Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco and other cities are canceling or postponing their "point in time" censuses of unsheltered homeless people — which typically take place on a single night in late January — saying the pandemic makes it unsafe for all involved.

Why it matters: Empirically, the number of homeless people has swelled because of COVID-19, and the annual or biennial tally is a way to hold public officials accountable.

Driving the news: The Department of Housing and Urban Development — which requires communities to hold point-in-time homeless counts every two years, and uses the results to allocate funding — issued COVID-19 guidelines that allow communities to get an exemption this year.

  • The "count" involves thousands of volunteers fanning out to conduct face-to-face interviews with people on the streets; coronavirus adds an incalculable degree of difficulty.
  • The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority said “there is no safe way to gather the 8,000 volunteers necessary” to do the job, which last year involved tallying more than 66,000 people, per the Santa Monica Daily Press.
  • A spokesperson for HUD tells Axios that "several cities have canceled the unsheltered count" but "we do not have specific numbers on how many cities have canceled."
  • Cities won't be financially penalized as long as they fulfill their requirements later on.

State of play: While some online hecklers expressed cynicism that the delays were a way for public officials to cover up rising numbers, homelessness experts don't think that's the case.

  • "It's understandable and prudent to do these kinds of modifications or delays," Linda Gibbs, a principal at Bloomberg Associates and former deputy mayor for health and human services in New York City, tells Axios.
  • Some places — like NYC and Pittsburgh — are going ahead with modified counts, extending the process over several nights and using trained professionals rather than volunteers, Gibbs said.

The bottom line: The January "count" is just a snapshot — albeit an important one — and even places that won't be doing the full exercise this year are taking careful note of the number of people in shelters and hotels.

  • "Hopefully, this is just a one-year interruption," Steve Berg, vice president for programs and policy for the National Alliance to End Homelessness, told me.

Go deeper

Tulsa offering $10,000 for people to move there

Oklahoma's second-largest city has been known as the "oil capital of the world." At right is the BOK Tower, Tulsa's tallest building. Photo: Phil Clarkin/Phil Clarkin Photography

Cities like Tulsa, Topeka and Savannah are paying (certain) people to move there, a way to diversify their communities and attract smart and interesting people.

Why it matters: In the "work from anywhere" world, mid-tier cities are betting they can draw talent and vibrancy from major hubs — and so far it seems to be working.

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.