Effort helps to build seasonal understanding of unsheltered homelessness.

On July 27, 2023, the City of Boulder completed its first summer Point in Time Count of individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness in the city. Findings from the count are available on a new dashboard on the city’s website.

Point in Time Counts help identify how many people are experiencing homelessness in a community at a specific moment in time. Each January, communities across the country conduct a Point in Time Count. Data from this count helps show how homelessness in an area is changing over time. Communities that participate in this nationwide effort receive funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help support local homelessness initiatives. Learn more about Boulder’s January count on the Metro Denver Continuum of Care website.

In addition to the annual January count, the city conducted its first July count this year to better understand seasonal trends in how people experience homelessness. The July count focused on unsheltered homelessness, as the city traditionally experiences an increase in this type of homelessness in the summer. This count was a coordinated effort by agencies across Boulder County. Information collected in the count will help the city identify how the unsheltered population and individuals’ needs differ from summer to winter and will serve as a baseline data point for future counts.

City staff conducted the July count using several methods, including observation and asking the same questions as the January count. Key findings include:

  • 171 individuals were observed experiencing unsheltered homelessness, compared to 142 in January. Of this total, 110 individuals participated in a survey.
  • 25% of people surveyed first experienced homelessness in Boulder.
  • 76% of people surveyed reported experiencing chronic homelessness (one year or longer).
  • 83% of people surveyed have experienced homelessness for more than 12 months over the last three years.
  • 88% of people surveyed reported living with a disabling condition.

"I am very appreciative of the city staff and partner organizations that assisted with this count,” said Kurt Firnhaber, director of Housing and Human Services. "It was helpful to have one-on-one conversations with so many individuals to learn about their experience. This information will help us better understand trends over time and tailor our programs to meet individuals’ needs. Homelessness is a multi-faceted issue that challenges Boulder and communities across the nation to develop creative, meaningful solutions.”

Because the count is a snapshot of homelessness on a single night, with variables such as participation, weather, methodology and other factors, results from the count do not accurately reflect the actual number of people living unhoused.

More information about homelessness in Boulder is available on the city’s website. If you have questions about the July 2023 PIT Count or the dashboard, please reach out to Lynette Badasarian at badasarianl@bouldercolorado.gov.