The Point-in Time Project
The U.S. Agency of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires each state, at least every other year; to perform a Point-in-Time (PIT) count of the states’ sheltered and unsheltered homeless population.
The PIT must be performed in one (1) of the last 10 days in January, and must be over a 24 hour period. Wyoming usually assigns the last Friday of January as the official count day and begins at 12:01 a.m. on the day of the count, and ends at 11:59 p.m. the same day.
Definition of “Homeless”
A person is considered homeless only when he/she resides in one of the places described below:
In places not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks, sidewalks, abandoned buildings (on the street);
- In an emergency shelter;
- In transitional or supportive housing for homeless persons who originally came from the streets or emergency shelters;
- In any of the above places but is spending a short time (up to 30 consecutive days) in a hospital or other institution;
- Is being evicted within a week from a private dwelling unit and no subsequent resident for more than 30 consecutive days and not subsequent residence has been identified and the person lacks the resources and support networks needed to obtain housing;
- For example, a person being discharged from prison after more than 30 days is eligible ONLY IF no subsequent residence has been identified and the person does not have money, family or friends to provide housing; and
- Is fleeing a domestic violence housing situation and no subsequent residence has been identified and lacks the resources and support networks needed to obtain housing.
Components of the PIT
- Sheltered Count-Housing Inventory Count (HIC)
The Housing Inventory Count (HIC) is a point-in-time inventory of provider programs within a Continuum of Care that provide beds and units dedicated to serve persons who are homeless, categorized by five Program Types: Emergency Shelter; Transitional Housing; Rapid Re-housing; Safe Haven; and Permanent Supportive Housing.
- Unsheltered Count.
The count, also referred to as the “street count”, includes people staying in a place not meant for human habitation, such as an abandoned building, a vehicle or people living outdoors.
Structure and Organization of the PIT Count
This effort requires organization and volunteers throughout the 23 counties in Wyoming. Each county has a PIT Coordinator that works closely with one another. Coordinator responsibilities are as follows:
- Identifying shelters in their county for the sheltered count;
- Identifying places in their counties where homeless individuals may be found for the unsheltered count;
- Recruiting volunteers for both the sheltered and unsheltered count;
- Training volunteers on the county and state process of the PIT count;
- Attending training sessions and weekly phone calls with the Homeless Program Manager;
- Distribution of posters, flyers, and other marketing materials;and
- Being present on the day/night of the count to answer questions, direct volunteers to areas needing surveyed, reviewing all forms for completion and accuracy, and entering forms into the on-line questionnaire.
PIT counts are a critical source of data on the number and characteristics of people who are homeless in the United States. PIT data is provided annually to Congress as part of the Annual Homeless Assessment report (AHAR).
The AHAR is used by congress, HUD, other federal departments, and the general public to understand the nature and extent of homelessness.
PIT data is an extremely important source for local programs and system planning. In order to be responsive to the needs of persons experiencing homelessness in our communities and state, we need to understand how many individuals and families are being served by the homeless service system.
HUD requires that Continuums of Care conduct an annual count of homeless persons who are sheltered and conduct a count of unsheltered homeless persons every other year (odd numbered years). The WHC recommends that along with the annual sheltered count the state conducts a unsheltered count.
Each year the WHC will strive to have an accurate count in all 23 counties, in the month of January. Each year HUD guidelines and best practices will be followed along with working with all community and state stakeholders to continue making the PIT successful.