Homelessness is the condition and societal category of people who lack fixed housing, usually because they cannot afford a regular, safe, and adequate shelter (Smith & Keown-Bomar, 2007). The homeless can either be sheltered or unsheltered. Many causes are attributable to homelessness. It could be due to natural disasters, war, mental conditions, poverty, substance abuse, lack of parental care, eviction by landlords, poor government policies on social welfare and housing. This category of people may be seen on the street in abandoned apartments, cars, hotels, refuge camps, or double-up with friends and relatives.
Various means of counting the homeless in different countries have been designed, one of such techniques is point-in-time count adopted by United States Department of Housing and Urban Development which is used in all Continuum of Care among communities for better planning of government programmes and policies especially on housing and social development. For the success of the counting process, objectives are set and various methods of actualizing these goals are recruited.
There is need to create a well-trained working group who are involved in planning, execution and monitoring progress of the count, as well responsible for improving and maintaining standards of the process. A point-in-time count coordinator is selected who calls for meeting, send out letters to the stakeholders in the communities stakeholders such as county judges, mayors, law enforcement, local jails, schools, local businesses with vested interests, hospitals, churches, local media outlets, and private citizens.
He prepares the agenda related to the planning process, among other things. In a nutshell, determining actual number of the homeless is a difficult task due to their life style. However,proper planning and cautious execution of the count would help in identifying possible solution to housing and necessary social support to the homeless and the communities at large.