What is a Homeless Census and Survey?
The United States federal government under the auspices of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires counties to count their homeless populations every two years in order to be eligible for continued federal funding. ASR developed a unique methodology, which has been cited as a best practice by HUD, which we use to both count and survey the homeless population.
Counting and surveying the homeless can only be successful with the assistance of those who possess an intimate knowledge of the activities and locations of homeless people. ASR recruits and trains homeless people to work as enumerators in the street count and also to serve as survey researchers in the survey portion of the projects. ASR has found that homeless respondents are more likely to be honest about their lives with homeless survey researchers. ASR has conducted these projects for several years across the state of California, including Madera, Monterey, Mendocino, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, and Sonoma counties. ASR has also worked in the greater Atlanta Georgia area and the Southern Nevada region, including Las Vegas.
What methods does ASR use to count the homeless?
· Street Count: The purpose of the street count is to conduct an enumeration of unsheltered homeless people at a specific moment in time. The street count may last from one to three days depending on the size of the region.
· Shelter and Institution Count: The goal of the shelter and institution count is to gain an accurate count of the number of homeless that are being temporarily housed across the region. Emergency and transitional housing shelters, jails/police departments, drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, and motels/hotels that accept homeless vouchers are included in this count
· Telephone Survey: In an effort to find the “hidden homeless,” ASR conducts a random digit dial telephone survey of the general population to determine if there are people staying in the household who would be considered homeless.
· Homeless Survey: ASR trains homeless individuals to survey other homeless individuals in shelters and on the street. The survey data bring greater perspective to current issues of homelessness and the provision and delivery of current and future services.
Can ASR help you plan for change?
Yes! ASR can help you use your data to make community and program change. Our partners have used their homeless census and survey data to secure additional federal and state funding. To view our database of past homeless census and survey reports, please click here.