Everyone Counts: Coordinated Point-in-Time Counts in Canada

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

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

Note: Because of COVID-19, communities that participate in 2021 have more flexibility in the timing of the count. Some communities may postpone all or part of their count to fall 2021 or spring 2022.

Some communities were able to conduct their count in 2020 before COVID-19 lockdowns. Their results, along with counts taking place in 2021 will contribute to the national understanding of homelessness.

The PiT Counts take place every couple of years on a single night between March 1 and April 30.

The data from PiT Counts can help participating communities to:

  • identify service needs
  • inform planning to prevent and reduce homelessness

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.


The methodology used in the PiT Count gives flexibility for communities to build and adapt the method to their local context.

We work 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.

Type of information we collect

The count includes enumerating individuals and families who are staying:

  • in shelters
  • transitional housing, or
  • who are “sleeping rough”

It also includes a survey that captures demographic details such as:

  • age
  • gender
  • racial identity
  • Indigenous identity
  • veteran status

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 with stable housing
  • increase understanding of the characteristics of homelessness in the community

The information obtained from the counts can also support communities as they put in place a Coordinated Access system.

This type of system helps provide more effective and timely housing supports based on:

  • priority populations
  • acuity assessments

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 by-name list
  • use the results to link individuals to housing supports

Supports to conduct a count

Findings from previous counts

Contact us

For information on Point-in-time Counts:

Email: hpsr@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca.

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