Homelessness Data – Qualitative and Quantitative

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Homelessness is a social problem whose definition is socially constructed. How we think about homelessness can be measured through qualitative analysis. There are 11 main places to find qualitative data on homelessness,

Academic literature

Legal cases



TV news

Social media – Facebook, twitter, youtube, instagram

Music – Lyrics, Songmeanings

Movies – IMDB, Scripts





Homelessness is not easy to measure, and estimates of the extent of homelessness vary widely depending on the data source. There are 11 main sources of statistical data on homelessness:

Public opinion

COC PIT counts (unsheltered)

COC HIC counts (sheltered)

COC Performance data

Schools data

Census data

Surveys of homeless individuals

Health Systems data

Crime and Police data

Government spending

Nonprofit spending

Google searches

Note: COC refers to Continuum of Care, which is the HUD designated geographic area that provides HUD-sponsored homeless services.

PIT refers to Point in Time count, which is the annual count of street homelessness by COC volunteers.

HIC refers to Housing Inventory County, which is the annual count of sheltered homelessness.