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Results of 2021 Annual Point in Time Homeless Count Released 

April 27, 2021 (Barnstable, MA) – The Cape and Islands Regional Network on Homelessness has released its 2021 findings from the Annual Point in Time Count which took place on January 26, 2021 on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.

The Point in Time (PIT) counts people experiencing homelessness in emergency shelters, transitional housing, motels (if paid for by an agency), on the street, in cars, in abandoned buildings, and in other places not meant for human habitation.  Counts are conducted annually in every community in the United States during the last ten days of January.  The PIT does not count persons or families who are doubled-up and/or living with family and friends.

On the Cape and Islands, the total number of homeless persons (adults and children, sheltered and unsheltered) on the night of January 26 was 343, an increase of 6 persons from last year.  Three trends are worth noting. First, the availability of COVID funding and additional Emergency Solutions Grant funding this year undoubtedly contributed to the number of unsheltered persons decreasing significantly from 2020 to 2021 (from 50 to 28), while the number of individuals staying in Emergency Shelter increased by almost the same margin (from 73 to 94). Second, the numbers of families and persons in Family Shelter decreased substantially from 2020 to 2021 (from 61 to 46 families and from 159 to 134 persons), due largely to the de-population of congregate shelters in response to COVID. Third, the number of individuals in Transitional Housing increased by 32 (from 55 to 87), attributable to one new Transitional Housing project becoming operational and to the change in project type of a formerly Permanent Housing project to Transitional Housing.

Traditionally, volunteers from dozens of agencies across the Cape and Islands assist in collecting information during the PIT count.  This year, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) put COVID restrictions in place to ensure the health and safety of staff, volunteers, and homeless persons. In response, case managers and outreach personnel from local organizations collaboratively developed innovative methods of identifying and surveying both sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons in the Cape and Islands Region.  According to Beth Albert, former Director of Human Services for Barnstable County and current Barnstable County Administrator, “The Point in Time is a community wide effort and is a snapshot of homelessness in our region on a given night.  By collecting this data on an annual basis, we have a better understanding of the number and demographics of the homeless population and are able to track trends.  The information helps us in planning and allocating resources.”

The PIT Count also collects information on age, gender, disability, race, ethnicity and veteran status of the individuals and families included in the count.

The Cape and Islands Regional Network on Homelessness is a broad based public private partnership committed to identifying and implementing solutions to ending homelessness on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.   The results of the 2021 PIT are available at