Date Published: January 2019
It is common for CoCs to end up with some amount of incomplete PIT count data. Perhaps people surveyed on the night of the count refused to answer some questions, or maybe a number of observation-based forms or tally sheets left a number of fields unknown.
It is key for CoCs to remember that they should never delete records or throw out entire surveys or forms representing an individual experiencing homelessness on the night of the PIT count because of missing data.
HUD has released a number of resources to help CoCs account for missing demographic data collected during their PIT counts:
PIT Count Extrapolation Tool. This Excel spreadsheet can help you calculate out how many total people should be counted in each demographic area based on the total number of people you need to account for and all of the data you do have available. Ideally, you should have data on at least 80% of your total population for the extrapolation tool’s calculations to be viable. However, if you have less than 80% of data available and the Extrapolation Tool is your only option to account for missing data, you can still use it.
PIT Count Methodology Guide. This guide outlines all of the HUD-approved PIT count methodologies for CoCs to choose when strategizing the best way to count people in their communities. These include census-based counts (i.e., counts of literally every region and person in a CoC), as well as sampling approaches (i.e., counts that include fewer than all of the regions and people in the CoC). Understanding the differences in these approaches – and how to account for intentionally or unintentionally missing data collected using any specific approach – is key to informing how your CoC extrapolates for missing data. The PIT Count Standards and Methodologies Online Training also offers an introduction to these concepts through a different medium.
Ask a Question (AAQ) Portal. As always, as you work your way through your PIT count planning, implementation, analysis, and reporting, you can submit any specific questions to the HUD Exchange for individualized guidance on the issue you are facing. To submit a question to the HDX AAQ portal, select “HDX: Homelessness Data Exchange” from the “My question is related to” drop down list on Step 2 of the question submission process.