WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — For the first time in 10 years, an organization recognized for helping people in crisis is leading a point-in-time count in Williamson County.

The point-in-time count organized by Endeavors surveys the number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night.

PIT data provides insights into the community’s homeless population and service gaps.

The count includes individuals and families in unsheltered locations such as cars, parks, streets/sidewalks as well as those in sheltered locations such as emergency shelters and transitional housing in Williamson County.

However, the survey acknowledges the challenges of tracking people experiencing homelessness because they use their social network to find a bed for the night.

In Williamson County, homelessness looks a little different.

“Our folks don’t tend to be in the encampment like you see in Austin,” said Christel Erickson-Collins with Wilco Homeless Coalition.

Christel Erickson-Collins says often times people are living out of their cars, migrating from park to park.

“There’s been efforts for a long time to have the point-in-time count,” said Erickson-Collins.

Now with Endeavors in town, there’s a collaboration happening to bring these various outreach groups together.

Over 20 Endeavors employees are volunteering at the PIT count on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The count will come in two parts. A count for those unsheltered, perhaps living in their cars, along tree lines or in unlocked park bathrooms at night and a count for those living in shelters like the one provided by Hope Alliance.

“We really are hoping the PIT count and the data that comes from that will help us get more resources for a temporary shelter, which we really don’t have,” said Erickson’Collins.

In Austin/Travis County, Echo, a service organization in Austin recently canceled the point-in-time count due to “ongoing COVID-19 health risks.”

“Our community continues to track needs and demographics of the population we serve on a given day through the HMIS Snapshot that ECHO’s Research & Evaluation Team developed for the 2021 count we submitted to HUD,” said an Echo Spokesperson.

The information gathered in 2021 compiled monthly rather than yearly information from Echo’s person-level database available to the public on the Homelessness Response System dashboard.

Instead of an in-person PIT Count, Echo providers organized a “Week in Action” at the end of January to discover housing and supportive service needs of the community.