The core features within Counting Us and the Regional Command Center provide everything a region may need to conduct surveys of people experiencing homelessness, and to produce the HUD Point in Time report. Regions with more complex needs have the option to include any of the following additional features:
Customized Point in Time (PIT) Surveys
The surveys use to gather information from both the unsheltered and sheltered populations can be customized to meet local needs. For example, regions across the state of Texas decided to add questions to discern if an individual or family was homeless as a result of hurricane Harvey. Other regions have added questions to gather details on where people are from, what their needs are, and what led to their homelessness.
Volunteer Registration / Recruitment
Advanced tools to support recruiting and managing volunteers can be fully integrated into the Command Center. By using a stylized form, such as this one created for Ventura County, CA, a simple link can be included in all social media and advertising campaigns. Volunteers provide key details about themselves and their preferences, pre-registering them with an account for the Counting Us app. Click here for more info.
Region and Count Team Management
Larger CoCs often find it easier to manage the count by splitting the region into smaller count areas. The mapping tools within the Command Center enable count administrators to define these sub-regions simply by clicking census tracts on a map.
The sub-regions can have count teams assigned and quotas established to ensure the teams have enough volunteers. Regions that choose to include Volunteer Registration and Management can also pre-assign volunteers and use the information gathered to create well balanced teams. Click here for more info.
Regions can add specialized surveys to accommodate data collection beyond what is required for the HUD Point in Time Count. Examples include:
Geographic Sampling and Enumeration
Regions that cover large geographic areas face challenges in producing an accurate point in time homeless count, given the limitation of volunteers and the amount of territory that needs to be covered in a relatively short period of time. Geographic-based sampling and enumeration leverages the GPS capabilities within the phone, along with advanced statistical analysis, to produce reliable estimates of the homeless population without requiring a full canvas of the area. More info can be found here.
Support Family and Social Reunification with Miracle Messages
Communities can opt to include additional questions aimed at supporting the social reconnection of people experiencing homelessness. Relevant information gathered from participants is shared with the non-profit Miracle Messages to support the reunification process. This news story explains the process by sharing how we reunited a man who was homeless for over thirty years with his family.
Known Locations Survey
A Known Locations Survey can be used between now and the date of your count to gather details on areas that are likely to contain people experiencing homelessness. This information helps target volunteer resources towards the high-density areas and can aid the Geographic Sampling and Enumeration model described above. More details can be found in this FAQ.