted in the Texas Balance of State Continuum of Care (TX BoS CoC). The TX BoS CoC is made up of all service providers, advocates, local government officials, and citizens who work to eliminate homelessness in 215 of Texas’ 254 counties. There were a total of 637 volunteers counting in 52 different counties across the TX BoS CoC that put in over 4,500 hours to the effort. This accounted for 69% of the total Texas Balance of State geography based on the most recent population estimates (2018 U.S Census Bureau Quick Facts)
Texas Homeless Network’s Data Coordinator, Kyra Henderson, emphasizes the importance of the PIT Count by stating: “Our communities rely on this data because in many cases it is the only numerical representation of the scope of the homeless population in their area. Not only is the data important for funding purposes, but the count itself is a powerful advocacy and community outreach tool as it attracts volunteers from all sectors in the homeless crisis response system.”
Highlights of the Count:
65 regional PIT leads organized homeless service providers, volunteers, and other community stakeholders to count those experiencing homelessness in sheltered and unsheltered locations in their areas. Texas Homeless Network staff provided technical and on-site assistance throughout the 24-hour period to ensure a successful count in each participating community. This was in addition to several months of training and planning support from Texas Homeless Network’s Data Coordinator, Kyra Henderson.
All participating communities used an app called Counting Us, created by Simtech Solutions, Inc. to conduct surveys. The app allowed for easier collection of the information and real-time data corrections resulting in a more thorough, accurate count.
Of the 5,728 surveys conducted:
For a visual representation of this data, we have included an infographic on the following page for media use.
About Texas Homeless Network: Texas Homeless Network (THN) is a non-profit membership-based organization whose mission is to lead Texas communities to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring. Learn more at thn.org.