News Logo

Homeless News

Annual Count of Homeless Population In US Misses Masses

The point-in-time count of the homeless population missed hundreds of people in the U.S. and is inaccurate.

February 4, 2024

In January, thousands of volunteers nationwide participated in the government’s annual Point-in-Time count, spending a night canvassing their communities to identify individuals experiencing homelessness.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires this count so that its results can be used to determine funding. Unfortunately, the estimates are not accurate.

Point In Time Count organizer Hannah Anderson said, “We only have one day to get a snapshot of the homeless population. You can’t be accurate when you’re counting people for one day.”

The methods and resources used to measure the Point in Time count of homeless people vary from community to community due to which there are inconsistent results of the number of unhoused people.

Eric Tars of the National Homelessness Law Center said, “The picture that HUD is getting, and that Congress is getting, and that the public is getting, isn’t as clear as it could be and should be”.

HUD’s Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said that this count is just a sample of the country’s homelessness crisis. She also revealed that there is no other way to calculate the homeless people so this is just a sample.

Marcia L. Fudge also revealed that HUD is on the lookout for ways to improve the process as the agency believes that there are some better ways to do it.

On Monday, HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge announced the largest funding award of its kind by the agency, totaling $3.1 billion. This funding will be distributed to homeless service providers nationwide, supporting over 7,000 projects. The recipients, who participated in HUD’s funding competition last year, were selected based on extensive applications that incorporated their Point-in-Time count results and other relevant metrics.

Concerns have been raised regarding homelessness experts and institutions about the point in time count for years. Every year, each community receiving HUD’s funding should conduct a Point In Time count at a time when people crowd into homes with friends and family to escape the cold.

Fudge said, “It doesn’t seem like it makes a lot of sense, because it’s cold, it’s hard to find people, people are inside. But that’s what has always historically been done. And we just continue to do it the way it’s always been done.”

Also, organizations gather data in different ways due to which, there are chances of undercounting than others.

Article Sources

Arrow Down Sign

The content provided in this article draws inspiration and includes quotes from various reputable sources, including news articles, government data, and interviews. Affordable Housing 411 strives to ensure accuracy and credibility, but the information presented may be based on some external sources. We encourage readers to refer to the referenced materials for more in-depth insights and verification.

Kofsky Jared. “Annual count of US homeless population misses masses, experts say”. ABC 7 NY, February 4, 2024,
Annual count of US homeless population misses masses, experts say – ABC7 New York (

Last Updated: September 20, 2021