The 2020 Point-in-Time Count Has Been Submitted!
Every year the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mandates communities to conduct the Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, which aims to provide a snapshot of those experiencing homelessness over the course of one night. Each Continuum of Care then reports the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in their region, as well as the demographic characteristics to HUD. “Data collected during the PIT count is critical to effective planning and performance management toward the goal of ending homelessness for each community and for the nation as a whole,” SAMHSA.
In March of 2020, Texas Homeless Network released the 2020 Point in Time Count Results. This report accounted for 52 of the Texas Balance of State Continuum of Care’s (TX BoS CoC) 215 counties. For reporting purposes, HUD requires that CoC’s report on their full geography; however, due to the size of our CoC, we are not able to achieve full coverage during the PIT count. That being said, the CoC has to employ an extrapolation method that estimates the PIT number for the entire geography.
On June 19th, 2020, nearly five months after the count, we completed the extrapolation process and successfully submitted the data to HUD. Texas Homeless Network’s Data Coordinator, Kyra Henderson, created a report which briefly describes the extrapolation process as well as a breakdown of the information that was reported to HUD. She states: “It is important for us to be transparent with our communities on the steps we take as well as the information that is reported. Our communities play a vital role in gathering this information and we hope this report can demonstrate to them the importance of continuing to prioritize comprehensive training and data quality.”
Highlights of the Count:
There were a total of 9,198 people estimated to be experiencing homelessness, in the TX BoS CoC, on the night of 1/23/2020. Of these 9,198 people:
- 5,765 individuals were staying in Unsheltered locations
- 2,811 individuals were staying in Emergency Shelter
- 622 individuals were staying in transitional housing (up to 24 months)
In 2019 there were 8,072 individuals reported, meaning there was an increase by 1,126 individuals from last year. There is not one straightforward explanation for why we are seeing a potential increase. We believe it is a combination of the following reasons:
- For the 2020 PIT count, the CoC saw an increase in the number of communities that participated. 10 new communities decided to join the count, which means that we likely had a more accurate count for those communities this year.
- There was also an increase in the number of total volunteers this year, which allowed participating communities to expand their coverage area and potentially count more individuals than they were able to last year.
It is important to remember that the PIT count should be viewed as the minimum number of individuals experiencing homelessness in a geographic area. The count has its flaws and we cannot guarantee that every single person is accounted for; however, it is the best and only tool that is used consistently across the country. Each time a count is conducted in a new community, our results get more and more accurate (which will often come with an increase in the number of individuals counted).
We recognize that many of our communities are having huge success when it comes to making homelessness rare, brief, and one time. This increase in the number of individuals in no way detracts from all of their hard work and dedication to this initiative.
To view the full Extrapolated PIT report: https://www.thn.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Final-Combined-Report-1.pdf
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.