2018 Point-in-Time Count Webinar

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Register for our training webinar; prepare, practice the PIT LIVE survey, and download resources by visiting our PIT Count webpage.

The 2018 Point-in-Time Count will be conducted across Minnesota on the night of Wednesday, January 24th. This is an essential, community-wide endeavor!

ICA is hosting a webinar on January 9th, 2018, at 1pm to explain the purpose, process, and timeline of the statewide PIT count; we’ll also provide a demonstration of available tools, as well as outline roles and responsibilities of the many partners involved.

Here’s a rundown of what you need to know:

What is the Point in Time Count?
The PIT is the annual count of all persons experiencing homelessness – sheltered and unsheltered –  across the country. It is required by HUD, the US Dept. of Housing & Urban Development. This is separate, but related to the Housing Inventory Count, which happens concurrently.

Which agencies participate?
Any agency that has an Emergency Shelter (ES), Safe Haven (SH), or Transitional Housing (TH) program is asked to participate, regardless of funding source or HMIS participation.

Who is counted?
Individuals and families experiencing homelessness in ES, SH, and TH programs, and unsheltered homeless populations.

Where and how does PIT happen?
At the agency-level, for HMIS-participating programs, it’s business as usual. Just be sure to continue your thorough, complete, and timely data entry in HMIS. (But be sure you have up-to-date data collection forms with the 2017 HUD Data Standards changes!)

For agencies not participating in HMIS, you will need to complete a survey for each client and family served on that night.

The unsheltered count takes place a variety of ways, depending on geography, events, and organizations involved. At its core, the “count” is really a face-to-face survey with a person experiencing homelessness someplace not meant for habitation (e.g. a car, bus station, skyway) that takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. Most surveyors are volunteers.

The PIT Count is orchestrated by Continua of Care (CoC). Each CoC has a different methodology, so look to your CoC Coordinator for direction on volunteer coordination, outreach, and survey distribution. However, Minnesota coordinates statewide to ask the same set of questions.

Why a PIT Count?
This is a way to gain knowledge about the impact we as a community are having on reducing and ending homelessness (like a census). While it isn’t feasible to count every single person experiencing homelessness in and out of shelter every day, counting on the same set of days year over year provides a snapshot for comparison over time.

This is an important part of the statewide plan to end homelessness, as consistent questions across the state, asked year-over-year, help us establish trend lines, watch for changes, and help better understand how to target resources. This data is used at all levels to inform policy and funding decisions.

So What Happened Last Year?
7668 people were homeless in Minnesota on the night of the 2017 PIT count. You can explore our interactive data portal to learn about the count in your region here: https://www.icalliances.org/data-portal/#point-in-time.

What Should I Do?
So glad you asked! It depends on where you sit:

HMIS ES and TH agencies: Be sure you have up-to-date data collection forms with the 2017 HUD Data Standards changes. Enter your HMIS data quickly and completely. Run data quality reports on a regular basis to check for errors. Your ICA Regional System Administrator will be checking in with you after the PIT to be sure!

ES and TH agencies who do not participate in HMIS: Ensure your CoC Coordinator has your contact information and that you receive the 2018 PIT Count survey (either the paper version or PIT LIVE link). Staff up for the PIT night so you have capacity to administer the survey for everyone you serve that night.

Volunteers and folks who participate in the unsheltered count: Ensure your CoC Coordinator has your contact information and that you receive the 2018 PIT Count survey (either the paper version or PIT LIVE link). Watch the required training videos, dress warm, and turn in all your surveys promptly! For folks who compile the surveys, be sure to collect and enter them by the deadline.

Everyone should read through our Point-in-Time Count webpage at hmismn.org and check back frequently over the next few weeks as we prepare. After the PIT, we have a window of time to collect the data ensure it is correct, and submit it to HUD in early spring. We’ll give a few reminders along the way.

As always, reach out with questions at mnhmis@icalliances.org.