Communities nationwide conduct annual Point in Time (PIT) counts of those facing homelessness. This one-night census critically informs policies and funding allocations for homeless services across all levels of government.
Recently, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) updated PIT requirements, including expanded data collection and accelerated reporting timelines. For participating agencies, meeting these changes is essential—non-compliance risks funding, and mistakes fail to capture the full state of homelessness.
Understanding the Point in Time Count
The PIT count provides a single-night snapshot of homelessness within your community (or state if communities coordinate the effort) to determine the scope of the issue across shelters, transitional housing, and outdoor settings. Conducted during the last two weeks of January by communities across the country, basic demographic data are collected.
This data reveals homelessness trends—like the recent overall uptick despite veteran declines—and guides policy and funding decisions. In 2022, HUD used PIT numbers to allocate over $3.23 billion in targeted grants. With economic instability spurring housing crises, current on-the-ground data grows more crucial.
Recent PIT counts indicate a steady decline in veteran homelessness but a small increase in overall homelessness between 2020 and 2022, influenced partly by the pandemic’s economic impacts.
Recent Changes by HUD to the Point in Time Count
For the 2024 PIT count, HUD has made several changes, including:
Shortened HMIS Housing Inventory Update Timeline
Previously, communities had from April to December to update housing inventory data in HMIS systems (as they relate to PIT and LSA reporting). HUD has significantly shortened this window to just January to April going forward. This compresses the critical timeline for accurate data updates.
Mandatory HMIS Housing Inventory Data Updates
Rather than manual entry in HUD’s HDX repository, housing inventory updates must now happen be exported directly from HMIS systems. This eliminates a manual step for providers but requires extracting HMIS data and uploading it to HUD’s portal.
These changes aim to improve data accuracy and ensure funding aligns closely with emerging local needs. However, they also create new hurdles.
Impact on Non-Profits and Community Action Agencies
Here’s what these changes mean for non-profits and community action agencies across the nation:
The updated requirements add responsibilities around collecting and reporting data that were not previously mandated. As counts rely on volunteers for a single night, there is little margin for error in gathering extensive personal details.
Intensified Pressure on Accuracy
On top of expanded data collection, earlier submission deadlines give less time to ensure accuracy. Combined with strict new validation checks, the risks of incomplete or mistake-laden data escalate, potentially jeopardizing critical funding. Even minor data issues can lead to rejections.
Potential Housing Inventory Conflicts with LSA
The LSA submissions will use HIC information that was submitted in the previous Point in Time process. LSA is typically due in December/January timeframe, but often remains ‘open’ as data is reviewed and resubmitted. This can cause a problem for communities as they update housing inventory data in January, February and March and may need to regenerate the LSA submission, potentially using the new inventory where it should not.
Past Funding Impacts
Indeed, communities have already seen funding denials and lengthy resubmission processes due to simple data quality problems. With more intricate requirements, potential issues multiply.
How Nutmeg Consulting Can Assist
With expertise honed over years of navigating HUD guidelines, Nutmeg Consulting is uniquely positioned to help agencies overcome new PIT count challenges.
Nutmeg thoroughly assesses current data workflows, technology utilization, staff abilities, and HUD reporting procedures to establish a baseline. Gaps are identified for realignment to compliance.
Tailored Optimization Strategy
Based on assessment findings, Nutmeg offers consulting, including liaising between agency leadership and vendors to implement training additions, system enhancements, and interim workflow revisions, enabling compliance without major IT changes.
Targeted Compliance Support
Nutmeg also helps interpret evolving HUD guidelines so agencies can validate vendor tools and collect all necessary data points accurately, like properly coding disabilities—a frequent issue area.
Nutmeg’s HMIS Service: Adding Value to Your Agency
Nutmeg’s comprehensive HMIS service includes help desk support, robust training tools, dedicated account and project management, seamless system administration, and rigorous data quality monitoring. This end-to-end approach helps communities optimize limited resources, make data-driven decisions, and provide better services with maximum efficiency.
When ensuring the accuracy of reporting, Nutmeg’s layered support system has communities covered. With HMIS tasks and technical hurdles handled by dedicated experts, overburdened housing agencies can redirect focus to aiding vulnerable clients.
Process Data Confidently with Nutmeg
HUD’s new PIT count requirements demand close attention, but agencies equipped with the right guidance can adapt smoothly while improving overall data programs. Let Nutmeg Consulting provide that guidance as your community gears up for 2024’s PIT count and beyond.
To learn more about optimizing data accuracy, streamlining validation, or leveraging detailed homeless services data to strengthen HUD reporting and funding application, please feel free to get in touch with us.
Let us know if you have questions or need help.