• Home
  • Contact Us

Homelessness Point in Time Count

Wednesday, April 6, 2016, United Way KFLA conducted a Urban Point in Time Homeless Count (PiT Count).


2016 PiT Count Results

In partnership with the Government of Canada, Kingston was one of 30 communities across the country to participate in the first nationally coordinated Point in Time (PiT) Count of homeless individuals in any country. The highlights of the point in time counts are available on the Government of Canada website.

2016 Urban Kingston Point-in-Time Count Report

2013 Urban Kingston Point-in-Time Count Report

PiT Count FAQ

More than 100 volunteers and staff from the United Way, City of Kingston, and community agencies/organizations in this local initiative.

­­­­The PiT Count will help us identify and better understand the needs of homeless people in Kingston, and provide information to assist us in better aligning resources to achieve the long-term goal of ending homelessness in our city.

What is a Point in Time (PiT) Count?

Essentially, a PiT Count is a census of people who are homeless at the time of the Count. There are three components:

  1. Outdoor “street” survey – conducted by volunteers encountering homeless persons in pre-mapped areas of the City.
  2. Indoor “shelter” survey – conducted by shelter staff and corroborated with shelter stay statistics.
  3. No Fixed Address “NFA” data – collected from detox facilities, emergency rooms, overnight lock-up, and other institutional locations where homeless persons may be found on the night of the Count.

As well as counting people who are homeless, a brief, anonymous survey is conducted to provide a snapshot of homelessness in the community with information about characteristics such as age, gender, Veteran status, Aboriginal identity.  Additionally, United Way staff will oversee the gathering of these statistics from health and correctional centres, VAW (violence against women) shelters, and from outdoor areas that are inaccessible.

What else do you need to know?

PiT Counts are conducted across North America and are one of the few ways to get reliable data about the scope of homelessness in a region.  In Canada, the 2016 coordinated PiT Count will be part of a first ever national approach to take place in the world.

Locally, the PiT count will focus on the urban area of Kingston. This initiative was undertaken by approximately 100 people on the night of April 6, 2016.

Why are we doing this?

As of January 1, 2014 all municipalities in Ontario are required to have a Housing & Homelessness Plan in place. One of the strategies identified in Kingston’s Plan is to improve data collection, including conducting a bi-annual Point in Time Count.

Kingston conducted its first PiT Count in October, 2013. This second PiT Count will be part of a nationally coordinated process taking place between January 1 and April 30, 2016.

The information collected in 2016 will allow us to contribute to the broader picture of homelessness in Canada, and provide valuable information on the state of homelessness in our local community.

Local results will be available giving us a profile or “snapshot” of homelessness in Kingston. These results will be used to identify what services people are using, help us to better understand the pathways into homelessness, assist with allocating resources to prevent homelessness and with meeting the needs of people who are experiencing homelessness.

In subsequent Counts, we will be able to measure how Kingston is doing in terms of ending homelessness in our City, and compare our progress provincially and nationally.

How are we doing the PiT Count?

Volunteers are assigned an area to walk in teams along outdoor, safe and public areas. They introduce themselves to all persons encountered and ask them if they are homeless. If the person is homeless and wishes to participate in a brief survey, the volunteer help them to complete the survey. Special teams will be deployed to areas where there is a higher safety risk, such as poorly illuminated parks and trails; however, the process will be the same. Everyone who completes a survey receives a “thank you” gift (Tim Hortons voucher, granola bar, juice box, free City bus ride ticket).

All volunteers will be given, and must follow, instructions on how to conduct the survey so that the results are statistically valid. Instructions will be provided during the training on the night of the count, which will take place at Regioplis-Notre Dame Secondary School – for those who have pre-registered as a volunteer.

Shelter-count information on the night of April 6th will also be gathered from City funded emergency shelters and from Kingston’s Provincially-funded violence against women (VAW) shelter.

On the night of the count, emergency rooms, detox centres, and the police will be contacted to obtain an estimate of the number of people staying in Kingston health and correctional centres overnight who are listed as having “no fixed address.”

What do I need to know about the methodology?

The definition of homelessness for the PiT Count is: any individual found outdoors who does not have a place to stay on the night of the survey; also those staying in emergency shelters, VAW (violence against women) shelters, and in health or correctional facilities with no fixed address.

The PIT Count does not cover “hidden” homeless or “couch surfers.” There will also be a strategy for rural Kingston and the County of Frontenac taking place during that week.

For more information about the PiT count please contact:




The Impact of Your Donations, Straight to Your Inbox!

Be among the first to know about upcoming events, initiatives and more. Subscription is free, and you can opt out at any time.

Sign up for our “Way To Go!” newsletter