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Resource Detail

Resource Title: A Guide to Counting Unsheltered Homeless People (Second Revision)

Format: Adobe PDF

Product Developer: HUD icon

Product Type: Training and Technical Assistance

Date Completed: January 2008

Author/Organization: Abt Associates


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.


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