The Methodology of Counting the Homeless

Proceedings of the American Statistical Association, Section on Survey Research Methods, 1986.

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There are very few local studies which estimate the number of homeless which estimate the number of homeless for a city or county.  There are even fewer which make state or national estimates of the number of homeless.  This paper examines the methods used to count the homeless, presents a description of a research study being conducted in the city of Baltimore, and reviews the problems encountered in trying to make an estimate of the number of homeless.  The purpose of this paper is not to promulgate a particular method of counting, but rather to explore why counting the homeless is such a difficult and expensive task.

– Cowan, Charles D., Breakey, William R., and Fischer, Pamela J.

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