Annual Count: How Many Unhoused? Who’s At ‘Home’? Who’s Just Visiting?

Three homeless men share a moment on a nighttime sidewalk
This scene was created by and is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

Homelessness counts are an increasingly commonplace means by which cities and nations attempt to determine the costs to handling growing numbers of people who pursuing a precarious existence on city streets, parklands and wastelands. It turns out that everywhere, this count is both difficult to accomplish and inevitably inaccurate.

How does a city do the best it can to get a useful measure? A local media outlet in San Francisco, California, recently covered the process of holding an annual ‘Point In Time’ count, which invariably draws on willing volunteer support.

For any local government that has yet to tackle an annual homelessness count, or is looking for ways to do better, the following description of the problems will undoubtedly be useful. Read more at abc7 News: Counting San Francisco’s unhoused — and why you never ask if they are homeless