Is our Continuum of Care (CoC) allowed to count persons over multiple days?

Date Published: December 2014

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In general, Continuums of Care (CoCs) will count their sheltered and unsheltered homeless population during the night of the date the CoC designated for its count, and subsequent early morning hours. Using these late hours of the night and early hours of the morning has traditionally been used as a means of avoiding double counting because persons are not likely to be both admitted in a shelter and sleeping on the streets  on the night of the count. However, CoCs are permitted to count up to seven days after the night designated as the CoC’s PIT count date as long as the CoC ask the persons where they were sleeping on the night designated for the count. For example, if a CoC designates January 22 as its PIT count it can count up to January 29, but must ask all persons they count where they were sleeping on January 22.  

CoCs should not count persons before the late hours on the night of the count to determine where they will sleep that night. For example, if a CoC has designated January 22 as the night of its count, they should not engage homeless persons earlier on the date of January 22 to find out where they plan on sleeping that night. CoCs should not begin the count until they feel the persons they are counting are already at the site they planning on sleeping in, or for a multi-day count, should ask persons they count after the CoC’s PIT count date, where they slept on the night the CoCs designated for their count.  

Standard No. 12 of the Point-in-Time Count Methodology Guide requires that CoCs ensure that during the PIT count homeless persons are only counted once. If a CoC’s methodology involves counting homeless persons over multiple days, they must use a survey instrument as part of its deduplication strategy. If a CoC wants to complete a multi-day count without a survey that allows for deduplication, they must seek an exception from HUD. The exception must include a justification for why the count must occur over multiple days and why the CoCs do not intend to use a survey instrument for deduplication purposes.

Tags: HDX PIT - PIT - General

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