Every January, Pierce County conducts the annual Homeless Point-in-Time (PIT) Count.

The PIT Count allows us to talk with people to learn more about their experience with homelessness.

Every night, hundreds of people in Pierce County sleep on the streets, in cars, or in shelters.

This January, we are looking for volunteers to join us for the annual Point-In-Time (PIT) Count! The count is a one-day event where outreach workers and volunteers survey people experiencing homelessness.

Communities use the information collected during the PIT count to better understand why people become homeless, plan thoughtful programs that respond to the needs of people experiencing homelessness, review trends to better understand homelessness over time, and so much more!

Volunteers will be stationed at meal sites, day shelters, events such as Project Homeless Connect, and DSHS offices throughout Pierce County. and will complete surveys of people experiencing homelessness.

PIT Count Volunteers:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must attend a Point-in-Time Count Training
  • Search for unsheltered homeless within designated locations
  • Survey individuals experiencing homelessness using the mobile app ’Counting Us’

Questions? Contact us!

Donations are given to anyone experiencing homelessness during the Point-in-Time Count, and provides a starting point for the conversation to complete the survey. 

Typical Items Needed:
  • Socks, Hats and Gloves
  • Hygiene Kits:  Shampoo, Conditioner, Soaps, Razors, Deodorant, Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Feminine Products
  • Warm Blankets/Space Blankets
  • First Aid Kits
  • Hand and Foot Warmers
Thank you to our community partners for facilitating donation drop-offs!
  • Pierce County Libraries
  • Tacoma Public Libraries
  • Lakewood Community Center
  • Share and Care House
  • Tillicum/Woodbrook Community Center
  • Mountain View Community Center
  • Comprehensive Life Resources
Section Break
  1. 2019 PIT Data
  2. 2018 PIT Data
  3. 2017 PIT Data
  4. 2016 PIT Data

What is the Point-In-Time Count?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Washington State Department of Commerce require communities to conduct a one-day Point-In-Time (PIT) Count to survey individuals experiencing homelessness. PIT Counts are one source of data among many that help us understand the magnitude and characteristics of people who are homeless in our community.

The Point-In-Time (PIT) Count is a one-day snapshot that captures the characteristics and situations of people living here without a home. The PIT Count includes both sheltered individuals (temporarily living in emergency shelters or transitional housing) and unsheltered individuals (those sleeping outside or living in places that are not meant for human habitation).

The annual PIT Count happens the last Friday in January, and is carried out by volunteers who interview people and asks where they slept the night before, where their last residence was located, what may have contributed to their loss of housing, and disabilities the individual may have. It also asks how long the individual has been homeless, age and demographics, and whether the person is a veteran and/or a survivor of domestic violence.

Like all surveys, the PIT Count has limitations. Results from the Count are influenced by the weather, by availability of overflow shelter beds, by the number of volunteers, and by the level of engagement of the people we are interviewing. Comparisons from year to year should be done with those limitations in mind.

"The Point-In-Time Count provides the homeless assistance community with the data needed to understand the number and characteristics of persons who are homeless at one point in time."
-U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development