The Homeless Census is a requirement of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of all Continuums of Care throughout the country. It may also be referred to as a Point in Time Count. In Southern Nevada, the Homeless Census consists of many activities that occur annually during the last week in January:
- An urban count is conducted during which volunteers canvass Las Vegas/Clark County neighborhoods to obtain a visual count of unsheltered homeless individuals and families, who are living in places not meant for human habitation, like on the streets or in cars, parks and abandoned buildings.
- A youth count is conducted during school hours during which volunteers canvass public places to obtain a visual count of unsheltered, unaccompanied youth. School district personnel also provide a count of homeless students.
- Homeless service providers conduct a shelter count of the people in their transitional housing and shelter programs.
- Specialized teams of outreach workers and volunteers canvass the tunnels under Las Vegas to obtain a count of people living in those areas.
- The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department provides air support, using infrared imaging, to canvass desert and mountainous regions that are not accessible by vehicle.
- Volunteers and Code Enforcement perform a count in remaining rural areas.
- Volunteers and homeless service providers conduct a survey to develop more insight into the needs and experiences of people experiencing homelessness, including causes of homelessness and unique characteristics of homeless subpopulations like youth, adults or families.