Series in The New York Times: “They go into the streets in search of data. Peeking behind dumpsters, shining flashlights under bridges, rustling a frosted tent to see if anyone was inside. This is what it takes to count the people in America who don’t have a place to live. To get a number, however flawed, that describes the scope of a deeply entrenched problem and the country’s progress toward fixing it.
Last year, the Biden administration laid out a goal to reduce homelessness by 25 percent by 2025. The problem increasingly animates local politics, with ambitious programs to build affordable housing getting opposition from homeowners who say they want encampments gone but for the solution to be far from their communities. Across the country, homelessness is a subject in which declarations of urgency outweigh measurable progress.
Officially called the Point-in-Time Count, the annual tally of those who live outside or in homeless shelters takes place in every corner of the country through the last 10 days of January, and over the past dozen years has found 550,000 to 650,000 people experiencing homelessness. The endeavor is far from perfect, advocates note, since it captures no more than a few days and is almost certainly a significant undercount. But it’s a snapshot from which resources flow, and creates a shared understanding of a common problem.
This year, reporters and photographers from The New York Times shadowed the count, using a sampling of four very different communities — warm and cold, big and small, rural and urban — to examine the same problem in vastly different places…(More)”.