Everyone Counts – The Nationally Coordinated Point-in-Time Counts of Homelessness in Canadian Communities

The Point-in-Time (PiT) Counts are a community-level measure of sheltered and unsheltered homelessness. It also provides a national picture of homelessness.

The PiT Counts are comprised of two components:

  1. A PiT Count Enumeration. This count of people experiencing absolute homelessness is intended to identify how many individuals and families in a community experience homelessness in shelters, transitional housing and on the streets at a given time.
  2. A Survey on Homelessness. This survey of people experiencing homelessness provides the community with information on the demographics, causes and experiences of people affected by homelessness. This includes individuals and families who do not have access to a permanent and secure place to live, and includes sleeping in shelters, on the streets, or living temporarily with others without having their own permanent housing (e.g. hidden homeless or couch surfing). This information can be used to target community resources to where they are most needed. Some of the information collected includes age, gender, age of first homelessness, duration of homelessness, racial identity, Indigenous identity, veteran status, health conditions, and reason for housing loss.

On this page

Who can participate

We invite any community to take part in the PiT Count. Designated communities conduct a PiT Count as part of the Reaching Home program.


Infrastructure Canada works with communities and other experts to develop a common approach for each PiT Count. The PiT Count approach is outlined in the Standards for participation. This approach gives flexibility for communities to build upon the core questions and adapt aspects of the method to their local context.

How communities can use the information

Communities can use the information collected to:

  • direct resources to areas of greatest need
  • connect people and families with specific backgrounds with supports to help them gain stable housing
  • increase understanding of the characteristics of homelessness in the community

The information obtained from the PiT Counts can also support communities with their Unique Identifier List (UIL) / By-Name List (BNL). The PiT Count can be leveraged as a way to conduct outreach to individuals and families who may not normally access services in the community, giving them the opportunity to be added to the UIL/BNL. It can also be used as a data quality check for the scope of the UIL/BNL. Some communities have noted that after their PiT Count enumeration, their UIL/BNL increased by as much as 20%. Both of these tools can be applied as they put in place a Coordinated Access system, which aims to provide more effective and coordinated housing supports based on acuity of need.

Registry week event

Communities can also do a joint PiT count and Registry Week. A Registry Week event allows communities to begin to:

  • assess the needs of people experiencing homelessness
  • create a UIL/BNL
  • use the results to link individuals to housing supports

Supports to conduct a PiT Count

Findings from previous PiT Counts

Contact us

For information on Point-in-time Counts:

Email: HPD.DATA-DONNEES.DPMI@infc.gc.ca