While the core features within Counting Us and the Regional Command Center provide everything a region may need to conduct surveys of people experiencing homelessness and to produce the HUD Point in Time report there are some regions that have more complex needs. The features described below are optional upgrades to the framework can be added on:
Customized Point in Time (PIT) Surveys
The surveys use to gather information from both the unsheltered and sheltered populations can be customized to meet local needs. For example, regions across the state of Texas decided to add questions to discern if an individual or family was homeless as a result of hurricane Harvey. Other regions have added questions to gather details on where people are from, what their needs are, and what led to their homelessness.
Volunteer Registration and Management
Advanced tools to support recruiting and managing volunteers can be fully integrated into the Command Center. By using a stylized form, such as this one created for King County, WA, a simple link can be included in all social media and advertising campaigns. Volunteers provide key details about themselves and their preferences, pre-registering them with an account for the Counting Us app. and management within the Command Center. More details about volunteer registration can be found here.
Count Team Management
Each region has a unique approach to managing the Count, and going mobile provides new opportunities to manage and report on the PIT activities. Teams can be added to counts, supporting local control of data and reporting over subsets of the region. Click here for more information about count teams.
Geographic Sampling and Enumeration
Regions that cover large geographic areas face challenges in producing an accurate point in time homeless count, given the limitation of volunteers and the amount of territory that needs to be covered in a relatively short period of time. Geographic-based sampling and enumeration leverages the GPS capabilities within the phone, along with advanced statistical analysis, to produce reliable estimates of the homeless population without requiring a full canvas of the area. Click here for more information about using geographic sampling.
Regions have the ability to add optional surveys to accommodate additional data collection needs beyond what is typically required for the HUD Point in Time Count. Examples of specialized surveys that can be added include the following:
More information on these specialized surveys can be found here.