Coordinated Entry

Navigate to https://knoxhmis.sworpswebapp.sworps.utk.edu/champ/ or contact Chris Smith (rsmith71@utk.edu) for more information about CHAMP. 


Each year, Continuums of Care (CoCs) throughout the United States conduct a PIT (point-in-time) count for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to get a snapshot of what their unhoused population looks like.This is a survey of both sheltered and unsheltered individuals over one 24 hour period during the last 10 days of January. The Knoxville/Knox County Homeless Coalition conducted the Knox area sheltered PIT count on the night of January 24th. The sheltered count is gathered from Knoxville’s HMIS database, which tracks homeless service program and client data throughout Knox County, and reports the total number of clients staying in either Emergency Shelter or Transitional Housing on the night of the PIT.

Led by the Homeless Coalition’s Outreach and Engagement Committee,  the CoC held their unsheltered PIT count on the same night - Wednesday, January 24 – but conducted the majority of the count the following morning. The unsheltered PIT count is specifically intended for those individuals living in encampments, cars, or any other place not meant for human habitation. The unsheltered PIT count is not easily accessed through a database and takes months of planning and preparation. To reach the entire county, a great deal of people-power, coordination, and teamwork is needed. Not only do outreach workers build and maintain rapport with unsheltered individuals all year, but keeping track of constantly moving camps is a feat within itself, due in part to encampment sweeps and laws that restrict where unhoused individuals can stay. In January 2024, the Knoxville Police Department agreed to a partial hold on encampment sweeps for the week before and week after the count, which allowed outreach workers some stability to plan for the count.   

There are other factors, however, that the local community has no control over. With the recent snow storm and multiple days of rain, many encampments were deserted or moved in favor of drier, safer land. Thankfully, the weather did not dissuade over 55 volunteers – the most our continuum has ever seen at a PIT count – from coming out to help with the survey. With the help of staff from VMC, CAC, The McNabb Center, Veterans’ Affairs, Fig Tree, the  Block-by-Block Ambassadors, Knox County Health Department, The Magnolia Ministries, KnoxHMIS, HUD, Choice Health Network, Community Law Office, Grow Free TN, the Office of Housing Stability, Ridgeview Behavioral Health, the University of Tennessee, and our neighbor CoC Tennessee Valley Coalition for the Homeless, we were able to cover more ground in Knox County than ever before! 

PIT Count team for Zone 1 from left to right : Tiffany Higginbotham, Amalie Blue, Florence Sutton, Montana Yates-McDermott, Gabe Cline

HUD requires a PIT count at least every other year. They use the data collected for a variety of purposes. It tracks how effective a community’s service providers are, determines allotments of federal funding, and is even presented to Congress in the Annual Homeless Assessment Report. Unfortunately, these counts are only a snapshot on the state of homelessness in a continuum. Laws against existing in public spaces drive unhoused individuals into camps that are well hidden or dangerous, making them difficult to survey. Additionally, youth homelessness is often underreported and individuals who are couch-surfing are not counted at all. While data from the PIT count is only an approximation of those living unhoused in our community, it provides a foundational understanding of the work still to be done so that no Knoxvillian is without a home. Keep an eye out for The Knoxville/ Knox County’s 2024 PIT count numbers sometime this summer. In the meantime, be sure to visit KnoxHMIS.org/dashboard for Knoxville’s most up to date data on the state of homelessness in our community.

Speakers and Trainings


Annual Report 2020

KnoxHMIS Annual Report 2020.pdf

2016 Biennial Study