Do We Really Know How Many Are Homeless? An Analysis of the Point-In-Time Homelessness Count

Do We Really Know How Many Are Homeless? An Analysis of the Point-In-Time Homelessness Count

The Point-In-Time (PIT) count is currently the leading source of data on those experiencing homelessness in the United States. However, the PIT has been criticized for its lack of reliability, validity, and ability to capture an accurate numerical count of the homeless population. Additionally, many argue that annually a nontrivial amount of resources is spent on the PIT, yet the product from this count does not provide adequate information to address the issue of homelessness on a local, state, or national level. Findings from this comparative case study approach confirm that the cross-site methodology is inconsistent, and therefore the PIT yields inconsistent results. Implications and recommendations for local, state, and national service providers and policymakers are provided.

JOURNAL: Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services
VOLUME: 97
ISSUE: 4
PAGES: 321-329
PUBLICATION DATE: 2016