• Guides and Training Manuals

A Guide to Counting Unsheltered Homeless People


Date Published: December 2007


This guide describes several methods for identifying, counting, and learning about homeless people who are unlikely to be found in shelters or in other residential programs within a local homeless assistance network. It remains the quintessential document for planning and implementing a count of unsheltered homeless people, and this revised version has been updated to reflect recent changes in HUD's NOFA for McKinney-Vento programs. Updates include: A review of information needed to complete the Homeless Population and Subpopulations Chart in the annual CoC application for McKinney-Vento funding. An expanded time period within which CoCs can conduct their January point-in-time count - the last 10 calendar days in January. The guide also includes: Basic information on why it is important to count unsheltered homeless people, the challenges to counting homeless people who do not use shelters, and key HUD definitions and standards; The steps involved in planning and conducting counts of unsheltered homeless people; Counting and collecting information on unsheltered homeless people who use non-shelter services, either homeless-specific services, such as soup kitchens, or mainstream social services; Guidance for southwestern border states and rural areas that face unique challenges in counting unsheltered homeless persons; and Methods for assessing the quality of information collected through street counts.

Resource Links

Author Organization
  • Abt Associates
Resource Approver
  • HUD Approved