What is PIT Count?

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What is PIT Count? Community agencies and stakeholders will survey the community to conduct a Point in Time Count. PIT Count is where agencies & volunteers go out into the community and connect with individuals experiencing homelessness on the last Wednesday of January every year.  

Staff and volunteers are tasked with going into the community to count and connect with the number of people experiencing homelessness in our 17-county community: Allamakee, Bremer, Butler, Buchanan, Chickasaw, Clayton, Howard, Fayette, Winneshiek, Kossuth, Winnebago, Hancock, Franklin, Cerro Gordo, Worth, Mitchell and Floyd. This count allows us to gather data and information about the need for housing programs in our area.   

A successful PIT sets homeless service agencies and community stakeholders up to build connections, get involved with the local homeless populations that we serve, have "boots on the ground" in the areas experiencing the most homelessness, and really works to get those experiencing homelessness connected to needed services.  

Last year, January 2022, was FOF’s first time coordinating & participating in PIT Count in Northcentral Iowa. The region was able to connect with 45 unsheltered individuals that night.  

We were able to connect with local landlords who knew of places individuals may be squatting and were assisted by the Mason City Police Department in identifying known locations.  

A success story from PIT Count 2022:  

Nicole J (FOF), Caitlyn K (FOF) and two community volunteers: Mary (YSS) and Nancy (Freedom Inn His Grace) were out in Mason City until 2 am conducting the count. They came across a young girl who was sleeping in an uninhabitable building. They were able to offer her resources and a housing assessment and get her placed on the region's prioritization list within the coordinated entry system. She had never heard of the available housing services before.  

The prioritization list is a confidential list of homeless individuals who need housing assistance. This is not a first come, first-serve basis - and is organized by priority of need. When someone completes a housing assessment, they are assigned a score, which determines their placement on the list. All HUD-funded housing programs must pull individuals from the top down on the list to ensure those with the highest barriers and/or needs are prioritized for assistance first.  

The following Tuesday, at the North Central Regional Coordinated Entry Meeting, FOF presented the prioritization list to the group of community housing and homelessness providers. This young girl was at the top of the list and was pulled into an RRH (Rapid Re-Housing Program) by YSS specifically for Youth Homelessness.  

FOF assisted in coordinating communication between the client and YSS staff. YSS staff got her successfully housed within that month and she remains successfully housed.  

She is a perfect example of the good work PIT Count can do - bring multiple community providers to the table to wrap the individual with resources available to them. Community collaboration is a key element of a successful PIT Count & homeless system.