Regions that cover a large geographic area are often challenged to produce an accurate point in time homeless count given the limitation of volunteers and the sheer amount of territory that needs to be covered in a relatively short period of time. To address this, Simtech Solutions has engaged the services of statistician Dan Treglia, PhD to develop and deploy a framework that allows these large regions to conduct a count that produces reliable count estimates without having to canvas an entire area.
The process is referred to as geographic-based sampling, and the steps involved are as follows...
- Regional administrators establish the count areas and assign a count team leader to each area.
- Count team leaders use the Regional Command Center to identify the census blocks where it is likely that people experiencing homelessness will be found. Typically, feedback for this step is gathered from those who come in contact with the homeless on a regular basis such as street outreach workers and police officers.
- Once this is done, statistician Dan Treglia, PhD will determine the number of census blocks that were not designated that will need to be sampled in order to produce a statistically reliable estimate. Factors taken into account include the total number of census blocks in the area, the number of census blocks that are designated as likely to contain people experiencing homelessness, and the anticipated number of count volunteers.
- Maps are produced from within the Regional Command Center and provided to all count team leaders to share with volunteers on the night of the count.
- The homeless count is conducted using the Counting Us mobile app.
- Once the count is over, any necessary data cleanup is done by regional administrators using the survey management tools found within the Regional Command Center.
- Simtech staff are notified when the cleanup process is over. Once notice is received, statistically reliable point in time reports are produced for the entire region. As was done with the State of Connecticut, these estimates can be produced for regions of all sizes including statewide, by CoC, by county, etc..
- The point in time count results are submitted to HUDHDX.
- Celebrate! Your region just completed a highly accurate homeless count in far less time than it would have taken if you were to use paper!
The State of Connecticut used the geographic sampling features within the Regional Command Center in order to conduct a statewide count for 2017. The Final Methodology Report for Connecticut's Point in Time Count provides a detailed overview of how technology and statistical analysis can be used together to produce more accurate counts with far time and energy.