There are a few software providers that are now making the claim that their tools can be repurposed for the HUD Point in Time (PIT) count.  Counting Us, and the Regional Command Center that receives data from it, were built specifically for the HUD PIT Count.  Counting Us was also built and supported by the former HUD TA providers who developed the HUD Point in Time Counting Tool back in 2013.  As a result, our framework contains several important features that are not typically found in repurposed software solutions. 

Features within Counting Us not typically found in other software solutions…

  • All set up is taken care of by Simtech Solutions.  No need to involve your IT department.
  • HUD-compliant, GPS-enabled, surveys for both people living on the streets as well as for shelters that do not participate in HMIS.
  • HUD-compliant reporting logic to produce the Point in Time report for all surveys conducted within the boundaries of your CoC.
  • Observation tallies to account for people who cannot be engaged.
  • Conditional logic to personalize the surveys and prevent the asking of irrelevent questions.  For example, youth are not asked if they are a veteran.  
  • Support for counting of both individuals and households.
  • Surveys can be saved as drafts and submitted later if there is no Internet connection.
  • Built in user management with access controls.  Unlike other software, this means there is no need for a surveyor to rekey their contact info for every survey they submit.    
  • Regions can optionally choose to have the surveys customized to meet local needs.
  • The broad adoption rate of Counting Us helps support statewide analysis, such as this study demonstrating the impact of hurricane Harvey on the entire homeless system in Texas

Features within the Regional Command Center not typically found in other software solutions…

  • Survey results are displayed in real-time within dashboards, survey lists, and maps.
  • Data filtering tools make it easy to report on target populations such as veterans, chronically homeless, and young adults.
  • Data quality monitoring dashboards along with data management tools to address any issues that are found.
  • Count administrators can use the contact information that is passed along with each survey to contact volunteers so that they can quickly address any data quality issues. 
  • Administrators can follow these simple instructions to define the list of shelter projects that can submit count data. 
  • HUD-compliant Point in Time reports can be generated with a couple of clicks.
  • Mapping tools can be used to define the region to run the report over.  This enables reports to be run by CoC, county, city/town, or even by zip code.
  • Support of historical geographic boundaries allows for annual trend analysis to be conducted even when the region changes size over time.  For example, at one point San Diego's CoC was just the city of San Diego but it now includes all of San Diego County.  
  • Reports contain drill-down logic to view a list of all surveys that make up a count figure. 
  • The calculation of chronic homeless status is done properly and is based on all of the HUD criteria (duration, episodes, adult, and presence of a disabling condition).   
  • Support for a common results format simplifies the process of aggregating information collected in HMIS, from DV providers, and from the regional command center.

Additional Features and Services that are available include…

  • Volunteer registration portals, such as this one created for Spokane, WA, help streamline the process of gathering key details from volunteers.  Any volunteer who registers will have a user account automatically created for them to use the Counting Us app.  
  • Count team administration functions enable team areas to be defined, volunteers to be assigned to teams, and counting routes to be designated for each team.
  • Survey questions can be customized to meet local needs.
  • Deployment center management tools enable regional count managers to manage just the data within their designated area within the CoC.  This helps spread out the work and prevent the PIT count from becoming overwhelming.
  • Print-friendly route maps can be produced for count teams
  • Counting Us supports the ability to count vehicles and structures not meant for human habitation
  • Geographic sampling and enumeration features, as well as access to statisticians, to support the creation of statistically reliable count estimates. 
  • Tools described here to help aggregate counts from HMIS, DV providers, and outreach together to create a single HUD Point in Time report. 

Other Benefits of Working with Simtech…
Simtech Solutions is the industry-leading provider of mobile tech to support the annual HUD Point in Time count.  Over forty regions rely on our experienced staff to support them throughout the count process with the aid of virtual trainings, video tutorials, live support throughout the count, and our guidance until the actual Point in Time report is submitted to HUD.