ICPH recently released a policy commentary asking the question “Are We Really Counting America’s Homeless Families?” The piece compared what we know about the “official” count of homelessness via HUD’s Point in Time Count and what we know from the Department of Education’s count of homeless children.
The disparity is significant. In San Diego, the HUD PIT counted 1,714 homeless people in families last year. At the same time, the San Diego Unified School District reported 7,082 homeless student. That means that each homeless family in San Diego should have at least four children. Taken nationally, by HUD’s figures, the average homeless household includes 20 children! Obviously the PIT count under counts homeless families.
The upshot of the glaring inadequacy of the PIT is how it impacts the funding of homelessness assistance programs and how it assumes that programs are working based on the flimsiest of data.