The Annual PIT Count
Each year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Washington state require a statewide count of all persons staying in temporary housing programs (sheltered count) and places not meant for human habitation (unsheltered count). HUD uses this Point in Time or PIT count to determine funding needs of each county in regard to housing assistance. United Way works with Thurston County Public Health and Social Services to complete the local PIT count. The count is an effort to determine how many people are experiencing homelessness in Thurston County. Events, outreach, and direct provider engagements are the key avenues for the county. United Way provides hygiene kits to those who are surveyed and volunteers to help with events.
In 2023 eight events were held focusing on different sub-populations: seniors, adults, youths, and young adults. Survival gear was distributed such as: tarps, winter gloves, Hot Hands hand warmers, jackets, and socks. The events offered attendees connection to services and provided access to hot food, haircuts, laundry, and veterinary care.
There were more than 60 United Way volunteers who staffed event tables, sorted donations, gathered surveys, delivered equipment, and picked up supplies for the PIT count.
Interested in volunteering for the annual PIT count? Sign up Here
This is a further explanation of the PIT count from the Department of Commerce:
Unsheltered homelessness is a crisis in which many of our most vulnerable neighbors find themselves. We learn about this population by looking at statistics and gathering information from the individuals experiencing homelessness. The Point in Time Count (PIT) seeks to answer the question— how many people in the community are unsheltered or residing in Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing?
The Point in Time Count is a window into understanding who, and how people are experiencing homelessness in our community. It is conducted alongside our community Housing Inventory Count (HIC). By doing these simultaneously, we get a snapshot into a single night in our County, where we can look at our available housing and shelter options and the number of our unsheltered homeless, and assess for any gaps between those two figures. Basically, how many available beds are there vs. how many folks there are unsheltered. Our local data is combined with the rest of the Balance of State for Washington, and then reported to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to be included in the National Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR). This lets us look at and measure local, state, and national level trends in homelessness. The AHAR is provides data to decision makers, so they can strategize the use of available resources and plan for building capacity moving forward. The PIT helps shape our understanding of homelessness, each year, and over time in Thurston County.
Find more information on the PIT count Here