Why conduct a homeless count?
We count to understand homelessness in our community in order to end it. The”Point-In-Time” count & survey provides statistically accurate data on the homeless population in Orange County, a Housing & Urban Development (HUD) funding prerequisite.
Who is coordinating the count?
OC Community Services has partnered with 211OC, and the Health Care Agency to help conduct the Count and Survey process. OC Community Services will provide project leadership and guidance. 211OC will provide day-to-day project management, logistical support and oversee the volunteer recruitment. Orange County Health Care Agency will provide resources to ensure that the unsheltered, hard-to-reach and homeless with physical and mental disabilities are given a voice. Focus Strategies has been contracted once again to implement the HUD methodology and the final report.
Point-In-Time Count Methodology
Orange County uses the public places with sampling point-in-time homeless count methodology, which divides the county into map areas. Each area is given a designation of “hot spot” or “warm spot”.
Hot spots are likely to have a pre-determined threshold number of homeless people at the time of the count.
Warm spots are expected to have a lower threshold number of homeless people.
Count teams are sent to all hot spots and to a random sample of warm spots. The number of homeless people counted in the selected and counted warm areas is weighted to estimate total number of homeless people who would likely have been found in the warm areas that were not counted. The more warm areas that are counted, the smaller the margin of error will be in the estimate (for example the higher the chances that the count estimate is accurate).
All homeless count methodologies tend to under count homeless people because it is not possible to locate and count everyone (for example, homeless people may be inside abandoned buildings, commercial buildings, or terrain too rough to cover completely on foot). The best homeless counts include specific strategies to maximize the proportion of the homeless population counted and adhere as tightly as possible to the methodology best suited to the terrain and geography.
Orange County is once again prioritizing accuracy for the 2015 count and will use the same process as 2013:
1. Integrated count and survey
2. The concept of team leads
3. A flexible deployment strategy to maximize the number of warm areas counted