What is the PIT Count?

PIT stands for “Point-in-Time,” and it’s a count of all sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness during a given moment.

Homeless service systems nationwide take part to identify the extent of homelessness throughout the country.

Why is it important?

The PIT Count shows the impact we’re having on reducing and ending homelessness (like a census) and also where people experiencing homelessness are. It helps shape both local and national strategy.

It’s important, but it also has its limitations. Like its name describes, it’s a snapshot in time on one evening in January. And it only counts people who are literally homeless, not those who are couch surfing, for example.

CoCs across the country conduct surveys the night of the Count to identify and examine trends. This information helps assess community needs, gaps, and how to target resources.

When is the PIT Count?

The PIT Count happens overnight on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 and ends on Thursday, January 28.  Philadelphia will reschedule the count if weather is particularly bad or dangerous.

How will Philadelphia stay safe during COVID-19?

The 2021 PIT Count will look a bit different as we want to protect everyone involved. You can review the full list of safety measures at this webpage.

Typically, there are two separate counts that make up the PIT Count: Street Count and Youth Count. For 2021, we’re implementing a hybrid model which’ll merge the two counts into one.

How do we get the numbers?

For 2021, Philadelphia will administer the count in three ways.

  • Observational Count: City agencies will patrol Philadelphia and conduct observational counts.
  • Come and Be Counted Sites: This is for any Philadelphian experiencing homelessness who wants to be counted in person. They can complete a brief survey with a PIT Count volunteer. There will be several Come and Be Counted locations throughout the City.
  • TeleCount: This is for any Philadelphian experiencing homelessness who wants Philadelphia to be counted via telephone. They can call a designated number and complete a brief survey with a PIT Count volunteer.

Who runs the PIT Count?

It’s a wonderful collaboration! The following groups all work together to make the volunteer event a success:

  • City agencies like the Office of Homeless Services (OHS) and Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS)
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Philadelphia neighbors
  • Volunteers with lived experience

Why are volunteers important?

For any community to have a successful PIT Count, the key to success is volunteers.

Each group will have an experienced team lead to answer questions and guide. All volunteers will be provided training, so they are prepared to volunteer for the Count.

Many volunteers were once homeless themselves. Please forward this information to your networks so we can maximize volunteer participation.

How can I volunteer?

If you’re interested in volunteering for the PIT Count, please sign up at the volunteer sign up page via Google Docs or Survey Monkey.

Philadelphia will screen volunteers for symptoms, provide personal protective equipment, and enforce social distancing.

If you have questions about volunteering, email Ashley Johnson.