Here’s the Alliance’s 2014 PIT Count Map

written by naehblog
January 30, 2014

Today's blog post was written by Thomas Friedlander, Alliance research intern.

As we find ourselves in the depths of winter, we have once again reached point-in-time count season. Here at the Alliance, the arrival of the Point-in-Time counts is an exciting time. It marks the beginning of a new year of data. As has been discussed on this blog earlier this month, these counts are occurring in communities all across the country this week and have vital importance for communities in measuring progress in ending homelessness.

We are excited to launch our 2014 Homeless Counts Map, which will serve as a visual representation of how homelessness has changed over the course of a year. You can find the map embedded at the bottom of this post. As you will note, the map is currently empty. As communities complete their counts and begin to release the results, we will populate the map. Be sure your community gets on the map by emailing us your results at Be sure to provide an online link to the results of your count.

This year, I participated in Washington, D.C.’s point-in-time count for the second year in a row. In D.C., the count is organized and facilitated by the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness. In preparation for last night’s count, the Community Partnership held a number of training sessions. I attended one of the training sessions last week and learned a lot:

  • We were given a copy of the survey forms we would be using on the night of the count. The forms consist primarily of basic questions (name, gender, age, etc.) as well as more in-depth questions such as veteran status, number of times homeless, medical conditions, prior housing history, and employment status. Each of these questions is designed to gain a better demographic understanding of street homelessness.
  • Next we went over how to best approach someone who appears to be homeless, and how to ask for their participation in the count. We discussed how to ask questions in a conversational way, and how to make the process as beneficial for the person we are interviewing as possible, which included offering food gift cards to participants.
  • Then we went over safety measures, which addressed many potential concerns for counters.
  • Finally we paired up and practiced conducting a survey with our fellow counters.

Finally, upon arriving at the meeting location for the Point-in-Time count last night, we were placed in groups and assigned districts. I was assigned to the Golden Triangle BID (Business Improvement District). After hearing some encouraging words from Mayor Vincent Gray, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, we set out to begin our count. Our team of four counters canvassed the area between Dupont Circle and Rock Creek Park. We walked around from 10pm-2am, stopping to talk with any homeless individuals we encountered.

We only found six or seven people, but each person had a lot to tell us, even if it was through very few words. We made sure to let them know that there were shelter options available, which some individuals gladly accepted. Others wanted to be left alone, so we respected their wishes and took note of their location and description. This was done to both record their presence on the street and to avoid duplication.

I’m incredibly grateful to have once again been part of the count. And, I and all of the Alliance staff are so thankful for the thousands of volunteers from communities nationwide who have helped with counts this week. To those who have given your time and energy to this massively important undertaking, we thank you. From the Point-in-Time counts we see how the national effort to end homelessness is growing, and the data we receive from the counts fuel the drive for ever-improving homelessness policy.

- Media report of an increase in homelessness -CoC/government report of an increase in homelessness
- Media report of a decrease in homelessness - CoC/government report of a decrease in homelessness