Conducting an Unsheltered Point-in-Time Count During the COVID-19 Pandemic

December 28, 2020  |  Publications

Updated January 4, 2021


Dan Treglia, PhD MPP; Daphne Chimbel BSW; Rebecca Brown, MD, MPH
University of Pennsylvania

This report provides guidance on conducting a street-based Point-in-Time (PIT) count that maintains the health and safety of individuals performing the count and of individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report is meant as a companion to HUD guidance, leveraging the authors’ experience with PIT counts and medicine, and also responding to questions and feedback they have received from communities. Recommendations focus on:

  • increasing the use of outreach teams in street-based counts;
  • reducing the reliance on volunteers to conduct the PIT;
  • increasing the use of technology in training and surveying;
  • combining observation-based and survey approaches across nights and populations; and
  • reducing the overall burden by creating statistically valid samples.