There are a few viable options that will enable your region conduct a reliable homeless count, even if you have fewer volunteers.  

1) Increase the time period of the count.  While the PIT count needs to be a census of the total number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night, it is feasible to expand the time period for data collection by asking two questions… 

  1. Has anyone already surveyed you for the HUD Point in Time homeless count? 
  2. Where were you sleeping on the night of ________? 

2) Target volunteer resources to areas known to contain people experiencing homelessness first and randomly sample other areas of your region.  These "known locations" can be identified by outreach teams, first responders, and volunteers in the days leading up to the count by using a known locations survey that is available within Counting Us.  Details on the geographic sampling and enumeration strategy that can be deployed to drastically reduce the number of count volunteers needed, while still producing an accurate estimate of homelessness, can be found here.

3) Automate!  Additional resources are needed to support paper-based counts due to the extra steps of distributing and gathering paper forms and maps (which requires physical contact), and keying in the data after the count wraps up.  These resources can be freed up by automating the entire process from volunteer registration all the way through the creation of the final reports.