​​​​​​​​​​2024 Sacramento Point-in-Time Homelessness Count

​Frequ​ently Asked Questions​​​

The 2024 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count is a real-time survey of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness on a single night. The PIT Count helps inform federal, state, and local decision-making and resource allocation to effectively address homelessness. It augments other regional monitoring processes operated by Sacramento Steps Forward. 

To receive federal funds, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that communities perform a PIT count annually of people who are experiencing homelessness. This count is done annually for those who are sheltered in emergency shelters, transitional housing, and Safe Havens on a single night. 

Additionally, every other year a PIT count is required of people experiencing homelessness who are unsheltered and living in places not meant for human habitation. The last unsheltered PIT Count in Sacramento was held in February 2022. The 2024 count of unsheltered people experiencing homelessness is a community-wide effort that relies on hundreds of volunteers.​

The PIT will occur on two nights in January 2024, Wednesday, January 24 and Thursday, January 25 between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. The main volunteer deployment center is at Sacramento State’s Harper Alumni Center. Satellite locations will be in Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, Folsom, and Citrus Heights. After volunteers check in at deployment sites, they will be directed to specific areas in survey.​​

916.577.9770 | 2150 River Plaza Drive, Suite 385, Sacramento, CA 95833 | info@sacstepsforward.org | www.sacramentostepsforward.org​

Sacramento Steps Forward, a private non-profit 501(c) serving the Sacramento region, is the lead agency for the Sacramento Continuum of Care (CoC), the federally designated regional planning body that coordinates housing and services for families and individuals experiencing homelessness in the Sacramento area. 

The CoC’s 32-member board includes representatives from local government, homeless service providers, people with lived experience, and representatives of business, health, advocates, and faith-based groups. The Sacramento CoC receives approximately $30.5M annually in HUD CoC funding, with $29M dedicated to programs that maintain housing for people who are disabled with long histories of homelessness. 

As a recipient of HUD CoC funding, the Sacramento region is mandated to conduct an unsheltered PIT count at least biennially.​

It helps the Sacramento region plan for services and programs to appropriately address local needs, measure fluctuations in homelessness, and identify strengths and gaps in our homelessness response system. The PIT count provides valuable data on various aspects of homelessness. It pinpoints the number of unhoused individuals, families, or unaccompanied youth under age 18.

Additionally, it captures information on the length of time individuals have been homeless, their age, marital status, ethnicity, and whether they are a veteran or disabled.​​

HUD’s definition of unsheltered homelessness is used for the PIT Count’s semi-annual unsheltered count: an Individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, meaning: 

(i) Has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not meant for human habitation; 

(ii) Is living in a publicly or privately operated shelter designated to provide temporary living arrangements (including congregate shelters, transitional housing, and hotels and motels paid for by charitable organizations or by federal, state and local government programs); or 

(iii) Is exiting an institution where (s)he has resided for 90 days or less and who resided in an emergency shelter or place not meant for human habitation immediately before entering that institution.

All volunteers must pre-register in advance of the Count via the on-line portal​. Volunteers can choose from two options: becoming part of teams actively surveying at pre-determined sites or assisting at our meeting locations to prepare teams for deployment. 

To canvass, volunteers must be at least 18 years old, be willing to travel by foot and/or car, and be willing to use their personal smartphone and personal flashlight. Canvassers will use a new “Counting Us” phone app that has been successfully used in many cities and counties in the U.S. for PIT Counts. Volunteer training will be provided in January, prior to the nights of the Count. 

Other volunteers will help prepare volunteer packets and provide other administrative assistance at the deployment centers. For those who cannot volunteer but want to help, Sacramento Steps Forward (SSF) encourages sharing this information with friends, family, work colleagues and others in their network.​

The training, a crucial step for 2024 Point-In-Time Count participation, occurs at the following times. Volunteers have two options: attending one of the live online sessions - highly recommended for new volunteers - or accessing a recorded Zoom training and completing a quiz for increased accountability and comprehension.


  • Wednesday, January 10, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. | Registration​
  • Wednesday, January 17, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. | Registrat​ion
  • January Virtual Recording with Quiz | Available On Demand TBD

Both options cover the same content, including the purpose of the PIT, expectations on count nights, safety procedures, PIT survey overview, and best practices for engaging people experiencing homelessness. The live session offers real-time interaction, while the recorded version provides flexibility for those with scheduling constraints.

Yes. Office hours provide a unique opportunity for volunteers to ask questions about the Point-In-Time Count to ensure they feel fully prepared and confident in their roles.

Office Hours

  • Thursday, January 11, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. | Registra​tion
  • Monday, January 22, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. | Regist​ration

The results of the PIT Count are aggregated and analyzed and compiled into a report submitted to HUD and the public in the spring. The results will be used to inform knowledge of homelessness in Sacramento and contribute to the improvement of equitable and accessible programs, services, and resources. The last report ​​was published in 2022.  Find the full 2022 report​.

A key difference between the previous and present count methodologies is that the 2022 count used locally created custom-drawn zones. In 2024, we will use US Census tracts. By using Census tracts, the survey results can subsequently be compared to the 2020 US Census. This comparison will be instrumental in identifying at the neighborhood level any race, gender, or age categories that are over-represented in the homeless population.

Volunteers who gather information will use a counting and surveying application called “Counting Us” on their personal mobile phones. The app will facilitate collection of data from known locations, provide offline survey and GPS capabilities, and connect to the central command station during surveying for live data review and greater accuracy.

The Sacramento CoC works with a research consultant to design and implement HUD-compliant, statistically reliable methodology for biennial unsheltered PIT counts. The CoC Board approved the selection of Simtech Solutions, Inc. as the 2024 PIT research consultant following a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) process in 2023.​​​

Because the PIT Count is funded using federal dollars, the CoC must periodically conduct a competitive RFP process for a PIT research partner. In response to the CoC’s 2024 PIT RFP, Simtech Solutions, Inc., submitted the strongest proposal. This proposal was vetted by a review panel of SSF, CoC Planning staff, and CoC PIT Committee Co-chairs, using objective scoring criteria and an interview panel.​

Visit the SSF 2024 PIT Count webpage​ to learn more about the PIT Count, view volunteer-specific information and resources, and to stay up to date.​​​