HUD is Incentivizing Continuums of Care (CoCs) to Conduct an Unsheltered Point-in-Time (PIT) Count in 2022 Through the Recently Released 2021 CoC Program Grant Application

Nearly half of California’s 44 CoCs do not Conduct
Unsheltered Counts during even number years

16 of 23 Northern California CoCs; 3 of 8 Central California CoCs;
and 2 of 13 Southern California CoCs did not Conduct
an Unsheltered PIT Count in 2020 

(Click here to see Map of California CoCs by Region)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires CoCs to conduct an unsheltered PIT count during the last 10 days of January in odd-number years but not in even-number years.

Incentivizing Continuums of Care

As stated in the recently released 2021 CoC Program Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), HUD will award up to 3 points to CoCs that

  • commit to conducting and submitting a sheltered and unsheltered PIT count in CY 2022; and
  • commit to implementing an unsheltered youth PIT count in CY 2022 that includes consultation and participation from youth serving organizations and youth with lived experience.

HUD also stated in the 2021 NOFO,

  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most communities could not conduct an unsheltered count in 2021 that is comparable to previous counts. For this year, HUD has determined that the sheltered count is a better reflection of overall changes of homelessness and is not evaluating unsheltered data in this year’s NOFO. HUD plans to measure sheltered and unsheltered populations in 2022.

Why Should California’s CoCs Conduct an Unsheltered PIT Count in 2022 if it is Safe to Conduct One?

  • In 2021, more than 80% or 37 of California’s 44 CoCs did not conduct a PIT unsheltered count after receiving approval from HUD because of safety reasons related to the pandemic.
  • If too many California CoCs do not conduct a PIT unsheltered count in 2022, California will be left with comparing 2019 unsheltered PIT count data to 2023 PIT unsheltered count data in the effort to try to understand the current state of unsheltered homelessness and how homelessness is trending regarding families, persons with mental illness and substance abuse, veterans, youth, and other subpopluations.
  • The impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on unsheltered homelessness in California needs to be informed by local 2022 unsheltered PIT Counts that can be examined by city, county, region and statewide.
  • The total numbers of unsheltered individuals and types of households have been used to prioritize eligible activities, subpopulations, and evidence-based, best, promising, and emerging practices within past and future legislation.
  • The total number of PIT unsheltered persons has been used to allocate hundreds of millions of dollars through funding sources established by state legislation during the past few years to prevent and end homelessness and will be used to allocate billions of dollars soon.

Measuring Unsheltered Subpopulations in 2022

As previously noted, HUD plans to measure sheltered and unsheltered populations in 2022.

California’s CoCs should plan to measure unsheltered subpopulations in 2022. PIT unsheltered count data has become increasingly important for California legislative, funding, planning, and policy purposes.

Thus, all of California’s 44 CoCs should conduct an unsheltered PIT count and survey in January 2022, assuming it is safe to conduct one. As a result, we would not have to wait until 2023 to have updated 2019 PIT unsheltered data.

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