2024 Point-in-Time Count Data:
Sheltered Homelessness and Overall Counts

Mary Ann Priester

Senior Management Analyst
Mecklenburg County Community Support Services

Annually, Continuums of Care (CoCs) across the United States conduct the HUD Point-in-Time (PIT) count to gather data on homelessness. The primary goals of the PIT are to estimate the number of individuals and households experiencing homelessness and to better understand their demographics and living conditions. These data are used in tandem with other local and national data to inform policies and programs focused on preventing and ending homelessness. The PIT count has two components: the Sheltered Homeless Census, which counts individuals in shelters, safe havens, or transitional housing, and the Unsheltered Homeless Census, which counts those living in places not intended for habitation, such as streets or vehicles. Together these components provide a comprehensive snapshot of homelessness on one night in January in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

A previous blog provided data from the 2024 Unsheltered Homeless Census and a discussion of the limitations of the PIT count. This blog provides an overview of the 2024 Sheltered Homeless Census and overall PIT count data.

Sheltered Homeless Census

The Sheltered Homeless Census provides a snapshot of the number of people accessing emergency shelters, transitional housing, or safe havens on the night of the Point-in-Time Count. This data helps communities understand the needs and experiences of those utilizing shelter services, allowing them to tailor support more effectively. The Sheltered Homeless Census includes data from providers that enter data into the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and as well as emergency shelter, transitional housing, and safe haven providers who do not utilize HMIS. Each year the CoC makes every effort to identify known and unknown organizations that are providing these services in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.  To be included in the Point-in-Time Count and associated Housing Inventory Count, programs must meet all three of the following HUD specified criteria:

  • The primary intent of the program is to serve people experiencing homelessness;
  • The program verifies homeless status as part of its eligibility determination; and
  • The actual program clients consist primarily of people who are experiencing homelessness.

Data gathered from both providers who enter data in HMIS and those that do not are synthesized and deduplicated to determine the final counts.

2024 Sheltered Census Data

Thirty publicly and privately operated emergency shelter, transitional housing, and safe haven programs from 17 homeless services agencies participated in the 2024 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Point-in-Time Count Sheltered Homeless Census. Thirteen programs were classified as emergency shelter, 16 were transitional housing, and 1 was a safe haven.

On January 25, 2024, 1260 households totaling 1711 persons were experiencing sheltered homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Of those, 1243 people were utilizing emergency shelter, 450 were utilizing transitional housing, and 18 were using a safe haven. Of the 1260 households identified in the Sheltered Homeless Census, 192 were households with minor children totaling 641 people, 419 of which were children under the age of 18. Eight households were child only households who were served at a local shelter and transitional housing program who serve minor children, and 1,060 households were adult only households totaling 1,062 people.

Children under the age of 18 made up 25% of the sheltered count. 25% of people were age 55 or older. Seventy-five percent identified as Black, African American, or African and 6% identified as Hispanic/Latina(e)(o). Fifty-four percent of those who were sheltered on the night of the PIT identified as male. Three percent were unaccompanied youth ages 18-24; 6% were veterans; and 15% met the criteria for chronic homelessness.

Trends in Sheltered Homelessness

The 2024 Sheltered Homeless Census increased by 5% or 83 people with 1628 people in 2023 and 1711 people in 2024. There was a slight decrease in people utilizing emergency shelter (1277 vs. 1243). There was a 50% increase in the number of people utilizing the safe haven program (9 vs. 18), largely due to a 50% increase in program beds from 2023 to 2024. There was also a large increase in transitional housing utilization (342 vs. 450). This increase is largely due to increased coverage of local transitional housing programs that prioritize people experiencing homelessness including the addition of a 141-bed transitional housing program.

2024 Overall PIT Count Data

Coupled with the Unsheltered Census, 2095 total persons in 1,628 households were identified as experiencing homelessness on the night of the PIT count. When examining overall count data, 69% of people were in single adult households, 49% of people were between the ages of 25 and 54, 56% identified as male, and 72% identified as Black, African American, or African. Twenty-one percent of people met the criteria for chronic homelessness and 6% were veterans. Twenty-five percent self-reported a serious mental illness and 5% reported being survivors of domestic violence.

Trends in Overall PIT Count Data

When compared to 2023 Overall PIT Count data, in 2024 there was a 9% or 179 person increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness on the night of the PIT (1,916 vs. 2095). In 2024, there was a decrease in the percentage of persons age 55 or older experiencing homelessness (30% vs. 25%) and a decrease in the number of veterans experiencing homelessness (8% vs. 6%). There was also an increase in the percentage of persons who reported a serious mental illness (19% vs. 25%) and a decrease in the number of persons who reported being survivors of domestic violence. The decreases we see could be due to, at least in part, population specific funding and resources that have been targeted toward older adults, veterans, and survivors of domestic violence.

One Number

The annual PIT Count is an important data source that can be used to examine longitudinal homelessness trends and inform policy and funding decisions but it has a limitations and is widely acknowledged as being a snapshot in time that does not capture the scope of homelessness. For this reason Charlotte-Mecklenburg supplements PIT data with other data sources to gain a more comprehensive understanding of homelessness. One Number data is a key data source analyzed and monitored to better understand the current state of homelessness in Mecklenburg County. These data are updated monthly and provide a more real-time assessment of who is experiencing homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and who is entering and exiting the homeless services system. The most recent One Number data can be access here.

So, What?

The annual Point-in-Time (PIT) count provides invaluable data on homelessness, offering insights that inform policy and funding decisions. However, it is widely acknowledged to be a limited snapshot that does not fully capture the extent of homelessness. To address this, Charlotte-Mecklenburg supplements PIT data with additional sources such as the One Number, which is updated monthly to provide a real-time assessment of homelessness. This multifaceted approach, incorporating various data sources and integrated reports, aims to create a comprehensive understanding of homelessness and better inform local strategies. While the PIT count remains essential, these supplementary methods enhance the overall effort, allowing for a more robust response to the complex challenges of homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.