Alberta 7 Cities
Point-in-Time (PiT) Count
The purpose of a PiT count of homelessness is:
An enumeration, or count, of people experiencing absolute homelessness It is intended to identify how many people in a community experience homelessness in shelters and on the streets at a given time. Conducted over subsequent years, PiT counts can be used by the community to track progress in reducing homelessness.
A survey of the homeless population Through an accompanying survey, the PiT count gives the community information on the demographics and service needs of their homeless population. This information can be used to target community resources to where they are most needed.
The purpose of a PiT count is not intended to be:
A measure of everyone who experiences homelessness in a community over time. By focusing on a single day, the count will not include some people who cycle in and out of homelessness. What it will do is provide an estimate of how many people are homeless on a given night.
Be a count of hidden homelessness (e.g. people who are “couch-surfing”). The focus of the count is instead on those who are absolutely homeless (e.g. sleeping in shelters or on the street) on the day of the count. Some communities nevertheless conduct the survey with the hidden homeless population in order to provide some information on their service needs.