Homelessness Partnering Strategy Point-in-Time Count

The first Canadian coordinated homeless count

The Government of Canada is supporting the first homeless count coordinated among communities across Canada in 2016. A common Point-in-Time (PiT) Count approach has been developed in consultation with communities that have experience using this method.

Designated communities of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) were encouraged to participate in the count. When communities conduct counts in the same time of year using a common approach, the results can be used to build a better understanding of homelessness across communities in Canada.

Through the HPS, communities are receiving additional funding to support participation in the HPS 2016 PiT Count. Receipt of this funding will be provided to communities that conduct their PiT Count between January 1 and April 30, 2016. Additional supports include the HPS PiT Count Guide that was developed by the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada, and a toolkit developed by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness.

More information on the PiT Count

The Government of Canada's HPS is supporting a coordinated community homeless count in 2016 using the PiT Count methodology. This will be the first homeless count coordinated in communities across Canada. The count will provide vital information to participating communities about their homeless population, and contribute to the understanding of homelessness in Canada. The PiT Count Guide is intended to provide guidelines to communities that wish to align with HPS coordinated PiT Count. Further information on the coordinated count can be found on the Community Workspace on Homelessness.

The PiT Count method

A PiT Count is a method used to measure sheltered and unsheltered homelessness. It aims to enumerate individuals in a community who are, at a given time, staying in shelters or "sleeping rough" (e.g., on the street, in parks), providing a "snapshot" of homelessness in a community. PiT Counts include a survey that can provide communities with information on the characteristics of their homeless population (e.g., age, gender, Veteran status, Aboriginal identity). This information can be used by communities to direct resources to areas of greatest need, and to connect individuals with specific backgrounds to targeted supports to help them achieve stable housing. When completed on subsequent years, it can also be used to track changes in the homeless population over time and measure progress in reducing it.

Community Participation

Thirty HPS communities have indicated that they will participate in the 2016 PiT Count.

Coordination of the PiT Count

When communities conduct counts in the same time of year using a common approach, the results can be used to build a better understanding of homelessness across communities in Canada. Core elements of the method have been standardized, leaving flexibility for communities to build on the approach, and adapt it to their local context.

For communities participating in the 20,000 Homes Campaign, the core questions of the count may be included alongside the assessment tool used for the Registry Week.

Supports for designated communities

Funding has been made available to communities that have signed on to participate in the 2016 coordinated count to support the costs of implementation.

A package of supports is being provided to facilitate the implementation of the common approach. These supports include an implementation guide, standardized screening and core survey questions, tools for data entry and reporting, as well as examples of best practices. Several of these, as well as training tools and presentations, are also available through the Community Workspace on Homelessness.