HUD System Performance Measures:
Number of Homeless Persons

Mary Ann Priester

Senior Management Analyst
Mecklenburg County Community Support Services

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act requires Continuums of Care (CoCs) to assess their collective efforts to address homelessness. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has created seven System Performance Measures for this purpose. Annually, Charlotte-Mecklenburg is required to report its performance on six of these measures to HUD. These measures are important for securing CoC funding and serve as tools for local monitoring and system improvement. This is the third post in a series of blogs that examines Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s performance on these measures and the implications for the local community.

This blog provides an overview of and presents data on System Performance Measure Three: Number of Homeless Persons.


The HUD System Performance Measures offer a comprehensive assessment of community efforts to prevent and end homelessness. The measures go beyond just tracking the reduction in homelessness numbers and also gauge the effectiveness of the coordinated system in ensuring homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring. These measures include:

  1. Length of Time Persons Remain Homeless
  2. Returns to Homelessness Within 24 Months
  3. Number of Homeless Persons
  4. Employment and Income Growth for CoC Funded Projects
  5. Number of People Who Become Homeless for the First Time
  6. Prevention and Housing Placement for Persons Defined by Category 3
  7. Successful Placement in or Retention of Permanent Housing

This blog series provides a deep dive into each measure, explains the desired outcomes, what is being measured, and who is included. Previous blogs have focused on Length of Time Homeless and Returns to Homelessness Within 24 Months. This blog will focus on the third measure: Number of Homeless Persons.


Measure 3: Number of Homeless Persons assesses a CoC’s progress toward ending homelessness by counting the number of people experiencing homelessness both annually and at a point in time.

The measure consists of two components: change in Point in Time Count (PIT) and change in annual counts. The change in PIT measure captures the number of people experiencing homelessness on one night in January in emergency shelter and transitional housing (sheltered), and unsheltered homelessness (including places unfit for human habitation). Because the System Performance Measures are reported for the federal fiscal year which runs from 10/1-9/30, the data presented in this blog represent data from the 2022 PIT. The change in annual counts captures the number of people experiencing homelessness across 12 months in emergency shelter and transitional housing. The desired outcome for this measure is a reduction in the number of people who are homelessness. However, this, like all metrics and data cannot be interpreted without considering contextual factors impacting the outcome.

For federal fiscal year, FY 22 (October 1, 2021-September 30, 2022) in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, 1761 persons experiencing sheltered and unsheltered homelessness were counted during the 2022 PIT which took place on January 26, 2022. This was a 10% decrease from FY 21. There are a number of reasons why we saw a decrease in 2022 but the key reason is that a modified count methodology was implemented due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. In 2023, as discussed here , we returned to the pre-COVID PIT methodology and counted a total of 1916 persons experiencing sheltered and unsheltered homelessness. The annual count or the total number of people who experienced sheltered homelessness during the federal fiscal year was 5339. This is an 11% increase from 2022. This increase is likely related to an increase in capacity in the number of emergency shelter and transitional housing beds from 2021 to 2022. Overall, there were 314 additional emergency shelter and transitional housing beds. We did see a reduction in emergency shelter and transitional housing beds during 2020 and 2021 as providers worked to create safe, non-congregate shelters amidst the pandemic. The increase of these bed types represents a return to pre-pandemic sheltering capacity and an increase in the number of transitional housing providers entering data in the HMIS system.

The count of individuals experiencing homelessness in emergency shelters and transitional housing is directly linked to the availability of beds in these facilities. The quantity of beds is a component of our community’s Housing Inventory Count (HIC). Any increase or decrease in the number of available beds directly impacts the capacity to accommodate individuals experiencing homelessness. Consequently, when analyzing changes in the homeless population, it is essential to consider whether there have been corresponding adjustments in the bed count. Likewise, the number of individuals counted during the PIT is directly impacted by the methodology employed for the count. For both measures it is important to review change over time but also consider structural and methodological factors that may be influencing what we see in the data.


Analyzing system level data is essential to ensure the local coordinated system of care for individuals experiencing homelessness and housing instability is effective. HUD System Performance Measures provide the framework to complete this necessary work.  System Performance Measure 3: Number of Homeless Persons is a crucial metric for evaluating the extent of homelessness and tracking changes over time. It can help stakeholders understand the scope of the issue and make informed decisions regarding resource allocation and intervention strategies.