January 2013 will be here before you know it. And what does that mean? In January many communities across the country will be conducting point in time (PIT) counts of persons experiencing homelessness.
Why Are PIT Counts Important?
- Collecting and using data on both sheltered and unsheltered unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness can help communities improve policies and programming;
- Data can provide communities with a baseline of the number of unaccompanied youth to determine if there are increases or decreases over time;
- Data can be used to help with requesting funding through the grant process;
- Results of the PIT count can raise awareness of the issue of youth homelessness.
Why is Including Youth Important?
- Historically, unaccompanied youth are undercounted during PIT counts; therefore, many communities do not have an accurate estimate of the prevalence and nature of youth homelessness.
- Annually, HUD is mandated to submit a report to Congress called the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR). The report describes the number and characteristics of all people experiencing homelessness across the nation. If youth are left out, then Congress is not provided with that data within the report and they will have less information to make informed decisions about funding and resources at the federal level.
Alliance Tools and Resources
The Alliance has developed tools and resources to help communities purposefully include youth in their PIT counts. Over the next few months we will do even more to help everyone plan, organize and execute a successful count.
Toolkit: The toolkit outlines six recommended steps to include youth in PIT counts.
Webinars: There are two webinars available. The first emphasizes the importance of improving the quality of data we have on the prevalence of youth homelessness. The second webinar features an in-depth case study of the specific actions San Jose, CA took to include youth in its PIT counts.
Map: A map was developed for educational purposes, to indicate which communities across the U.S. have completed targeted youth counts. The map includes the results of the counts and the methodology used.