Using Data to End Homelessness*

On behalf of the community of Halifax, Affordable Housing Nova Scotia coordinates two periodic, standardized, national data collection events - the Point in Time Count and Registry Week

Information collected from these community-powered events provides critical insights into homelessness locally and nationally - information that is used to create real change immediately and in the long term. We work in close collaboration with partners, volunteers, and homeless and insecurely housed members of our community as part of the data collection process.

* This project is funded by the Government of Canada's Homelessness Partnering Strategy.


Comparing the Events: side-by-side

Point in Time Count

  1. Homelessness Partnering Strategy
  2. 1 day
  3. Enumeration (static count)
  4. Inform strategic planning
  5. Increase understanding and provide insights
  6. Track progress over long periods of time
  7. Informs policy and programs

Registry Week

  1. 20k  Homes - Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness
  2. 1 week (and ongoing)
  3. By name list (dynamic)
  4. Action - oriented
  5. Supports triage type services
  6. Inflow/outflow at a system level in real time
  7. Coordinated access / service prioritization

Point in Time: Everyone Counts

What is a Point in time Count?

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The Point in Time (PiT) Count is a an initiative of Canada's Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) Joined by designated communities across Canada, AHANS represents Halifax as part of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy funding stream. In 2016, AHANS participated in the first national, coordinated PiT Count. 

A PiT Count is a method used to measure sheltered and unsheltered homelessness. It aims to enumerate individuals in a community who are, at a given time, staying in shelters or "sleeping rough" (e.g., on the street, in parks), providing a "snapshot" of homelessness in a community. PiT counts include a survey that can provide communities with information on the characteristics of their homeless population (e.g., age, gender, Veteran status, Indigenous identity). This information can be used by communities to direct resources to areas of greatest need, and to connect individuals with specific backgrounds to targeted supports to help them achieve stable housing. When completed on subsequent years, it can also be used to track changes in the homeless population over time and measure progress in reducing it.

Registry Week

Headed by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH), the 20,000 Homes Campaign is a national change movement focused on ending chronic homelessness in 20 communities and housing 20,000 of Canada’s most vulnerable homeless people by July 1, 2020.

Collecting person-specific data is the key to ending homelessness for our most vulnerable (and often anonymous) homeless neighbours. A Registry Week is a coordinated outreach and triage assessment process to develop actionable data on every person experiencing homelessness.

In Halifax, AHANS coordinates Registry Week during the week of the Point in Time Count.