For purposes of the PIT count, who does HUD consider “unsheltered” homeless? For example, would an individual or family sleeping in a garage be counted as unsheltered? Alternatively, would an individual or family sleeping in a friend’s kitchen be counted as unsheltered?

Date Published: December 2014

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In general, for purposes of the Point-in-Time (PIT) count, HUD considers individuals and families sleeping in a place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g., abandoned buildings, train stations, or camping grounds) as “unsheltered” homeless. Additionally, HUD would generally consider individuals and families sleeping in a garage, shed, or other location outside of a housing structure, but on the property of a housing structure as “unsheltered” homeless for purposes of the PIT count. However, for purposes of counting, HUD would not consider any individual or family sleeping inside of a housing structure as unsheltered homeless, even if the room inside of that housing structure is not typically used for sleeping (e.g., a kitchen or bathroom). Please note that HUD would still consider persons sleeping in the hallway of an apartment or hotel (i.e., outside of an apartment unit or hotel room) as unsheltered.   

HUD’s PIT count is limited to persons defined in paragraphs (1)(i) (i.e., unsheltered) and (1)(ii) (i.e., sheltered) of its homeless definition during the time of the count. Communities must know that eligibility criteria for HUD’s homeless programs include all paragraphs of its homeless definition, which means that there are people who are not identified in HUD’s PIT count that are eligible for its programs. Please refer to 24 CFR 578.3 for HUD’s definition of homelessness and HUD’s quick reference document on the homeless definition for further clarification about HUD’s homeless definition.  

HUD does not believe that it is acceptable for individuals and families to sleep in unsafe housing situations and hopes that communities are working with these individuals and families to provide access to safe housing that meets the needs of these individuals and families. HUD encourages communities to collect whatever data they believe they can feasibly collect on the night of the count that would help them to better understand the nature homelessness in their geographic area. CoCs that choose to collect data beyond the data elements required by HUD must ensure:

  1. They can separate the data required by HUD from the additional data collected by the community. CoCs will only report the data required by HUD for the PIT count in the HDX. 
  2. The burden associated with capturing the additional data (increased number of questions, staff counting time, time for analysis, PIT costs, etc.) should not diminish the ability of the CoC to collect the required data

Tags: HDX PIT - PIT - General

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