Recent HUD Guidance with recommendations for conducting the Point in Time Count during the COVID-19 pandemic included the option to use a brief version of the PIT Count survey for the Unsheltered Count:

Brief Survey Counts: CoCs could choose to conduct a short survey with people in places not meant for human habitation to determine if a person was experiencing homelessness on the night designated for the unsheltered PIT count. For example, if a CoC chooses to use January 25 as its PIT count date, it could conduct this very short survey at any hour of the day over several days. To maximize safety, HUD does not recommend adding questions beyond those a CoC would need to de-duplicate and confirm that someone was experiencing homelessness on the night of the count. This survey could be limited to a person’s name and housing status on the date of the count.

Please note that HUD specified during the PIT Count Office Hours on November 24, 2020, that use of a Brief Survey is one of the exceptions that requires approval from HUD.

The Counting Us mobile app offers a brief version of the Unsheltered Survey, if your community gains approval for use of this methodology! If you are interested in using this or a customized version of the brief survey, please email us at

Sample Brief Unsheltered Survey from Counting Us