Point-in-Time (PIT) Count
Everyone Counts in the Effort to End Veteran Homelessness
The Point-in-Time (PIT) Count is an annual effort led by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to estimate the number of Americans, including Veterans, without safe, stable housing. It is one of the tools used to assess progress each year toward VA’s priority goal of ending homelessness among Veterans.
What the PIT Count Measures
The PIT Count is among the ways VA estimates the homeless population nationwide to help direct resources based on need. Here’s who performs the PIT Count and what it measures:
- The PIT Count is administered by HUD’s more than 400 Continuums of Care (CoCs), which are local planning bodies responsible for coordinating all homelessness services in a geographic area.
- During even-numbered years, CoCs are only required to count sheltered persons (those living in emergency shelters and transitional housing), although many CoCs voluntarily collect data about unsheltered persons during those years.
- During odd-numbered years, CoCs are required to count sheltered and unsheltered persons—those living on the street or in another place not meant for human habitation.
- The January 2017 PIT Count results reflect national snapshots of homelessness through the end of 2016.
The January 2017 PIT Count
The most recent PIT Count was conducted in January 2017. This national snapshot of Veteran homelessness showed that:
- On a single night in January 2017, just over 40,000 Veterans were experiencing homelessness.
- On the same night, just over 15,000 of the Veterans counted were unsheltered or living on the street.
- Between 2016 and 2017, there was a 1.5 percent increase in the estimated number of homeless Veterans nationwide; however, the majority of the country continued to make progress reducing Veteran homelessness in 2017.
- And still, the estimated number of Veterans experiencing homelessness in the United States has declined by nearly 50 percent since 2010.
The next PIT Count will take place in January 2018.
What the PIT Count Is Used For
Here’s how the PIT Count is used:
- It generates data for the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, which describes the overall scope of homelessness in America and among several subpopulations, including Veterans.
- Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) by CoC
- Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) by State
- It is used in conjunction with many other data points to make strategic decisions about programs for Veterans who are homeless that are administered by VA, HUD and partner organizations
A Goal Within Reach
The goal of ending homelessness among Veterans is within reach—and in fact is already happening community by community.
Here’s what we must do to further this progress and sustain these gains:
- Maintain government investments that are supporting effective interventions to prevent homelessness among Veterans and rapidly re-house those who become homeless, much like those communities and states that have already announced an end to Veteran homelessness
- Keep up our relentless outreach to Veterans in need
- Collaborate with governments, employers and community-based entities to house, employ and serve Veterans exiting homelessness
Learn more about VA’s homeless programs and get involved. If you know a Veteran who is homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless, refer him or her to a local VA Medical Center, where homeless coordinators are ready to help. Veterans and their families can also call 1-877-4AID-VET to be connected to VA services.