Every year, in most cities and local towns, a census is taken to determine the number of citizens experiencing homelessness in the area. The Point-in-Time survey also known as the "PIT" is conducted by a group of volunteers usually associated with a non-profit organization or a local government agency supporting homeless citizens. Usually, during the third or fourth week of January, these counts are conducted on a given day across the U.S. to assess the number of men, women and children living in shelters or in the streets.
This year, Baltimore Homeless Examiner Verinda Birdsong, sat in on the preparation of the count in the Hartford, CT area that will be conducted on Wednesday, January 29th all over most neighborhoods in the city. For the first time, I was able to see what a training session looks like for volunteers from different organizations who will walk the streets of Hartford, CT from 7:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. to complete surveys with homeless persons.
Outside of the demographic information (i.e., sex, age, race or ethnicity), information that will help organizations receive federal funding from the federal Housing and Urban Development agency that creates policy, initiates and funds programs at the federal and local level, learning about how persons become homeless in the first place is a significant part of the survey. The data collected is used by health and community organizations and local governments when requesting funding for homeless services and programs.
If you would like to learn more about the PIT and the data collected and how it is used to help homeless Americans find housing stability, check out this interesting article from HUD.gov here: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advi....