The U.S. Census Bureau will begin the special operation to count people experiencing homelessness in local communities across the country on Sept. 22. Specially trained census takers will count people Sept. 22-24 at shelters, soup kitchens and mobile food van stops in an operation called Service-Based Enumeration (SBE). Census takers will count people who live outdoors, in transit stations, and at other locations where people are known to sleep in an operation called Targeted Non-Sheltered Outdoor Locations (TNSOL). Counting people experiencing homelessness is part of the Group Quarters (GQ) operation, a special process to count people in unique living situations.
In preparation for counting people experiencing homelessness, the Census Bureau is coordinating with local service providers and has consulted with advocacy groups and other stakeholders throughout the country to adjust this work in response to COVID-19.
To count people outdoors in places like tent encampments, teams of census takers wearing reflective vests and carrying smartphones, flashlights and paper questionnaires will visit those locations; often at night. Every effort will be made to collect all the information requested on the census form. If that isn’t possible, census takers will conduct a population count. Census takers will follow the latest local public health guidance regarding the use of personal protective equipment and social distancing. Locally, hundreds of census takers will visit thousands of locations during this operation.
This article was released by the U.S. Census Bureau.