Issues of de-duplication and data quality as well as ensuring that the region was sufficiently canvassed are critical issues whether using paper or technology. Engagement is key and we have produced this Cheat Sheet to help get people started, and ask the first question about whether or not a volunteer has already spoken with them. The Command Center is a tool for you to use but it will not automatically de-duplicate records. However, we are confident that it will save you many hours and give you a more accurate Count!  

The ability to see what's happening in real time, and react and adjust quickly is valuable and reduces errors. These screen shots illustrates how surveys can be edited directly in the Command Center if there was a mistake and how that record would be archived if it should be excluded from the report.  

The entire data set can be also exported to excel, where the data can be sorted and filtered on any field to help verify data and identify errors. Some regions send portions of the data to local providers or “PIT leads,” to review and mark up.

Ultimately changes need to be made in the Command Center, and regions are encouraged to develop local policies and procedures that ensure that the Count is complete and accurately reflected by the data that is in the Command Center so that a HUD report can be generated:


Here are some considerations:

  1. Who is ultimately responsible for the Count?
    • This should be one or two people that are considered Count Administrators
    • Typically, this is someone from the CoC lead agency (collaborative applicant, government entity, etc.).
  2. What is the next tier of responsibility?
    • What is the role of other staff at the lead agency (collaborative applicant, government entity, etc.)?
    • Also consider leadership and “buy-in” of the organization as this can make a big impact on the success of the Count.
  3. What is the structure of the Count? Most regions have some form of “team captains” (also may be called “PIT leads,” or something else).
    • Is the Count spread out over thousands of square miles, or are teams canvassing every alley and every park in an urban community? Each of these has its challenges.
    • PIT leads should be accountable for all the data that is collected in their “area” (or region, or territory, etc.).
    • They should know who is on their team and have plans in place to ensure that volunteers have information about the app and support and encouragement before, during, and after the event.
    • They should have a plan to check in with everyone on their team at the end of the Count to ensure that the canvass was complete, that all survey drafts have been submitted. They should also address any questions or concerns about duplicated counts and other issues.
    • It is up to the PIT leads to ensure that the data collected in their area is reflected in the Command Center.
  1. Who should have access to the Command Center?
    • Often the PIT leads have access to the Command Center, but not always. However, PIT leads should, at a minimum, know who to contact at the Command Center both during and after the Count, to address any issues.
    • People who benefit from seeing the data come in live throughout the Count.
    • People who are responsible for updating data – editing and archiving records as part of the data clean up, and ultimately, generating and submitting the report to HUD.  

There are two roles in the Command Center: Administrators and Managers:

Command Center Administrators can:

Command Center Managers can:

  • See and manage all of the Counts for that Datastore
  • Manage records within each Count
  • Download the csv file
  • Run the Sheltered and Unsheltered report
  • Add new Counts for the Datastore/ region
  • Add users to Counts
  • Establish the Setup Key & Change settings
  • See and manage all of the Counts for that Datastore
  • Manage records within each Count
  • Download the csv file
  • Run the Sheltered and Unsheltered report

Ultimately, good planning and a solid "ground game" is critical for a successful count, and there is no way around that.  However, we hope that providing these tools helps to simplify, streamline, and ultimately expedite the clean-up process.