2021 PIT Plan
Find out how our region will prioritize safety for this year's Point In Time Count!
This has been a unique year and the pandemic has forced all of us to pivot in many aspects, including the Point in Time (PIT) Count.
For those of you who might not be aware, MDHI hired a consulting company based in California to assist with PIT for 2021, ASR (Applied Survey Research). We consulted closely with ASR, thought carefully about a plan of action for the PIT Count, and how to keep everyone safe during a pandemic. Additionally, MDHI has been monitoring and consulting with other comparable regions regarding their PIT.
Below is the current plan, approved by HUD on January 21, 2021.
- The region has applied for and been approved for a HUD Waiver of the unsheltered count. Any sort of unsheltered count would have required the need for volunteers and potentially put people at risk of infection. The safety of those experiencing homelessness and volunteers is the top priority. Additionally, the data the region would have gathered from a tally count, as previously planned, would have not included the incredibly valuable demographic information which is used for planning purposes.
- The date for Sheltered Point in Time will be changed from Monday, January 25th to the evening of February 25th. The region will still conduct a sheltered count as it is still required by HUD. The majority of this count will be conducted via a data pull on February 26th from the region's Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). Shelters not using HMIS will conduct surveys overnight on February 25th.
Will this affect the region's funding levels from HUD?
HUD is the entity that created and approved the waiver for the unsheltered count. It is offering it to any CoC that applies and demonstrates a need. Cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, and countless others are waiving the unsheltered count due to concerns of COVID-19 for both volunteers and the unsheltered population. Additionally, an unsheltered count is only required every other year. While 2021 is an "on" year, there is precedent for communities to not conduct an unsheltered count. PIT is only one of the factors in the determination of funding levels and HUD has signaled it will adjust the statutory requirement of the count for this year to align with the waiver to ensure there is not penalization to CoCs utilizing the flexibility afforded in 2021.
A similar process was followed earlier this year for the CoC NOFA process. HUD signaled it would change the statute to create a continuation process for the CoC NOFA to ease the burden of local communities. This process had been required to be competitive; however, under the omnibus bill passed earlier this year, the language was changed in statute to allow for a continuation. HUD has demonstrated significant flexibility in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We anticipate this flexibility will include the PIT unsheltered count.
How will communities have data on the unsheltered population?
The PIT does provide very valuable data to the region, particularly on the unsheltered population. Over the past few years, the region has made significant gains in the quality of data from the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) as well as standing up outreach teams throughout many communities, with many more planned in the coming months. Between HMIS and outreach, our region does have some data on the unsheltered population. Additionally, the region is considering doing a PIT-like count later this year, once it is safe to do so, to be used solely for local planning purposes and not for submission to HUD.